Not according to Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdul Aziz al Saud. He’s had enough of them.
Prince AbTbAAaS, the biggest single shareholder in Citigroup, confided to Fortune magazine that whoever replaces Chuck Prince, it most certainly, not in a thousand years of cloudless Sundays, won’t be another lawyer.
According to the The Prince, he’s told those tasked with choosing Chuck’s replacement that “…they don’t hire anyone unless this guy has expertise in banking. I told them, next time no lawyer, please.”
From this we deduce that either AbTbAAaS doesn’t like the fact that Chuck Prince was once a laywer, that he doesn’t rate lawyers who become bankers, or both.
But is it really fair to write off all those legal types who’ve quit their chosen profession for the infinitely higher rewards on offer in banks (we spoke to one lawyer turned banker who revealed he left his magic circle employer after he was paid a ‘humiliating’ neutrino-sized 4k bonus)?
Even while AbTbAAaS has been denigrating lawyerly types in Fortune, the Telegraph has been lauding them on its own pages. Last weekend, the paper ran a profile of Amelia Fawcett, the ex-lawyer turned Morgan Stanley vice-chairman, turned farmer, sailor and chairman of a new company to buy out pensions.
Fawcett started out in Morgan Stanley’s legal department before moving on to bigger and better things at the US bank. By steering clear of lawyers The Prince might miss out on similar repositories of banking talent. And what about all those US lawyers who move into M&A?
Will anyone speak out in their favour (please)? Obviously, you are also free to condemn legal types to a life of lock step compensation, billable hours and being several notches further down the financial food chain.