Firms to avoid

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TheFriendlyBarber
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Re: Firms to avoid

Postby TheFriendlyBarber » Tue Jul 12, 2011 1:45 am

Renzo wrote:
TheFriendlyBarber wrote:So, in other words, the ship be sinking?


No, it really seems to work for them. They continue to draw in megarainmakers with big business portfolios. You just don't want to be one of those partners who suddenly finds that all his mega-cases settled, or his industry died, or his big client merged and went with another firm. They'll slit your throat and sell your corpse to science, rather than take a smaller paycheck.


So, in other words, the ship be sinking?

Aston2412
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Re: Firms to avoid

Postby Aston2412 » Tue Jul 12, 2011 2:12 am

Anyone know how the Boston firms hold up?

Specifically Ropes, Nixon Peabody, Choate Hall and the Foleys (Folies?)?

Anonymous User
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Re: Firms to avoid

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 12, 2011 8:47 am

Kirkland is a meritocracy. Associates are rewarded for their good and hard work in the form of higher compensation and more responsibilities. This tends to breed a different attitude among associates than at other firms. In my experience, my classmates at K&E have been nothing but friendly, cordial, and amazing people. We never compete with each other for work (there's more than enough to go around), and there are so many partners available that really you're just cultivating relationships with different people. In terms of bonuses, associates are ranked, but only within broad categories (i.e., top of class, above class, with class, and below class). It doesn't really lead to competitiveness because it's rare for associates to earn "above class" (and maybe one will get "top of class") and it's also rare for associates to receive "below class" (that's basically when you should start looking for another job anyways). Moreover, typically, if you do hard work and are competent, making non-equity partner is pretty much automatic--it's not a zero-sum game. It's the jump to equity that almost no one makes. But by the time you're in the running for that, your associate class is typically down to two or three superstars who are left. And yes, that might be competitive, but it would be similarly competitive for any senior associate at any other firm in the running for partnership.

That said, don't confuse "friendly" with "lifestyle firm." K&E is work hard, play hard. And you can expect to work very, very hard.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Tue Jul 12, 2011 8:54 am, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous User
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Re: Firms to avoid

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 12, 2011 8:53 am

rayiner wrote:Cravath is in a decline in the sense it's now clearly second to wlrk and a SullCrom peer, as opposed to arguably #1 as it used to be. That has more to do with the rise of wlrk and s&c's insanely good execution this decade (propped up by the GS relationship) then a weakening of the fundamentals at Cravath.


Cravath also made some very short-sighted decisions in the wake of the financial crisis. The problem is that the Cravath model doesn't allow for partner-track laterals. Thus, if attrition increases or if you have layoffs, it's hard to fill in gaps, and you can't just bump up junior associates in terms of seniority. Cravath not only laid off a bunch of associates, but when the economy improved and the lateral market/non-law-firm job market heated up, a lot of associates jumped ship. They jumped ship because, after the layoffs and the improved economy, they found themselves overworked but not compensated accordingly.

So the problem is that the firm has talent gaps, has no way of really filling them, has terrible morale because no one is making partner (yeah, people still make partner at V5s), and is making short-sighted moves that are pushing them further down. I don't know of things will change. But in my view, Cravath is solidly inferior to S&C. In fact, I would take almost any other V10 except Skadden, Weil, and maybe Covington above Cravath.

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quakeroats
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Re: Firms to avoid

Postby quakeroats » Tue Jul 12, 2011 8:56 am

Anonymous User wrote: In fact, I would take almost any other V10 except Skadden, Weil, and maybe Covington above Cravath.


Why's that?

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quakeroats
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Re: Firms to avoid

Postby quakeroats » Tue Jul 12, 2011 8:58 am

Anonymous User wrote:The problem is that the Cravath model doesn't allow for partner-track laterals.


http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2011/07/06/ ... st-lawyer/

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Re: Firms to avoid

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 12, 2011 9:07 am

quakeroats wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:The problem is that the Cravath model doesn't allow for partner-track laterals.


http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2011/07/06/ ... st-lawyer/


This decision is enormous, enormous news for Cravath. They've probably done it like 3 times ever, and once was recently a BK guy from Skadden at the height of the crisis. That anonymous poster also meant partner-track laterals, i.e. mid-level and senior associates, which Cravath at least claims to not hire at all, rather than partner laterals (who they also claim to never hire). It's actually a point the firm tries to sell: the only way in is through the front door, they boast about not hiring laterals.

As for why that anon said (s)he wouldn't work for Cravath over most other V10s, I can provide some context. Cravath has a great reputation and interesting, professional people. But it also has a well deserved reputation for working its associates more consistently and in a more demanding fashion than basically every firm other than Wachtell. It likely at one point enjoyed a reputation that exceeded that of places like S&C, DPW, STB, Cleary, etc. but that's not true any more. It's probably not worse, but signing up to work there basically guarantees you longer hours. While there are going to be associates at every other V10 who pull hours longer than attorneys at Cravath, it's not quite as institutionalized.

And the point about mistakes during the crisis is pretty on point. A partner there has admitted as much to me in person. Cravath saw its PPP fall 24% or so in one year. Still a profitable firm, still a prestigious firm, still a place that will launch incredible careers and train talented lawyers: but there's almost nothing you can point to that would make it a better choice than another V10ish NYC firm, unless you found it a particularly strong fit personality wise.

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quakeroats
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Re: Firms to avoid

Postby quakeroats » Tue Jul 12, 2011 9:12 am

Anonymous User wrote:As for why that anon said (s)he wouldn't work for Cravath over most other V10s, I can provide some context. Cravath has a great reputation and interesting, professional people. But it also has a well deserved reputation for working its associates more consistently and in a more demanding fashion than basically every firm other than Wachtell. It likely at one point enjoyed a reputation that exceeded that of places like S&C, DPW, STB, Cleary, etc. but that's not true any more. It's probably not worse, but signing up to work there basically guarantees you longer hours. While there are going to be associates at every other V10 who pull hours longer than attorneys at Cravath, it's not quite as institutionalized.


He excluded Skadden, Weil and Covington. Any idea why?

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Re: Firms to avoid

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 12, 2011 9:16 am

quakeroats wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:As for why that anon said (s)he wouldn't work for Cravath over most other V10s, I can provide some context. Cravath has a great reputation and interesting, professional people. But it also has a well deserved reputation for working its associates more consistently and in a more demanding fashion than basically every firm other than Wachtell. It likely at one point enjoyed a reputation that exceeded that of places like S&C, DPW, STB, Cleary, etc. but that's not true any more. It's probably not worse, but signing up to work there basically guarantees you longer hours. While there are going to be associates at every other V10 who pull hours longer than attorneys at Cravath, it's not quite as institutionalized.


He excluded Skadden, Weil and Covington. Any idea why?


Skadden is inconsistent, it's about 4-5 times bigger than the other V10 names. You could get lost there and not all of their practice areas are top-notch the way more narrowly focused firms are. Put another way, it's probably a better firm than it is firm to start your career.

Weil has had a lot of issues lately and is struggling. Its practice groups taken as a whole also look slightly weaker than many other V10 firms.

Covington is just a different firm. Its business model is substantially less profitable than the others, its presence in NYC is nearly de minimis, etc. It doesn't surprise me that anybody considering a V10 NYC job wouldn't spend much time looking at Covington.

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sunynp
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Re: Firms to avoid

Postby sunynp » Tue Jul 12, 2011 9:18 am

I am interested in Weil information too.

seriouslyinformative
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Re: Firms to avoid

Postby seriouslyinformative » Tue Jul 12, 2011 9:24 am

sunynp wrote:I am interested in Weil information too.


Class of 2011 is starting in January. 'Nuff said.

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Re: Firms to avoid

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 12, 2011 9:26 am

Anonymous User wrote:Covington is just a different firm. Its business model is substantially less profitable than the others, its presence in NYC is nearly de minimis, etc. It doesn't surprise me that anybody considering a V10 NYC job wouldn't spend much time looking at Covington.

That would be their loss then. Covington cares about its reputation and avoided the mass layoffs or no-offers other firms pulled during the downturn. They're less leveraged which means higher chances of making partner if you make it through the selection process. Their name brings in high-end clientele and they're trying to gradually grow their NYC presence which means more job opportunities for those getting in now.

The political culture there is too liberal for my tastes but it's a great place for the typical NYC type if they can actually get a job there.

seriouslyinformative
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Re: Firms to avoid

Postby seriouslyinformative » Tue Jul 12, 2011 9:32 am

Covington cares about its reputation and avoided the mass layoffs or no-offers other firms pulled during the downturn.


(a) I know former Covington associates who were laid off.

(b) They instituted salary freezes.

(c) They basically lowballed associates on bonuses.

(d) The institutional identity is not as strong as people think it is. The CA office, for instance, is just a bunch of Heller Ehrman refugees. The DC office now has a bunch of Howrey refugees.


Anyway, I'm not gonna debate whether Covington is or is not a good place. I'm just saying that some people revere it for mysterious reasons. And I do think the firm is more stable than most places simply because of its lack of aggressiveness. While you won't be highly rewarded in a good economy at Covington, neither will you be as harshly punished in a bad economy.

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beachbum
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Re: Firms to avoid

Postby beachbum » Tue Jul 12, 2011 10:15 am

Does anyone have info about the larger St. Louis firms? Or general info about firms like Bryan Cave, Thompson Coburn, Armstrong Teasdale, Husch Blackwell, et al?

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Re: Firms to avoid

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 12, 2011 10:29 am

Also wondering if we can expand this into Atlanta firms
I know K&S has the sweatshop reputation, but beyond that...?

timbs4339
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Re: Firms to avoid

Postby timbs4339 » Tue Jul 12, 2011 10:34 am

Aston2412 wrote:Anyone know how the Boston firms hold up?

Specifically Ropes, Nixon Peabody, Choate Hall and the Foleys (Folies?)?


Watch out for Nixon.

Aston2412
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Re: Firms to avoid

Postby Aston2412 » Tue Jul 12, 2011 10:54 am

timbs4339 wrote:
Aston2412 wrote:Anyone know how the Boston firms hold up?

Specifically Ropes, Nixon Peabody, Choate Hall and the Foleys (Folies?)?


Watch out for Nixon.


Specifics?

columbia86
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Re: Firms to avoid

Postby columbia86 » Tue Jul 12, 2011 10:57 am

Not to diverge from the topic at hand, but anyone care to identify the most desirable firms in each major market. Rationale should go beyond surface analysis (rankings) and take into consideration the variables that differ from firm to firm.

Selfishly, an emphasis on Chicago would be appreciated.

Oban
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Re: Firms to avoid

Postby Oban » Tue Jul 12, 2011 11:24 am

beachbum wrote:Does anyone have info about the larger St. Louis firms? Or general info about firms like Bryan Cave, Thompson Coburn, Armstrong Teasdale, Husch Blackwell, et al?


Husch kind of has the "sweatshop" reputation in St. Louis big law, but they probably all are like that. I've also heard stories about rude partners and such, again something probably common at a lot of firms. Thompson Coburn seems to have slashed hiring recently.

I don't know/haven't heard much about the other firms.

oneforship
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Re: Firms to avoid

Postby oneforship » Tue Jul 12, 2011 11:26 am

columbia86 wrote:Not to diverge from the topic at hand, but anyone care to identify the most desirable firms in each major market. Rationale should go beyond surface analysis (rankings) and take into consideration the variables that differ from firm to firm.

Selfishly, an emphasis on Chicago would be appreciated.


You should go ahead and start a new thread for this query, so it doesn't get mixed up with the firms to avoid conversation.

I'm not sure I have any good answers for you, but am interested in what others have to say.

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rayiner
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Re: Firms to avoid

Postby rayiner » Tue Jul 12, 2011 12:08 pm

columbia86 wrote:Not to diverge from the topic at hand, but anyone care to identify the most desirable firms in each major market. Rationale should go beyond surface analysis (rankings) and take into consideration the variables that differ from firm to firm.

Selfishly, an emphasis on Chicago would be appreciated.


In Chicago: Kirkland. They're the only ones that are really doing well right now in that market. People love Sidley for some reason, but I don't see the magic, and they did some epic deferrals.
Last edited by rayiner on Tue Jul 12, 2011 12:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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bjsesq
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Re: Firms to avoid

Postby bjsesq » Tue Jul 12, 2011 12:09 pm

rayiner wrote:
columbia86 wrote:Not to diverge from the topic at hand, but anyone care to identify the most desirable firms in each major market. Rationale should go beyond surface analysis (rankings) and take into consideration the variables that differ from firm to firm.

Selfishly, an emphasis on Chicago would be appreciated.


In Chicago: Kirkland. They're the only ones that are really doing well right now in that market.


Sidley's uptick in hiring indicates they should be doing at least decent, amirite?

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rayiner
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Re: Firms to avoid

Postby rayiner » Tue Jul 12, 2011 12:14 pm

bjsesq wrote:
rayiner wrote:
columbia86 wrote:Not to diverge from the topic at hand, but anyone care to identify the most desirable firms in each major market. Rationale should go beyond surface analysis (rankings) and take into consideration the variables that differ from firm to firm.

Selfishly, an emphasis on Chicago would be appreciated.


In Chicago: Kirkland. They're the only ones that are really doing well right now in that market.


Sidley's uptick in hiring indicates they should be doing at least decent, amirite?


I think they're muddling along just fine, and I wouldn't worry about something Heller-like happening at Sidley. Just given the option, I have no idea why anyone would choose Sidley over Kirkland.

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quakeroats
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Re: Firms to avoid

Postby quakeroats » Tue Jul 12, 2011 12:16 pm

rayiner wrote:
columbia86 wrote:Not to diverge from the topic at hand, but anyone care to identify the most desirable firms in each major market. Rationale should go beyond surface analysis (rankings) and take into consideration the variables that differ from firm to firm.

Selfishly, an emphasis on Chicago would be appreciated.


In Chicago: Kirkland. They're the only ones that are really doing well right now in that market. People love Sidley for some reason, but I don't see the magic, and they did some epic deferrals.


They support the Chicago Symphony (Douglas is on the board too). Duh.

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Re: Firms to avoid

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 12, 2011 6:34 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Also wondering if we can expand this into Atlanta firms
I know K&S has the sweatshop reputation, but beyond that...?


Also interested in this...




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