i don't think most private equity firms recruit fresh law grads, rather they poach the best ones from the biglaw firms that represent them in other matters (and pay VERY well when they do so), or at least that's what i have heard. here's a snippet from a recent AmLaw article on the recent round of biglaw salary increases:
"Meanwhile, grads have more career options than ever, particularly on Wall Street.
"We've seen a lot more interest in the past year from investment banks and hedge funds," says Mark Weber, the assistant dean for career services at Harvard Law School. He says Wall Street is hiring more young grads -- the phenomena is too new to say exactly how many -- but the real demand is for midlevel associates.
This suggests that Ruegger's third explanation for the raise -- retaining midlevel associates -- may come closest to the heart of the matter. Simpson is a leader in the representation of investment banks and private equity firms as well as in the small club of firms that represent the big hedge funds. The associates who work on these matters make a lot of money for Simpson, and the firm is desperate to keep them.
Of course, these people are also cotton candy to Wall Street. As both investment banks and the legal industry boom, the battle for associates with a few years of deal-making experience becomes more intense. The use of high-caliber weaponry -- in the form of big raises -- would seem to be a solid strategic move.
But if it's these people Simpson wants to reach, the firm may not have chosen the best message. The pay increase speaks loudest to law students, according to consultant Carolyn Wehmann. Nor will it will change the game in terms of compensation. Law firms can't hope to match Wall Street. A third-year associate recently left Schulte Roth & Zabel for a hedge fund with a salary approaching $700,000, according to Georgina MacKenzie, a New York-based director at Michael Page International, a financial services recruiting firm. An extreme example, perhaps, but one that illustrates the problem facing law firms."