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Are Deal Lawyers Considered ‘Second-Class Citizens’ on Wall Street?

Posted Jan 18, 2011 12:54 PM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Investment bankers may be “fee-hungry opportunists,” but they are first-class citizens on Wall Street.

Deal-making lawyers, on the other hand, are considered second-class citizens, according to a commentary on the Wall Street Journal’s Deal Journal blog.

“If you’re a Wall Street deal lawyer, you’re a well-paid functionary,” the blog says. “You’re necessary to the deal and probably superb at what you do, but a functionary nonetheless.”

The Wall Street lawyers get paid even when a deal tanks, and the absence of a “success fee” means lawyers earn less money, the commentary says. “And if it’s less money, again, why pick the law? I suppose there is more stability and job security. … But is this enough reason to be a lawyer and accept second-rate pay and second-class citizenship on Wall Street?”


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