Firm Culture: Cravath vs. S&C vs. Skadden vs. STB

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What would you choose?

Cravath
25
26%
Simpson Thacher
31
32%
Skadden
32
33%
Sullivan & Cromwell
9
9%
 
Total votes: 97

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Firm Culture: Cravath vs. S&C vs. Skadden vs. STB

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 05, 2011 1:44 pm

Comments on culture? From what I understand, the work product is pretty similar, as are the demands on your time (or at least not dramatic differences that would make you choose one firm over another). But culture's a different beast...

From what I understand:
- Cravath: rotation system means you work closely with a single partner; your experience at the firm generally reflects your relationship with this single partner as opposed to your relationship with the firm.
- S&C: meritocracy - you're expected to produce top quality work, even if that means being mean.
- Skadden: bro-ish culture; regarding the hard work, the bark's worse than bite.
- STB: culturally conservative.

That being said, I'm fairly unsure on these statements and I hesitate to even write these as I know I'm probably wrong.

What have you heard?

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Re: Firm Culture: Cravath vs. S&C vs. Skadden vs. STB

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 05, 2011 2:00 pm

just from speaking from a cravath associate, you are right that it's totally a gamble. he was a first year and was saying how he goes home most days at 7. he said he got really lucky by getting a great partner in one of the smaller corporate groups. not a bad way to spend 6 months - of course he admitted that he gained almost no experience as this was not a deal-driven group (something regulatory or something, can't quite remember). on the other hand, his office mate was never leaving before 9pm. so yea it totally varies.

if you have no real preference you should also consider location, as all these firms are really located in different parts of the city.

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somewhatwayward
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Re: Firm Culture: Cravath vs. S&C vs. Skadden vs. STB

Postby somewhatwayward » Mon Sep 05, 2011 2:09 pm

Anonymous User wrote:if you have no real preference you should also consider location, as all these firms are really located in different parts of the city.


+1

this is especially a negative for skadden because it's in times square

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Re: Firm Culture: Cravath vs. S&C vs. Skadden vs. STB

Postby ruski » Mon Sep 05, 2011 2:16 pm

somewhatwayward wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:if you have no real preference you should also consider location, as all these firms are really located in different parts of the city.


+1

this is especially a negative for skadden because it's in times square


i believe it's a little east actually, so that you can take the b/d/f/m line to bryant park and walk from there and avoid times sq. all together

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Re: Firm Culture: Cravath vs. S&C vs. Skadden vs. STB

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 05, 2011 2:23 pm

Considering location within NYC is not very intelligent IMO, even considering that the work you do at these firms will be very similar, unless you're utterly indifferent to the type of people you will be working with, the environment you will be working in, and the exit opportunities you will have

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Re: Firm Culture: Cravath vs. S&C vs. Skadden vs. STB

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 05, 2011 2:44 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Considering location within NYC is not very intelligent IMO, even considering that the work you do at these firms will be very similar, unless you're utterly indifferent to the type of people you will be working with, the environment you will be working in, and the exit opportunities you will have


I think a lot of people underestimate the effect that a shitty commute/area can have on your experience. Not to say that it outweighs culture and so forth, but using 'utterly indifferent' as the line at which location matters is really shortsighted, I think. I've lived all over NYC for 10 years (and worked in the city as well), and the worst periods of that time, even without accounting for quality of people, were the ones where my day was bookended by a commute that made me feel like a rat in a test lab.

Also, Times Square is a suppurating chancre on the face of an otherwise unobjectionable city. Enter at your peril

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Re: Firm Culture: Cravath vs. S&C vs. Skadden vs. STB

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 05, 2011 3:19 pm

Interested in this as well. Currently choosing between STB and Skadden (no offer from Cravath CB, at least not yet; S&C CB in the future, which I understand is pretty much a guaranteed offer).

And location does make a difference. You can easily live in Brooklyn if you work at S&C, not so much for the others. Skadden is oppressively close to Times Square but has the most convenient transit. Cravath is commutable from the UWS and Penn Station and the Port Authority (and thus NJ 'burbs and Long Island), STB from the UES and Grand Central (and thus Westchester).

Any other comments on culture?

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Re: Firm Culture: Cravath vs. S&C vs. Skadden vs. STB

Postby Old Gregg » Mon Sep 05, 2011 3:38 pm

I turned down Wachtell because the building was too ugly for me. Never underestimate the effect bad architecture can have on your ability to work. I'm so much better off at Goodwin Procter in the NYTimes building.

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Re: Firm Culture: Cravath vs. S&C vs. Skadden vs. STB

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 05, 2011 4:27 pm

I interviewed with all firms asked about except for Cravath. STB came across as the most genuinely nice of the bunch -- from the partners, to the associates, to the recruitment staff. Very warm vibes. But I personally liked the character inside Skadden a bit more -- it felt faster-paced, and people were not nicer than at STB, but they did come across as more enthusiastic about their work. S&C was friendly as well, but the formal and straight-laced culture did, in fact, come across quite clear.

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Re: Firm Culture: Cravath vs. S&C vs. Skadden vs. STB

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 05, 2011 11:14 pm

What's the deal with Skadden... They get tons of hate but why?

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Re: Firm Culture: Cravath vs. S&C vs. Skadden vs. STB

Postby Old Gregg » Mon Sep 05, 2011 11:17 pm

Anonymous User wrote:What's the deal with Skadden... They get tons of hate but why?


They were once cool because they weren't part of the machine, and now they are the machine.

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Re: Firm Culture: Cravath vs. S&C vs. Skadden vs. STB

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 05, 2011 11:24 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Considering location within NYC is not very intelligent IMO, even considering that the work you do at these firms will be very similar, unless you're utterly indifferent to the type of people you will be working with, the environment you will be working in, and the exit opportunities you will have


I think considering location is very important, in addition to culture. Living in downtown versus midtown (or having a 25 minute commute versus a 10 minute commute) will have a greater impact on your life than the differences in exist options among this group of firms.

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Re: Firm Culture: Cravath vs. S&C vs. Skadden vs. STB

Postby smokyroom26 » Tue Sep 06, 2011 2:07 am

Fresh Prince wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:What's the deal with Skadden... They get tons of hate but why?


They were once cool because they weren't part of the machine, and now they are the machine.


LOL at the idea of any law firm not being part of the machine.

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Re: Firm Culture: Cravath vs. S&C vs. Skadden vs. STB

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 06, 2011 8:22 am

I have always heard that Cravath is a 'sweatshop' and that skadden is slightly more laid back- hours wise. Is this founded in anything? Or is this an example of a few disgruntled Cravath employee's voicing their complaints, and these complaints somehow turning into fact.

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Re: Firm Culture: Cravath vs. S&C vs. Skadden vs. STB

Postby eliekedourie » Tue Sep 06, 2011 8:42 am

Wow. No love for Sullivan. What's so rough about Sullivan?

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Re: Firm Culture: Cravath vs. S&C vs. Skadden vs. STB

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 06, 2011 9:09 am

eliekedourie wrote:Wow. No love for Sullivan. What's so rough about Sullivan?


I actually thought S&C seemed like a great place to work when I was there on my CB. Perhaps a product of who they let me see, but I enjoyed it, FWIW.

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Re: Firm Culture: Cravath vs. S&C vs. Skadden vs. STB

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 06, 2011 2:58 pm

Anonymous User wrote:just from speaking from a cravath associate, you are right that it's totally a gamble. he was a first year and was saying how he goes home most days at 7. he said he got really lucky by getting a great partner in one of the smaller corporate groups. not a bad way to spend 6 months - of course he admitted that he gained almost no experience as this was not a deal-driven group (something regulatory or something, can't quite remember). on the other hand, his office mate was never leaving before 9pm. so yea it totally varies.


Is there a way to tell the good from the bad partners? Or I'll just figure that out during the summer?

Because you can request to work with partners specifically, right?

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Re: Firm Culture: Cravath vs. S&C vs. Skadden vs. STB

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 06, 2011 5:03 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
eliekedourie wrote:Wow. No love for Sullivan. What's so rough about Sullivan?


I actually thought S&C seemed like a great place to work when I was there on my CB. Perhaps a product of who they let me see, but I enjoyed it, FWIW.

That's because their recruiting department wants you to think it's a great place to work. Did anyone else who had a CB think they were geared towards padding their associate ranks with meek, gullible people who will walk away thinking things like that and make lots of $$$ for the partners before they give up and fade away within 18 months of graduation?

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Re: Firm Culture: Cravath vs. S&C vs. Skadden vs. STB

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 06, 2011 5:05 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
eliekedourie wrote:Wow. No love for Sullivan. What's so rough about Sullivan?


I actually thought S&C seemed like a great place to work when I was there on my CB. Perhaps a product of who they let me see, but I enjoyed it, FWIW.

That's because their recruiting department wants you to think it's a great place to work. Did anyone else who had a CB think they were geared towards padding their associate ranks with meek, gullible people who will walk away thinking things like that and make lots of $$$ for the partners before they give up and fade away within 18 months of graduation?


Curious how they retain any nice people at all, though. S&C has such an awful reputation. Maybe the interviewers are just the best actors.

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Re: Firm Culture: Cravath vs. S&C vs. Skadden vs. STB

Postby Old Gregg » Tue Sep 06, 2011 5:16 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
eliekedourie wrote:Wow. No love for Sullivan. What's so rough about Sullivan?


I actually thought S&C seemed like a great place to work when I was there on my CB. Perhaps a product of who they let me see, but I enjoyed it, FWIW.

That's because their recruiting department wants you to think it's a great place to work. Did anyone else who had a CB think they were geared towards padding their associate ranks with meek, gullible people who will walk away thinking things like that and make lots of $$$ for the partners before they give up and fade away within 18 months of graduation?


Curious how they retain any nice people at all, though. S&C has such an awful reputation. Maybe the interviewers are just the best actors.


Prestige?

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Re: Firm Culture: Cravath vs. S&C vs. Skadden vs. STB

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 06, 2011 5:18 pm

Fresh Prince wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Curious how they retain any nice people at all, though. S&C has such an awful reputation. Maybe the interviewers are just the best actors.


Prestige?


Yeah, but if you've worked for S&C, it can't be THAT hard to lateral to DPW or Cleary or STB or Paul Weiss or somewhere comparably prestigious that isn't a giant vat of misery after a few years.

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Re: Firm Culture: Cravath vs. S&C vs. Skadden vs. STB

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 06, 2011 5:25 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Fresh Prince wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Curious how they retain any nice people at all, though. S&C has such an awful reputation. Maybe the interviewers are just the best actors.


Prestige?


Yeah, but if you've worked for S&C, it can't be THAT hard to lateral to DPW or Cleary or STB or Paul Weiss or somewhere comparably prestigious that isn't a giant vat of misery after a few years.


Though I have no real basis of comparison, after being an SA at S&C, I can say that the reputation of it being a terrible workplace is grossly exagerrated. Many of the worst stories concerned the same handful of partners (some of which may have been apocryphal), but it was generally a very congenial place in my experience. Associates were frank about what they didn't like about the firm (terrible hours, like everywhere else), but a poor atmosphere was not a common complaint.

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Re: Firm Culture: Cravath vs. S&C vs. Skadden vs. STB

Postby Old Gregg » Tue Sep 06, 2011 5:44 pm

Though I have no real basis of comparison, after being an SA at S&C, I can say that the reputation of it being a terrible workplace is grossly exagerrated. Many of the worst stories concerned the same handful of partners (some of which may have been apocryphal), but it was generally a very congenial place in my experience. Associates were frank about what they didn't like about the firm (terrible hours, like everywhere else), but a poor atmosphere was not a common complaint.


Report back a year after you've started.

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Re: Firm Culture: Cravath vs. S&C vs. Skadden vs. STB

Postby RVP11 » Tue Sep 06, 2011 5:48 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Fresh Prince wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Curious how they retain any nice people at all, though. S&C has such an awful reputation. Maybe the interviewers are just the best actors.


Prestige?


Yeah, but if you've worked for S&C, it can't be THAT hard to lateral to DPW or Cleary or STB or Paul Weiss or somewhere comparably prestigious that isn't a giant vat of misery after a few years.


LOL no.

This is the exact type of statement that makes TLS so laughable. People here seem to think that you can always lateral to a lower Vault firm. Cleary, STB, and PW aren't desperate to take S&C's mid-levels. Why would they be?

People here are effectively clueless when it comes to exit options. It's the blind leading the blind.

Go where you want to work for the foreseeable future. Consider prestige as a tiebreaker.

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Re: Firm Culture: Cravath vs. S&C vs. Skadden vs. STB

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 06, 2011 7:38 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Fresh Prince wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Curious how they retain any nice people at all, though. S&C has such an awful reputation. Maybe the interviewers are just the best actors.


Prestige?


Yeah, but if you've worked for S&C, it can't be THAT hard to lateral to DPW or Cleary or STB or Paul Weiss or somewhere comparably prestigious that isn't a giant vat of misery after a few years.


Though I have no real basis of comparison, after being an SA at S&C, I can say that the reputation of it being a terrible workplace is grossly exagerrated. Many of the worst stories concerned the same handful of partners (some of which may have been apocryphal), but it was generally a very congenial place in my experience. Associates were frank about what they didn't like about the firm (terrible hours, like everywhere else), but a poor atmosphere was not a common complaint.


Practice areas of the terrible partners?




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