NYC: Skadden, Debevoise, or Ropes?

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Which would you choose for NYC Corporate?

Debevoise
23
40%
Ropes & Gray
11
19%
Skadden
24
41%
 
Total votes: 58

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NYC: Skadden, Debevoise, or Ropes?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 31, 2011 8:54 am

Which would you choose and why? All located in NYC.

Relevant information/decisional metrics: Interested in corporate--some sort of transactional practice; i'm awkwardly attracted to the idea of PE but don't know whether that should be a differentiator from M&A generally, or even whether I'd like to do it as an attorney.

Other things that are important to me: prestige generally, non-law exit opportunities (read: finance, consulting, etc.), and the opportunity to try out several different practice areas at some point or another. Compounding factor: would at some point like to move to the west coast (not necessarily with the firm I start at, but please take the ease of doing so into consideration). In terms of culture, I like drinking and having fun, but don't want to feel obligated to do so with my colleagues, or even necessarily to have the opportunity to do so at the drop of a hat.

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Re: NYC: Skadden, Debevoise, or Ropes?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 31, 2011 9:38 am

Skadden's exit opportunities are the best by far.

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Re: NYC: Skadden, Debevoise, or Ropes?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 31, 2011 9:52 am

Anonymous User wrote:Skadden's exit opportunities are the best by far.


This isn't really true. Skadden and Debevoise won't give you materially different exit options, and in fact in PE Ropes and Debevoise will give you significantly better exit options.

OP, I think your choice should be between Skadden and Debevoise. After that, the decision should be pretty easy. Are you looking for a massive firm (which can be good because you'll meet lots of people and have lots going on) or a more moderate sized firm (which can be good because you'll work with the same people over and over and have more of a chance to form relationships). Would you rather have a very social, outgoing environment (Skadden) or a more reserved, polite environment (Debevoise)? Would you rather be at a firm that does pretty much everything under the sun in corporate (Skadden) or has deep concentration in a few areas such as private equity and insurance (Debevoise)?

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Re: NYC: Skadden, Debevoise, or Ropes?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 31, 2011 10:58 am

OP here. Unfortunately, I'm not sure of the answers to those questions. One thing that I do expect to be important--is Skadden a culture of screamers? I have heard that Cravath and S&C are particularly intense, while DPW is more respectful, but I've heard very little about where Skadden falls on that spectrum.

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Re: NYC: Skadden, Debevoise, or Ropes?

Postby imchuckbass58 » Wed Aug 31, 2011 11:09 am

Anonymous User wrote:OP here. Unfortunately, I'm not sure of the answers to those questions. One thing that I do expect to be important--is Skadden a culture of screamers? I have heard that Cravath and S&C are particularly intense, while DPW is more respectful, but I've heard very little about where Skadden falls on that spectrum.


I've heard it's not as bad as S&C, and also that it varies by office/practice area. NY is supposedly more intense compared to other offices, and M&A is particularly intense within the NY office. I have friends who work in other practice areas/offices however who report nothing in the way of screaming/associate abuse, and actually have had very positive experiences.

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Re: NYC: Skadden, Debevoise, or Ropes?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 31, 2011 3:22 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Skadden's exit opportunities are the best by far.


This isn't really true. Skadden and Debevoise won't give you materially different exit options, and in fact in PE Ropes and Debevoise will give you significantly better exit options.


Debevoise is a great firm (and has phenomenal PE ties, as you mentioned), but it can't compete with Skadden's name recognition in the corporate world.

http://www.4-traders.com/NYSE-EURO-1386 ... -13622517/

This is not to say that the OP should absolutely choose Skadden. Both Skadden and Debevoise are large, well-respected firms that do top-notch work on complex deals. You will find all sorts of personalities at both. There are some differences, though, in terms of prestige and exit options.

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Re: NYC: Skadden, Debevoise, or Ropes?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 31, 2011 3:53 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP here. Unfortunately, I'm not sure of the answers to those questions. One thing that I do expect to be important--is Skadden a culture of screamers? I have heard that Cravath and S&C are particularly intense, while DPW is more respectful, but I've heard very little about where Skadden falls on that spectrum.


As an aside, there are two types of intense. Cravath is one type, and S&C is the other.

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Re: NYC: Skadden, Debevoise, or Ropes?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 31, 2011 4:50 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:OP here. Unfortunately, I'm not sure of the answers to those questions. One thing that I do expect to be important--is Skadden a culture of screamers? I have heard that Cravath and S&C are particularly intense, while DPW is more respectful, but I've heard very little about where Skadden falls on that spectrum.


As an aside, there are two types of intense. Cravath is one type, and S&C is the other.


OP here. Care to elaborate? (I haven't been watching TLS too closely, but I've gotten the sense that most of the recent commentary has grouped CSM with S&C, then DPW with Cleary and Debevoise. Skadden is clearly missing from this, and the only real information I've gotten is that it's 'fratty' or 'douchebaglike,' both of which don't tell me much).

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Re: NYC: Skadden, Debevoise, or Ropes?

Postby imchuckbass58 » Wed Aug 31, 2011 4:53 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:OP here. Unfortunately, I'm not sure of the answers to those questions. One thing that I do expect to be important--is Skadden a culture of screamers? I have heard that Cravath and S&C are particularly intense, while DPW is more respectful, but I've heard very little about where Skadden falls on that spectrum.


As an aside, there are two types of intense. Cravath is one type, and S&C is the other.


OP here. Care to elaborate? (I haven't been watching TLS too closely, but I've gotten the sense that most of the recent commentary has grouped CSM with S&C, then DPW with Cleary and Debevoise. Skadden is clearly missing from this, and the only real information I've gotten is that it's 'fratty' or 'douchebaglike,' both of which don't tell me much).


Cravath is work hard/hierarchical intense, whereas S&C is reputed for being more yell at you and treat you like shit intense.

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Re: NYC: Skadden, Debevoise, or Ropes?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 31, 2011 4:58 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:OP here. Unfortunately, I'm not sure of the answers to those questions. One thing that I do expect to be important--is Skadden a culture of screamers? I have heard that Cravath and S&C are particularly intense, while DPW is more respectful, but I've heard very little about where Skadden falls on that spectrum.


As an aside, there are two types of intense. Cravath is one type, and S&C is the other.


OP here. Care to elaborate? (I haven't been watching TLS too closely, but I've gotten the sense that most of the recent commentary has grouped CSM with S&C, then DPW with Cleary and Debevoise. Skadden is clearly missing from this, and the only real information I've gotten is that it's 'fratty' or 'douchebaglike,' both of which don't tell me much).


I heard from a number of associates that Skadden is a big sweatshop.

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Re: NYC: Skadden, Debevoise, or Ropes?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 31, 2011 5:13 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Skadden's exit opportunities are the best by far.


This isn't really true. Skadden and Debevoise won't give you materially different exit options, and in fact in PE Ropes and Debevoise will give you significantly better exit options.


Debevoise is a great firm (and has phenomenal PE ties, as you mentioned), but it can't compete with Skadden's name recognition in the corporate world.

http://www.4-traders.com/NYSE-EURO-1386 ... -13622517/

This is not to say that the OP should absolutely choose Skadden. Both Skadden and Debevoise are large, well-respected firms that do top-notch work on complex deals. You will find all sorts of personalities at both. There are some differences, though, in terms of prestige and exit options.


Interesting survey. I assume, though, that the rankings are based on the GC/BoD's preferences for hiring the law firm, and not necessarily the quality of the associates coming out of those firms. If that's not true, it seems odd that a GC would hire an average Skadden associate over an average Wachtell associate -- but maybe I'm mistaken and Wachtell only has a strangehold in respect among fellow corporate lawyers. And corporate lawyer perception doesn't really affect exit options.

Also interesting to note that the son of the CEO of Blackstone (one of the largest PE shops) is at Skadden.

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Re: NYC: Skadden, Debevoise, or Ropes?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 31, 2011 5:36 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:OP here. Unfortunately, I'm not sure of the answers to those questions. One thing that I do expect to be important--is Skadden a culture of screamers? I have heard that Cravath and S&C are particularly intense, while DPW is more respectful, but I've heard very little about where Skadden falls on that spectrum.


As an aside, there are two types of intense. Cravath is one type, and S&C is the other.


OP here. Care to elaborate? (I haven't been watching TLS too closely, but I've gotten the sense that most of the recent commentary has grouped CSM with S&C, then DPW with Cleary and Debevoise. Skadden is clearly missing from this, and the only real information I've gotten is that it's 'fratty' or 'douchebaglike,' both of which don't tell me much).


I heard from a number of associates that Skadden is a big sweatshop.


And yet Vault places Skadden at #13 for best place to work -- above any other V10 firm.

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Re: NYC: Skadden, Debevoise, or Ropes?

Postby GeePee » Wed Aug 31, 2011 5:41 pm

Anonymous User wrote:And yet Vault places Skadden at #13 for best place to work -- above any other V10 firm.

Weil is #3.

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Re: NYC: Skadden, Debevoise, or Ropes?

Postby 20121109 » Wed Aug 31, 2011 5:43 pm

GeePee wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:And yet Vault places Skadden at #13 for best place to work -- above any other V10 firm.

Weil is #3.


Yeah I was just about to post this link: http://www.vault.com/wps/portal/usa/ran ... gYear=2012

Check your facts, bro.

Also, please don't abuse the anon feature.

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Re: NYC: Skadden, Debevoise, or Ropes?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 31, 2011 5:47 pm

GAIAtheCHEERLEADER wrote:
GeePee wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:And yet Vault places Skadden at #13 for best place to work -- above any other V10 firm.

Weil is #3.


Yeah I was just about to post this link: http://www.vault.com/wps/portal/usa/ran ... gYear=2012

Check your facts, bro.

Also, please don't abuse the anon feature.


My mistake. Still, it's well above any of the other V10. Heck, only one other V5 is listed (DPW), and DPW is well-regarded on here as a great place to work.

And I think I'm using the anon feature correctly. I don't want to be associated with favoring any firm -- especially since a lot of people at my school know my handle and go in these threads.

Finally, taking a glance at the Vault survey of firm culture and work environment for Skadden, the feedback is generally positive. Seemingly better, at least, than Cravath or S&C which are probably its only rivals in terms of full-service corporate practice. Not bad considering Skadden has among the highest ranking in almost every major corporate practice on Vault, which is corroborated by Chambers.

Like many others, I thought Skadden was a sweatshop and an average V5 firm, but the rankings of three different publications suggest it's likely better than any of its peers in breadth of work and potential in-house exit options (at least according to the survey linked above). The latter point can be reasoned based on the fact that Skadden has such a great deal flow that many top corporations that need in-house legal staff work with Skadden and so having an ex-Skadden associate would be an asset.

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Re: NYC: Skadden, Debevoise, or Ropes?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 31, 2011 6:35 pm

CA-based former investment banking/consulting analyst here. If you want to transition to opportunities on the west coast, it is a huge asset to be somewhat tech / life sciences / venture financing focused in your corporate experience (especially true for Northern CA). I think Ropes actually has the practice areas and client mix that is best suited to transition to a west coast practice. Their vibe is probably also the closest you'll find to a west coast firm.

As for breaking into banking/consulting, knowing people on the inside who can vouch for you really helps. Did you go to an undergrad where a lot of your friends are now currently working in these industries? If so, tap them -- top consulting firms right now especially are hurting for people, and having an inside referral + rocking the case interview matters much more than which firm you're coming from. To some degree, I also think undergrad + law school prestige matters more to these opportunities than which law firm you're at.

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Re: NYC: Skadden, Debevoise, or Ropes?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 01, 2011 3:00 am

OP here, thanks for your responses everyone. This is really helpful.

Anonymous User wrote:CA-based former investment banking/consulting analyst here. If you want to transition to opportunities on the west coast, it is a huge asset to be somewhat tech / life sciences / venture financing focused in your corporate experience (especially true for Northern CA). I think Ropes actually has the practice areas and client mix that is best suited to transition to a west coast practice. Their vibe is probably also the closest you'll find to a west coast firm.

As for breaking into banking/consulting, knowing people on the inside who can vouch for you really helps. Did you go to an undergrad where a lot of your friends are now currently working in these industries? If so, tap them -- top consulting firms right now especially are hurting for people, and having an inside referral + rocking the case interview matters much more than which firm you're coming from. To some degree, I also think undergrad + law school prestige matters more to these opportunities than which law firm you're at.


Thanks for addressing this--I didn't realize that practice area was so important in moving west, but it's certainly something I'll keep in mind. And on the consulting side, I've got some experience at a good, but not M/B/B, firm that didn't hire a bunch of lawyers, so I just wanted to see what it's like to move back and forth.

Ok, this is helpful (and I'm surprised that the voting is so close--this morning was seemingly dominated by Skadden, but now it's a much closer decision).

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Re: NYC: Skadden, Debevoise, or Ropes?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 01, 2011 3:33 am

FWIW, Ropes has a decent West Coast presence in transactional work (and is growing its SF and SV offices pretty aggressively, based on the people I talked to at my callback there [hence why I'm anonymous]) and I don't think Debevoise or Skadden has nearly the same cachet out on the West Coast as it does in NYC. Not saying Ropes is the obvious choice, but if you're planning to retreat to Northern California it may make things smoother than the other 2 firms.

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Re: NYC: Skadden, Debevoise, or Ropes?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 01, 2011 9:13 pm

imchuckbass58 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:OP here. Unfortunately, I'm not sure of the answers to those questions. One thing that I do expect to be important--is Skadden a culture of screamers? I have heard that Cravath and S&C are particularly intense, while DPW is more respectful, but I've heard very little about where Skadden falls on that spectrum.


As an aside, there are two types of intense. Cravath is one type, and S&C is the other.


OP here. Care to elaborate? (I haven't been watching TLS too closely, but I've gotten the sense that most of the recent commentary has grouped CSM with S&C, then DPW with Cleary and Debevoise. Skadden is clearly missing from this, and the only real information I've gotten is that it's 'fratty' or 'douchebaglike,' both of which don't tell me much).


Cravath is work hard/hierarchical intense, whereas S&C is reputed for being more yell at you and treat you like shit intense.

Not OP but on the brink of accepting S&C offer with good alternatives. Please elaborate in excessive detail if possible.

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Re: NYC: Skadden, Debevoise, or Ropes?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 01, 2011 9:26 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Not OP but on the brink of accepting S&C offer with good alternatives. Please elaborate in excessive detail if possible.


Just came back from S&C callback (with offer) and everyone was really nice. Partners I met with were really friendly.

What are your "good alternatives" BTW? I have some other V5 offers I'm comparing with S&C. Really like S&C, but Skadden is very similar with perhaps better name recognition in the corporate world.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Thu Sep 01, 2011 9:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: NYC: Skadden, Debevoise, or Ropes?

Postby 4910 » Thu Sep 01, 2011 9:33 pm

of course they are friendly, you think they would be themselves in an interview?

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Re: NYC: Skadden, Debevoise, or Ropes?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 01, 2011 10:22 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Not OP but on the brink of accepting S&C offer with good alternatives. Please elaborate in excessive detail if possible.


Just came back from S&C callback (with offer) and everyone was really nice. Partners I met with were really friendly.

What are your "good alternatives" BTW? I have some other V5 offers I'm comparing with S&C. Really like S&C, but Skadden is very similar with perhaps better name recognition in the corporate world.

They roll out the red carpet for interviews and give offers on the spot because that's probably about as long as they can stay friendly if it's as bad as everyone says. Makes me skeptical. My alternatives are all V20 with much higher associate satisfaction rankings. I'd really like someone who's seen their other side to just tell it like it is so I can make an informed decision about being a prestige whore.

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Re: NYC: Skadden, Debevoise, or Ropes?

Postby Old Gregg » Thu Sep 01, 2011 10:56 pm

y alternatives are all V20 with much higher associate satisfaction rankings


I really wouldn't take those rankings seriously. A V20 in NYC is going to be pretty miserable from the get-go. You should be focusing on choosing a place that will set you up well for where you want to be after your stint at the firm. Some people prefer hands-on experience. Others prefer great formal training. Some people find they work best in environments like S&C, and others enjoy more polite atmospheres. At the end of the day, it comes down to what suits you best and where you think you'll shine so that the right people will notice you at the right time.

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Re: NYC: Skadden, Debevoise, or Ropes?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 01, 2011 11:56 pm

Fresh Prince wrote:
y alternatives are all V20 with much higher associate satisfaction rankings


I really wouldn't take those rankings seriously. A V20 in NYC is going to be pretty miserable from the get-go. You should be focusing on choosing a place that will set you up well for where you want to be after your stint at the firm. Some people prefer hands-on experience. Others prefer great formal training. Some people find they work best in environments like S&C, and others enjoy more polite atmospheres. At the end of the day, it comes down to what suits you best and where you think you'll shine so that the right people will notice you at the right time.

So nobody is able to produce any actual dirt on S&C? Anecdotes? Adjectives? Pre-lateral memoirs?

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Re: NYC: Skadden, Debevoise, or Ropes?

Postby Old Gregg » Fri Sep 02, 2011 12:19 am

Plenty of dirt if you look at the right places. Look at that great old S&C screed on autoadmit; read the Charney stuff in NYMag; talk to any S&C alum. In fact, there isn't a single alum of that firm that hasn't reviled that place. But that could be self-selection.

Make no mistake, though. If you want to do public M&A, you really are setting yourself up for something great at S&C, even if you don't plan to stick it out for partnership. I think most associates going there these days understand that and realize that they're making that sacrifice.

Their litigators are borderline incompetent, though.




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