The Need For Support Bankers & Associate Attorneys In 2021

Those that are in junior positions in public finance banking and the legal side of public finance are in great demand. Here's why.

Lately we have been focusing on the “top gun” candidate, the individual who would make a move and receive exceptional compensation for bringing their existing clients to a new firm. However, today is going to look at the junior banker, analyst, and/or associate bond counsel. Typically speaking, the above positions are not revenue producing, but the employees are acting much more in a support/transactional role. Let us examine the need in 2021 for these support bankers and associate attorneys. You might be surprised as to how much demand there is for these roles in public finance banking and legal arenas. 

Filling The Future Void

Generally speaking, H. Friedman Search specializes in working with the more senior bankers and counsel. However, last year more of our existing client firms on both the public finance banking side and the legal side have asked us to help them fill their voids. These firms, as they are looking at the “graying” and eventual retirement of their senior managing directors and partners, are realizing that less people are entering the field of public finance on both the financing and the legal side.  

The Legal Side

Continuing with the legal side before furthering into the public finance banking side, I would like to share with you what happened at one of my firms.  At their annual meeting they looked around the room and realized that within three to five years 50% of their senior legal counsel were going to retire. This is not an anomaly to these firms, since this is a call that we receive regularly for associate, senior and of counsel positions. By the way, we moved an extremely experienced transactional lawyer down to Florida to fill this covenanted position.  For our discussion, let us first start on the legal side. The rainmakers need transactional attorneys to help them with their existing clientele. This is clearly a national need rather than a geographical specific need. If you have anywhere between three to five years on the legal side and are a member of NABL, you are definitely in demand.

The Public Finance Banking Side

As for public finance, we are asked to locate junior bankers with three to five years of experience who can do their own analytics, respond to RFP’s, discover refunding opportunities, handle client management, and most importantly have the desire to grow into a full banker role. Public finance firms are actively looking for the above nationwide, as they too see the upcoming void in their ranks of public finance banking. The candidate that will be most desirable at this level is the one that is most likely not at a bulge bracket firm, but rather one of the regionals or super regionals. Also, this should be their second move with the intent of staying at their next firm for the bulk of their career. Hiring managers do not like to see somebody with three to five years’ experience at more than one firm. This is unless there has been mergers and acquisitions of the firms you have been at.

What Can You Expect (Compensation Wise) For These Positions?

If you have read my previous blogs about signing bonuses and guarantees, this is not likely unfortunately at your level. However, since firms can no longer ask what your current compensation is, they will judge you on your merits – not necessarily on how much your current compensation is. I can boldly state that we have been able to increase compensation significantly at this level with both public finance banking and legal sides. This is due to the fact that your experience now is the catalyst, and the perception of your value is different than your current firm perceives your abilities.  Also, what’s most important is your growth potential, which a new firm will compensate you for.  There are numerous firms nationwide looking for candidates just like you to help their bankers continue to grow, and potentially building a succession plan for their MD’s/partners as they know their issuer (clientele) will be in good hands over the years.

A Final Word To Those Jr Positions In Public Finance Banking & Legal

Please know that using an executive recruiter like H Friedman Search is appropriate at your level. Our existing firms have asked us to fill these positions on the public finance side as well as the legal side.


If you would like to discuss your options, please reach out for a confidential conversation at 760-477-1284 or email at [email protected]. He can also be reached on LinkedIn. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter here, which is a compilation of our weekly blogs so you never miss one. 

About Harlan Friedman, JD & Founding Member, H. Friedman Search LLC. Harlan is a thirty-year veteran Public Finance Banker turned recruiter who specializes in the placement of all levels Public Finance Bankers, Healthcare Bankers, Municipal Financial Advisors, Compliance Officers, Issuers, and Bond Counsels.