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

terribleperson
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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby terribleperson » Fri Sep 09, 2011 12:22 pm

rayiner 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.


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.


Agreed. Cravath is a lot of things. But what it isn't is a place where associates are given menial work for years. They throw you in the deep end every rotation.

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GeePee
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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby GeePee » Fri Sep 09, 2011 12:25 pm

It amazes me that half of the people in this thread are telling the OP to go to a firm that he HATED on a VISIT. You will not be getting anything out of your experience anywhere if you dislike the people and the environment. Don't do this to yourself.

meshtdagn
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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby meshtdagn » Fri Sep 09, 2011 12:27 pm

Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. Even if zhe *hates* it, it's the right decision. You might hate playing for the Patriots, but you don't take the Chiefs practice squad over them.

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RVP11
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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby RVP11 » Fri Sep 09, 2011 12:28 pm

extempore88 wrote:If you have a relationship with the principals at your local firm, explain your decision to them. No one rides the bull for very long, so ask if you can look them up after getting your fill of Cravath crazy. They will likely understand, and will appreciate having someone else pay for your training.


Most firms, especially firms in smaller markets, absolutely do not hire 3Ls.

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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 09, 2011 12:29 pm

GeePee wrote:It amazes me that half of the people in this thread are telling the OP to go to a firm that he HATED on a VISIT. You will not be getting anything out of your experience anywhere if you dislike the people and the environment. Don't do this to yourself.


+1

That people would so undervalue and cast aside happiness and comfort says so much about what law school has done to skew our logic and ability to make rational decisions

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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby RVP11 » Fri Sep 09, 2011 12:30 pm

meshtdagn wrote:Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. Even if zhe *hates* it, it's the right decision. You might hate playing for the Patriots, but you don't take the Chiefs practice squad over them.


That is idiotic. Cravath =/= Patriots, hometown BigLaw =/= Chiefs practice squad.

If your 10 year plan is to be a top practitioner in Secondary Market, going to NYC BigLaw over Top Firm in Secondary Market is a horrible, horrible decision.

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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 09, 2011 12:30 pm

meshtdagn wrote:Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. Even if zhe *hates* it, it's the right decision. You might hate playing for the Patriots, but you don't take the Chiefs practice squad over them.


Once again, this is a huge fallacy, since you are implying that one is objectively better than the other. The question isn't which one is "better", but which one is better for OP

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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 09, 2011 12:33 pm

GeePee wrote:It amazes me that half of the people in this thread are telling the OP to go to a firm that he HATED on a VISIT. You will not be getting anything out of your experience anywhere if you dislike the people and the environment. Don't do this to yourself.


It's one thing to turn down Cravath for another V5. It's another to turn them down for a firm that barely pays six figures. It's like ITE taught people nothing. When the economy sucks, these secondary market firms get hit. I had an offer at a top firm in a secondary market. I loved the firm, loved the city, and turned down the offer for an NYC V5 because the former had no-offered half their 2009 class, and the latter had given 100% offers through the recession. With talks of double dip, I'm even more glad I made that decision.

One thing proponents of going to secondary markets don't realize is that those cities' economies are usually less diversified than NYC/CHI/DC. Atlanta's economy is hugely dependent on the construction boom, for example, and as a result has been moribund ever since the collapse of the housing market. No one here is arguing that going to Cravath won't give OP more national mobility. In uncertain economic times, that's exactly what you want. If you go to Cravath and decide you can't take it any more after a couple of years, you can pick and choose to find a city with a decent economy. If you hate the secondary market firm, and that market's economy is in the toilet, you're stuck there.

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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 09, 2011 12:35 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
GeePee wrote:It amazes me that half of the people in this thread are telling the OP to go to a firm that he HATED on a VISIT. You will not be getting anything out of your experience anywhere if you dislike the people and the environment. Don't do this to yourself.


+1

That people would so undervalue and cast aside happiness and comfort says so much about what law school has done to skew our logic and ability to make rational decisions


No. Some people ITT are overvaluing the happiness and comfort of 2-3 years of their life over the opportunities that might be presented to them over the remaining 30 years of their career.

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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 09, 2011 12:35 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
GeePee wrote:It amazes me that half of the people in this thread are telling the OP to go to a firm that he HATED on a VISIT. You will not be getting anything out of your experience anywhere if you dislike the people and the environment. Don't do this to yourself.


It's one thing to turn down Cravath for another V5. It's another to turn them down for a firm that barely pays six figures. It's like ITE taught people nothing. When the economy sucks, these secondary market firms get hit. I had an offer at a top firm in a secondary market. I loved the firm, loved the city, and turned down the offer for an NYC V5 because the former had no-offered half their 2009 class, and the latter had given 100% offers through the recession. With talks of double dip, I'm even more glad I made that decision.

One thing proponents of going to secondary markets don't realize is that those cities' economies are usually less diversified than NYC/CHI/DC. Atlanta's economy is hugely dependent on the construction boom, for example, and as a result has been moribund ever since the collapse of the housing market. No one here is arguing that going to Cravath won't give OP more national mobility. In uncertain economic times, that's exactly what you want. If you go to Cravath and decide you can't take it any more after a couple of years, you can pick and choose to find a city with a decent economy. If you hate the secondary market firm, and that market's economy is in the toilet, you're stuck there.


I agree with this, but maybe I am just more risk averse. In the worst economic climate since the Great Depression, I'm worried a lot less about my happiness in the short term than I am about securing the best future for my family.

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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby RVP11 » Fri Sep 09, 2011 12:37 pm

RVP11 wrote:
meshtdagn wrote:Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. Even if zhe *hates* it, it's the right decision. You might hate playing for the Patriots, but you don't take the Chiefs practice squad over them.


That is idiotic. Cravath =/= Patriots, hometown BigLaw =/= Chiefs practice squad.

If your 10 year plan is to be a top practitioner in Secondary Market, going to NYC BigLaw over Top Firm in Secondary Market is a horrible, horrible decision.


Just wanted to add: it's an especially horrible decision when you love the Secondary Market Firm and hate the NYC BigLaw firm.

But if OP loved Cravath but hated his hometown firm, I would counsel the other way.

I would also agree that if this Top Firm in Secondary Market has less than exemplary offer rate over the last few summers, then OP should take the hit and go to Cravath.

meshtdagn
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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby meshtdagn » Fri Sep 09, 2011 12:37 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
GeePee wrote:It amazes me that half of the people in this thread are telling the OP to go to a firm that he HATED on a VISIT. You will not be getting anything out of your experience anywhere if you dislike the people and the environment. Don't do this to yourself.


+1

That people would so undervalue and cast aside happiness and comfort says so much about what law school has done to skew our logic and ability to make rational decisions


No. Some people ITT are overvaluing the happiness and comfort of 2-3 years of their life over the opportunities that might be presented to them over the remaining 30 years of their career.


I think the second view is more mature than the first. Of course, it's a personal decision, but I think the first one is selfish and in some ways ignores the perils of the world we live in! Where would you rather work when the Apes attack? I guess not NYC... Hmmmmmm

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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby RVP11 » Fri Sep 09, 2011 12:40 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
GeePee wrote:It amazes me that half of the people in this thread are telling the OP to go to a firm that he HATED on a VISIT. You will not be getting anything out of your experience anywhere if you dislike the people and the environment. Don't do this to yourself.


+1

That people would so undervalue and cast aside happiness and comfort says so much about what law school has done to skew our logic and ability to make rational decisions


No. Some people ITT are overvaluing the happiness and comfort of 2-3 years of their life over the opportunities that might be presented to them over the remaining 30 years of their career.


ITT: some people think like aspie gunners, some people think like humans who value happiness. Can't say I'm shocked - this is TLS.

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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby GeePee » Fri Sep 09, 2011 12:42 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
GeePee wrote:It amazes me that half of the people in this thread are telling the OP to go to a firm that he HATED on a VISIT. You will not be getting anything out of your experience anywhere if you dislike the people and the environment. Don't do this to yourself.


+1

That people would so undervalue and cast aside happiness and comfort says so much about what law school has done to skew our logic and ability to make rational decisions


No. Some people ITT are overvaluing the happiness and comfort of 2-3 years of their life over the opportunities that might be presented to them over the remaining 30 years of their career.

And some people are overvaluing the way the Cravath name will carry to a small number of big firms in a small market. OP has an opportunity to ensure that he ends up where he wants to be for a long time. If he goes to Cravath, he risks completely throwing that away for an anything-but-guaranteed chance to lateral to one of these handful of small firms. This isn't like lateraling from, say, NY to LA, where you have over 25 chances at a big firm that's hiring laterals and wants you in particular. This is a small market where if none of the small handful of big firms in OP's market is hiring, he is SOL. It would be a monumentally bad decision to choose Cravath in OP's position, and it's very hard to believe that people are seriously so wrapped up in prestige that they would ignore all of what the poster wants.

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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby itbdvorm » Fri Sep 09, 2011 12:45 pm

rayiner 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.


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.


This. Again - you will be by the end of your third year at Cravath (or another comparable firm) a better corporate lawyer than you would be at the end of your third year at your hometown firm. You just will. The training, opportunities, experience, etc. are just going to be at a higher level. And because of that, in the LONG term, your opportunities in your home town will be better.

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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby RVP11 » Fri Sep 09, 2011 12:47 pm

GeePee wrote:And some people are overvaluing the way the Cravath name will carry to a small number of big firms in a small market.


This, too. People don't understand that the overwhelming number of "exit options" from a firm like Cravath are to a) other major market firms and b) in-house in the same city.

Big firms in small markets might only be hiring a lateral for a certain practice group every 3-5 years. OP could easily miss his chance to lateral, or not be able to lateral to a firm he likes as much.

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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

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

RVP11 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
+1

That people would so undervalue and cast aside happiness and comfort says so much about what law school has done to skew our logic and ability to make rational decisions


No. Some people ITT are overvaluing the happiness and comfort of 2-3 years of their life over the opportunities that might be presented to them over the remaining 30 years of their career.


ITT: some people think like aspie gunners, some people think like humans who value happiness. Can't say I'm shocked - this is TLS.


Meh. My dad worked his ass off, moved away from home, etc, for the first couple of decades of his life, and now has an interesting job that he loves and lots of financial security. As a result I've not only enjoyed a comfortable childhood, but have had a huge safety net that has caught me several times when I screwed up on the path to finding my own career. Not really aspie so much as forward looking.

Now, I'm not saying that the secondary market firm will not give you these things. I'm saying "oh I can't handle the work/environment for 3-5 years" is a pretty piss-poor reason to justify your decision.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Fri Sep 09, 2011 12:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

keg411
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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby keg411 » Fri Sep 09, 2011 12:48 pm

I think the offer rate is huge to consider. However, OP, don't you have other options besides secondary hometown firm and Cravath? Where are the STB's and DPW's of the world in this picture? I get that you HATED Cravath, so it makes sense not to go there... but I can't imagine you don't have any other options. The scenario is almost too extreme to be believable.

Also, OP, I think it would make more sense to stay in your hometown market if you wanted to do litigation. But corporate work in a secondary market (especially a small secondary market that pays 105k to start) isn't anywhere close to the type of corporate work you get in NYC. I mean, I have a bunch of secondary market interviews and the lit departments at these are significantly larger than the corporate departments -- and these are firms that pay in the 120-145k range.

TL;DR: If you want to do lit, go to your hometown and don't look back. If you want to do corporate, go somewhere you have an offer in NYC (just not Cravath, since you HATED everyone).

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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby RVP11 » Fri Sep 09, 2011 12:49 pm

itbdvorm wrote:This. Again - you will be by the end of your third year at Cravath (or another comparable firm) a better corporate lawyer than you would be at the end of your third year at your hometown firm. You just will. The training, opportunities, experience, etc. are just going to be at a higher level. And because of that, in the LONG term, your opportunities in your home town will be better.


If by better opportunities, you mean greater chance of making partner...no. Just no.

If you want to make partner at a secondary market firm, it's best to get there ASAP and start building connections.

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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby RVP11 » Fri Sep 09, 2011 12:52 pm

I agree that:

If you're certain you want to do corporate...lean toward Cravath. If you're certain you want to do lit...lean toward hometown. If the hometown firm has an iffy offer rate...lean toward Cravath.

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quiver
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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby quiver » Fri Sep 09, 2011 12:58 pm

Ok this is obviously a tough question and there are lots of pros and cons on each side. Keeping in mind that this is only for an SA position, my personal opinion is:

1. try to split (as OP said s/he is doing)
2. if split isn't allowed:
A. look into offer rates (pretty sure Cravath is at/near 100%)
B. look into opportunities for 3Ls/recent grads at the hometown firm (i.e. if OP summers at Cravath, does s/he have a good chance at getting hired at the hometown firm as a 3L/recent grad?)

Easy choices:
If the hometown firm has low offer rates and hires 3Ls (recent grads) I would go Cravath
If the hometown firm has high offer rates and doesn't hire 3Ls (recent grads) I would go hometown firm

Toss ups:
If the hometown firm has high offer rates and does hire 3Ls (recent grads)--The two sides here are 1) going Cravath since it's only for the summer and you'll probably get substantially the same experience as an SA while still having the opportunity to be hired at the hometown firm as a 3L or 2) just go to the hometown firm since you hate Cravath and they have high offer rates. Choose according to priorities I guess.
If the hometown firm has low offer rates and doesn't hire 3Ls (recent grads)--closer call but I'd probably go Cravath since the most important thing is a job after graduation and they have high offer rates. One could argue that, if OP has the stats for Cravath then s/he should have a shot at many other firms after graduation. That's probably true and maybe the best option would be to reapply as a 3L if s/he really hates Cravath.

The toss ups are, well, toss ups. Those are my personal opinions but I could definitely see someone going the other way on those.

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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby RVP11 » Fri Sep 09, 2011 1:00 pm

quiver wrote:Ok this is obviously a tough question and there are lots of pros and cons on each side. Keeping in mind that this is only for an SA position, my personal opinion is:

1. try to split (as OP said s/he is doing)
2. if split isn't allowed:
A. look into offer rates (pretty sure Cravath is at/near 100%)
B. look into opportunities for 3Ls/recent grads at the hometown firm (i.e. if OP summers at Cravath, does s/he have a good chance at getting hired at the hometown firm as a 3L/recent grad?)

Easy choices:
If the hometown firm has low offer rates and hires 3Ls (recent grads) I would go Cravath
If the hometown firm has high offer rates and doesn't hire 3Ls (recent grads) I would go hometown firm

Toss ups:
If the hometown firm has high offer rates and does hire 3Ls (recent grads)--The two sides here are 1) going Cravath since it's only for the summer and you'll probably get substantially the same experience as an SA while still having the opportunity to be hired at the hometown firm as a 3L or 2) just go to the hometown firm since you hate Cravath and they have high offer rates. Choose according to priorities I guess.
If the hometown firm has low offer rates and doesn't hire 3Ls (recent grads)--closer call but I'd probably go Cravath since the most important thing is a job after graduation and they have high offer rates. One could argue that, if OP has the stats for Cravath then s/he should have a shot at many other firms after graduation. That's probably true and maybe the best option would be to reapply as a 3L if s/he really hates Cravath.

The toss ups are, well, toss ups. Those are my personal opinions but I could definitely see someone going the other way on those.


Pretty good analysis.

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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby romothesavior » Fri Sep 09, 2011 1:12 pm

RVP11 wrote:
RVP11 wrote:
meshtdagn wrote:Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. Even if zhe *hates* it, it's the right decision. You might hate playing for the Patriots, but you don't take the Chiefs practice squad over them.


That is idiotic. Cravath =/= Patriots, hometown BigLaw =/= Chiefs practice squad.

If your 10 year plan is to be a top practitioner in Secondary Market, going to NYC BigLaw over Top Firm in Secondary Market is a horrible, horrible decision.


Just wanted to add: it's an especially horrible decision when you love the Secondary Market Firm and hate the NYC BigLaw firm.

But if OP loved Cravath but hated his hometown firm, I would counsel the other way.

I would also agree that if this Top Firm in Secondary Market has less than exemplary offer rate over the last few summers, then OP should take the hit and go to Cravath.

RVP, you are speaking mad truth up in here.

Some people (SHOCKING I NO!) actually don't want to be in NYC or DC. I know for many of you who are so NYC/east coast-centric, this may rock the very foundation of your existence. But for a lot of us in "flyover country," the idea of being close to family, having a short commute, spending time with kids, not paying thousands a month in rent, living in a manageable city, not dealing with the crowds, etc. are pretty goddamn appealing. The secondary market biglaw = Chiefs practice squad analogy is absolutely ridiculous, and borderline insulting. Sure, going to Cravath offers opportunities that the secondary market will not, but the door swings both ways. Secondary markets bring a lot to the table that NYC does not.

OP is not interested in NYC or the Cravath lifestyle. He wants to be a top dog in a smaller market. Happiness should definitely count for something, and OP would be far happier at this secondary market firm. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, and going to Cravath may actually be a barrier to that goal in the long run.

Anonymous User wrote:It's one thing to turn down Cravath for another V5. It's another to turn them down for a firm that barely pays six figures.

This is stupid too. Six figures with little debt in a secondary market will take you a hell of a lot farther than 160k in NYC. OP will be very comfortable on a 105k salary with little debt.

RVP11 wrote:
itbdvorm wrote:This. Again - you will be by the end of your third year at Cravath (or another comparable firm) a better corporate lawyer than you would be at the end of your third year at your hometown firm. You just will. The training, opportunities, experience, etc. are just going to be at a higher level. And because of that, in the LONG term, your opportunities in your home town will be better.


If by better opportunities, you mean greater chance of making partner...no. Just no.

If you want to make partner at a secondary market firm, it's best to get there ASAP and start building connections.


This too. So many of you are overvaluing the Cravath name in secondary markets. Some partners around here might care, but a lot of them simply won't give a shit. Your odds of making partner will be far, far higher if you summer at the firm, make connections with clients/attorneys in your firm over a few years, and have some mentors within the firm who will go to bat for you than they would be if you lateraled from Cravath.

There are some variables that could change things (the corporate interest may be one, offer rates are another). But all things being equal, I think you should go with your gut OP and go to the smaller firm.

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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby keg411 » Fri Sep 09, 2011 1:19 pm

If OP had no interest in NYC/Cravath, why even bother bidding on them and then going on the CB? Believe me, I get that plenty of people don't want NYC... but then they shouldn't bother looking there (unless they have borderline credentials and it's pretty much their only chance of getting any job -- in which case, they're probably not getting Cravath).

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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 09, 2011 2:14 pm

I'm pretty sure I know who OP is, and Cravath wasn't at our OCI. This was through mailing.




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