What's the low down on Susman Godfrey?

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liLtuneChi
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What's the low down on Susman Godfrey?

Postby liLtuneChi » Thu Jun 23, 2011 12:36 am

So Susman is interviewing at my school and I'm considering using a high bid on them. By the good grace of God, if I am fortunate to get an offer, I want to know if anyone can give me any info on this firm.

Their website seems a bit dated and there isn't alot of information about it.

1) I know they pay more than most big law firms but are they paying Wachtell money or not?

2) What type of work can you expect at a small boutique like this? Is the experience really any different than a firm like Williams and Connolly or Munger Tolles (that are not higly leveraged)? Or is this place special in the type of responsibility given to young associates?

Thanks to anyone with good knowledge on the place.

Anonymous User
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Re: What's the low down on Susman Godfrey?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jun 23, 2011 12:42 am

There's probably more info about Susman than most other firms on the web, and their website is full of self promotional stuff that should help you sort things out.

The most important thing to realize is that Susman, in contrast with a lot of other firms, does a lot of plaintiff's work - and often on contingency. This makes for potentially huge payouts, which often flow to associates as bonuses. It, along with a few other firms (Quinn and Boies) have the potential of paying more than standard big law salary. Exactly how much more depends on the associate and the year, but Wachtell is hardly in a separate league.

They work you hard though, and so 'Wachtell hours' are probably realistic. They're also a texas firm with small outposts elsewhere.

If you really want high caliber litigation work, you have to realize there are big differences between the cultures, geographies, and practices of the firms. The constants will be absolutely grueling hours, and leverage used differently than at many other big firms. The boutiques are legitimately more likely to give younger lawyers responsibility sooner, and the trial / plaintiff's firms are more likely (surprise!) to see trials.

But the attorneys there are regular human beings, and there will be no grace of God involved in you or anyone else getting an interview or an offer.

Do note that they don't offer a traditional summer program, it's usually just a few weeks with an expectaiton that you will split somewhere else, and no offer will come unless you clerk and can when them over after exiting the clerkship.

liLtuneChi
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Joined: Thu May 19, 2011 8:28 pm

Re: What's the low down on Susman Godfrey?

Postby liLtuneChi » Thu Jun 23, 2011 1:42 am

Anonymous User wrote:There's probably more info about Susman than most other firms on the web, and their website is full of self promotional stuff that should help you sort things out.

The most important thing to realize is that Susman, in contrast with a lot of other firms, does a lot of plaintiff's work - and often on contingency. This makes for potentially huge payouts, which often flow to associates as bonuses. It, along with a few other firms (Quinn and Boies) have the potential of paying more than standard big law salary. Exactly how much more depends on the associate and the year, but Wachtell is hardly in a separate league.

They work you hard though, and so 'Wachtell hours' are probably realistic. They're also a texas firm with small outposts elsewhere.

If you really want high caliber litigation work, you have to realize there are big differences between the cultures, geographies, and practices of the firms. The constants will be absolutely grueling hours, and leverage used differently than at many other big firms. The boutiques are legitimately more likely to give younger lawyers responsibility sooner, and the trial / plaintiff's firms are more likely (surprise!) to see trials.

But the attorneys there are regular human beings, and there will be no grace of God involved in you or anyone else getting an interview or an offer.

Do note that they don't offer a traditional summer program, it's usually just a few weeks with an expectaiton that you will split somewhere else, and no offer will come unless you clerk and can when them over after exiting the clerkship.


thanks

anyone else feel free to add

does anyone know which office is the best in terms of getting alot of action early and advancement?

I know their New York office is really small. I don't know much about the LA or Seattle offices either. I'm assuming its probably best to go for the Texas offices since they seem to be the most established.

formerbiglawpartner
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Re: What's the low down on Susman Godfrey?

Postby formerbiglawpartner » Thu Jun 23, 2011 10:26 am

Steve is in Houston. Go to the Houston office if you have the chance. Also, run some COL numbers if you are actually trying to compare Wachtell with Susman in terms of compensation. There's no comparison.

liLtuneChi
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Re: What's the low down on Susman Godfrey?

Postby liLtuneChi » Thu Jun 23, 2011 10:40 am

formerbiglawpartner wrote:Steve is in Houston. Go to the Houston office if you have the chance. Also, run some COL numbers if you are actually trying to compare Wachtell with Susman in terms of compensation. There's no comparison.


yeah I noticed that 160K in TX goes further than 250K in Manhattan.

Does anyone know what the bonus is during an "average" year at Susman?

If its anything close to Wachtell (50-70% of base salary) then $$$ at Susman is much greater than Wachtell.

seriouslyinformative
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Re: What's the low down on Susman Godfrey?

Postby seriouslyinformative » Thu Jun 23, 2011 10:44 am

Isn't the summer program only 4 weeks long, and don't they expect you to do a clerkship before starting at the firm?

Those two factors would kill my buzz, but that's just me.

Anonymous User
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Re: What's the low down on Susman Godfrey?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jun 23, 2011 1:08 pm

They bill a very high # of hours. I heard ~3k/yr. That's wild to me. I also don't know if this rumor is true.

As for the people, I know someone who is going to work for Susman in the future. Good guy. Extremely hard worker. Very serious about the law. I've met a few of the partners, too. Clearly the brightest of the bright. Two of the guys I met were quite friendly in the reserved, patrician way that long-time law partners tend to be.

If you can stand the crazy hours and want to get into litigation, I think it's a great place to work. Opportunities to do plaintiffs-side litigation with respected and highly qualified attorneys are not all that common. And I think a stint with them pretty much guarantees you exit options wherever you want to be.

If I had the grades (which I don't), and if I were cool with working 70-80+ hr/wk all.the.time. (which I'm not), then I would jump at an opportunity to work at Susman.

EDIT: My information is for the Houston office only.

liLtuneChi
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Re: What's the low down on Susman Godfrey?

Postby liLtuneChi » Thu Jun 23, 2011 10:42 pm

I thought Susman didn't bill and did mostly contingency work?

Anonymous User
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Re: What's the low down on Susman Godfrey?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jun 23, 2011 11:08 pm

liLtuneChi wrote:I thought Susman didn't bill and did mostly contingency work?


I'm anon from above with Susman experience. You're misreading it: All firms bill, it's how you keep track of your time. "Billing 3K hours" means "spending 3K hours on client work" in this context. That being said much - but by no means all - of Susman's work is on a contingency basis rather than on a fee per hour.

It's really a texas firm. The odds of being the one associate they pick up at another office is basically zero. You're welcome to try, but keep in mind that it's not just THE BEST FIRM - it's a plaintiffs in Texas. If you've never set foot in Texas, have fun getting hired there. Otherwise have fun getting hired in offices with fewer attorneys than many firms have summer associates.

liLtuneChi wrote:Does anyone know what the bonus is during an "average" year at Susman?


When I suggested you read their website, I didn't mean "don't read their website and ask questions here instead." No more advice until you start learning how to answer your own questions.

oneforship
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Re: What's the low down on Susman Godfrey?

Postby oneforship » Mon Jun 27, 2011 4:58 pm

Does anyone have any insight as to whether Susman hires summers for both its Houston and Dallas offices, or just Houston?

Anonymous User
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Re: What's the low down on Susman Godfrey?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 27, 2011 6:36 pm

oneforship wrote:Does anyone have any insight as to whether Susman hires summers for both its Houston and Dallas offices, or just Houston?


I've heard of a summer cropping up at their other offices from time to time, but realistically their small summer program is based out of Houston.

oneforship
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Re: What's the low down on Susman Godfrey?

Postby oneforship » Mon Jun 27, 2011 7:15 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
oneforship wrote:Does anyone have any insight as to whether Susman hires summers for both its Houston and Dallas offices, or just Houston?


I've heard of a summer cropping up at their other offices from time to time, but realistically their small summer program is based out of Houston.


Thanks. I want to make sure I don't ask for Dallas if they aren't hiring there, so I'll probably play it safe and just ask for Houston.

Anonymous User
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Re: What's the low down on Susman Godfrey?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 27, 2011 8:59 pm

Best trial firm with a summer program in the country.

Make ridiculous money (gross close to $300k first year when all bonuses, including signing, are factored in ($160k salary, $5k signing, $5k vacation, $50k clerkship, $30-$100k year end, depending on the firms results...meaning $250-$320k). Work ridiculous hours. However, you'll be thrown into the fire from day one. Would you rather bill 2000 doing a memo on a tiny part of an ancillary issue, or bill 2500 taking and defending depos, arguing motions, and helping run strategy on the case?

All partners bring in $1m+ salary. This does not include eat-what-you-kill approach to contingency cases. Partnership after 6 years.

Limited their summer program last year and the year before. First times they've done that. They're hiring, but they may move to strictly post-clerkship hiring and get rid of the summer program. If you go to a good school and have a good personality, getting a callback is realistic. Getting an offer is another story. Apply to Houston. It's bigger. You can move offices later.

Fantastic firm and where I'd be if I had a choice, but it's certainly not for everyone. You have to know you want to be a trial lawyer.




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