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

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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 09, 2011 9:08 am

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


I agree with this. I have zero debt and that made it much easier to take the objectively "higher risk" option (hometown BigLaw over STB/Skadden).

I would only go to V5 NYC over hometown BigLaw if I were dead certain I wanted corporate, and specifically M&A (or some other corporate practice area that is easily transferrable to a smaller market), and I really wanted the experience of living in NYC (basically, if I were single).

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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby GeePee » Fri Sep 09, 2011 9:09 am

Anonymous User wrote: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.

/thread

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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 09, 2011 9:13 am

OP: Check the offer rate of the home biglaw firm. Sometimes firms in secondary cities can have very low offer rates. I know you have superman stats but you never know if they are only going to hire 3/6 people.

If everything is about equal, I would still go to Cravath. You can always go back to your hometown but it will be very very hard to go back to nyc law if you change your mind in the future.

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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 09, 2011 9:27 am

Anonymous User wrote:You can always go back to your hometown but it will be very very hard to go back to nyc law if you change your mind in the future.


But you don't know WHEN or WHERE you will be able to go back. It's not like every firm in his hometown is saving a spot in their corporate group for anyone at Cravath who wants to jump over. What if OP hates his life a year into Cravath and no firms in his hometown are hiring? What if the firm who wants him now is the #1 firm in his hometown, but he can only get the #4 firm in his hometown a few years from now? Those are entirely possible.

Also, if OP wants to be a partner specifically at his hometown firm, he'll probably have a better chance as a homegrown attorney.

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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 09, 2011 9:34 am

Anonymous User wrote: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.


A lot of what's been said in this thread is very good advice for people considering other top NYC firms, but the above-quoted consideration (which is a quite important one imo) is unique to Cravath. Call it a downside or a risk factor or whatever, but it's something that wouldn't be an issue if the OP is also looking at other NYC biglaw firms.

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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 09, 2011 9:48 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:You can always go back to your hometown but it will be very very hard to go back to nyc law if you change your mind in the future.


But you don't know WHEN or WHERE you will be able to go back. It's not like every firm in his hometown is saving a spot in their corporate group for anyone at Cravath who wants to jump over. What if OP hates his life a year into Cravath and no firms in his hometown are hiring? What if the firm who wants him now is the #1 firm in his hometown, but he can only get the #4 firm in his hometown a few years from now? Those are entirely possible.

Also, if OP wants to be a partner specifically at his hometown firm, he'll probably have a better chance as a homegrown attorney.


Everybody jumps down the Cravath supporters' throats by saying OP *knows* he/she hates Cravath and would *love* working at his/her hometown midlaw firm. I think this is equally true the other way around. Just bc OP has bought into the hype that BIGLAW sucks, and romanticizes a law firm back home, doesn't mean that reality will line up with expectations.

It's very hard to know so early in your life what you really want to do or where you'll be happy in the long run.

The thing about Cravath is it's easy to bail and have a ton of opportunities in a variety of locations. With this other firm, you better be damn sure that's where you want to be.

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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 09, 2011 9:57 am

I'm in an almost identical situation. NYC V10 vs top firm in home market. I think I'm going to try and split, but if that doesn't work I'll probably just go to the home market firm all summer.

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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby romothesavior » Fri Sep 09, 2011 10:26 am

If this is who I think it is, go to the hometown firm, despite the previous shit I've given you for it. I think Cravath is a great opportunity, but it is clear you would be happier in a smaller city, and I'm skeptical of how strong the Cravath brand is in smaller cities. They don't want some 4th year with virtually no real experience. And the notion that you'll learn more at Cravath seems silly. People have great exit opportunities out of Cravath because of the brand, not because they learned all about being a litigator in three years. Sure, the cases in your hometown wont be as big and the attorneys not as prolific, but you will likely get far more early lit experience.

Good luck.

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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby itbdvorm » Fri Sep 09, 2011 10:36 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote: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.


A lot of what's been said in this thread is very good advice for people considering other top NYC firms, but the above-quoted consideration (which is a quite important one imo) is unique to Cravath. Call it a downside or a risk factor or whatever, but it's something that wouldn't be an issue if the OP is also looking at other NYC biglaw firms.


This is 100% the right answer. The OP should NOT go to Cravath (edit: because of the rotation system's risk of locking you into an undesirable group) but SHOULD go to another comparable elite firm. From friends I know who have "lateralled down" the experience/training/education obtained as a junior with an elite firm put them light years ahead of their comparable peers.

If the goal is to be at the firm long-term, the right answer (in this case) really is to not start there. Bill 2800 hours your first two years and then you'll be almost a full year ahead when you go to your hometown firm and people are billing 1900.

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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 09, 2011 10:39 am

For the record, my earlier post was meant to suggest that you would learn much more and get much more practical experience at the hometown firm, not Cravath.

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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby RVP11 » Fri Sep 09, 2011 10:42 am

itbdvorm wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote: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.


A lot of what's been said in this thread is very good advice for people considering other top NYC firms, but the above-quoted consideration (which is a quite important one imo) is unique to Cravath. Call it a downside or a risk factor or whatever, but it's something that wouldn't be an issue if the OP is also looking at other NYC biglaw firms.


This is 100% the right answer. The OP should NOT go to Cravath (edit: because of the rotation system's risk of locking you into an undesirable group) but SHOULD go to another comparable elite firm. From friends I know who have "lateralled down" the experience/training/education obtained as a junior with an elite firm put them light years ahead of their comparable peers.

If the goal is to be at the firm long-term, the right answer (in this case) really is to not start there. Bill 2800 hours your first two years and then you'll be almost a full year ahead when you go to your hometown firm and people are billing 1900.


Better yet, bill 7000 hours each of your first two years and then you'll be as experienced as a partner at your hometown firm!

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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby romothesavior » Fri Sep 09, 2011 10:43 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:You can always go back to your hometown but it will be very very hard to go back to nyc law if you change your mind in the future.


But you don't know WHEN or WHERE you will be able to go back. It's not like every firm in his hometown is saving a spot in their corporate group for anyone at Cravath who wants to jump over. What if OP hates his life a year into Cravath and no firms in his hometown are hiring? What if the firm who wants him now is the #1 firm in his hometown, but he can only get the #4 firm in his hometown a few years from now? Those are entirely possible.

Also, if OP wants to be a partner specifically at his hometown firm, he'll probably have a better chance as a homegrown attorney.

Very good points.

If OPs goal is biglaw in his hometown, why should he go to Cravath? Sure, Cravath has great exit opportunities, but the exit opportunity that OP wants, he already has an offer from. Sounds like a risky move to go to NYC hoping to come back to a firm he already has an offer from, and he sacrifices a few years of networking, building relationships in the firm, developing a niche in the hometown firm, and possibly even interacting with clients. It could actually hurt him in the long term if he wants partnership.

All things being equal, Cravath makes little sense given that OP wants to stay in his local market and he hated Cravath and NYC.

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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby itbdvorm » Fri Sep 09, 2011 10:44 am

RVP11 wrote:
itbdvorm wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote: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.


A lot of what's been said in this thread is very good advice for people considering other top NYC firms, but the above-quoted consideration (which is a quite important one imo) is unique to Cravath. Call it a downside or a risk factor or whatever, but it's something that wouldn't be an issue if the OP is also looking at other NYC biglaw firms.


This is 100% the right answer. The OP should NOT go to Cravath (edit: because of the rotation system's risk of locking you into an undesirable group) but SHOULD go to another comparable elite firm. From friends I know who have "lateralled down" the experience/training/education obtained as a junior with an elite firm put them light years ahead of their comparable peers.

If the goal is to be at the firm long-term, the right answer (in this case) really is to not start there. Bill 2800 hours your first two years and then you'll be almost a full year ahead when you go to your hometown firm and people are billing 1900.


Better yet, bill 7000 hours each of your first two years and then you'll be as experienced as a partner at your hometown firm!


You jest...but do you honestly disagree?

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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby RVP11 » Fri Sep 09, 2011 10:46 am

itbdvorm wrote:You jest...but do you honestly disagree?


Of course I disagree. Your point was dumb.

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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 09, 2011 10:46 am

romothesavior wrote:If this is who I think it is, go to the hometown firm, despite the previous shit I've given you for it. I think Cravath is a great opportunity, but it is clear you would be happier in a smaller city, and I'm skeptical of how strong the Cravath brand is in smaller cities. They don't want some 4th year with virtually no real experience. And the notion that you'll learn more at Cravath seems silly. People have great exit opportunities out of Cravath because of the brand, not because they learned all about being a litigator in three years. Sure, the cases in your hometown wont be as big and the attorneys not as prolific, but you will likely get far more early lit experience.

Good luck.


How can a 20x year old know "clear[ly where they] would be happier" down the road? This decision will stay with you for life. If you adopt the worst case scenario for each choice, Cravath is clearly better because the pidgeonhole will not be as extreme. Why assume the hometown firm is all roses? A lot of these places have serious issues w/r/t politics, shadiness, incompetence, etc.

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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby RVP11 » Fri Sep 09, 2011 10:51 am

Anonymous User wrote:
romothesavior wrote:If this is who I think it is, go to the hometown firm, despite the previous shit I've given you for it. I think Cravath is a great opportunity, but it is clear you would be happier in a smaller city, and I'm skeptical of how strong the Cravath brand is in smaller cities. They don't want some 4th year with virtually no real experience. And the notion that you'll learn more at Cravath seems silly. People have great exit opportunities out of Cravath because of the brand, not because they learned all about being a litigator in three years. Sure, the cases in your hometown wont be as big and the attorneys not as prolific, but you will likely get far more early lit experience.

Good luck.


How can a 20x year old know "clear[ly where they] would be happier" down the road? This decision will stay with you for life. If you adopt the worst case scenario for each choice, Cravath is clearly better because the pidgeonhole will not be as extreme. Why assume the hometown firm is all roses? A lot of these places have serious issues w/r/t politics, shadiness, incompetence, etc.


OP loved one firm and hated the other. You're assuming an equal chance of OP loving/hating each firm once he has started working there. That's dumb.

Sometimes you have to make decisions with the limited knowledge you have.

And if you're in your mid 20s and can't yet predict which decisions will make you happier years down the road, then picking a law firm is the least of your problems.

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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby romothesavior » Fri Sep 09, 2011 10:53 am

RVP11 wrote:
itbdvorm wrote:You jest...but do you honestly disagree?


Of course I disagree. Your point was dumb.

Very dumb. Working lots of hours absolutely does not mean better experience or more learning. I am very familiar with the types of firms OP is likely looking at. Doing depos and sitting second chair is not that uncommon in your first few years at a firm like these. I have met two people thru OCI who briefed and argued an appellate case in their second year as an associate. Do you honestly think they're learning less at 1800 hours than their peers at CSM?

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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 09, 2011 10:55 am

Anonymous User wrote:How can a 20x year old know "clear[ly where they] would be happier" down the road? This decision will stay with you for life. If you adopt the worst case scenario for each choice, Cravath is clearly better because the pidgeonhole will not be as extreme. Why assume the hometown firm is all roses? A lot of these places have serious issues w/r/t politics, shadiness, incompetence, etc.


Gain some perspective. The only thing you will be "pidgeonholed' into by working at a quality law firm in a big city other than NYC/DC/Chicago/Cali is probably more quality legal work outside of those aforementioned cities ( and that's probably not even true).

Also keep in mind that other cities will expect real hands on experience from experienced hires. From what many say the main experience the typical associate gets at these big NYC firms is just doc review/due diligence.

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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby romothesavior » Fri Sep 09, 2011 11:08 am

Anonymous User wrote:How can a 20x year old know "clear[ly where they] would be happier" down the road? This decision will stay with you for life. If you adopt the worst case scenario for each choice, Cravath is clearly better because the pidgeonhole will not be as extreme. Why assume the hometown firm is all roses? A lot of these places have serious issues w/r/t politics, shadiness, incompetence, etc.

No one said it is all roses. But I'm 23 and I can tell you right now I would hate NYC, and I don't need to go bill 2800 hours for a few years to verify that. Sure, there's a chance I'm wrong, but I am confident enough that I would turn it down in OPs situation.

Also, this pigeonholing argument is silly. OP can have great exit opportunities in his area if he hates his firm.

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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 09, 2011 11:16 am

I have an anecdote that might help your decision. While I realize that this story is just one example, I think it is revealing, especially if you ultimately want to end up in your hometown. Here is the story:

My 1L summer I worked at a "hometown biglaw firm." I was speaking with a hiring partner who told me that the firm had rejected a Cravath associate seeking to lateral. His reasoning for the rejection came largely from the fact that the Cravath associate, despite having worked there for 3 years, had no real experience. The associate had worked on 1 case his entire time at Cravath. Thus, while the Cravath name sounded nice, the associate brought nothing to the table with respect to practical legal experience, and so was not hired.

Good luck with your decision.

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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby extempore88 » Fri Sep 09, 2011 12:06 pm

.
Last edited by extempore88 on Tue Apr 14, 2015 11:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby terribleperson » Fri Sep 09, 2011 12:12 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I have an anecdote that might help your decision. While I realize that this story is just one example, I think it is revealing, especially if you ultimately want to end up in your hometown. Here is the story:

My 1L summer I worked at a "hometown biglaw firm." I was speaking with a hiring partner who told me that the firm had rejected a Cravath associate seeking to lateral. His reasoning for the rejection came largely from the fact that the Cravath associate, despite having worked there for 3 years, had no real experience. The associate had worked on 1 case his entire time at Cravath. Thus, while the Cravath name sounded nice, the associate brought nothing to the table with respect to practical legal experience, and so was not hired.

Good luck with your decision.


Pretty amazing that your anecdote involved the only Cravath associate not included in their rotation system.

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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 09, 2011 12:14 pm

quakeroats wrote: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.


+1.

If you have a Cravath offer, you can probably get an STB/DPW offer. Won't be hometown nice, but might be tolerable at least.

It's very easy to find a job 3L at another firm if you've got top grades and a top 2L SA on your resume.

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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby rayiner » Fri Sep 09, 2011 12:14 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
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.


You get to pick your first practice group.

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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby rayiner » Fri Sep 09, 2011 12:20 pm

romothesavior wrote:If this is who I think it is, go to the hometown firm, despite the previous shit I've given you for it. I think Cravath is a great opportunity, but it is clear you would be happier in a smaller city, and I'm skeptical of how strong the Cravath brand is in smaller cities. They don't want some 4th year with virtually no real experience. And the notion that you'll learn more at Cravath seems silly. People have great exit opportunities out of Cravath because of the brand, not because they learned all about being a litigator in three years. Sure, the cases in your hometown wont be as big and the attorneys not as prolific, but you will likely get far more early lit experience.

Good luck.


I don't buy the notion that Cravath 4th years have "virtually no real experience" (in corporate, which is what OP wants). The combination of the rotation system and having so much work they have to turn clients down means that partners have a huge incentive to train you. If you suck, they can't just ask for another associate. If you're good, you can free up the senior associate to do work the partner would otherwise have to do, which means the partner can handle more clients and bring in more money.

For corporate, anyway, the big benefit for a junior at a place like Cravath is that not every deal is necessarily make or break for the client. Cravath associates say that by the end of their first rotation, they get to run small securities or credit deals. These deals might be part of some bigger project the client has, the client often doesn't mind an associate running them because of the smaller dollar value, and partners have a huge incentive to let the associate run them because that let's them take on more work.
Last edited by rayiner on Fri Sep 09, 2011 12:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.




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