Deciding on a firm

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Re: Deciding on a firm

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 10, 2011 12:12 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
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.


Thanks, I agree, but places like Gibson, Debevoise, and Quinn are often regarded in a way that outstrips their rankings, and many people could rationally take them over V10s. In my case, say this V25 is actually regarded as a V25-ish place, the V10 is one of the least selective of the V10, but the V10 is still regarded as "better" or more selective than the V25 by pretty much everyone I've talked to.

I should also add that I may not be doing transactional work at either place, which makes rankings less relevant in general (though the V10 is still somewhat better regarded within litigation than the V25), but that I do care about exit opportunities in ~3 years, which may make the name brand matter slightly more.

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Re: Deciding on a firm

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 10, 2011 12:37 pm

Practice group-related dilemma:

Firm 1: LOVE the people and the office culture, but the firm is not the strongest in the practice area I am ~75% sure I will enjoy most. However, the firm is looking to expand the practice group (granted, they could have simply told me that), and is superb in just about everything else. The firm also has a rotational program that would let me explore different career paths.
Firm 2: Not as crazy about the people/culture, but the firm is arguably tops in my likely practice group. The firm is known to work its associates very hard, but that is a testament to the amount of work the firm has coming in.

Both firms are very well respected and are located in my preferred market(s), so "prestige" and exit options are non-issues (excluding practice group-related prestige...is that a thing?). Any thoughts about how one could/should go about choosing?

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Re: Deciding on a firm

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 10, 2011 12:52 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Practice group-related dilemma:

Firm 1: LOVE the people and the office culture, but the firm is not the strongest in the practice area I am ~75% sure I will enjoy most. However, the firm is looking to expand the practice group (granted, they could have simply told me that), and is superb in just about everything else. The firm also has a rotational program that would let me explore different career paths.
Firm 2: Not as crazy about the people/culture, but the firm is arguably tops in my likely practice group. The firm is known to work its associates very hard, but that is a testament to the amount of work the firm has coming in.

Both firms are very well respected and are located in my preferred market(s), so "prestige" and exit options are non-issues (excluding practice group-related prestige...is that a thing?). Any thoughts about how one could/should go about choosing?


I think its really hard to figure out firm culture/people before you work there, so I generally would go with Firm 2. Remember that the people u meet are self selecting generally...

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Re: Deciding on a firm

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 10, 2011 2:55 pm

To address some of the previous posts re: practice area together...

In general, I don't think it's a great idea to pick firms based on practice areas within corporate unless you have a very specific background and specific career goals (IP, environmental, etc). First of all, you never know what you'll end up enjoying after your SA. As a 2L you don't know what certain practices really entail. Derivatives might sound interesting, but you don't know what legal work for derivatives entails. Second, it can cause you to specialize earlier than you should. I think there is a lot of value in being exposed to a number of different practice areas before specializing. I think a lot of the value of the V5 firms is that their practices are solid pretty much across the board, and they all let you rotate to some extent to get some experience in various areas.

Also beware of practice groups that are "expanding." Often such practice groups often arise to service one of the main practice groups at the firm, and "expanding" means shifting to drumming up their own business. This can leave you with very narrow training, since you see the same slice of a bunch of different deals, and can often be diligence heavy. If the group in question doesn't end up building its own client base, you'll work there for a few years and not get the opportunity to run your own deals. And in bad economies, such expansion plans can quickly be put to a halt. The potential upside of such practice groups is also limited. As mentioned, you might not get any more substantive experience that way. You might think you have better partnership prospects, but who knows if the group will still be expanding its partnership base 8-9 years from now when you're up for partnership. It does happen --- the folks that got in as juniors at Cravath when it started its bankruptcy practice with Richard Levin will probably have great careers, because the partner has the name to bring in business, and Cravath doesn't take laterals so if the group grows partners will have to be promoted from within. However, most firms are perfectly happy with laterals. If they need a partner in 2 years, they'll happily take a 6-th year lateral with experience in that area rather than wait for their juniors to be up for partnership.

I think the name of the game for juniors should be getting a wide base of experience and a name on your resume that allows you to take advantage of opportunities when you're well-placed to capitalize on them. 2L SA's are not placed to capitalize on opportunities. An out-of-town firm opening up a NYC corporate practice and looking to expand it is an opportunity for a 6th-year lateral with a broad base of corporate experience. It's a risk for a 2L SA that won't be up for partnership for nearly a decade.

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Re: Deciding on a firm

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 10, 2011 6:35 pm

Anonymous User wrote:To address some of the previous posts re: practice area together...

Does most of this advice apply to litigation as well? i.e. if a student is pretty sure (s)he wants to be an IP, antitrust, etc. litigator, shouldn't (s)he heavily consider the strength of the firm's depth in these practice areas? And how accurate is Chambers Associate (the "bands")?

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Re: Deciding on a firm

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 11, 2011 12:23 am

Anonymous User wrote: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?


Thoughts?

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Re: Deciding on a firm

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 11, 2011 10:30 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote: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?


Thoughts?


Curious to hear about this too, although my choice is V20 vs. V75-ish. V20 is all around pretty good, but V-75 is really good in my preferred practice area and kind of mediocre everywhere else.

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Re: Deciding on a firm

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 11, 2011 4:15 pm

how to inform a firm that you have an offer? phone or email?

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Re: Deciding on a firm

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 11, 2011 4:19 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote: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?


Thoughts?


Your workplace friends are not your real friends. Never forget this, no matter where you go. You can be civil to each other, but your interests are never fully aligned.

Anonymous User
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Re: Deciding on a firm

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 11, 2011 5:19 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote: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?


Thoughts?


Your workplace friends are not your real friends. Never forget this, no matter where you go. You can be civil to each other, but your interests are never fully aligned.


That sounds cynical. So you think the personality/fit is unimportant?

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rayiner
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Re: Deciding on a firm

Postby rayiner » Sun Sep 11, 2011 5:35 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Your workplace friends are not your real friends. Never forget this, no matter where you go. You can be civil to each other, but your interests are never fully aligned.


That sounds cynical. So you think the personality/fit is unimportant?


Not at all. I think personality/fit is very important. You want to find an office where people are expected to be civil and friendly towards each other, that doesn't condone sociopaths. But if you think there is a difference between a place where people are merely friendly towards their coworkers, and one where "people seem to really care about each other," then you're being naive. At the end of the day you're at a place of business.

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Re: Deciding on a firm

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 11, 2011 5:46 pm

rayiner wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Your workplace friends are not your real friends. Never forget this, no matter where you go. You can be civil to each other, but your interests are never fully aligned.


That sounds cynical. So you think the personality/fit is unimportant?


Not at all. I think personality/fit is very important. You want to find an office where people are expected to be civil and friendly towards each other, that doesn't condone sociopaths. But if you think there is a difference between a place where people are merely friendly towards their coworkers, and one where "people seem to really care about each other," then you're being naive. At the end of the day you're at a place of business.


I do think that people can care about each other, but I understand your point.

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Re: Deciding on a firm

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 11, 2011 7:55 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
rayiner wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Your workplace friends are not your real friends. Never forget this, no matter where you go. You can be civil to each other, but your interests are never fully aligned.


That sounds cynical. So you think the personality/fit is unimportant?


Not at all. I think personality/fit is very important. You want to find an office where people are expected to be civil and friendly towards each other, that doesn't condone sociopaths. But if you think there is a difference between a place where people are merely friendly towards their coworkers, and one where "people seem to really care about each other," then you're being naive. At the end of the day you're at a place of business.


I do think that people can care about each other, but I understand your point.


Well, every once in a while, you'll make a true great friend (or few) at work. Which culture would be more likely to mesh with you plays into that.




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