Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

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Where should I go?

Hometown Biglaw ($105,000 Per Year, Where I Want to Be in 10 Years)
61
73%
Cravath ($160,000 Per Year, Go for the Experience)
23
27%
 
Total votes: 84

Anonymous User
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Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 09, 2011 12:38 am

I'm very fortunate to have two offers at this point: one from Cravath, and one from a BigLaw firm (NLJ 250, not Vault 100) in my hometown (a major non-Chicago midwestern city).

I hated Cravath when I interviewed there, but everybody around me is telling me that it is too good of an opportunity to turn down. The Cravath associates looked exhausted, and I'm not a big fan of NYC. The other firm is much more laid back, is near my family, and it is where I'd ultimately like to be in ten years. Cravath pays $160,000 with a crappy bonus; the other firm pays $105,000 with a pretty cool bonus structure.

But Cravath does seem hard to turn down, and the firm is legendary. I've included a poll, but what I really want to know is:

1. If I go to Cravath and hate the summer there, how hard will it be to find BigLaw in my hometown after graduation?
2. If I go to Cravath after graduation, how hard will it be to lateral into BigLaw in my hometown?

I'd be going into corporate at Cravath. And since I know people will ask, I'm T25 top 5% with law review.

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dr123
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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby dr123 » Fri Sep 09, 2011 12:47 am

Can't buy happiness my man

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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 09, 2011 12:48 am

If you hated the firm when you visited, dislike how overworked you know you will be, don't want to work in NYC, then no level of "prestige" should sway you from what you know in your heart is the right choice: and that is practicing in a place you are happy and comfortable. No amount of prestige or cash can buy that type of happiness, and if that is the "right" place for you, then thats the way you should go. The people around you are only talking based on the stars in their eyes with no regard for your preferences, situation, goals, etc.

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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 09, 2011 12:49 am

What is your debt situation? Lower = hometown lean / Higher = Cravath lean

dixiecupdrinking
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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Fri Sep 09, 2011 12:50 am

I can't offer any sort of empirical data on your ability to lateral so I will remain silent on that front. But you have one firm that you seem to feel positive about in a place you want to live, and another firm that you hate in a city you dislike.

Pretend you have never heard of either firm, but someone you know who may or may not have any real idea what they're talking about tells you that the firm you hate is a better "opportunity" for you, and then refuses or is unable to elaborate on what they mean. What would you do?

This may be complicated a bit by financial factors. If you have a ton of debt, you may have to take into account the job security at each place; maybe Cravath is better positioned to weather the economy. Other than that, though, I think this sounds like a no-brainer. Law students tend to aim for extremely vague but conventionally prestigious goals, and I think it's a recipe for a really unhappy career.

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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 09, 2011 12:50 am

Cravath. Work hard while you can, when you're young, so when you are a little older you can let up a little bit. Working at Cravath will help you SO MUCH when you go back home. Clients will be pounding down your door.

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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 09, 2011 12:52 am

dixiecupdrinking wrote:I can't offer any sort of empirical data on your ability to lateral so I will remain silent on that front. But you have one firm that you seem to feel positive about in a place you want to live, and another firm that you hate in a city you dislike.

Pretend you have never heard of either firm, but someone you know who may or may not have any real idea what they're talking about tells you that the firm you hate is a better "opportunity" for you, and then refuses or is unable to elaborate on what they mean. What would you do?

This may be complicated a bit by financial factors. If you have a ton of debt, you may have to take into account the job security at each place; maybe Cravath is better positioned to weather the economy. Other than that, though, I think this sounds like a no-brainer. Law students tend to aim for extremely vague but conventionally prestigious goals, and I think it's a recipe for a really unhappy career.


It's more than money. Where will you learn to be a better lawyer? If excellence in your career matters to you, go to Cravath. There's a reason they get paid what they earn.

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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 09, 2011 12:56 am

Life is short and happiness is hard to come by. If you know that you'll be happier in your hometown, I say go for it. You're lucky in that you have a clear sense of your goals and where you want to be in the future -- don't trade that off if you know it's what you want.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Fri Sep 09, 2011 12:59 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 09, 2011 12:59 am

Its important to remember that the firm you pick is the "end of the line" in a sense. Every step up until this point in our law school journey has just been a means to an end, and had to serve a purpose in order to push us toward our next goal. But picking a firm isn't like picking a school, where the rankings and prestige play a huge part in determining your future. This is the step at which we can finally divorce ourselves from the "prize" mindset that is so prevalent amongst law students (i.e. we let someone else determine what the prize is, and then we blindly chase it, regardless of whether we actually want this prize).

And here you are, having done excellent in law school, but at a fork in the road, because now you have to sit down and determine what the prize really is. If the prize to you is the comfort of practicing in a desired market, being with people you like, and being in a working environment that is tolerable and sustainable, then your "prize" is there for the taking. And if that truly is your "prize", then there isn't a better choice, whether it be Cravath or any other brand name firm. Again, this isn't like picking a school, where there are "worse" schools and "better" ones. It is a divergent change from the mindset that law school fosters, but at this point, it is all about what is right for you.

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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Fri Sep 09, 2011 12:59 am

Anonymous User wrote:Clients will be pounding down your door.

Anonymous User wrote:Where will you learn to be a better lawyer?

I am skeptical of both of these claims but would defer to the opinion of someone who can demonstrate they have any basis for knowing they are in fact real life benefits that will accrue to an attorney in, say, St. Louis, by virtue of spending a few years as a junior associate at Cravath.

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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby terribleperson » Fri Sep 09, 2011 1:02 am

If you literally hated the firm, then this should be easy.

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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 09, 2011 1:05 am

dixiecupdrinking wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Clients will be pounding down your door.

Anonymous User wrote:Where will you learn to be a better lawyer?

I am skeptical of both of these claims but would defer to the opinion of someone who can demonstrate they have any basis for knowing they are in fact real life benefits that will accrue to an attorney in, say, St. Louis, by virtue of spending a few years as a junior associate at Cravath.


I would think its pretty clear that one would learn to be a better lawyer in a setting in which one gains immense practical experience early in one's career. And that is far more likely to happen in a smaller office/smaller firm/less pressured environment compared to the big NYC firms. I spoke with a recruiter who handles laterals, and he said he had a guy he interviewed from a large NYC firm (not Cravath) who worked for 4 years in litigation and had yet to even take a deposition. I think one would "learn" quite a bit more though practical experience in a more collegial and comfortable environment. And I don't even know what one means by "excellence in one's career". Yet again, that is the "prize" mindset, because excellence is entirely relative.

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Richie Tenenbaum
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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby Richie Tenenbaum » Fri Sep 09, 2011 1:13 am

I'd go with choosing happiness.

Is the hometown biglaw firm one of the better firms in town and one of the places you would really like to work long-term? If yes, then why the hell is this even a hard decision?

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quakeroats
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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby quakeroats » Fri Sep 09, 2011 1:14 am

There's no reason to go to Cravath. If they gave you an offer, you'll get one for a better firm in New York.

kaiser
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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby kaiser » Fri Sep 09, 2011 1:20 am

I agree with the poster who suggested that you pretend you didn't know anything about either firm. I just imagine someone coming up to me and saying "Well, I'm considering 2 options. One I think fits perfectly, and the other one I hate." Honestly, that could pretty much be the end of the discussion. I know it is a tough thing to conceptualize at this point in your life, but your happiness is invaluable and no amount of prestige will ever give you the fulfillment of being in a comfort zone where you can be happy.

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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby UCLAtransfer » Fri Sep 09, 2011 1:21 am

If you know you want to practice in your hometown eventually, think about what type of firm you would ideally end up at. If the firm you have a SA offer from is one that you could see yourself lateraling to later on anyhow, just skip the unpleasantness in between that would come with Cravath and start your career in a place you know you want to be. I really agree with the Anon above who talked about ending the "prize" mentality. I think TLS especially pushes the perpetual prize mentality, which I find quite silly.

With all that being said, I think this might be a little bit of a tougher choice if you have substantial debt.

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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 09, 2011 1:23 am

UCLAtransfer wrote:If you know you want to practice in your hometown eventually, think about what type of firm you would ideally end up at. If the firm you have a SA offer from is one that you could see yourself lateraling to later on anyhow, just skip the unpleasantness in between that would come with Cravath and start your career in a place you know you want to be. I really agree with the Anon above who talked about ending the "prize" mentality. I think TLS especially pushes the perpetual prize mentality, which I find quite silly.

With all that being said, I think this might be a little bit of a tougher choice if you have substantial debt.


OP here. I'm lucky and don't have substantial debt: I took the scholarship money and ran at the T25.

I also liked the post about the "prize" mentality, and I'm leaning towards not heading to Cravath.

I'm going to make a last-ditch attempt at negotating a split summer tomorrow. Thoughts on that?

Thanks for your help, guys.

kaiser
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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby kaiser » Fri Sep 09, 2011 1:25 am

Anonymous User wrote:
UCLAtransfer wrote:If you know you want to practice in your hometown eventually, think about what type of firm you would ideally end up at. If the firm you have a SA offer from is one that you could see yourself lateraling to later on anyhow, just skip the unpleasantness in between that would come with Cravath and start your career in a place you know you want to be. I really agree with the Anon above who talked about ending the "prize" mentality. I think TLS especially pushes the perpetual prize mentality, which I find quite silly.

With all that being said, I think this might be a little bit of a tougher choice if you have substantial debt.


OP here. I'm lucky and don't have substantial debt: I took the scholarship money and ran at the T25.

I also liked the post about the "prize" mentality, and I'm leaning towards not heading to Cravath.

I'm going to make a last-ditch attempt at negotating a split summer tomorrow. Thoughts on that?

Thanks for your help, guys.


If the firms were cool with it, I think a split would be valuable. You would get to see the environment of 2 different worlds and know for sure which one will make you happy. Again, I think it would only confirm what you already know. But it can't hurt to say "tried it, but not for me"

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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby Go_to_NYU » Fri Sep 09, 2011 1:26 am

Anonymous User wrote:Its important to remember that the firm you pick is the "end of the line" in a sense. Every step up until this point in our law school journey has just been a means to an end, and had to serve a purpose in order to push us toward our next goal. But picking a firm isn't like picking a school, where the rankings and prestige play a huge part in determining your future. This is the step at which we can finally divorce ourselves from the "prize" mindset that is so prevalent amongst law students (i.e. we let someone else determine what the prize is, and then we blindly chase it, regardless of whether we actually want this prize).

And here you are, having done excellent in law school, but at a fork in the road, because now you have to sit down and determine what the prize really is. If the prize to you is the comfort of practicing in a desired market, being with people you like, and being in a working environment that is tolerable and sustainable, then your "prize" is there for the taking. And if that truly is your "prize", then there isn't a better choice, whether it be Cravath or any other brand name firm. Again, this isn't like picking a school, where there are "worse" schools and "better" ones. It is a divergent change from the mindset that law school fosters, but at this point, it is all about what is right for you.



I liked this post.

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ndirish2010
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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby ndirish2010 » Fri Sep 09, 2011 1:57 am

Personally, I would go with the hometown firm. But I can certainly see the arguments for Cravath. Great position to be in.

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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby flcath » Fri Sep 09, 2011 2:00 am

Go with Kansas City.

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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 09, 2011 4:33 am

Anonymous User wrote:What is your debt situation? Lower = hometown lean / Higher = Cravath lean


lol no. 105 @ hometown probably ends up netting you more than 160 @ NYC

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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby CanuckObserver » Fri Sep 09, 2011 6:57 am

Hometown, without a question.

That is where you already know you want to be now and down the road, and if you need others to talk you into going to Cravath as your feel for the place is not positive, it is clearly the wrong choice for YOU. Not sure how much WE you have, but a positive environment in a place you want to be cannot be discounted.

As for experience, I disagree with those who imply Cravath will mean more hands on experience simply as it is Cravath/in NY.

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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 09, 2011 7:38 am

Anonymous User wrote:The other firm is . . . where I'd ultimately like to be in ten years.

The thing with doing corporate at Cravath then trying to lateral is that you don't know what practice groups you'd be put into first. If you only last a couple rotations (~3 years) and if those are groups that don't have much utility outside of NYC (some of their more specialized syndicated finance groups, for example) it's gonna be harder to lateral to a secondary (tertiary?) market where your skills aren't in demand.

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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 09, 2011 9:01 am

I chose hometown BigLaw (115k) over STB and Skadden last year. If you really want to make your career in your hometown, I think it's the right choice.




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