Consulting & auditing for lawyers

With the ZDF you see better with the Second. And at the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), you'd better get in with the second one. And with the second state examination directly as junior consultant, like Claudia Schwarze. with the first state examination or a master's degree you start as an associate. "I work as a lawyer quite normally as a consultant. However, if legal questions arise in everyday life, we are quickly consulted," says Schwarze.

In the course of her studies, the desire to work in consulting crystallized more and more: "At university, I was already part of a student consulting firm. Since I enjoyed it very much, I also did an internship at the Boston Consulting Group as a 'Visiting associate' during my studies and was already so enthusiastic that I toyed with the idea of joining BCG directly. However, the desire to take my second state exam was initially greater, and that's why I decided to do it and really see whether I would enjoy working in a law firm or in court more. After these experiences, however, counseling was still my first choice. so I dared the direct entry at BCG."

And things got off to a pretty swinging start right away: projects in the insurance and banking industries, a healthcare project, and her current due diligence project all require agile gray matter and a willingness to delve into new specialized topics in order to provide comprehensive advice to clients. Here, lawyers bring an approach that they often have ahead of their colleagues in economics: "In general, a structured approach to an unfamiliar problem is a characteristic that must be acquired in law school in order to understand paragraphs and solve cases. take a step back and look at the big picture again from a distance, you can really use this skill in consulting. We support customers in taking a look at their own company from the outside. As an advisor, if all you did was chase the client's vision, then the company wouldn't have added value by providing advice. In this respect, the legal background is an advantage here."

However, there are not only advantages to entering consulting with a legal background

"The tools that you need very often in consulting, such as Excel and PowerPoint, are tools that you don't have to deal with as a lawyer in law school. the internship helped me a lot, because you are more or less protected as a puppy and can learn the programs in peace. As a career changer at BCG, you also get a two-week 'exotics training' for all non-business students on economic topics such as balance sheets, balance sheet analysis, cost accounting and the like. In the normal entry-level training, there is also special Excel training again."

"It helps if you learn to do the math beforehand," also jokes Heinrich Grave, Principal Financial Services at Booz& Company. And Grave did that quite professionally by training as a banker. But since what the in-house lawyer explained during his training sounded much more exciting, he decided to go to law school. "As a lawyer, you have a way of working that is not only trimmed to perfection, but also to completeness. However, in the fast-paced environment of consulting, this is not the best course of action. Here you have to develop a new approach that aims to process all the necessary information in a short time so that you can present it to the client in a solution-oriented way. As a lawyer, one feels insecure in such an execution, since one is used to presenting the solution to a problem in great detail, and yet one tends to talk more about the problem than the solution," explains Grave. If you manage to retrain yourself here, you will be lured by attractive salaries as well as international projects. "My second project was already in Sydney and after a year in Germany I worked in London for two years. I have been on the road a lot in Zurich, Frankfurt, Paris, in Italy and South Africa. At Booz&, it's normal during your career as a consultant that you'll get to know new people Company international experience goes through. It's not a compulsion, but we as a firm identify very strongly with the topic. There is a very big difference here compared to everyday legal life, because you won't get this kind of internationality like this."

As a consultant, I am also on the road a lot nationally and on site with the client

Schwarze is a rare guest in her office in Munich: "I don't really open my office door very often at the beginning of my working day, because we usually work in the client's office from Monday to Thursday. That means I get on a plane on Monday morning, and at the end of the workday I might go back to a BCG office, if there is one nearby. Thursday is the day to go home and Friday is the 'office day' when you work in your 'home' office."

While Grave has remained loyal to his sector, the finance industry, for years, Schwarze is not yet quite sure which sector it should ultimately become. As a rule, newcomers have the opportunity to complete projects in different areas of expertise during the first two years before specializing in one sector. In addition to interesting insights, this leads to a broad general education. "Every project means new tasks, new colleagues and new clients. I enjoy always adjusting to new things and learning new things, learning something," Schwarze confirms.

There are many reasons to go for counseling

However, the decisive factor for Heinrich Grave and Claudia Schwarze, they agree, is the human factor. "At BCG, the corporate culture is the decisive point for me. I immediately felt at home during the internship. We are on first-name terms right from the start, we deal with each other in a relaxed manner without strict hierarchies. I also often do things privately with the colleagues I joined with. I've done internships at other companies where the working conditions are quite good, but nowhere was the atmosphere as good as here," says Schwarze. Heinrich Grave also selects his employees very consciously: "Personally, I always ask myself in interviews: Is this candidate someone I can take with me on a project? And secondly: Is this a person with whom you would also go out for a beer in the evening??" Maybe also two? Because, as is well known, things are better with the second one.

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