Stuffy Firms

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HamDel
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Stuffy Firms

Postby HamDel » Mon Apr 04, 2011 8:46 pm

I'm working at a very highly regarded transactional boutique in New York this summer and I'm starting to regret my choice. My firm requires that all male lawyers wear a suit every day, and I hate having to follow such a strict dress code. I don't mean to be ungrateful and I'm certainly happy to have a job in this economic climate, but I had options that weren't quite as "prestigious" but would have allowed me to wear business casual every day and offered a less formal atmosphere in general (read: fewer dark western paintings and brown leather couches around).

My basic question boils down to this. What is the point of going to the most prestigious firms? I understand putting up with the BS attitude from Wachtell, because they will compensate you double for your work. But what about a place like Cravath? They have an awful dress code just like my firm, and they don't pay more than most of the other top tier firms. I know I'll be abused quite a bit as an associate anywhere, but it seems that firms like mine might be the worst of both worlds. Is there some upside to this that I knew at one point and have since forgotten?

Sup Kid
Posts: 557
Joined: Sat Oct 23, 2010 2:49 pm

Re: Stuffy Firms

Postby Sup Kid » Mon Apr 04, 2011 8:54 pm

HamDel wrote:I'm working at a very highly regarded transactional boutique in New York this summer and I'm starting to regret my choice. My firm requires that all male lawyers wear a suit every day, and I hate having to follow such a strict dress code. I don't mean to be ungrateful and I'm certainly happy to have a job in this economic climate, but I had options that weren't quite as "prestigious" but would have allowed me to wear business casual every day and offered a less formal atmosphere in general (read: fewer dark western paintings and brown leather couches around).

My basic question boils down to this. What is the point of going to the most prestigious firms? I understand putting up with the BS attitude from Wachtell, because they will compensate you double for your work. But what about a place like Cravath? They have an awful dress code just like my firm, and they don't pay more than most of the other top tier firms. I know I'll be abused quite a bit as an associate anywhere, but it seems that firms like mine might be the worst of both worlds. Is there some upside to this that I knew at one point and have since forgotten?

The upside of Cravath is that it's Cravath -- you get paid the top of the market, and because everyone knows it, the exit options are generally better than at another Biglaw firm. That said, you mention you're at a "transactional boutique", which maybe I'm clueless but I've never even heard of something like that (normally major "transactions" are done by top biglaw firms...) and thus the prestige probably isn't anywhere near the Cravath level.

dc1s
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Re: Stuffy Firms

Postby dc1s » Mon Apr 04, 2011 8:59 pm

Become a graphic designer instead and you can wear whatever you want and sit on colorful bean bag chairs all day.

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Stonewall
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Re: Stuffy Firms

Postby Stonewall » Mon Apr 04, 2011 9:02 pm

^ exactly. i mean in all reality, congrats on getting such a good job - buit damn dude if you arnt freaking weird when it comes to highlighting things about a firm that may irk you

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classix
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Re: Stuffy Firms

Postby classix » Mon Apr 04, 2011 9:11 pm

Seriously, just deal with it. You really are being a spoiled little brat complaining about the dress code and decor. If it is such a problem for you start a Hawaiian-shirt solo. The formality is part of the firm's brand that you bought into when you accepted their offer.
Last edited by classix on Mon Apr 04, 2011 9:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Big Shrimpin
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Re: Stuffy Firms

Postby Big Shrimpin » Mon Apr 04, 2011 9:27 pm

HamDel wrote:I'm working at a very highly regarded transactional boutique in New York this summer . . . I know I'll be abused quite a bit as an associate anywhere, but it seems that firms like mine might be the worst of both worlds . . . .


OUT that TTT workplace. :wink:

HamDel
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Re: Stuffy Firms

Postby HamDel » Mon Apr 04, 2011 9:29 pm

Sup Kid wrote:
HamDel wrote:I'm working at a very highly regarded transactional boutique in New York this summer and I'm starting to regret my choice. My firm requires that all male lawyers wear a suit every day, and I hate having to follow such a strict dress code. I don't mean to be ungrateful and I'm certainly happy to have a job in this economic climate, but I had options that weren't quite as "prestigious" but would have allowed me to wear business casual every day and offered a less formal atmosphere in general (read: fewer dark western paintings and brown leather couches around).

My basic question boils down to this. What is the point of going to the most prestigious firms? I understand putting up with the BS attitude from Wachtell, because they will compensate you double for your work. But what about a place like Cravath? They have an awful dress code just like my firm, and they don't pay more than most of the other top tier firms. I know I'll be abused quite a bit as an associate anywhere, but it seems that firms like mine might be the worst of both worlds. Is there some upside to this that I knew at one point and have since forgotten?

The upside of Cravath is that it's Cravath -- you get paid the top of the market, and because everyone knows it, the exit options are generally better than at another Biglaw firm. That said, you mention you're at a "transactional boutique", which maybe I'm clueless but I've never even heard of something like that (normally major "transactions" are done by top biglaw firms...) and thus the prestige probably isn't anywhere near the Cravath level.


I turned down multiple V10 firms for my job. Everyone in my firm graduated with honors (almost all from HYSCCN and none outside of t10) and almost 100% of associates clerked. Most are also laterals from V10 firms, and I'm one of two summer associates. I know most people go with Vault alone as the guide for prestige, but my firm represents some of the biggest, most prominent hedge funds and private equity firms in America. The only reason I got an invitation to interview in the first place is because I'm connected from banking. I will be getting paid at the top of the market.

It seems like my point has been misconstrued, so I'll try again. It's not just the dress code or the decor, but the attitude of the place as a whole. The fact that they generally enforce much stricter policies than most big law firms in New York sort of irks me. It's not something I would quit or not accept an offer over, but I just don't understand it. I know I get to work on big deals, but I don't see any legitimate reason for the kind of attitude firms like mine have. I can do the same kind of work in business casual. I'm getting paid at the top of the market, but Wachtell still dwarfs my firm. I guess if I were to put it in Vault terms, the question would read something like "why would you go to Cravath over Simpson Thacher?"

None of this is anything I would turn down an offer over and, like I said, I'm really happy to have the summer offer. I'm just wondering what reasons other people might have for choosing some imagined prestige difference at the expense of comfort like I did.

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Flips88
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Re: Stuffy Firms

Postby Flips88 » Mon Apr 04, 2011 9:32 pm

Image
Suit up, bro.

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fathergoose
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Re: Stuffy Firms

Postby fathergoose » Mon Apr 04, 2011 9:33 pm

Flips88 wrote:Image
Suit up, bro.

It's going to be LEGEN-

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fathergoose
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Re: Stuffy Firms

Postby fathergoose » Mon Apr 04, 2011 9:33 pm

wait for it

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fathergoose
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Re: Stuffy Firms

Postby fathergoose » Mon Apr 04, 2011 9:34 pm

-DARY

LEGENDARY

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Flips88
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Re: Stuffy Firms

Postby Flips88 » Mon Apr 04, 2011 9:34 pm

fathergoose wrote:wait for it

I hope you're not lactose intolerant

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Verity
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Re: Stuffy Firms

Postby Verity » Mon Apr 04, 2011 9:37 pm

Kindly out your firm.

pasteurizedmilk
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Re: Stuffy Firms

Postby pasteurizedmilk » Mon Apr 04, 2011 9:43 pm

A transactional firm that highly values clerks.

why?

Anonymous User
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Re: Stuffy Firms

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Apr 04, 2011 9:52 pm

HamDel wrote:
Sup Kid wrote:
HamDel wrote:I'm working at a very highly regarded transactional boutique in New York this summer and I'm starting to regret my choice. My firm requires that all male lawyers wear a suit every day, and I hate having to follow such a strict dress code. I don't mean to be ungrateful and I'm certainly happy to have a job in this economic climate, but I had options that weren't quite as "prestigious" but would have allowed me to wear business casual every day and offered a less formal atmosphere in general (read: fewer dark western paintings and brown leather couches around).

My basic question boils down to this. What is the point of going to the most prestigious firms? I understand putting up with the BS attitude from Wachtell, because they will compensate you double for your work. But what about a place like Cravath? They have an awful dress code just like my firm, and they don't pay more than most of the other top tier firms. I know I'll be abused quite a bit as an associate anywhere, but it seems that firms like mine might be the worst of both worlds. Is there some upside to this that I knew at one point and have since forgotten?

The upside of Cravath is that it's Cravath -- you get paid the top of the market, and because everyone knows it, the exit options are generally better than at another Biglaw firm. That said, you mention you're at a "transactional boutique", which maybe I'm clueless but I've never even heard of something like that (normally major "transactions" are done by top biglaw firms...) and thus the prestige probably isn't anywhere near the Cravath level.


I turned down multiple V10 firms for my job. Everyone in my firm graduated with honors (almost all from HYSCCN and none outside of t10) and almost 100% of associates clerked. Most are also laterals from V10 firms, and I'm one of two summer associates. I know most people go with Vault alone as the guide for prestige, but my firm represents some of the biggest, most prominent hedge funds and private equity firms in America. The only reason I got an invitation to interview in the first place is because I'm connected from banking. I will be getting paid at the top of the market.

It seems like my point has been misconstrued, so I'll try again. It's not just the dress code or the decor, but the attitude of the place as a whole. The fact that they generally enforce much stricter policies than most big law firms in New York sort of irks me. It's not something I would quit or not accept an offer over, but I just don't understand it. I know I get to work on big deals, but I don't see any legitimate reason for the kind of attitude firms like mine have. I can do the same kind of work in business casual. I'm getting paid at the top of the market, but Wachtell still dwarfs my firm. I guess if I were to put it in Vault terms, the question would read something like "why would you go to Cravath over Simpson Thacher?"

None of this is anything I would turn down an offer over and, like I said, I'm really happy to have the summer offer. I'm just wondering what reasons other people might have for choosing some imagined prestige difference at the expense of comfort like I did.

I have no idea. Qualify of life >>>>>>> prestige for me, so I'm seriously wondering why, for most of my peers, the opposite seems to be true. No one has successfully explained it to me yet.

Also, I didn't mean for this to be anonymous. This is Other25BeforeYou.

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Stanford4Me
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Re: Stuffy Firms

Postby Stanford4Me » Mon Apr 04, 2011 10:05 pm

Aside from the douches in here who think anyone who complains about a firm's atmosphere is a pansy, I agree with you. I got two offers for SA positions and ended up choosing the firm that had a much more laid back atmosphere (and, luckily for me, more national prestige). I'd be lying if I said the atmosphere of each office didn't factor into my decision. If I'm going to spend pretty much my entire life in an office I might as well somewhat enjoy the atmosphere.

Sup Kid
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Re: Stuffy Firms

Postby Sup Kid » Mon Apr 04, 2011 10:09 pm

pasteurizedmilk wrote:A transactional firm that highly values clerks.

why?

+1. Please provide at least an example of a transactional boutique in NYC (don't have to out yourself). I just find it hard to believe that a small firm is doing deals on par with the heavy guns that are known for representing huge global companies and banks, and no one seems to have heard of it.

ruski
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Re: Stuffy Firms

Postby ruski » Mon Apr 04, 2011 10:14 pm

i think a type of firm OP is referring to is like seward and kissel, which is just a HF shop. prestigious, but in a very very limited way. i dont think thats it though as that place isnt what i'd call stuffy.

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Lawl Shcool
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Re: Stuffy Firms

Postby Lawl Shcool » Mon Apr 04, 2011 10:22 pm

G. T. L. Rev. wrote:Let me get this straight: you object to working at a firm because they (1) require you to wear a suit and (2) chose decour you find unappealing?


+1 your best post yet GTL

FiveSermon
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Re: Stuffy Firms

Postby FiveSermon » Mon Apr 04, 2011 10:23 pm

Lawl Shcool wrote:
G. T. L. Rev. wrote:Let me get this straight: you object to working at a firm because they (1) require you to wear a suit and (2) chose decour you find unappealing?


+1 your best post yet GTL


+100

imchuckbass58
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Re: Stuffy Firms

Postby imchuckbass58 » Mon Apr 04, 2011 10:24 pm

The point is that on average, you will have better/more broad exit options and career prospects down the road if you go to a more prestigious firm. This doesn't mean that you will always have better career prospects coming from a "transactional boutique" or less prestigious firm, or that you can't get similar jobs from such a firm. It just means, on average it will be easier and the name brand will carry you further. It may be stupid or illogical, but it is true. Especially on the transactional side, plum in-house or business-role positions are overwhelmingly populated by people from top firms (I say this from personal experience - used to do a lot of merger work as a consultant before LS).

Now, that doesn't mean prestige has to be the last word. Exit options are one part of the equation. Depending on what you value and what your goals are, it may make sense to sacrifice exit options somewhat for personal happiness, lifestyle, whatever you want to call it. I think that's a totally logical and understandable decision. But the benefits have to be weighed carefully against what you're giving up.

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dood
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Re: Stuffy Firms

Postby dood » Mon Apr 04, 2011 10:27 pm

HamDel wrote:My basic question boils down to this. What is the point of going to the most prestigious firms? I understand putting up with the BS attitude from Wachtell, because they will compensate you double for your work. But what about a place like Cravath? I know I'll be abused quite a bit as an associate anywhere, but it seems that firms like mine might be the worst of both worlds. Is there some upside to this that I knew at one point and have since forgotten?


no law firm is "prestigious". goldman sachs might be prestigious. buy side private equity, aka making millions before age 30 is prestigious. get this in ur head and u'll be alot happier. if you took "prestige" into account when interviewing/deciding on offers, u made a mistake and as u say "got the worst of both worlds." QoL is the ONLY consideration, assuming basic needs are met ($160K, no Howrey scenarios, etc).

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dood
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Re: Stuffy Firms

Postby dood » Mon Apr 04, 2011 11:24 pm

G. T. L. Rev. wrote:
dood wrote:no law firm is "prestigious". goldman sachs might be prestigious. buy side private equity, aka making millions before age 30 is prestigious. get this in ur head and u'll be alot happier. if you took "prestige" into account when interviewing/deciding on offers, u made a mistake and as u say "got the worst of both worlds." QoL is the ONLY consideration, assuming basic needs are met ($160K, no Howrey scenarios, etc).

You know better than this. "Prestige" may be wildly overrated, but it isn't a non-factor either. If you want to work as an AUSA, at DOJ, as an in-house counsel, or whatever else, where you worked is going to matter, a lot. Not everyone wants those things, and not everybody cares about bonuses or avoiding a Howrey-esque collapse. Fine. Seems sensible enough to me. But don't pretend that prestige is never something that matters in the legal world.


lol ok ok, i concede prestige matters to many people, possibly even to the majority of people in legal field. but while acknowledging in reality prestige does matter, im advocating it shouldnt b/c its an empty promise, whereas the benefits of a high QoL is at least tangible. especially in situations the OP is talking about ("going to the most prestigious firms"), i just dont see the difference in cravath vs. say... jones day, even when comparing exit options. now, of course it would be different when comparing cravath to a non-vault firm.

Magnificent
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Re: Stuffy Firms

Postby Magnificent » Mon Apr 04, 2011 11:41 pm

dood wrote:
G. T. L. Rev. wrote:
dood wrote:no law firm is "prestigious". goldman sachs might be prestigious. buy side private equity, aka making millions before age 30 is prestigious. get this in ur head and u'll be alot happier. if you took "prestige" into account when interviewing/deciding on offers, u made a mistake and as u say "got the worst of both worlds." QoL is the ONLY consideration, assuming basic needs are met ($160K, no Howrey scenarios, etc).

You know better than this. "Prestige" may be wildly overrated, but it isn't a non-factor either. If you want to work as an AUSA, at DOJ, as an in-house counsel, or whatever else, where you worked is going to matter, a lot. Not everyone wants those things, and not everybody cares about bonuses or avoiding a Howrey-esque collapse. Fine. Seems sensible enough to me. But don't pretend that prestige is never something that matters in the legal world.


lol ok ok, i concede prestige matters to many people, possibly even to the majority of people in legal field. but while acknowledging in reality prestige does matter, im advocating it shouldnt b/c its an empty promise, whereas the benefits of a high QoL is at least tangible. especially in situations the OP is talking about ("going to the most prestigious firms"), i just dont see the difference in cravath vs. say... jones day, even when comparing exit options. now, of course it would be different when comparing cravath to a non-vault firm.


are you trying to console yourself after getting turned down by Cravath?

dude please......prestige in the legal field is HUGE....its pretty much everything

and if you think the same doors are opened going to Jones Day as opposed to Cravath then your delusional

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Lawquacious
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Re: Stuffy Firms

Postby Lawquacious » Mon Apr 04, 2011 11:49 pm

HamDel wrote:I'm working at a very highly regarded transactional boutique in New York this summer and I'm starting to regret my choice. My firm requires that all male lawyers wear a suit every day, and I hate having to follow such a strict dress code. I don't mean to be ungrateful and I'm certainly happy to have a job in this economic climate, but I had options that weren't quite as "prestigious" but would have allowed me to wear business casual every day and offered a less formal atmosphere in general (read: fewer dark western paintings and brown leather couches around).

My basic question boils down to this. What is the point of going to the most prestigious firms? I understand putting up with the BS attitude from Wachtell, because they will compensate you double for your work. But what about a place like Cravath? They have an awful dress code just like my firm, and they don't pay more than most of the other top tier firms. I know I'll be abused quite a bit as an associate anywhere, but it seems that firms like mine might be the worst of both worlds. Is there some upside to this that I knew at one point and have since forgotten?



Although I can understand if ppl find it odd or annoying that you seem to be complaining about having to wear a suit in the midst of a relatively great legal job (I'm assuming you get paid very well among other things), I think maybe your feelings and experience could be indicative of the fact that 'biglaw' or corporate law in general aren't your thing. Maybe you'd be ten times happier taking a more down-to-earth job such as with Fed Govt. or PI work. That being said, perhaps this is what you really want to do, and you're just trying to adjust to the vibe there. I imagine others may have a similar experience; some ppl don't like formal environments or social interactions. I personally would probably be glad that the place isn't too casual (I tend to like professional formality, but I suppose there are reasonable limits too).




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