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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Re: NYC: Skadden, Debevoise, or Ropes?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 02, 2011 1:05 am

Fresh Prince wrote:Their litigators are borderline incompetent, though.

Why? Has this always been so? I'm leaning lit and my other options are all much lower V# but strong in lit.

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Re: NYC: Skadden, Debevoise, or Ropes?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 02, 2011 1:11 am

Anonymous User wrote:
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.


I have several friends who summered at S&C and loved it. It's a more "direct" place than DPW/Cleary/Debevoise, but I don't think it's mean spirited. By and large people are just trying to do their jobs well and go home when they can.

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Re: NYC: Skadden, Debevoise, or Ropes?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 02, 2011 2:03 am

Anonymous User wrote:
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?


Read these pieces:

http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2007/01/24/sul ... te-morale/

http://nymag.com/news/features/28515/

Charney's accounts obviously have an agenda behind them, but read some of the anecdotes from current/former associates. They essentially acknowledge that Charney's account of associate-partner relations isn't unusual or implausible.

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Re: NYC: Skadden, Debevoise, or Ropes?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 02, 2011 2:15 am

Fresh Prince wrote:I really wouldn't take those rankings seriously. A V20 in NYC is going to be pretty miserable from the get-go.


This is blatantly not true. Many people (friends, not people I randomly met at interviews) are quite happy at their firms. Busy, but happy. Miserable, but happy. If the only way you can bear your job is to convince yourself that being miserable is normal, you are either (1) in the wrong profession, or (2) at the wrong firm.

I agree that some people may prefer a more direct, upfront, confrontational style to a more reserved, polite, passive culture, but why would you ever knowingly go to a firm where you anticipate being miserable? I can assure you that the difference in exit options or caliber of work between a place like DPW and S&C doesn't really exist, and if it does exist, is so minute that it can't justify even a year of being miserable if you would be happier somewhere else.

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Re: NYC: Skadden, Debevoise, or Ropes?

Postby Old Gregg » Fri Sep 02, 2011 2:34 am

This is blatantly not true. Many people (friends, not people I randomly met at interviews) are quite happy at their firms. Busy, but happy. Miserable, but happy.


This sounds really nice and poetic, but that's the extent of it. By "miserable," I mean that associates are worked pretty hard at any NYC office. The notion of a lifestyle big law firm in NYC is a myth. If one wants to take Ropes over S&C because one likes Ropes's culture better, then that's fine. But if one wants to take Ropes because they think S&C will be brutal but Ropes won't, that's just absurd.

Also, do these "Quality of Life" rankings take into account the specific office? I wouldn't be surprised if Ropes's Boston office, which is the headquarters and way larger than their NYC office, skewed associate satisfaction.

I can assure you that the difference in exit options or caliber of work between a place like DPW and S&C doesn't really exist, and if it does exist, is so minute that it can't justify even a year of being miserable if you would be happier somewhere else.


You know what? I'm so glad you can assure me of this. It gives me such a great peace of mind. You know what's cool, though? Not one lick of my post contradicted any of this. In fact, I'll repeat what I said just for you:

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 Lawyerhead » Fri Sep 02, 2011 8:19 am

OP,

No offense to these many of these fine folks at TLS, but a law student generally has very little knowledge about law firms in general, let alone enough knowledge to help you make your decision about a firm in particular. Yes, this applies even if you were a summer associate - trust me when I say summers are very much shielded from the things that make law firm life terrible, and *no* associate would freely talk with summers about anything negative. It's almost comical to read what people here write about my own firm - it's just so far from the truth, unfortunately, and people are just parroting the same things others (or Vault) has said about a firm for years. I'm not saying that there's not useful information to be had here; just don't blindly rely on what you read from a person who has never worked a day at a particular firm.

As I've read through these and similar threads over the last few years, it just saddens me that so many people are relying on publications such as Vault. I've filled out that Vault survey numerous times, and trust me when I say that, when you are an associate and filling out these surveys yourself, you'll kick yourself for ever putting much stock into them. They are a joke, yet I realize that, as law students, you often don't have much more information to go on. If a firm is ranked #5 for associate happiness, it's absurd to think that associates are necessarily more happy there than associates at a firm ranked #53. I have friends at many of these firms, and they want to set those rankings on fire. And let's not even get started with the accuracy of these types of surveys in general. I always get annoyed with our recruiting department when they tell us to highlight our vault rankings or Chambers rankings or Amlaw survey rankings - useless info, most of the time. The rankings can be good to get an idea of what work a firm does, and how much of it, in a sense, but I wouldn't go much beyond that.

I also want to caution you, OP, that associates in different practice groups within a firm can have very, VERY, different opinions on or experiences with a firm. I do a lot of deal work, and if you compare my experiences with my firm to someone in, say, the hedge fund group, you'll find that they are very different. There are often many significant differences within the firm, such as how work is distributed, how respectful partners are, how early you are given responsibility/substantive work, how much client contact you will have, what your exit options are, how much face time is required, your ability to say "no" to work, the caliber of work you will be doing, how respected the practice group is, etc. Even if you "talked to a guy who works there", make sure to talk to people who work in a particular practice group you are interested in (I know that law students most likely don't know which practice group they are interested in...). If possible, contact associates who went to your school. I often get emails and calls from students from my law school who ask me for the "inside scoop", and I readily give them whatever information I can "off the record". Alums are a good resource.

Anyway, good luck OP. I rambled on quite a bit here and really didn't say anything about any of the firms you mentioned. I just wanted to give my two cents because so many of my law school/firm friends absolutely hate their firms (yes, this includes the very firm at which I work). They always say what they'd do differently if they could go back in time, and I tried to capture the most common refrains. Me, I just got lucky and have the benefit of hindsight.




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