Sidley Austin vs. Mayer Brown (Chicago)

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Which is better for Chicago litigation

Sidley Austin
35
81%
Mayer Brown
8
19%
 
Total votes: 43

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Sidley Austin vs. Mayer Brown (Chicago)

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 28, 2011 2:59 pm

I am pretty new to this and have cb's with these two in the next few weeks. Not trying to put the cart before the horse, just trying to gauge which firm is preferable for litigation. I know Sidley has the higher Vault ranking for whatever that's worth but I was curious what the board thinks in terms of pure litigation (not just appellate).

Thanks a bunch.

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rayiner
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Re: Sidley Austin vs. Mayer Brown (Chicago)

Postby rayiner » Sun Aug 28, 2011 3:03 pm

Mayer is better for lit, but Sidley is more stable.

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Re: Sidley Austin vs. Mayer Brown (Chicago)

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 28, 2011 3:04 pm

rayiner wrote:Mayer is better for lit, but Sidley is more stable.


Would you mind expounding on this? I know Sidley has had bigger classes of late but MB is a Chicago giant so I assume it isn't really going anywhere.

Did both firms offer 100% of the 2011 summer class?

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Re: Sidley Austin vs. Mayer Brown (Chicago)

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 28, 2011 6:10 pm

Mayer Chicago had 11 summers in '10, and 13 summers this year. Based on reports from NU's OCI, they're projecting a similar class this year. That's not just "Sidley taking bigger classes of late" --- that's a 400 attorney office taking just a trickle of summer associates for three years in a row.

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Re: Sidley Austin vs. Mayer Brown (Chicago)

Postby alabamabound » Sun Aug 28, 2011 6:13 pm

rayiner wrote:Mayer is better for lit, but Sidley is more stable.


Not sure the former is true, but the latter definitely is.

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Re: Sidley Austin vs. Mayer Brown (Chicago)

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 28, 2011 7:49 pm

I wouldn't touch Mayer Brown these days. It's been on the decline since 07.

Sidley.

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Re: Sidley Austin vs. Mayer Brown (Chicago)

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 29, 2011 5:15 pm

Is MB completely untouchable?!

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Re: Sidley Austin vs. Mayer Brown (Chicago)

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 30, 2011 1:38 pm

People I know at mb are very busy. same is true for sidley but i really dispute the notion that mb is "untouchable," i don't think anything drastic is going to happen there.

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Re: Sidley Austin vs. Mayer Brown (Chicago)

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 30, 2011 2:12 pm

MB isn't "untouchable," it is just that back in the mid 2000s, people often placed it on par with Sidley. The refco disaster and ensuing mass exodus from the firm of many profitable partners has caused Mayer to fall down to the same level (if not lower) as Winston. Mayer is now more like Winston & Jenner than Sidley & Kirkland. That is all.

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Re: Sidley Austin vs. Mayer Brown (Chicago)

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 30, 2011 3:27 pm

Re: Litigation

Mayer Chicago is better for appellate. Sidley Chicago is better for financial services (securities), insurance/reinsurance (including class actions), and antitrust. Not sure about bankruptcy or employment, but I suspect that Sidley is better. Not sure enough to even say that with respect to general lit and products liability.

Bottom line: Mayer Chicago is generally better for the very top end and generic stuff. Sidley is generally better for the industry-specific stuff.

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Re: Sidley Austin vs. Mayer Brown (Chicago)

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 02, 2011 12:47 am

What about exit options for each? I know both firms place folks into the USAO, etc., just curious what people think.

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Re: Sidley Austin vs. Mayer Brown (Chicago)

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 02, 2011 12:48 am

Anonymous User wrote:MB isn't "untouchable," it is just that back in the mid 2000s, people often placed it on par with Sidley. The refco disaster and ensuing mass exodus from the firm of many profitable partners has caused Mayer to fall down to the same level (if not lower) as Winston. Mayer is now more like Winston & Jenner than Sidley & Kirkland. That is all.


They got out of Refco though, I am curious how much longer it is likely to hurt their image.

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Re: Sidley Austin vs. Mayer Brown (Chicago)

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 02, 2011 11:35 am

What about exit options for each? I know both firms place folks into the USAO, etc., just curious what people think.
What about exit options for each? I know both firms place folks into the USAO, etc., just curious what people think.


For lit or transactional? With respect to the former, they're both going to be about the same EXCEPT for Mayer Brown appellate, which does a pretty good job placing people in academia or DC appellate firms -- though, of course, this is almost exclusively a function of credentials going in. Other than that, both Sidley and Mayer litigators end up going all over the government. For example, my best friends at one of these firms are now at DOJ and SEC, respectively. Though I'll note that Sidley also has a much more extensive insurance/reinsurance litigation practice, which is really the primary place where litigators go in house. (Why you would want to do that is a separate question that I won't even attempt to answer. In house litigation work seems like it really sucks.)

As for corporate, in my experience, Sidley tends to do a better job placing people in house at quality, stable companies. Probably a function of the clients.

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Re: Sidley Austin vs. Mayer Brown (Chicago)

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 04, 2011 3:47 pm

I have the same question as the OP (have offers from both and trying to decide).

MB seems stronger for lit historically but Sidley has some heavy hitters (especially in the white collar space). Every law student seems to <3 Sidley for some reason, but the seasoned litigators in Chicago that I have spoken to seem to be less enthused, at least when compared to MB. Sidley is the clear winner for corp/transactional, IMO.

What were their respective offer rates for this summer?

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Re: Sidley Austin vs. Mayer Brown (Chicago)

Postby ToTransferOrNot » Sun Sep 04, 2011 3:56 pm

To the person who mentioned BK: you can't compare the BK practices at Mayer and Sidley; Mayer is creditor-side and has a very small practice to serve its institutional bank clients while Sidley tries (and fails) to compete with K&E for the debtor-side work (yes, they got Tribune, but no one really argues that Sidley can compare to K&E for BK). If you want to do bankruptcy, it's either K&E or move to New York.

Mayer is much better for appellete lit, as many people have said. But note: everyone coming into the summer gunning for lit is going to want to do app lit. If you don't end up with a CoA clerkship, you probably won't get tracked into that side of things. Mayer doesn't even offiicially give practice area assignments until a few months before you start at the firm - your post-SA offer is just a generic offer to join the firm. If you're coming to Mayer and hoping to do app lit work, you may end up very surprised when you end up doing nothing but consumer class actions.

I'm not confident that there's a huge difference between Mayer and Sidley for general litigation.

One thing to note about Mayer: the fact that they've had such small classes recently *could* mean that they will be less likely to have financial problems in the future. Or it could mean that partnership prospects for the current crops of SAs will be better. Or it could mean that they're continuing to have financial issues.

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Re: Sidley Austin vs. Mayer Brown (Chicago)

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 04, 2011 4:14 pm

ToTransferOrNot wrote:To the person who mentioned BK: you can't compare the BK practices at Mayer and Sidley; Mayer is creditor-side and has a very small practice to serve its institutional bank clients while Sidley tries (and fails) to compete with K&E for the debtor-side work (yes, they got Tribune, but no one really argues that Sidley can compare to K&E for BK). If you want to do bankruptcy, it's either K&E or move to New York.

Mayer is much better for appellete lit, as many people have said. But note: everyone coming into the summer gunning for lit is going to want to do app lit. If you don't end up with a CoA clerkship, you probably won't get tracked into that side of things. Mayer doesn't even offiicially give practice area assignments until a few months before you start at the firm - your post-SA offer is just a generic offer to join the firm. If you're coming to Mayer and hoping to do app lit work, you may end up very surprised when you end up doing nothing but consumer class actions.

I'm not confident that there's a huge difference between Mayer and Sidley for general litigation.

One thing to note about Mayer: the fact that they've had such small classes recently *could* mean that they will be less likely to have financial problems in the future. Or it could mean that partnership prospects for the current crops of SAs will be better. Or it could mean that they're continuing to have financial issues.


This is an exceptionally helpful post.

So, Mr./Mrs. Anon. If you had to pick, which one would you choose and why?

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Re: Sidley Austin vs. Mayer Brown (Chicago)

Postby rayiner » Sun Sep 04, 2011 5:12 pm

ToTransferOrNot wrote:To the person who mentioned BK: you can't compare the BK practices at Mayer and Sidley; Mayer is creditor-side and has a very small practice to serve its institutional bank clients while Sidley tries (and fails) to compete with K&E for the debtor-side work (yes, they got Tribune, but no one really argues that Sidley can compare to K&E for BK). If you want to do bankruptcy, it's either K&E or move to New York.

Mayer is much better for appellete lit, as many people have said. But note: everyone coming into the summer gunning for lit is going to want to do app lit. If you don't end up with a CoA clerkship, you probably won't get tracked into that side of things. Mayer doesn't even offiicially give practice area assignments until a few months before you start at the firm - your post-SA offer is just a generic offer to join the firm. If you're coming to Mayer and hoping to do app lit work, you may end up very surprised when you end up doing nothing but consumer class actions.

I'm not confident that there's a huge difference between Mayer and Sidley for general litigation.

One thing to note about Mayer: the fact that they've had such small classes recently *could* mean that they will be less likely to have financial problems in the future. Or it could mean that partnership prospects for the current crops of SAs will be better. Or it could mean that they're continuing to have financial issues.


Remember, this is a firm that de-equitized and fired partners during the boom to juice their PPP numbers. If they had the work they'd be hiring more associates.

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Re: Sidley Austin vs. Mayer Brown (Chicago)

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 04, 2011 5:21 pm

But note: everyone coming into the summer gunning for lit is going to want to do app lit.


Wouldnt be the case for me. I am well aware that App Lit is only for those that have CoA clerkships, so I wouldn't even consider going down that road unless I get one. I would just be going for gen lit at either firm.

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Re: Sidley Austin vs. Mayer Brown (Chicago)

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 04, 2011 5:23 pm

rayiner wrote:
ToTransferOrNot wrote:To the person who mentioned BK: you can't compare the BK practices at Mayer and Sidley; Mayer is creditor-side and has a very small practice to serve its institutional bank clients while Sidley tries (and fails) to compete with K&E for the debtor-side work (yes, they got Tribune, but no one really argues that Sidley can compare to K&E for BK). If you want to do bankruptcy, it's either K&E or move to New York.

Mayer is much better for appellete lit, as many people have said. But note: everyone coming into the summer gunning for lit is going to want to do app lit. If you don't end up with a CoA clerkship, you probably won't get tracked into that side of things. Mayer doesn't even offiicially give practice area assignments until a few months before you start at the firm - your post-SA offer is just a generic offer to join the firm. If you're coming to Mayer and hoping to do app lit work, you may end up very surprised when you end up doing nothing but consumer class actions.

I'm not confident that there's a huge difference between Mayer and Sidley for general litigation.

One thing to note about Mayer: the fact that they've had such small classes recently *could* mean that they will be less likely to have financial problems in the future. Or it could mean that partnership prospects for the current crops of SAs will be better. Or it could mean that they're continuing to have financial issues.


Remember, this is a firm that de-equitized and fired partners during the boom to juice their PPP numbers. If they had the work they'd be hiring more associates.


This is probably true. But I also think the incoming associates will be doing more meaningful work because they just don't have the bodies to throw at things at the moment.

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Re: Sidley Austin vs. Mayer Brown (Chicago)

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 05, 2011 12:44 am

From a summer associate at Mayer Brown: I wouldn't worry too much about Mayer's health as a firm. The class of 2011 is starting on time this fall (not in 2012). Some associates scheduled to begin in the fall were even being called in early this summer because they needed more bodies. I'm pretty uneducated about firm financials, but they were pretty open-book about money while we were there and I never got the impression that the firm was in any trouble. No practice group assignment until the day you start, however, makes me full of the rage.

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Re: Sidley Austin vs. Mayer Brown (Chicago)

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 06, 2011 12:02 am

Above anon: what firm did you pick Mayer over and what was your decisionmaking process? I guess this applies to anyone that picked MB (and also to anyone that picked Sidley and is paying attention).

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Re: Sidley Austin vs. Mayer Brown (Chicago)

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 06, 2011 8:46 am

I don't want to be too specific, sorry. I didn't have a lot of other options in Chicago last year, but I had some, and I turned down some V10s in NY as well for Mayer. I picked Mayer because I wanted to be in Chicago and because they have one of the better reputations in Chicago for my desired practice area and hire for it every year. If you're interested in M&A or Bankruptcy, strongly consider going to Sidley. If you're interested in App Lit, Finance, or Tax, strongly consider going to Mayer. Both are good firms and have good people. But don't turn down Mayer if you want App Lit just because of some rumors on the internet about its stability. I'm a strong candidate and I had other offers as a 3L, and if I thought the firm was unstable or unpleasant I'd have declined my offer there (I haven't). You can also do revisits at both firms and ask the hardball questions.

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Re: Sidley Austin vs. Mayer Brown (Chicago)

Postby ToTransferOrNot » Tue Sep 06, 2011 8:59 am

Just be very, very careful if you're making your decision based on app lit (or, frankly, any particular practice group because of the way they handle group assignments - but app lit in particular, especially if you aren't basically a lock for CoA - which, of course, is really hard to know as a rising 2L).

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Re: Sidley Austin vs. Mayer Brown (Chicago)

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 06, 2011 11:40 am

Appellate lit at MB is different because their practice group is massive. (I use "group" loosely here, because it's definitely on the free market end of the spectrum.) At most appellate shops, you've got an ex-SG or someone who gives all the work to a small circle of CoA/SCOTUS clerks. At MB, there are a decent handful of superstars, and plenty of appellate work to go around. Of course, that doesn't mean that you'll get to do it if you're not a good writer, but that goes without saying. Also, if you're really committed to doing appellate, you should be doing a clerkship anyway. You don't need to do it right out of school anymore. That used to be considered a sign that you were jumping ship, but firms have come to realize how competitive the clerkship market is at the moment, so they're much more open to it.

The downside of MB's financial situation is that real partnership track is quite long in order to ensure PPP stays reasonable. Even then, PPP isn't really on par with some of the firms that most people would consider MB's peers. On the other hand, the prospect of being a member of a very small incoming class in a huge firm is probably more valuable to a young associate. I wouldn't worry at all about the firm's stability, though. They're very conservative financially, and the litigation department is extremely busy. They may not be hiring a lot of people, but they're not going to be deferring start dates or collapsing.

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Re: Sidley Austin vs. Mayer Brown (Chicago)

Postby Old Gregg » Tue Sep 06, 2011 11:45 am

Having a great appellate group is awesome and all, but it doesn't pay the bills. Anyone who tries to connect the appellate group's business with the firm's stability is looking at the wrong place for the wrong thing.




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