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

CanuckObserver
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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby CanuckObserver » Fri Sep 09, 2011 4:03 pm

RVP and romothesavior for the win in this thread.

It is pretty clear from this thread how many people have continued to buy into the TLS "prestige" factor as indicating more experience, better quality and therefore worth doing even if a person has said they did not get a positive feeling from the firm. I therefore am just going to assume that none of you have spent day in and day out at a job you did not like to realize that "3-5 years" feels like a freaking eternity when you do not enjoy what you are doing. Not even the money makes up for how that sucks the life out of you (though that does not stop people I know from justifying staying due to the money while also venting how miserable they are - the golden handcuffs...). Also, laughing at whoever insinuated $105 is a laughable salary. That goes a lot farther in a secondary market and is still very, very good salary for someone who really knows very little about actually practicing law yet.

Happiness DEFINITELY counts for a lot, even for those 3-5 years and a good portion of your 20's or 30's. You do not get those years back. Some may be willing to trudge through misery for the "prestige" but it is silly to think others are foolish for making a choice that better fits for them. It is also silly to think that everyone is as impressed by "prestige" as you and your classmates are.

OP has already said his long term goal is to be in his hometown, that option is presented to him NOW, why the emphasis on him going to Cravath to get that exit option later (which may no longer be available since the hometown firm will have homegrown associates who have instilled themselves more into the community).

Yes, if the hometown firm has piss poor offer rates, then likely he should be looking at other options (probably not Cravath, though, given he was not impressed) but the automatic answer ought not to be "NYC Big Law all the way!" given what OP has expressed for his goals, priorities, and so forth.

A lot of overemphasis on the value of Cravath to a secondary market as well. Secondary markets care a lot less about "NYC Big Law" than those aspiring for NYC Big Law seem to think, especially when, again, there are other homegrown associates in their own firm, or other firms in area, who have community connections, practical experience in that market, by that time have had lots of interaction with other counsel in region, the judiciary, and so on. No amount of time in NYC Big Law can make up for that and how far that goes in a secondary market.

Anonymous User
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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 09, 2011 4:43 pm

OP here.

Thanks for the advice everybody. I just accepted the offer at the firm in my hometown, and I couldn't be more excited. It was an honor to get the Cravath invite, but I really don't think I would have fit in, and I'm pretty sure I would have hated life.

Thanks again...

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romothesavior
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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby romothesavior » Fri Sep 09, 2011 5:18 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP here.

Thanks for the advice everybody. I just accepted the offer at the firm in my hometown, and I couldn't be more excited. It was an honor to get the Cravath invite, but I really don't think I would have fit in, and I'm pretty sure I would have hated life.

Thanks again...

Congrats OP. Sounds like you made a good call. I'm sure it is nice to be done with it all. Good luck.

kaiser
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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby kaiser » Fri Sep 09, 2011 5:22 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP here.

Thanks for the advice everybody. I just accepted the offer at the firm in my hometown, and I couldn't be more excited. It was an honor to get the Cravath invite, but I really don't think I would have fit in, and I'm pretty sure I would have hated life.

Thanks again...


Like my "prize" post explained earlier in the thread, it was all about how you defined what the goal is. And since it sounds like you got exactly the prize you wanted, no one could ever tell you that Cravath was better, or that you made the wrong choice. Congrats to you, and good luck.

Anonymous User
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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 09, 2011 6:09 pm

CanuckObserver wrote:RVP and romothesavior for the win in this thread.

It is pretty clear from this thread how many people have continued to buy into the TLS "prestige" factor as indicating more experience, better quality and therefore worth doing even if a person has said they did not get a positive feeling from the firm. I therefore am just going to assume that none of you have spent day in and day out at a job you did not like to realize that "3-5 years" feels like a freaking eternity when you do not enjoy what you are doing. Not even the money makes up for how that sucks the life out of you


Indeed. There are a lot of young people in this thread who have absolutely no fucking idea what they are talking about. Years ago, right out of college, I picked the money over happiness: chose the higher paying job at a company whose culture was not AT ALL a fit, in a location I HATED, despite the horrible gut feeling I had then. A job I would have normally enjoyed was completely ruined by the environment. Sunday nights were the worst time of the week because I knew I was facing another week of work. Over time, my performance progressively eroded (I stopped caring long ago), and ended up getting laid off.

As for the money... What money? I blew through my income and saved next to nothing. In retrospect, it is clear that I was trying to find fulfillment elsewhere. I cannot overstate the extent to which unhappiness at work poisons the rest of your life. 3-5 years is a long time.

OP, congrats on making the right choice.

Anonymous User
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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 09, 2011 6:13 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
CanuckObserver wrote:RVP and romothesavior for the win in this thread.

It is pretty clear from this thread how many people have continued to buy into the TLS "prestige" factor as indicating more experience, better quality and therefore worth doing even if a person has said they did not get a positive feeling from the firm. I therefore am just going to assume that none of you have spent day in and day out at a job you did not like to realize that "3-5 years" feels like a freaking eternity when you do not enjoy what you are doing. Not even the money makes up for how that sucks the life out of you


Indeed. There are a lot of young people in this thread who have absolutely no fucking idea what they are talking about. Years ago, right out of college, I picked the money over happiness: chose the higher paying job at a company whose culture was not AT ALL a fit, in a location I HATED, despite the horrible gut feeling I had then. A job I would have normally enjoyed was completely ruined by the environment. Sunday nights were the worst time of the week because I knew I was facing another week of work. Over time, my performance progressively eroded (I stopped caring long ago), and ended up getting laid off.

As for the money... What money? I blew through my income and saved next to nothing. In retrospect, it is clear that I was trying to find fulfillment elsewhere. I cannot overstate the extent to which unhappiness at work poisons the rest of your life. 3-5 years is a long time.

OP, congrats on making the right choice.


+1

And to think that some people in this thread had the nerves to suggest that seeking happiness in one's employment is akin to selfishness and irresponsibility

keg411
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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby keg411 » Fri Sep 09, 2011 6:14 pm

I personally just think it's misguided to think that all smaller-market large firms are lifestyle firms, and major-market large firms are sweatshops where you get no experience. There are plenty of small-market large firms that work you hard and have "sweatshop" reps as well. Just because the firm is in a secondary or teritary market doesn't make it a "lifestyle" firm and doesn't mean you are necessarily going to be happier.

CanuckObserver
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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby CanuckObserver » Fri Sep 09, 2011 7:15 pm

keg411 wrote:I personally just think it's misguided to think that all smaller-market large firms are lifestyle firms, and major-market large firms are sweatshops where you get no experience. There are plenty of small-market large firms that work you hard and have "sweatshop" reps as well. Just because the firm is in a secondary or teritary market doesn't make it a "lifestyle" firm and doesn't mean you are necessarily going to be happier.


I have not read anywhere in here where it was insinuated that "all" smaller market large firms are lifestyle firms. However, the OP has said clearly they felt more comfortable with the hometown firm, and being in his hometown, and had a far less positive impression of Cravath.

Being in his hometown in a firm where he had a positive feeling is more likely to work well for him/her and give him/her a shot at career satisfaction and overall happiness than going to a firm he does not feel positive about in a city he does not really want to be in. Even working long hours feels a lot easier when you enjoy it, as it is then part of your chosen lifestyle, not just a job.

There is no way anyone can guarantee happiness to anyone, or guarantee the OP's own career path and experience, but I am quite comfortable from my own experiences advising the OP to go with their gut on this one (as I see they have).

Anonymous User
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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 09, 2011 7:25 pm

While I'd sell my soul (and throw in a few choice appendages) for Cravath, it really doesn't look like the right choice for you. Good job on deciding wisely.

Anonymous User
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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 09, 2011 7:32 pm

Anonymous User wrote:While I'd sell my soul (and throw in a few choice appendages) for Cravath, it really doesn't look like the right choice for you. Good job on deciding wisely.


Well OP made is decision already. so he's stuck with it. He'll find out whether it worked out for him.

People make decisions based on "fit" all the time, and sometimes they're good ones and sometimes they're stupid ones. I know someone who took a T50 over better options because of fit and curriculum, and he said that in retrospect he wishes he would have taken the other school. He did tremendously well and got a good firm, but a similar performance at the higher ranked school would've opened up truly elite firms with better career opportunities.

Anonymous User
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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 09, 2011 7:35 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:While I'd sell my soul (and throw in a few choice appendages) for Cravath, it really doesn't look like the right choice for you. Good job on deciding wisely.


Well OP made is decision already. so he's stuck with it. He'll find out whether it worked out for him.

People make decisions based on "fit" all the time, and sometimes they're good ones and sometimes they're stupid ones. I know someone who took a T50 over better options because of fit and curriculum, and he said that in retrospect he wishes he would have taken the other school. He did tremendously well and got a good firm, but a similar performance at the higher ranked school would've opened up truly elite firms with better career opportunities.


Except we're not talking about law schools. We're talking about law firms.

Go read the rest of the thread about why your analogy is inapt.

Anonymous User
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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 09, 2011 7:40 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:While I'd sell my soul (and throw in a few choice appendages) for Cravath, it really doesn't look like the right choice for you. Good job on deciding wisely.


Well OP made is decision already. so he's stuck with it. He'll find out whether it worked out for him.

People make decisions based on "fit" all the time, and sometimes they're good ones and sometimes they're stupid ones. I know someone who took a T50 over better options because of fit and curriculum, and he said that in retrospect he wishes he would have taken the other school. He did tremendously well and got a good firm, but a similar performance at the higher ranked school would've opened up truly elite firms with better career opportunities.


I'm the quoted anon.

On the other side, I'm from a secondary (tertiary?) market that pays ~90k, gave up a sweet scholly at my prestigious-for-the-area TTT for CCN for "better employment options" and seriously wish I'd taken the TTT. I won't be making Cravath, Wachtell, or any other uber prestigious firm, and I'm stuck with an extra $125k in debt.

Sometimes the objectively "better" option outright sucks in hindsight, and I think OP has spared himself a lot of misery in figuring that out before the hindsight phase.

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RVP11
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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby RVP11 » Fri Sep 09, 2011 7:50 pm

keg411 wrote:I personally just think it's misguided to think that all smaller-market large firms are lifestyle firms, and major-market large firms are sweatshops where you get no experience. There are plenty of small-market large firms that work you hard and have "sweatshop" reps as well. Just because the firm is in a secondary or teritary market doesn't make it a "lifestyle" firm and doesn't mean you are necessarily going to be happier.


a) No one said that. OP's focus seems to be on location and firm culture, not hours.

b) Almost every secondary market firm requires 1800-1900 hours. That's a massive difference from ~2500 hours at Cravath.

c) I know several associates at a secondary market firm that has a "sweatshop" reputation and they all work about 50-60 hours a week on average. And they have more predictable hours thanks to less demanding clients.

Anonymous User
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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 09, 2011 7:55 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:While I'd sell my soul (and throw in a few choice appendages) for Cravath, it really doesn't look like the right choice for you. Good job on deciding wisely.


Well OP made is decision already. so he's stuck with it. He'll find out whether it worked out for him.

People make decisions based on "fit" all the time, and sometimes they're good ones and sometimes they're stupid ones. I know someone who took a T50 over better options because of fit and curriculum, and he said that in retrospect he wishes he would have taken the other school. He did tremendously well and got a good firm, but a similar performance at the higher ranked school would've opened up truly elite firms with better career opportunities.


Except we're not talking about law schools. We're talking about law firms.

Go read the rest of the thread about why your analogy is inapt.


The point I'm making is that going against the conventional wisdom because you're enamored with "fit" isn't necessarily a good idea. Sometimes it works out great, and sometimes it leads to lost opportunities. This applies just as much to law firms as law schools.

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RVP11
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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby RVP11 » Fri Sep 09, 2011 7:56 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Sometimes it works out great, and sometimes it leads to lost opportunities.


This is so enlightening. If only OP knew...

keg411
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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby keg411 » Fri Sep 09, 2011 11:34 pm

RVP11 wrote:
keg411 wrote:I personally just think it's misguided to think that all smaller-market large firms are lifestyle firms, and major-market large firms are sweatshops where you get no experience. There are plenty of small-market large firms that work you hard and have "sweatshop" reps as well. Just because the firm is in a secondary or teritary market doesn't make it a "lifestyle" firm and doesn't mean you are necessarily going to be happier.


a) No one said that. OP's focus seems to be on location and firm culture, not hours.

b) Almost every secondary market firm requires 1800-1900 hours. That's a massive difference from ~2500 hours at Cravath.

c) I know several associates at a secondary market firm that has a "sweatshop" reputation and they all work about 50-60 hours a week on average. And they have more predictable hours thanks to less demanding clients.


I still say something is missing in terms of OP -- you would think if he/she had Cravath, he/she also had more of a compromise major market firm (STB, DPW, Cleary, Paul Weiss, Debevoise, etc.) -- especially for corporate work as opposed to litigation work. I also don't think OP should have taken a firm that he/she hated... I'm just talking more to the general "secondary market = paradise" talk that is thrown around too much.

Anonymous User
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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 10, 2011 12:16 am

RVP11 wrote:
keg411 wrote:I personally just think it's misguided to think that all smaller-market large firms are lifestyle firms, and major-market large firms are sweatshops where you get no experience. There are plenty of small-market large firms that work you hard and have "sweatshop" reps as well. Just because the firm is in a secondary or teritary market doesn't make it a "lifestyle" firm and doesn't mean you are necessarily going to be happier.


a) No one said that. OP's focus seems to be on location and firm culture, not hours.

b) Almost every secondary market firm requires 1800-1900 hours. That's a massive difference from ~2500 hours at Cravath.

c) I know several associates at a secondary market firm that has a "sweatshop" reputation and they all work about 50-60 hours a week on average. And they have more predictable hours thanks to less demanding clients.


OP isn't making partner working 1800 hours. If he doesn't intend to make partner, he'd be better off at Cravath anyway.

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Shaggier1
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Re: Hometown BigLaw v. Cravath

Postby Shaggier1 » Sat Sep 10, 2011 12:26 am

If you are not into NYC, and you didn't like Cravath, why would you move to NYC and work at Cravath?

This board is great for answering questions about purely professional decisions. Yours is a question of personal happiness, and you seem to know the answer.




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