Top-Law-Schools.comTLS
Home
Law School
Admissions
Law
Schools
Law
Students
TLS
Forums
 
Forum Archives Index     Forum Archives Search     Leave Archives and Visit Active TLS Forums


All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]




Forum locked This topic is locked, you cannot edit posts or make further replies.  [ 20 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: Deciding on a firm; researching firms
PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2009 9:17 pm 

Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 11:15 am
Archived Posts: 283
So, I'm starting to think about OCI this fall and the fun process of applying to firms. I have two questions:

1) How do you differentiate between firms? They all seem basically the same to me. The websites all say the same stuff. Is there anywhere to do research on a firm's personality? What are the reasons you have for wanting to work for specific firms?

2) As a follow-up, everyone always says to be able to say why you want to work for a firm in an interview. What have you said in interviews? What kind of answers sound like you're intelligent and what kind of answers sound stupid?

Any comments?


Top
  
 
 Post subject: Re: Deciding on a firm; researching firms
PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2009 9:23 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2008 7:29 pm
Archived Posts: 66
1. vault guide....if they say a firm works um to death remember, type a's got that job. If they tell you it's less grueling, again type a's. What area you want to do does matter (Paul Weiss, baller litigators, so-so corp dept).

2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_tYeWhhd3yo....sad but true


Top
  
 
 Post subject: Re: Deciding on a firm; researching firms
PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2009 9:28 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 17, 2008 3:57 pm
Archived Posts: 263
^^ faulty link...


Top
  
 
 Post subject: Re: Deciding on a firm; researching firms
PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2009 9:33 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2009 7:19 pm
Archived Posts: 508
the fledgling wrote:
^^ faulty link...


Remove the ...sad and it's fine...


Top
  
 
 Post subject: Re: Deciding on a firm; researching firms
PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2009 10:00 pm 

Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2008 5:36 pm
Archived Posts: 1521
Firm websites may seem similar, but if you look closely enough or at the right things (Chambers & Partners, localized Vault guides, NALP data, ATL, AmLaw, etc.) you can see that every firm has its own niche(s) and characteristics. The key is to start from a goal and find which firms will help you meet that goal. Do you want to work in the most sophisticated SCOTUS practices in the country? Ok, well go see Jenner & Block, GDC, Sidley, Williams & Connolly, Wilmer, Kirkland, Jones Day, and a few others. For international corporate work, the leading NY firms are probably best. Communications law? Check out Wiley Rein. CFIUS? Skadden has a great practice in that area -- though they're hardly the only ones.

I could go on for a while, but if you do your homework, you'll start to see that the firms are nowhere close to the same. The fault lines are not only work or practice-based. Firms differ along cultural lines as well, with some firms carrying a more "fratty" feel (see, e.g. SullCrom in NY or Latham in many of its offices), while others feel more reserved (Williams & Connolly comes to mind). Some are 24/7 in your face (Skadden), others more relaxed -- at least as a relative matter (Quinn). Some firms are more family friendly than others (there are rankings for this somewhere), and so on and so on.

You have to weigh all of these things, plus financial stability, pay, benefits, and hiring criteria, to find which firms are going to be best for you. It is not an easy process, but if you do your homework over the summer, the effort will pay off in spades come fall. I prepared a spreadsheet listing each of the factors I cared about and populated it with data from the above mentioned sources. That made it easier to compare the firms in a straightforward fashion. If you really get to know the firms and can tell a coherent story as to why you want to work for them, you can interview well above your GPA. If, on the other hand, you treat the firms like they're all just an undifferentiated mass, they might end up treating you like just another random law student...

EDIT TO ADD: Here's a list of links I just sent to someone in a PM, but I think it'd be useful to others

Above the Law: http://www.abovethelaw.com (use the search function to search for the firm, market, or practice area you're thinking of)

Chambers and Partners USA: http://www.chambersandpartners.com/search.aspx?pcd=5 (use this to see which firms are best in a given practice area, either nationally or in a particular market. For instance the best antitrust firms in DC are here: http://www.chambersandpartners.com/Edit ... ssid=27908)

NALP Directory: http://nalpdirectory.com/dledir_search_advanced.asp (use this to search to see which firms hire in your desired market(s), which firms focus on which practices, how they allocate attorneys between practice areas, how large their workforce is, what a firm's leverage is, etc.)

Vault: http://www.vault.com/hubs/507/hubhome_507.jsp?ch_id=507 (lots of info on firms here, though your career office should have more localized guides available either in print or PDF)

AmLaw surveys & rankings: http://www.law.com/career_center/surveys_rankings.shtml

lawshucks: http://lawshucks.com/layoff-tracker/ (tracks layoffs and other bad stuff happening at firms)


Top
  
 
 Post subject: Re: Deciding on a firm; researching firms
PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2009 5:50 am 

Joined: Wed Dec 27, 2006 5:48 am
Archived Posts: 945
Also Martindale's on lexis is useful: http://www.martindale.com/


Top
  
 
 Post subject: Re: Deciding on a firm; researching firms
PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2009 6:55 am 

Joined: Sun Feb 11, 2007 1:19 pm
Archived Posts: 1657
Great advice by TTT-LS.


Top
  
 
 Post subject: Re: Deciding on a firm; researching firms
PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2009 2:18 pm 

Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2008 11:57 pm
Archived Posts: 355
TTT-LS wrote:
Firm websites may seem similar, but if you look closely enough or at the right things (Chambers & Partners, localized Vault guides, NALP data, ATL, AmLaw, etc.) you can see that every firm has its own niche(s) and characteristics. The key is to start from a goal and find which firms will help you meet that goal. Do you want to work in the most sophisticated SCOTUS practices in the country? Ok, well go see Jenner & Block, GDC, Sidley, Williams & Connolly, Wilmer, Kirkland, Jones Day, and a few others. For international corporate work, the leading NY firms are probably best. Communications law? Check out Wiley Rein. CFIUS? Skadden has a great practice in that area -- though they're hardly the only ones.

I could go on for a while, but if you do your homework, you'll start to see that the firms are nowhere close to the same. The fault lines are not only work or practice-based. Firms differ along cultural lines as well, with some firms carrying a more "fratty" feel (see, e.g. SullCrom in NY or Latham in many of its offices), while others feel more reserved (Williams & Connolly comes to mind). Some are 24/7 in your face (Skadden), others more relaxed -- at least as a relative matter (Quinn). Some firms are more family friendly than others (there are rankings for this somewhere), and so on and so on.

You have to weigh all of these things, plus financial stability, pay, benefits, and hiring criteria, to find which firms are going to be best for you. It is not an easy process, but if you do your homework over the summer, the effort will pay off in spades come fall. I prepared a spreadsheet listing each of the factors I cared about and populated it with data from the above mentioned sources. That made it easier to compare the firms in a straightforward fashion. If you really get to know the firms and can tell a coherent story as to why you want to work for them, you can interview well above your GPA. If, on the other hand, you treat the firms like they're all just an undifferentiated mass, they might end up treating you like just another random law student...

EDIT TO ADD: Here's a list of links I just sent to someone in a PM, but I think it'd be useful to others

Above the Law: http://www.abovethelaw.com (use the search function to search for the firm, market, or practice area you're thinking of)

Chambers and Partners USA: http://www.chambersandpartners.com/search.aspx?pcd=5 (use this to see which firms are best in a given practice area, either nationally or in a particular market. For instance the best antitrust firms in DC are here: http://www.chambersandpartners.com/Edit ... ssid=27908)

NALP Directory: http://nalpdirectory.com/dledir_search_advanced.asp (use this to search to see which firms hire in your desired market(s), which firms focus on which practices, how they allocate attorneys between practice areas, how large their workforce is, what a firm's leverage is, etc.)

Vault: http://www.vault.com/hubs/507/hubhome_507.jsp?ch_id=507 (lots of info on firms here, though your career office should have more localized guides available either in print or PDF)

AmLaw surveys & rankings: http://www.law.com/career_center/surveys_rankings.shtml

lawshucks: http://lawshucks.com/layoff-tracker/ (tracks layoffs and other bad stuff happening at firms)


Thanks that's awesome


Top
  
 
 Post subject: Re: Deciding on a firm; researching firms
PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2009 3:16 pm 

Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2008 10:06 pm
Archived Posts: 109
thanks!


Top
  
 
 Post subject: Re: Deciding on a firm; researching firms
PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2009 3:20 pm 

Joined: Mon Dec 22, 2008 3:25 pm
Archived Posts: 925
Great response TTT...


Top
  
 
 Post subject: Re: Deciding on a firm; researching firms
PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2009 2:28 pm 

Joined: Sat Dec 22, 2007 2:00 pm
Archived Posts: 532
As usual, TTT-LS is right on.

I will say that I started reading all the articles and a lot of the comments on ATL the last few months, and despite the editor's fear-mongering and the fact that 80%+ of the comments are useless, you can learn a lot about BigLaw life and the differences in work and culture at different firms by following it. I think ATL will be particularly useful in gaining information about offer rates for 2Ls this summer at different firms, and maybe will give us some hint as to what we can expect for summer offers at OCI this Fall.


Top
  
 
 Post subject: Re: Deciding on a firm; researching firms
PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2009 6:46 pm 

Joined: Sun Sep 07, 2008 8:17 pm
Archived Posts: 177
NewHere wrote:
Great advice by TTT-LS.


^^^ X 10. Thanks a lot for posting.

About the info on Chambers and Vault (practice area rankings and "firm culture" blurbs): Does it just reflect stuff that the firms like to talk up about themselves? Or do you think the reports are good indicators of actual practice area strengths and firm culture? E.g., does Mayer Brown really have the best nationwide appellate law practice?

I guess I'm asking whether you relied on that data just to decide what to say during interviews, or if you seriously considered it in deciding which firm to work at, too.


Top
  
 
 Post subject: Re: Deciding on a firm; researching firms
PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2009 9:54 pm 

Joined: Sun Feb 11, 2007 1:19 pm
Archived Posts: 1657
Quote:
About the info on Chambers and Vault (practice area rankings and "firm culture" blurbs): Does it just reflect stuff that the firms like to talk up about themselves? Or do you think the reports are good indicators of actual practice area strengths and firm culture? E.g., does Mayer Brown really have the best nationwide appellate law practice?


Vault's reputation stuff is compiled based on a survey of people at other firms, so I guess you get a bit of both. Some people will know about Mayer Brown's appellate practice, and will say they are the best (assuming that they are; I have no idea), others will have heard the rumors, which may well have been spread by the firm itself, and echo those back into the survey.
The other part of a Vault profile is based on interviews with associates at the firm itself. This usually doesn't say anything about reputation, but may provide some clues about firm culture and other inside information.

Chambers is based on interviews with both lawyers and clients. It doesn't give information on how it is to work somewhere, but it does give an indication of the relative strengths of a firm's practice groups in the eyes of the profession. If Mayer Brown is perceived by clients to be the best at appellate work, that's where they will send their most complicated appellate cases.

Neither Chambers nor Vault is the gospel about a firm, but if you read the two together, you can get some idea about the main differences between firms. If you know that you want to do, say, insurance work, you can use Chambers to find out what the best firms in that area are, and then use Vault to find out the overall reputations of those firms are, how they treat associates, what offices they have, etc.


Top
  
 
 Post subject: Re: Deciding on a firm; researching firms
PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2009 10:08 pm 

Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2008 5:36 pm
Archived Posts: 1521
^ Agreed in full. Clients definitely pay attention to chambers rankings, so you should too. As NewHere states, Chambers rankings won't tell you the whole story, however. For instance, a firm might have a great appellate practice, but that practice group might be impossible to break into, or the rest of the firm might have big cultural problems, or whatever. That's where Vault's reviews can help give you a more complete picture.

That point makes me think of another related point that rising 2Ls might want to raise in screening interviews. If you want to work mainly or exclusively in practice groups x and y at a firm, and aren't terribly interested in everything else that firm does, then you should pay attention to how large (numerically) the practice groups are (via NALP Directory) and you should ask either before or during the interview how one ends up in those practice groups. At some firms, you get an offer from a specific practice group, and that's where you go when you start full time. At other firms, you get an offer from the firm and can then try to jockey your way into your preferred areas. The difference can be meaningful in some cases, esp. if a firm needs lots of people for BK but you want to do FDA -- then you might be in a bind.


Top
  
 
 Post subject: Re: Deciding on a firm; researching firms
PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2009 10:14 pm 

Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 5:58 pm
Archived Posts: 309
Interesting.


Top
  
 
 Post subject: Re: Deciding on a firm; researching firms
PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2009 10:26 pm 

Joined: Sat Mar 21, 2009 11:36 pm
Archived Posts: 435
TTT-LS wrote:
^ Agreed in full. Clients definitely pay attention to chambers rankings, so you should too. As NewHere states, Chambers rankings won't tell you the whole story, however. For instance, a firm might have a great appellate practice, but that practice group might be impossible to break into, or the rest of the firm might have big cultural problems, or whatever. That's where Vault's reviews can help give you a more complete picture.

That point makes me think of another related point that rising 2Ls might want to raise in screening interviews. If you want to work mainly or exclusively in practice groups x and y at a firm, and aren't terribly interested in everything else that firm does, then you should pay attention to how large (numerically) the practice groups are (via NALP Directory) and you should ask either before or during the interview how one ends up in those practice groups. At some firms, you get an offer from a specific practice group, and that's where you go when you start full time. At other firms, you get an offer from the firm and can then try to jockey your way into your preferred areas. The difference can be meaningful in some cases, esp. if a firm needs lots of people for BK but you want to do FDA -- then you might be in a bind.


Credited. And for God's sake, make sure that if you talk about a certain practice that the firm actually has a practice group. I read something from a hiring partner at Alston & Bird saying that one of the most common mistakes is people saying stuff like, "I would love to do entertainment law" when A + B doesn't have an entertainment group.


Top
  
 
 Post subject: Re: Deciding on a firm; researching firms
PostPosted: Thu Jun 04, 2009 1:31 am 

Joined: Sat Mar 21, 2009 11:36 pm
Archived Posts: 435
bump.

Chambers and Partners has launched a new site called Chambers Associate that is trying to provide free in-depth information on associate life at all of the top firms. Only a few of the firms so far have a comprehensive listing, but expect more as the site develops - it looks very promising.

http://www.chambers-associate.com/


Top
  
 
 Post subject: Re: Deciding on a firm; researching firms
PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 2009 3:34 pm 

Joined: Sat Jan 31, 2009 6:35 pm
Archived Posts: 270
TTT-LS has already recommended contacting associates, but I thought I'd repeat it after some success with cold-emailing them. I picked associates who were relatively recent grads of my law school (and bonus points if I found any who went to my undergrad, too). I tailored the email as best I could, and included a line about how I was just looking for information, not a job. I've had mixed success so far, but the responses I've received have all been great. I've also spoken on the phone to a couple, which wasn't as awkward as I thought it would be.
I've received some solid information about their practice areas, their firm, and in general, how they like where they live and work. For those of you who already know a lot about firms and practice areas, it might not be worth it, but I'm happy I made the contacts.

I have also talked to a couple professors who worked at some of the firms I'm interested in. They can be helpful sources of information.


Top
  
 
 Post subject: Re: Deciding on a firm; researching firms
PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 2009 5:32 pm 

Joined: Wed Oct 24, 2007 1:15 am
Archived Posts: 5306
good stuff guys, glad to hear that cold e-mailing actually worked! (sorry to not just trust you, TTT, haha but it seems super awkward to do). also do most of you guys know people in other classes than you? lol the only 2L's (well i guess 3L's now) are mostly TA's of my classes and i knew one 3L, lulz


Top
  
 
 Post subject: Re: Deciding on a firm; researching firms
PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 2009 5:49 pm 

Joined: Sat Jan 31, 2009 6:35 pm
Archived Posts: 270
underdawg wrote:
also do most of you guys know people in other classes than you?


i know a lot of 2Ls (now 3Ls), mostly sleezy guys who try to hit on me at bar reviews.


Top
  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Forum locked This topic is locked, you cannot edit posts or make further replies.  [ 20 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]





copyright 2003-2010 top-law-schools.com • all rights reserved • powered by phpBBContact TLS