NYC V5 vs. boutique in major secondary market?

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NYC V5 vs. boutique in major secondary market?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 05, 2010 10:08 am

I would prefer not to live in NYC, but would I be foolish to give up the V5 prestige and exit options? On the other hand, would it be stupid to become a cog at a huge firm given the chance to go a different way? Which has better QOL? Better cases? Should I be worrying about getting no-offered at the boutique?

(Anonymous because I don't want to out myself...please delete if this shouldn't be anonymous.)

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Re: NYC V5 vs. boutique in major secondary market?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 05, 2010 10:12 am

]these threads are starting to get annoying. Go wherever you enjoyed your callback more. You're going to be spending a lot of time with these people daily, so you might as well get what you felt was the best bunch
Last edited by Anonymous User on Sun Sep 05, 2010 10:13 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: NYC V5 vs. boutique in major secondary market?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 05, 2010 10:12 am

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Re: NYC V5 vs. boutique in major secondary market?

Postby 270910 » Sun Sep 05, 2010 10:15 am

Anonymous User wrote:I would prefer not to live in NYC, but would I be foolish to give up the V5 prestige and exit options? On the other hand, would it be stupid to become a cog at a huge firm given the chance to go a different way? Which has better QOL? Better cases? Should I be worrying about getting no-offered at the boutique?

(Anonymous because I don't want to out myself...please delete if this shouldn't be anonymous.)


There are a lot of different boutiques. Nobody could provide meaningful information based on just this much, except to confirm your fears that future prospects from a boutique are all but certainly going to be more limited than from an NYC V5.

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Re: NYC V5 vs. boutique in major secondary market?

Postby NYAssociate » Sun Sep 05, 2010 10:17 am

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Last edited by NYAssociate on Tue Oct 05, 2010 6:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Bosque
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Re: NYC V5 vs. boutique in major secondary market?

Postby Bosque » Sun Sep 05, 2010 10:17 am

Flip a coin. Then ignore it and go with the one you liked better. Sounds like that is the boutique.

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Re: NYC V5 vs. boutique in major secondary market?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 05, 2010 10:31 am

Anonymous User wrote:]these threads are starting to get annoying. Go wherever you enjoyed your callback more. You're going to be spending a lot of time with these people daily, so you might as well get what you felt was the best bunch


I really like the people at both, and I would take either one in a heartbeat if the other option weren't on the table. Because both are awesome, I feel that I need more third-party input from people who are or have been in similar situations. I tried to signal that by using more "objective" criteria as the basis for my questions. I appreciate the advice, though. 8)

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Re: NYC V5 vs. boutique in major secondary market?

Postby LurkerNoMore » Sun Sep 05, 2010 10:41 am

What are your goals?

If you are looking at firm life as a stepping stone to somewhere else, then the V5 may keep more options open. If you think you might to stay at a firm more long term, then go with the firm that you enjoyed more (sounds like the boutique, since you really don't want NYC). Also, exit opportunities aren't necessarily better out of the V5 firm. Depending on the structure of the boutique, you may have more substantive contact with clients. Also, if the boutique is well known, you'll still get your share of headhunter calls a few years into your career.

Absent concerns about the financial stability of the boutique, if I were in your shoes, I would take it over the V5 and not think twice.

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Re: NYC V5 vs. boutique in major secondary market?

Postby NYAssociate » Sun Sep 05, 2010 10:43 am

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Last edited by NYAssociate on Tue Oct 05, 2010 6:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: NYC V5 vs. boutique in major secondary market?

Postby LurkerNoMore » Sun Sep 05, 2010 11:04 am

NYAssociate wrote:
Absent concerns about the financial stability of the boutique, if I were in your shoes, I would take it over the V5 and not think twice.


I don't think this is wise advise universally. If we're talking about litigation, sure. But corporate? There's no way you'll get better training or work than the stuff you'd do at a V5. No way in hell.


I know NYC attorneys like to think that they are getting the end-all-be-all of experience :wink: but while the market in NYC is unrivaled, that doesn't mean that the experience is. There are firms outside of NYC that pull sophisticated deals and staff younger associates on more substantive aspects of them. If you have a 2-3 year time line for firm life in your head, it's generally better to work for a firm where you will second chair a deal by that time, even if it might be less sophisticated, than to spend most of your time on diligence work in NYC.

Also, though law school ingrains the notion that one should always hunt down "the best" I think it is good to challenge that notion. OP asked about QOL. At some point, a lot of people stop worrying about prestige and start looking at whether they are happy. While some corporate work is mind numbingly dull and it can be frustrating to work at a firm that just gets "the easy stuff" and loses their clients' more interesting work to NYC firms, there are places that pull enough challenging and cutting edge work to keep work fun and dynamic without all the downsides of NYC practice. Also, if the goal is to get out of firm life, there is only marginal utility in trying to place oneself in the most sophisticated deals (granting your assumption that only NYC provides this).

So, while I agree that NYC has the most sophisticated corporate work as a market, I disagree with your dismissive view of the type of experience you can get outside of NYC.

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Re: NYC V5 vs. boutique in major secondary market?

Postby NYAssociate » Sun Sep 05, 2010 11:09 am

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Last edited by NYAssociate on Tue Oct 05, 2010 6:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: NYC V5 vs. boutique in major secondary market?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 05, 2010 3:29 pm

LurkerNoMore wrote:What are your goals?

If you are looking at firm life as a stepping stone to somewhere else, then the V5 may keep more options open. If you think you might to stay at a firm more long term, then go with the firm that you enjoyed more (sounds like the boutique, since you really don't want NYC). Also, exit opportunities aren't necessarily better out of the V5 firm. Depending on the structure of the boutique, you may have more substantive contact with clients. Also, if the boutique is well known, you'll still get your share of headhunter calls a few years into your career.

Absent concerns about the financial stability of the boutique, if I were in your shoes, I would take it over the V5 and not think twice.


OP here. Thanks for your input.

I'd like to stay in private practice long term, which is why the low-leverage boutique model appeals to me. I'm just worried that as a law student not exposed to the ins and outs of firm practice, I may be focusing too much on my future at my first firm rather than on the portability of my practice and the variety of positions that people take after getting pushed out of NYC biglaw (I'll clarify that I'm looking at lit). I know that many V5 corp people go in-house, but what do the lit people do?

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Re: NYC V5 vs. boutique in major secondary market?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 05, 2010 3:36 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
LurkerNoMore wrote:What are your goals?

If you are looking at firm life as a stepping stone to somewhere else, then the V5 may keep more options open. If you think you might to stay at a firm more long term, then go with the firm that you enjoyed more (sounds like the boutique, since you really don't want NYC). Also, exit opportunities aren't necessarily better out of the V5 firm. Depending on the structure of the boutique, you may have more substantive contact with clients. Also, if the boutique is well known, you'll still get your share of headhunter calls a few years into your career.

Absent concerns about the financial stability of the boutique, if I were in your shoes, I would take it over the V5 and not think twice.


OP here. Thanks for your input.

I'd like to stay in private practice long term, which is why the low-leverage boutique model appeals to me. I'm just worried that as a law student not exposed to the ins and outs of firm practice, I may be focusing too much on my future at my first firm rather than on the portability of my practice and the variety of positions that people take after getting pushed out of NYC biglaw (I'll clarify that I'm looking at lit). I know that many V5 corp people go in-house, but what do the lit people do?



Depends on the boutique, but if it were Susman-esque, you would be able to lateral into any firm with a litigation practice in the country, even ITE. Perhaps even at a partner level after only 4 years or so.

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Re: NYC V5 vs. boutique in major secondary market?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 05, 2010 4:21 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
LurkerNoMore wrote:What are your goals?

If you are looking at firm life as a stepping stone to somewhere else, then the V5 may keep more options open. If you think you might to stay at a firm more long term, then go with the firm that you enjoyed more (sounds like the boutique, since you really don't want NYC). Also, exit opportunities aren't necessarily better out of the V5 firm. Depending on the structure of the boutique, you may have more substantive contact with clients. Also, if the boutique is well known, you'll still get your share of headhunter calls a few years into your career.

Absent concerns about the financial stability of the boutique, if I were in your shoes, I would take it over the V5 and not think twice.


OP here. Thanks for your input.

I'd like to stay in private practice long term, which is why the low-leverage boutique model appeals to me. I'm just worried that as a law student not exposed to the ins and outs of firm practice, I may be focusing too much on my future at my first firm rather than on the portability of my practice and the variety of positions that people take after getting pushed out of NYC biglaw (I'll clarify that I'm looking at lit). I know that many V5 corp people go in-house, but what do the lit people do?



Depends on the boutique, but if it were Susman-esque, you would be able to lateral into any firm with a litigation practice in the country, even ITE. Perhaps even at a partner level after only 4 years or so.


Interesting. Seems optimistic to me - would you mind letting me know what leads you to believe this? And can you define Susman-esque?

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Re: NYC V5 vs. boutique in major secondary market?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 05, 2010 4:33 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Interesting. Seems optimistic to me - would you mind letting me know what leads you to believe this? And can you define Susman-esque?



Susman-esque would be Susman, Bartlit, Beck Redden, Gibbs & Bruns, and Keker...

Since these firms are so small and only do litigation, you are thrown into the fire immediately.

Take a look at --LinkRemoved--

That's not just lip-service -- they can't afford to give you busy work for 5 years. In your first few years at a top flight lit boutique, you probably gain more litigation experience than senior associates and even some partners at top NYC law firms.

If a case were going to trial, assuming even facts, I'd put my money on a 3rd year/4th year associate at Susman vs anyone but the most senior partners in the big NYC firms.

That major Paul Allen lawsuit that got filed? It's staffed by 3 people -- one senior partner, one new partner, one associate.

Couple that with the fact you're working just as many hours as most NYC firms, there is no reason a lit department wouldn't hire you. It might be optimistic to say you'd be hired as equity partner at Quinn or Paul Weiss after 3-4 years at a Susman-type firm, but I see no reason why, given the fact you'd be giving the firm far more bang for the buck than their other new partners, you couldn't lateral somewhere as a partner.

The real question is, however, why would you want to? If you know you want to litigate, you won't get better work than you will at a litigation boutique.

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Re: NYC V5 vs. boutique in major secondary market?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 05, 2010 5:04 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Since these firms are so small and only do litigation, you are thrown into the fire immediately.

Take a look at --LinkRemoved--

That's not just lip-service -- they can't afford to give you busy work for 5 years. In your first few years at a top flight lit boutique, you probably gain more litigation experience than senior associates and even some partners at top NYC law firms.

If a case were going to trial, assuming even facts, I'd put my money on a 3rd year/4th year associate at Susman vs anyone but the most senior partners in the big NYC firms.


OP again. Thank you - very helpful. So what do lit associates in big NYC firms do after they get "the talk"? And how does one predict one's chances at reaching the senior associate or partner level at these firms? Is it easier or harder to stick around than it is at the boutique firms (assuming hard work, etc.)? Do different types tend to succeed at one versus the other?

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Re: NYC V5 vs. boutique in major secondary market?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 05, 2010 5:39 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Since these firms are so small and only do litigation, you are thrown into the fire immediately.

Take a look at --LinkRemoved--

That's not just lip-service -- they can't afford to give you busy work for 5 years. In your first few years at a top flight lit boutique, you probably gain more litigation experience than senior associates and even some partners at top NYC law firms.

If a case were going to trial, assuming even facts, I'd put my money on a 3rd year/4th year associate at Susman vs anyone but the most senior partners in the big NYC firms.


OP again. Thank you - very helpful. So what do lit associates in big NYC firms do after they get "the talk"? And how does one predict one's chances at reaching the senior associate or partner level at these firms? Is it easier or harder to stick around than it is at the boutique firms (assuming hard work, etc.)? Do different types tend to succeed at one versus the other?


I can't really answer this. I'm still in the middle of job hunting myself. However, I've focused on lit boutiques and have had many conversations with people who have worked at both boutiques and in big law, as well as honest discussions with partners at some of these places.

What I can answer is that it's almost certainly easier to stick around at the established lit boutiques. Susman-esque firms expect all of their associates to make partner. If you stick it out and work hard at these firms, you're going to make partner. The same cannot be said about biglaw firms, who seem to hire associates with a 90% make-us-money/10% "we want new partners in 8 years" approach.

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Re: NYC V5 vs. boutique in major secondary market?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 05, 2010 6:22 pm

Anonymous User wrote:The same cannot be said about biglaw firms, who seem to hire associates with a 90% make-us-money/10% "we want new partners in 8 years" approach.


If only they would give 10% of their new hires a wink and a nudge, leaving the rest to understand that the job is nothing more than a prestigious ticking time bomb.

I'd still be interested to know what lit people do post-V5. If it's really true that substantive experience is essentially non-existent at these firms, how do they survive as litigators after they leave? I'm leaning more and more toward the boutique, as it sounds like the consensus is that the exit options are actually much better that way, unbeknownst to my previously-Vault-blinded self.

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Re: NYC V5 vs. boutique in major secondary market?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 05, 2010 6:26 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:The same cannot be said about biglaw firms, who seem to hire associates with a 90% make-us-money/10% "we want new partners in 8 years" approach.


If only they would give 10% of their new hires a wink and a nudge, leaving the rest to understand that the job is nothing more than a prestigious ticking time bomb.

I'd still be interested to know what lit people do post-V5. If it's really true that substantive experience is essentially non-existent at these firms, how do they survive as litigators after they leave? I'm leaning more and more toward the boutique, as it sounds like the consensus is that the exit options are actually much better that way, unbeknownst to my previously-Vault-blinded self.


Well, lots of people will go out and start their own boutique after a few years. Others will move in-house. Go to government jobs, etc.

You can do a lot of them from a lit boutique, but it's probably easier to get a prestigious in-house job from a big nyc firm.




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