Thoughts on strong OCI candidates bidding Latham-like firms?

(On Campus Interviews, Summer Associate positions, Firm Reviews, Tips, ...)
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are revealing sensitive employment related information about a firm, job, etc. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned.
Anonymous User
Posts: 273110
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Thoughts on strong OCI candidates bidding Latham-like firms?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jun 24, 2010 1:23 pm

Hey kids. Wondering what people's thoughts are about strong OCI candidates (T-10 school candidates in the top 10%-15%) bidding on firms that "lathamed" really badly over the last couple of years ITE (Latham, DLA Piper etc.). If you are bidding on a market where these firms were traditionally strong, is it worth throwing them out totally, ranking them highly on your bid list (banking they are done firing and some other people will overlook them) or something in between?

gollymolly
Posts: 127
Joined: Sun Dec 02, 2007 2:32 pm

Re: Thoughts on strong OCI candidates bidding Latham-like firms?

Postby gollymolly » Fri Jun 25, 2010 2:40 am

.
Last edited by gollymolly on Sat Dec 11, 2010 2:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273110
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Thoughts on strong OCI candidates bidding Latham-like firms?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jun 25, 2010 12:08 pm

Bumpity Bump.

User avatar
doyleoil
Posts: 631
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2008 2:59 pm

Re: Thoughts on strong OCI candidates bidding Latham-like firms?

Postby doyleoil » Fri Jun 25, 2010 12:19 pm

this really depends heavily on the market you're targeting, the practice area(s) you're interested in, and the options you have (given your grades/school)

in certain markets and certain practice areas for certain students, it wouldn't be at all crazy to go after either latham OR dla

but going in with your eyes wide open is a good thing - even if a firm's layoffs are in the past, the environment could still be toxic, a relevant consideration - not to mention if they did it once, they'll likely not hesitate to do it again...

Anonymous User
Posts: 273110
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Thoughts on strong OCI candidates bidding Latham-like firms?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jun 25, 2010 8:43 pm

gollymolly wrote:Look at how well the firm is doing *now*. The question is not whether they laid a bunch of people off a couple years ago but whether they're going to lay a bunch of people off in a couple years. DLA is fucked. Even if they've never laid anyone off, now is not the time to try to get a job there. Latham, on the other hand, obviously was a bad place to be in 2008-2009, but it seems from my limited information that they're doing okay now, so I don't think it would be a bad idea to go there.


Well of course they are doing okay now... When you latham 80% of your associates, you're bound to do well PPP wise.

User avatar
Kohinoor
Posts: 2756
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2008 5:51 pm

Re: Thoughts on strong OCI candidates bidding Latham-like firms?

Postby Kohinoor » Sat Jun 26, 2010 12:30 am

gollymolly wrote:Look at how well the firm is doing *now*. The question is not whether they laid a bunch of people off a couple years ago but whether they're going to lay a bunch of people off in a couple years. DLA is fucked. Even if they've never laid anyone off, now is not the time to try to get a job there. Latham, on the other hand, obviously was a bad place to be in 2008-2009, but it seems from my limited information that they're doing okay now, so I don't think it would be a bad idea to go there.

What's your limited information?

12262010
Posts: 612
Joined: Mon Oct 26, 2009 3:15 pm

Re: Thoughts on strong OCI candidates bidding Latham-like firms?

Postby 12262010 » Sat Jun 26, 2010 12:34 am

DLA isn't even coming to my school (CLS)

Anonymous User
Posts: 273110
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Thoughts on strong OCI candidates bidding Latham-like firms?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jun 26, 2010 2:18 am

They're not coming to UVA OGI, either.

Is DLA going anywhere?

NYAssociate
Posts: 713
Joined: Wed Jun 09, 2010 8:15 pm

Re: Thoughts on strong OCI candidates bidding Latham-like firms?

Postby NYAssociate » Sat Jun 26, 2010 6:28 am

.
Last edited by NYAssociate on Tue Oct 05, 2010 4:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

rando
Posts: 908
Joined: Tue Mar 09, 2010 1:57 pm

Re: Thoughts on strong OCI candidates bidding Latham-like firms?

Postby rando » Sat Jun 26, 2010 7:25 am

doyleoil wrote:
but going in with your eyes wide open is a good thing - even if a firm's layoffs are in the past, the environment could still be toxic, a relevant consideration - not to mention if they did it once, they'll likely not hesitate to do it again...


These are good points that I would take into consideration. If you are a good candidate I don't know why you would even consider a firm like this. A firm's actions in the past will affect its work in the future. Don't underestimate the affect that a firm's layoffs have on the associates that make it through the firing. I have a good friend that made it through all 7 rounds of layoffs at a major firm and she is so bitter and stressed from the situation that she is jumping ship as soon as she can find a new job. I can't imagine working in an environment like that.

You should also strongly consider offer rates and 1st year associate deferrals. Especially deferrals. Even though those are past firm decisions, it is still going to affect the future of the firm.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273110
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Thoughts on strong OCI candidates bidding Latham-like firms?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 18, 2010 3:53 pm

gollymolly wrote:Look at how well the firm is doing *now*. The question is not whether they laid a bunch of people off a couple years ago but whether they're going to lay a bunch of people off in a couple years. DLA is fucked. Even if they've never laid anyone off, now is not the time to try to get a job there. Latham, on the other hand, obviously was a bad place to be in 2008-2009, but it seems from my limited information that they're doing okay now, so I don't think it would be a bad idea to go there.


That is false. Some firms are well run and just about never have large layoffs. These are firms like Debevoise, Wachtell, DPW, Covington, and a number of others. Heck, even SKADDEN offered sabbaticals in lieu of Lathaming. Firms like Latham and Cadwalader expand when there is work to make as much as possible, and then contract mercilessly during downturns. What matters is having a mix of practice group strengths that will make you profitable during a boom and a downturn. Also important is long term thinking by the partnership. That is, the partnership will take actions that will keep the firm strong in the long run even if that means taking a temporary hit to profits. Layoffs help profits in the short term, but at the expense of long term profitability.

Latham was and is poorly balanced. Their strengths are in cyclical areas and they're weak in countercyclical areas. They also staff up and increase leverage during booms despite what will be their inevitable need to fire heavily during downturns. Cadwalader is guilty of the same thing. Latham also is not strong enough of a firm so they're always trying to trade up when it comes to partners. These are guys who'll jump ship for marginally higher short term PPP. This means they face more pressure to staff up during good times, and to make huge cuts during downturns to keep PPP high enough to keep these people. The firm hopping partners don't care what it does to the firm, because they'll just leave for someplace elseif the layoffs harm the firm in the long run.

In other words, layoffs are built into Latham's business model. During the next decade we're supposed to get a number of recessions which will occur every few years. That means there will probably be a number of times when it may be tempting for firms to lay you off or rescind your offer. If you don't have options and latham or cadwalader is your only offer, then by all means take it. But don't subscribe to this nonsense that they are somehow safe now. The fundamentals haven't changed.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273110
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Thoughts on strong OCI candidates bidding Latham-like firms?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 18, 2010 4:09 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Latham also is not strong enough of a firm so they're always trying to trade up when it comes to partners. These are guys who'll jump ship for marginally higher short term PPP. This means they face more pressure to staff up during good times, and to make huge cuts during downturns to keep PPP high enough to keep these people. The firm hopping partners don't care what it does to the firm, because they'll just leave for someplace elseif the layoffs harm the firm in the long run.

In other words, layoffs are built into Latham's business model. During the next decade we're supposed to get a number of recessions which will occur every few years. That means there will probably be a number of times when it may be tempting for firms to lay you off or rescind your offer. If you don't have options and latham or cadwalader is your only offer, then by all means take it. But don't subscribe to this nonsense that they are somehow safe now. The fundamentals haven't changed.

Some excellent points. I think many students do not fully appreciate the affect of a high turn-over rate for both associates and partners. For partners, a high turn-over rate results in exactly what you described: constant pressure and focus on the short-term for fear of rainmakers jumping ship and the firm imploding. High turn-over of associates can indicate a low quality of life and does indicate that the axe will be looming. Firm's business models are telling of their treatment of associates. Highly leveraged firms (high associate to partner ratio) HAVE to cut associates as they move up the ranks and can be more vulnerable to downturns (though not necessarily). Firms with even partner to associate ratios tend to be more stable, though the diversity of the practice groups, rainmakers and clients mitigate risk.

You can think of law firms like any business. Associates = debt. More rainmakers, clients and practice group strengths = diversification of investment which spreads risk and leaves the firm less vulnerable. In this economy, if you have multiple offers go with safer firms.

Ask about the diversity of clients and practice group strengths in interviews; you can do it in a tactful way. Ask whether the partners are home-grown or laterals. Be a smart consumer. Even if you do not have multiple offers, these are insightful questions that most interviewees will not ask. Most interviews will appreciate your maturity and basic understanding of the business of law since many lawyers, never mind law students, do not.

User avatar
dood
Posts: 1639
Joined: Tue Apr 21, 2009 11:59 am

Re: Thoughts on strong OCI candidates bidding Latham-like firms?

Postby dood » Sun Jul 18, 2010 6:09 pm

...
Last edited by dood on Mon Jul 19, 2010 10:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273110
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Thoughts on strong OCI candidates bidding Latham-like firms?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 18, 2010 6:22 pm

False - Orrick is doing OCI in August this year.

NotANoob
Posts: 13
Joined: Sat Jun 12, 2010 2:28 pm

Re: Thoughts on strong OCI candidates bidding Latham-like firms?

Postby NotANoob » Sun Jul 18, 2010 8:46 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Latham also is not strong enough of a firm so they're always trying to trade up when it comes to partners. These are guys who'll jump ship for marginally higher short term PPP. This means they face more pressure to staff up during good times, and to make huge cuts during downturns to keep PPP high enough to keep these people. The firm hopping partners don't care what it does to the firm, because they'll just leave for someplace elseif the layoffs harm the firm in the long run.

In other words, layoffs are built into Latham's business model. During the next decade we're supposed to get a number of recessions which will occur every few years. That means there will probably be a number of times when it may be tempting for firms to lay you off or rescind your offer. If you don't have options and latham or cadwalader is your only offer, then by all means take it. But don't subscribe to this nonsense that they are somehow safe now. The fundamentals haven't changed.

Some excellent points. I think many students do not fully appreciate the affect of a high turn-over rate for both associates and partners. For partners, a high turn-over rate results in exactly what you described: constant pressure and focus on the short-term for fear of rainmakers jumping ship and the firm imploding. High turn-over of associates can indicate a low quality of life and does indicate that the axe will be looming. Firm's business models are telling of their treatment of associates. Highly leveraged firms (high associate to partner ratio) HAVE to cut associates as they move up the ranks and can be more vulnerable to downturns (though not necessarily). Firms with even partner to associate ratios tend to be more stable, though the diversity of the practice groups, rainmakers and clients mitigate risk.

You can think of law firms like any business. Associates = debt. More rainmakers, clients and practice group strengths = diversification of investment which spreads risk and leaves the firm less vulnerable. In this economy, if you have multiple offers go with safer firms.

Ask about the diversity of clients and practice group strengths in interviews; you can do it in a tactful way. Ask whether the partners are home-grown or laterals. Be a smart consumer. Even if you do not have multiple offers, these are insightful questions that most interviewees will not ask. Most interviews will appreciate your maturity and basic understanding of the business of law since many lawyers, never mind law students, do not.


Good points in both of the above. The one piece I would add is to think about what you want out of firm life. Most people aren't going to make partner. Most people don't want to make partner after a few years out.

If you are shooter who is looking to get experience quickly and is willing to hop firms if necessary, Latham's business model isn't bad. Their high turn over often means you will be gaining experience more quickly than you might at other firms as a junior associate. (Safer firms hang onto their senior associates, who in turn hang onto work, so during downturns there can be a lack of substantive work at the bottom.)

Additionally, if you know that you are looking at BigLaw as a short term prospect to pay down debt and then move on, there may be a sweet-spot here for some of these firms. Some have cut deeper than they needed to. They are in need of fresh blood, and are looking to rehabilitate their images. Especially if you are at a top school with a lower class rank, you may find that this group of firms will be more willing to look at you than in the past.

In short, all of the above are excellent points, and should be carefully considered. Once again, though, this is an area where it helps to know what your plan is. Life after law school really isn't like USNWR -- rankings don't mean that much, they are just short cuts for people who don't know what they want. Depending on your plans, some of the firms that "lathamed" may be good fits (though poke around for signs of them moving from being latham, to being heller).

User avatar
98234872348
Posts: 1547
Joined: Mon Dec 22, 2008 3:25 pm

Re: Thoughts on strong OCI candidates bidding Latham-like firms?

Postby 98234872348 » Sun Jul 18, 2010 8:54 pm

Anonymous User wrote:False - Orrick is doing OCI in August this year.

Are they hiring anyone?

Anonymous User
Posts: 273110
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Thoughts on strong OCI candidates bidding Latham-like firms?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 18, 2010 11:24 pm

NotANoob wrote:If you are shooter who is looking to get experience quickly and is willing to hop firms if necessary, Latham's business model isn't bad. Their high turn over often means you will be gaining experience more quickly than you might at other firms as a junior associate. (Safer firms hang onto their senior associates, who in turn hang onto work, so during downturns there can be a lack of substantive work at the bottom.)

I have never heard this part about more substantive work at higher leveraged firms. I've heard the opposite that lower leverage tend to give more substantive work because they work more closely with partners since you have 1-2 associates on a project rather than 10, and that you tend get client contact earlier on. Of course, I understand it will vary firm to firm.

Anyone care to comment? Or do you care to further elaborate NotANoob? I'm very interested in this topic.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273110
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Thoughts on strong OCI candidates bidding Latham-like firms?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 19, 2010 1:35 am

NotANoob wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
If you are shooter who is looking to get experience quickly and is willing to hop firms if necessary, Latham's business model isn't bad. Their high turn over often means you will be gaining experience more quickly than you might at other firms as a junior associate. (Safer firms hang onto their senior associates, who in turn hang onto work, so during downturns there can be a lack of substantive work at the bottom.)

Additionally, if you know that you are looking at BigLaw as a short term prospect to pay down debt and then move on, there may be a sweet-spot here for some of these firms. Some have cut deeper than they needed to. They are in need of fresh blood, and are looking to rehabilitate their images. Especially if you are at a top school with a lower class rank, you may find that this group of firms will be more willing to look at you than in the past.

In short, all of the above are excellent points, and should be carefully considered. Once again, though, this is an area where it helps to know what your plan is. Life after law school really isn't like USNWR -- rankings don't mean that much, they are just short cuts for people who don't know what they want. Depending on your plans, some of the firms that "lathamed" may be good fits (though poke around for signs of them moving from being latham, to being heller).



At a firm like latham that handles pretty big cases that generate a lot of grunt work you will not get much substantive experience. Your first year will be doc review/due diligence. First years I know at this firm have confirmed this. You learn very little performing these functions. I knew a senior associate there. He said he doesn't even write briefs. Much of what he does is supervise doc reviews.

Regarding your point about paying down debt, Latham and some other firms have demonstrated their willingness to massacre the most junior lawyers, first years. In fact, that's who their most recent layoffs focused on. This is becasue at any firm the midlevels are the among the most profitable associates. First years haven't yet learned how to do anything, let alone efficiently. It is only their interest in protecting their reputation that will protect the first years from a massacre. Latham has demonstrated that they don't care. They also don't have a whole lot to lose regarding their reputation at this point. They are not going to try to rebuild it during a recession and that is precisely when you're going to need this commitment from them. As I mentioned above, frequent recessions throughout thenext decade means you want to be at a firm that doesn't jump to layoffs so quickly. You especially do not want to be at a firm that targets first years who haven't been at the firm for six months even. Go to a firm like latham of cadwalader only if you can't do better.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273110
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Thoughts on strong OCI candidates bidding Latham-like firms?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 19, 2010 1:43 am

Anonymous User wrote:
NotANoob wrote:If you are shooter who is looking to get experience quickly and is willing to hop firms if necessary, Latham's business model isn't bad. Their high turn over often means you will be gaining experience more quickly than you might at other firms as a junior associate. (Safer firms hang onto their senior associates, who in turn hang onto work, so during downturns there can be a lack of substantive work at the bottom.)

I have never heard this part about more substantive work at higher leveraged firms. I've heard the opposite that lower leverage tend to give more substantive work because they work more closely with partners since you have 1-2 associates on a project rather than 10, and that you tend get client contact earlier on. Of course, I understand it will vary firm to firm.

Anyone care to comment? Or do you care to further elaborate NotANoob? I'm very interested in this topic.


You're precisely right. At highly leveraged firms juniors typically do a lot of grunt work and seniors and midlevels spend a lot of time supervising this grunt work. As I mentioned below, the first year at Latham is all doc review/due diligence. Senior associates at the firm say they don't even write briefs. A lot of the work is supervising doc review.

There was a recent artile on Above The Law saying that law firms are advised to have their PR staff troll these boards and defend their firms. I Honestly don't know the person you're responding to and can't say that they're PR. However, I will advise you that when you hear a defense for a firm that does not make sense you may want to disregard it or at least consider it very carefully before you believe it. Kimball, a well respected law firm consultant, is also adivising law firms to monitor these boards and defend their firms. I would be very surprised if law firm representatives are not posting comments in defense of the firms they represent.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273110
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Thoughts on strong OCI candidates bidding Latham-like firms?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 19, 2010 10:26 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
NotANoob wrote:If you are shooter who is looking to get experience quickly and is willing to hop firms if necessary, Latham's business model isn't bad. Their high turn over often means you will be gaining experience more quickly than you might at other firms as a junior associate. (Safer firms hang onto their senior associates, who in turn hang onto work, so during downturns there can be a lack of substantive work at the bottom.)

I have never heard this part about more substantive work at higher leveraged firms. I've heard the opposite that lower leverage tend to give more substantive work because they work more closely with partners since you have 1-2 associates on a project rather than 10, and that you tend get client contact earlier on. Of course, I understand it will vary firm to firm.

Anyone care to comment? Or do you care to further elaborate NotANoob? I'm very interested in this topic.


You're precisely right. At highly leveraged firms juniors typically do a lot of grunt work and seniors and midlevels spend a lot of time supervising this grunt work. As I mentioned below, the first year at Latham is all doc review/due diligence. Senior associates at the firm say they don't even write briefs. A lot of the work is supervising doc review.

There was a recent artile on Above The Law saying that law firms are advised to have their PR staff troll these boards and defend their firms. I Honestly don't know the person you're responding to and can't say that they're PR. However, I will advise you that when you hear a defense for a firm that does not make sense you may want to disregard it or at least consider it very carefully before you believe it. Kimball, a well respected law firm consultant, is also adivising law firms to monitor these boards and defend their firms. I would be very surprised if law firm representatives are not posting comments in defense of the firms they represent.

Thanks for affirming my impressions. I chose a firm with lower leverage and loved my experience. They've conducted few layoffs, most people know each other and the associates report that they get quality work. Maybe I'm missing something, but I've always wondered why anyone would go to a highly leveraged firm over one with less leverage. I suppose the bonuses are often better, but where most people don't stick around for more than 3 years, it seems shortsighted.

spondee
Posts: 462
Joined: Thu Feb 19, 2009 6:53 pm

Re: Thoughts on strong OCI candidates bidding Latham-like firms?

Postby spondee » Mon Jul 19, 2010 10:49 am

Anonymous User wrote:Thanks for affirming my impressions. I chose a firm with lower leverage and loved my experience. They've conducted few layoffs, most people know each other and the associates report that they get quality work. Maybe I'm missing something, but I've always wondered why anyone would go to a highly leveraged firm over one with less leverage. I suppose the bonuses are often better, but where most people don't stick around for more than 3 years, it seems shortsighted.


Probably a dumb question - as I go through OCI, how can I tell how leveraged a firm is?

Person
Posts: 105
Joined: Sat Jul 03, 2010 1:36 am

Re: Thoughts on strong OCI candidates bidding Latham-like firms?

Postby Person » Mon Jul 19, 2010 12:36 pm

spondee wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Thanks for affirming my impressions. I chose a firm with lower leverage and loved my experience. They've conducted few layoffs, most people know each other and the associates report that they get quality work. Maybe I'm missing something, but I've always wondered why anyone would go to a highly leveraged firm over one with less leverage. I suppose the bonuses are often better, but where most people don't stick around for more than 3 years, it seems shortsighted.


Probably a dumb question - as I go through OCI, how can I tell how leveraged a firm is?


Go to NALP. That tells you how many associates are at the firm and how many partners. While this is not a fine grained analysis, showing different types of partners, etc., it is a reasonable guide I imagine.

They also break it down by practice group, so you can see how many litigation partners there are and how many litigation associates--be careful though because people can be active in multiple practice areas. So, for example, there might be 10 real estate partners and 10 real estate associates, but five of those partners spend a lot of their time on something else too, so it is not really a 1-1 leverage structure.

In my opinion, as far as quantitative factors go, once you know how much they pay associates (to get some idea of the 'quality' of the firm) the number of lawyers at the office and the leverage structure are the two most telling statistics you can know about a firm.




Return to “Legal Employment”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.