Deciding on a firm

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quakeroats
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Re: Deciding on a firm

Postby quakeroats » Sun Aug 28, 2011 4:09 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
quakeroats wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:What would all of you crack firm deciders think about choosing between Gibson LA and Cleary DC?


What do you want to do with your life?


For your purposes, let's say maximize exit options.


Where, of what kind?

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Re: Deciding on a firm

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 28, 2011 4:14 pm

quakeroats wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
quakeroats wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:What would all of you crack firm deciders think about choosing between Gibson LA and Cleary DC?


What do you want to do with your life?


For your purposes, let's say maximize exit options.


Where, of what kind?


Not sure, exactly.

I like antitrust, not sure it's exactly what I want to do. Love the international flavor/opportunities of Cleary.

strawboy1230
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Re: Deciding on a firm

Postby strawboy1230 » Sun Aug 28, 2011 4:55 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
quakeroats wrote:Whatever you do, ignore Vault rank.


Not RVP, but because the firms in the former group have terrible, demoralizing cultures/lifestyles (even for NYC biglaw) and don't do better/higher caliber work than the firms in the latter group.


The "terrible, demoralizing culture" at Cravath, S&C is highly overplayed. I have a number of friends who summered at S&C, and they reported it was a reasonably nice place to work. And I don't think Cravath ever had a reptuation for a "terrible" culture. They have a reptuation for working associates somewhat more, but it's more "polite, if a bit cold" then "partners yelling at your face."


Haha-- so have you asked them how it's like when they actually work there full time? I've heard the same from my friend who paralegals at S&C. She said they wine and dine the summers like crazy, but once they get there in the fall they're treated like crap. One girl broke down crying for no reason because of it.

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wiseowl
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Re: Deciding on a firm

Postby wiseowl » Sun Aug 28, 2011 5:24 pm

The petulance in this thread is precious.

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Re: Deciding on a firm

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 28, 2011 5:28 pm

G. T. L. Rev. wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
quakeroats wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:What would all of you crack firm deciders think about choosing between Gibson LA and Cleary DC?


What do you want to do with your life?


For your purposes, let's say maximize exit options.

This is a total cop-out, lazy answer. Exit options to what?? The requirements to exit into, say, government service, are entirely different than those needed to exit into in-house counsel at a large corporation.

If "exit options" is the best you can muster when asked what you want to do with your life, you should probably step back and take a few days to really rethink the question. But I suspect you can do better than "exit options." So if you want decent advice, give a decent answer to the question quakeroats asked. Otherwise, TLS really cannot offer you any help.

Edit: to the extent you are drawn to Cleary's "international flavor," you need to make sure you sould get that flavor in the specific office you are looking at. It very well may be the case that all the flavor you want lies elsewhere within the firm.


LOL. I think you might spend a little too much time here.

My answer was intentionally vague so as to solicit people's general impressions of the two firms/offices, specifically those who have had contact with them. That's why I said "for your purposes..." that way I could cast a WIDE net for opinions. But thanks for the pep talk!

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rayiner
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Re: Deciding on a firm

Postby rayiner » Sun Aug 28, 2011 6:04 pm

strawboy1230 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
quakeroats wrote:Whatever you do, ignore Vault rank.


Not RVP, but because the firms in the former group have terrible, demoralizing cultures/lifestyles (even for NYC biglaw) and don't do better/higher caliber work than the firms in the latter group.


The "terrible, demoralizing culture" at Cravath, S&C is highly overplayed. I have a number of friends who summered at S&C, and they reported it was a reasonably nice place to work. And I don't think Cravath ever had a reptuation for a "terrible" culture. They have a reptuation for working associates somewhat more, but it's more "polite, if a bit cold" then "partners yelling at your face."


Haha-- so have you asked them how it's like when they actually work there full time? I've heard the same from my friend who paralegals at S&C. She said they wine and dine the summers like crazy, but once they get there in the fall they're treated like crap. One girl broke down crying for no reason because of it.


Because summers are in no position to see what goes on in the rest of the firm? It's not like they can keep a firewall between you and the junior associates for the entire 12 weeks at the firm...

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drylo
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Re: Deciding on a firm

Postby drylo » Mon Aug 29, 2011 12:56 am

Anonymous User wrote:Ask about the yield from the prior year's summer class. Knowing that about my 2L firm would have changed where I ultimately accepted an offer. I only asked about the offer rate and knowing that approximately 14/15 SAs got offers made me feel better.

It wasn't until I started with the firm that I found out that in that summer class, 3-4 decided not to return to the firm. In addition, roughly half of the second year attorneys had already left. Those are huge red flags, but I never thought to ask about those things. Those numbers can, in a snapshot, give an idea of the culture of the firm in a way that makes it hard for the firm to BS about how wonderful it is. 2Ls and junior associates in this economy don't just choose to not return to a place unless it's incredibly toxic.


I want to offer another perspective on this. You should at least find out why 2L SAs didn't come back (if they didn't) before you judge the firm. Just because somebody else made a different decision does not mean that a firm is a bad place. This is particularly true when people split summers and obviously have to turn one firm down.

johndhi
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Re: Deciding on a firm

Postby johndhi » Sat Sep 03, 2011 9:03 pm

G. T. L. Rev. wrote:My suggestion would be to give a lot of thought to the kinds of things that will shape your first year or so at the firm. Obviously, there are other factors that matter, but these are probably among the most important. So what are these factors?

- You do not even get to be an associate if you are no-offered or cold-offered. You need to be polite and professional, but you absolutely must get a sense of the firm's yield for next summer (do not accept if they are oversold); of the firm's recent offer rates; and of their expectation for offer rates going forward.

- If you want to clerk, you need to get a firm statement from the firm on its clerkship policy. This is particularly true if you are thinking about pursuing (or think you might be forced into pursuing, due to a two-year-out clerkship offer) the increasingly common work --> clerk --> work path.

- Does the firm pay a bar stipend? If so, how much? Some firms offer salary advances instead, which strikes me as cheap and annoying. Sure, bar stipends are a small deal, but if you like two firms equally, and one offers a 10k bar stipend while the other offers a 5k salary advance, that's a difference of $15k in compensation right off the bat. This may seem like a small issue now, but it is a big one the summer after you graduate.

- Start dates for associates this fall and in recent years: when and what degree of flexibility? If people in recent years have been deferred to timbuktu, will there be any knock-on effect on the start date for your class?

- Length of summer program: shorter = less 2L $$ for you, and probably an indication of lesser firm health, as I would bet a huge sum of money that SA program length positively correlates with firm health overall.

- Practice group decisions: when SAs get offers, are they from the firm as a whole or from a particular practice group? If the former, how much choice do people get in which group they will be joining? And for firms that let new associates move around a little, how much time is there to do so before they must choose? Also consider how much room there is likely to be in your most desired groups -- if you want to join a group that is very small at Firm A but very large at Firm B, it is more likely there will be room for you at B when you start. Several of my law school classmates were forced into practice areas they were either unfamiliar with or did not want due to space/demand considerations.

- Is the firm going to require you to attend a glorified babysitting program (aka training), a'la Skadden and others? Maybe you want that training, but I certainly would not. Do any of the firm's clients refuse to pay for first years? If so, how many? If you go back for a second visit, see what % of the time first and second years spend on doc review/due diligence. Heck, see if the firm will put you in a room with many juniors at all. If it does not, that's a tell right there. It should come as no surprise that the answers to these questions could have a pretty significant impact on your life as a junior associate.

- Ask the open-ended question of a partner: is there anything else you should know about the firm's plans for its summer program or new associate hiring/training/utilization potential SAs should know? In recent years, several firms have announced big changes to their summer programs or first-year associate training after it was too late for anyone to take the changes into account. Obviously there is no estoppel if they tell you no changes are coming up, but you never know, a partner might mention something you are not aware of/that is not public yet.

- Consider going around the recruiting people and cold-contacting alumni from your school who are working as junior associates at the firm. Those conversations could reveal a lot more than you might think, and the people you reach this way might be far more candid than people you reach through the recruiting office.


I don't know if this against the rules, but I'm drafting some questions for my offers right now and I find this post highly helpful. So thanks G.T.L. and I hope others in the same position consider taking a look; some stuff I didn't think about.

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snailio
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Re: Deciding on a firm

Postby snailio » Sat Sep 03, 2011 10:26 pm

I want to offer another perspective on this. You should at least find out why 2L SAs didn't come back (if they didn't) before you judge the firm. Just because somebody else made a different decision does not mean that a firm is a bad place. This is particularly true when people split summers and obviously have to turn one firm down.



Obviously a High LSAT player here... 8)

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TatteredDignity
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Re: Deciding on a firm

Postby TatteredDignity » Sun Sep 04, 2011 12:20 am

Tag.

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drylo
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Re: Deciding on a firm

Postby drylo » Tue Sep 06, 2011 2:17 pm

snailio wrote:
I want to offer another perspective on this. You should at least find out why 2L SAs didn't come back (if they didn't) before you judge the firm. Just because somebody else made a different decision does not mean that a firm is a bad place. This is particularly true when people split summers and obviously have to turn one firm down.



Obviously a High LSAT player here... 8)


180, bro.

Anonymous User
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Re: Deciding on a firm

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 07, 2011 4:53 am

terribleperson wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Quality of life and reasonable face time expectations are important to me. I'd like to be able to leave the office by 6:30 at least a few days a week and then work from home the rest of the night. Are there any sources other than Chambers Associate or Vault to find out which of the firms I have callbacks with are most likely to be a good fit for this?


http://www.top-law-schools.com/law-stud ... icles.html


This is basically what I want in a firm too-the tls articles basically summarize chambers and atl careers- is there anywhere else to get a more accurate sense of what firms are best for this?

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Re: Deciding on a firm

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 07, 2011 9:58 am

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Last edited by Anonymous User on Wed Sep 07, 2011 9:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

itbdvorm
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Re: Deciding on a firm

Postby itbdvorm » Wed Sep 07, 2011 10:18 am

rayiner wrote:Because summers are in no position to see what goes on in the rest of the firm? It's not like they can keep a firewall between you and the junior associates for the entire 12 weeks at the firm...


They can certainly try (especially at a place as big as S&C, where they can do a reasonably good job at hiding some of the miserable folks). Every law firm's a "nice place to work" when you're being wined and dined and leaving at 6:30.

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Re: Deciding on a firm

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 07, 2011 11:04 am

So say you choose a lower ranked firm, even a satellite office, over a V15 for lifestyle. Transactional work. Is this risking a dead-end career path 7-10 years down the line? Where do associates in the higher V100's wind up later in their careers?

itbdvorm
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Re: Deciding on a firm

Postby itbdvorm » Wed Sep 07, 2011 11:11 am

Anonymous User wrote:So say you choose a lower ranked firm, even a satellite office, over a V15 for lifestyle. Transactional work. Is this risking a dead-end career path 7-10 years down the line? Where do associates in the higher V100's wind up later in their careers?


I'm honestly not sure about the second part, but choosing ANY firm in the V100 for "lifestyle" is frankly silly. You're going to be far happier in the long run choosing the "better" firm (Vault, Chambers, etc.) and spending your first few years there than you will going to a "worse" firm and expecting better hours, etc. They won't be appreciably better and the long-term exit options are substantially worse.

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Re: Deciding on a firm

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 07, 2011 11:19 am

itbdvorm wrote:
rayiner wrote:Because summers are in no position to see what goes on in the rest of the firm? It's not like they can keep a firewall between you and the junior associates for the entire 12 weeks at the firm...


They can certainly try (especially at a place as big as S&C, where they can do a reasonably good job at hiding some of the miserable folks). Every law firm's a "nice place to work" when you're being wined and dined and leaving at 6:30.


Have you been through a summer program ITE? SA lunches twice a week are nice, but the overall gist of the summer is more "assignment drops on your desk Friday afternoon" than "being wined and dined." Plus, since you get to invite random associates you meet to SA lunches, it's not that hard to get a feel for a good cross-section of the folks, at least the ones on your floor.

itbdvorm
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Re: Deciding on a firm

Postby itbdvorm » Wed Sep 07, 2011 1:17 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
itbdvorm wrote:
rayiner wrote:Because summers are in no position to see what goes on in the rest of the firm? It's not like they can keep a firewall between you and the junior associates for the entire 12 weeks at the firm...


They can certainly try (especially at a place as big as S&C, where they can do a reasonably good job at hiding some of the miserable folks). Every law firm's a "nice place to work" when you're being wined and dined and leaving at 6:30.


Have you been through a summer program ITE? SA lunches twice a week are nice, but the overall gist of the summer is more "assignment drops on your desk Friday afternoon" than "being wined and dined." Plus, since you get to invite random associates you meet to SA lunches, it's not that hard to get a feel for a good cross-section of the folks, at least the ones on your floor.


OK, but the "random associates you meet" and want to invite to lunches aren't the miserable psychopaths. They're the few exceptions.

As a senior associate I can tell you with a pretty high degree of confidence that it's relatively difficult to see behind the curtain as a summer. not impossible, just difficult.

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Re: Deciding on a firm

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 08, 2011 11:29 am

Anonymous User wrote:
itbdvorm wrote:
rayiner wrote:Because summers are in no position to see what goes on in the rest of the firm? It's not like they can keep a firewall between you and the junior associates for the entire 12 weeks at the firm...


They can certainly try (especially at a place as big as S&C, where they can do a reasonably good job at hiding some of the miserable folks). Every law firm's a "nice place to work" when you're being wined and dined and leaving at 6:30.


Have you been through a summer program ITE? SA lunches twice a week are nice, but the overall gist of the summer is more "assignment drops on your desk Friday afternoon" than "being wined and dined." Plus, since you get to invite random associates you meet to SA lunches, it's not that hard to get a feel for a good cross-section of the folks, at least the ones on your floor.


Your firm/summer program sounds miserable.

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Re: Deciding on a firm

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 08, 2011 6:34 pm

.

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Re: Deciding on a firm

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 10, 2011 12:16 am

itbdvorm wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:So say you choose a lower ranked firm, even a satellite office, over a V15 for lifestyle. Transactional work. Is this risking a dead-end career path 7-10 years down the line? Where do associates in the higher V100's wind up later in their careers?


I'm honestly not sure about the second part, but choosing ANY firm in the V100 for "lifestyle" is frankly silly. You're going to be far happier in the long run choosing the "better" firm (Vault, Chambers, etc.) and spending your first few years there than you will going to a "worse" firm and expecting better hours, etc. They won't be appreciably better and the long-term exit options are substantially worse.


Very interesting. What do you think of taking a V25 over a V10, where the V25 argues that the culture is nicer/more collaborative, that they invest in associates for the long haul (as potential partner material), and that they allow greater flexibility before choosing a practice area, etc.? I know many firms claim these characteristics, but based on the limited amount I've seen and heard, there does to be an edge for the V25 over the V10 in these regards.

Edit: The V25 is NOT Ropes, both firms are NYC firms, and the V25 is not more selective than the V10, though the gap may be smaller than many think. The V25 may also be in better business shape than the V10.

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Re: Deciding on a firm

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 10, 2011 1:26 am

Anonymous User wrote:
itbdvorm wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:So say you choose a lower ranked firm, even a satellite office, over a V15 for lifestyle. Transactional work. Is this risking a dead-end career path 7-10 years down the line? Where do associates in the higher V100's wind up later in their careers?


I'm honestly not sure about the second part, but choosing ANY firm in the V100 for "lifestyle" is frankly silly. You're going to be far happier in the long run choosing the "better" firm (Vault, Chambers, etc.) and spending your first few years there than you will going to a "worse" firm and expecting better hours, etc. They won't be appreciably better and the long-term exit options are substantially worse.


Very interesting. What do you think of taking a V25 over a V10, where the V25 argues that the culture is nicer/more collaborative, that they invest in associates for the long haul (as potential partner material), and that they allow greater flexibility before choosing a practice area, etc.? I know many firms claim these characteristics, but based on the limited amount I've seen and heard, there does to be an edge for the V25 over the V10 in these regards.

Edit: The V25 is NOT Ropes, both firms are NYC firms, and the V25 is not more selective than the V10, though the gap may be smaller than many think. The V25 may also be in better business shape than the V10.


Depends on the V10 and the V25. You wouldn't be silly to take Gibson over Weil, for example.

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Re: Deciding on a firm

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 10, 2011 10:19 am

Re: picking firms for exit career options
Would you pick a V30 over a V5 because the V30 has the client relations that will lead to exit opportunities? Para examplar, a proskauer for sports, or a schulte for hedge funds vs a V5 that doesn't necessarily have the top top clients. Would you pick the lower ranked firm in a situation like that? Or do you go for the best name on your resume and try to network? Assume that the fit/culture is the same

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5ky
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Re: Deciding on a firm

Postby 5ky » Sat Sep 10, 2011 10:32 am

Anonymous User wrote:Re: picking firms for exit career options
Would you pick a V30 over a V5 because the V30 has the client relations that will lead to exit opportunities? Para examplar, a proskauer for sports, or a schulte for hedge funds vs a V5 that doesn't necessarily have the top top clients. Would you pick the lower ranked firm in a situation like that? Or do you go for the best name on your resume and try to network? Assume that the fit/culture is the same


Others might disagree, but personally, I think this is fine.

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Re: Deciding on a firm

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 10, 2011 11:59 am

Dilemma: All other things being equal, I can't seem to decide whether a small-moderate difference in culture/fit should or should not outweigh a strong prestige factor.

V5: Prestige factor, nice people (but hard to know if it's a real personality match), atmosphere is collaborative but more "everyone for himself"

V30-40: Great people (definitely feels like more of a personality match; people seem to really care about each other), more collaborative environment, smaller office size

I imagine if I went with the V5 and decided it wasn't the right place after a couple of years, that I might have the opportunity to lateral to the V30-40. BUT is it worth having the brand name and experience on the resume if I might want to end up at the other firm (where people care more about each other) down the road, rather than just starting there in the first place? It seems so hard to know how much each of these factors should weigh in to the decision. Thoughts?




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