Exit Options

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Exit Options

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

I've read a few posts on the board mentioning that the exit options at the very top of the Vault 100 are much better than towards the bottom. Exit options are important to me, so I was wondering the extent to which this should factor into my consideration of firms. Interest is in corporate/transactional work, and prestige doesn't matter as much as just not risking a dead-end career.

Specifically, I have heard a firm like Schulte has good placement into in-house PE and Hedge funds, so how would this compare to firms like Sidley or W&C's placement into in-house corporate (assuming an equal interest in each)? What about mid-vault firms like Winston or Morgan Lewis?

There seems like there is a real split on this board where some people say, "just go to the highest ranked firm" and others say, "it doesn't matter, just go where you're happy." Culture fit is important, but not at the expense of limiting career opportunities, so I am looking for any comments on the general exit options from the differently ranked firms. Thanks!
Last edited by Anonymous User on Fri Sep 09, 2011 11:09 am, edited 2 times in total.

lawfirmrecruiter
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Re: Exit Options

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

Anonymous User wrote:I've read a few posts on the board mentioning that the exit options at the very top of the Vault 100 are much better than towards the bottom. Exit options are important to me, so I was wondering the extent to which this should factor into my consideration of firms. Interest is in corporate/transactional work, and prestige doesn't matter as much as just not risking a dead-end career.

Specifically, I have heard a firm like Schulte has good placement into in-house PE and Hedge funds, so how would this compare to firms like Sidley or W&C's placement into in-house corporate (assuming an equal interest in each)? What about mid-vault firms like Winston or Morgan Lewis?

There seems like there is a real split on this board where some people say, "just go to the highest ranked firm" and others say, "it doesn't matter, just go where you're happy." Culture fit is important, but not at the expense of limiting career opportunities, so I am looking for any comments on the general exit options from the differently ranked firms. Thanks!


As a law firm recruiter, this thread kills me - no matter how much of a reality it is, we don't want to think that all of our work and money we spend to recruit and train you is just to help you get your next job . . . but I digress. Here are my thoughts:

First thing to consider is what you want to "exit" to. Do you want to stay in private practice and lateral over somewhere else? Do you want to go inhouse? Look to your ideal future positions and see where those attorneys came from. If you are looking to a specific industry, for example, what firm represents the most clients in that industry?

When considering future jobs, you should look for a job now that will train you to do the type of work you want to do later. Just because a firm has a great brand or name, if you are stuck doing due diligence for 3 years, you will not have anything beyond firm name to entice your next employer.

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Re: Exit Options

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 09, 2011 11:32 am

They're largely a function based on what clients and type of clients the firm has and specifically those you make contact with.

To go along with what you mentioned, if you absolutely klnew you wanted to work in i-banking or with hedge funds, schulte is probably the best choice. I knew someone who took schulte over dpw and simpson and doesn't regret it at all.

But to contrast if you wanted to go in house, schultes less of a solid choice since it has less corporate clients.

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Re: Exit Options

Postby imchuckbass58 » Fri Sep 09, 2011 12:00 pm

lawfirmrecruiter wrote:
As a law firm recruiter, this thread kills me - no matter how much of a reality it is, we don't want to think that all of our work and money we spend to recruit and train you is just to help you get your next job . . . but I digress.


Well, I mean, most big firms' business models are predicated on 90% associate attrition, so I feel like it's kind of inherent in the job description.

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Re: Exit Options

Postby imchuckbass58 » Fri Sep 09, 2011 12:04 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I've read a few posts on the board mentioning that the exit options at the very top of the Vault 100 are much better than towards the bottom. Exit options are important to me, so I was wondering the extent to which this should factor into my consideration of firms. Interest is in corporate/transactional work, and prestige doesn't matter as much as just not risking a dead-end career.

Specifically, I have heard a firm like Schulte has good placement into in-house PE and Hedge funds, so how would this compare to firms like Sidley or W&C's placement into in-house corporate (assuming an equal interest in each)? What about mid-vault firms like Winston or Morgan Lewis?

There seems like there is a real split on this board where some people say, "just go to the highest ranked firm" and others say, "it doesn't matter, just go where you're happy." Culture fit is important, but not at the expense of limiting career opportunities, so I am looking for any comments on the general exit options from the differently ranked firms. Thanks!


In general, higher ranked vault firms will give you better exit options, particularly within corporate, but with several caveats:

(1) There's no real distinction between relatively small differences. So Paul Weiss, at number 13 (or whatever it is) is not noticeably different from Cravath at number 2 in terms of exit options (particularly in litigation).

(2) Vault rankings are very new york and corporate-centric. So firms like W&C, Irell, MTO, and Patterson Belknap give exit options significantly above their rank.

(3) As you mentioned, there are some lower-ranked vault firms that are very strong in certain specialties, so if you're interested in that type of work, you should probably go there over a much higher ranked firm. I'd go so far to say that if you knew 100% that you wanted to be in-house at a hedge fund, schulte is better than Cleary, DPW, or most of the rest of the V10. Of course for anything else, that's not true.

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Re: Exit Options

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

imchuckbass58 wrote:
lawfirmrecruiter wrote:
As a law firm recruiter, this thread kills me - no matter how much of a reality it is, we don't want to think that all of our work and money we spend to recruit and train you is just to help you get your next job . . . but I digress.


Well, I mean, most big firms' business models are predicated on 90% associate attrition, so I feel like it's kind of inherent in the job description.


THANK YOU.

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Re: Exit Options

Postby terribleperson » Fri Sep 09, 2011 12:23 pm

imchuckbass58 wrote:
lawfirmrecruiter wrote:
As a law firm recruiter, this thread kills me - no matter how much of a reality it is, we don't want to think that all of our work and money we spend to recruit and train you is just to help you get your next job . . . but I digress.


Well, I mean, most big firms' business models are predicated on 90% associate attrition, so I feel like it's kind of inherent in the job description.

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Re: Exit Options

Postby lawfirmrecruiter » Fri Sep 09, 2011 12:29 pm

imchuckbass58 wrote:
lawfirmrecruiter wrote:
As a law firm recruiter, this thread kills me - no matter how much of a reality it is, we don't want to think that all of our work and money we spend to recruit and train you is just to help you get your next job . . . but I digress.


Well, I mean, most big firms' business models are predicated on 90% associate attrition, so I feel like it's kind of inherent in the job description.


That's a depressing statement and incredibly insightful about the state of our profession. BigLaw firms entice students with the appearance of large (unsustainable) class sizes and 100% offer rates hoping the majority will eventually leave (or be fired) because they are over leveraged. Students and young associates have seen this over and over now and enter firms distrusting them from the very beginning and I can see why.

Yet another reason to consider "mid-law" over biglaw. I can assure you that our business model is NOT predicted on 90% associate attrition.

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Re: Exit Options

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

Anybody not seriously considering exit options is showing a profound lapse in judgment.

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Re: Exit Options

Postby keg411 » Fri Sep 09, 2011 12:33 pm

lawfirmrecruiter wrote:As a law firm recruiter, this thread kills me - no matter how much of a reality it is, we don't want to think that all of our work and money we spend to recruit and train you is just to help you get your next job . . . but I digress.


While I think there are some firms that want more associates to stick around, I think it's far more difficult to get jobs at these places and frankly, I don't think BigLaw (at least in the larger markets) is a fan of people that are interested in doing that. Especially at firms that are leveraged. So if you don't really have a shot at these "we want you to stay" type-firms, exit options have to be a consideration.

It's also not about "being fired" -- the lateral market is huge right now and besides in ITE, most people leave BigLaw for other BigLaw or other options (in law or not) far more frequently than associates are actively fired. It's the nature of the model. It's also way easier to get the best "MidLaw" jobs if you do your time in BigLaw first.

It kind of sucks, because personally, I would rather go to a firm that wanted to nurture my career and that I could spend the next 40 years at... but either those places don't exist or they've shown little interest in me -- at least the larger-market firms (and I think they are more the former than the latter).

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Re: Exit Options

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 09, 2011 12:39 pm

Helmholtz wrote:Anybody not seriously considering exit options is showing a profound lapse in judgment.


But I often wonder if people even know what exit options really means. And if they understand that even with exit options, you should have a general idea of what you want to exit to, and which firms are better for that, than slavishly following the vault rankings. For example if you want to go in house or work in finance after firm work, going to a Vault 10 makes total sense. But if you are interested in being an AUSA going to Sullivan and Cromwell or Watchell over WilmerHale DC or Hogan DC doesn't make a lot of sense. People seem to automatically think that going to the highest Vault firm is the best thing to do if you want to "preserve your exit options".

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Re: Exit Options

Postby lawfirmrecruiter » Fri Sep 09, 2011 1:14 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Helmholtz wrote:Anybody not seriously considering exit options is showing a profound lapse in judgment.


But I often wonder if people even know what exit options really means. And if they understand that even with exit options, you should have a general idea of what you want to exit to, and which firms are better for that, than slavishly following the vault rankings. For example if you want to go in house or work in finance after firm work, going to a Vault 10 makes total sense. But if you are interested in being an AUSA going to Sullivan and Cromwell or Watchell over WilmerHale DC or Hogan DC doesn't make a lot of sense. People seem to automatically think that going to the highest Vault firm is the best thing to do if you want to "preserve your exit options".


I could not agree more with this. While in previous posts in this thread I mention hating the thought of losing my associates, we also actively recruit laterals which in most cases all come from other firms. When seeking a lateral, we need someone with specific experience in a particular area. While a Vault 10 firm name may get ourattention, we will pass if you don't have the experience we are looking for. The same will be true for any employer, whether a firm or corporation.

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Re: Exit Options

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

lawfirmrecruiter wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Helmholtz wrote:Anybody not seriously considering exit options is showing a profound lapse in judgment.


But I often wonder if people even know what exit options really means. And if they understand that even with exit options, you should have a general idea of what you want to exit to, and which firms are better for that, than slavishly following the vault rankings. For example if you want to go in house or work in finance after firm work, going to a Vault 10 makes total sense. But if you are interested in being an AUSA going to Sullivan and Cromwell or Watchell over WilmerHale DC or Hogan DC doesn't make a lot of sense. People seem to automatically think that going to the highest Vault firm is the best thing to do if you want to "preserve your exit options".


I could not agree more with this. While in previous posts in this thread I mention hating the thought of losing my associates, we also actively recruit laterals which in most cases all come from other firms. When seeking a lateral, we need someone with specific experience in a particular area. While a Vault 10 firm name may get ourattention, we will pass if you don't have the experience we are looking for. The same will be true for any employer, whether a firm or corporation.


I think the appeal of a V10 firm in terms of exit options is that so many of those firms do so many things so well. That's great news for law students who aren't entirely sure what they want to do, and maybe aren't entirely sure what they want in terms of exit options.

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Re: Exit Options

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 09, 2011 1:20 pm

lawfirmrecruiter wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Helmholtz wrote:Anybody not seriously considering exit options is showing a profound lapse in judgment.


But I often wonder if people even know what exit options really means. And if they understand that even with exit options, you should have a general idea of what you want to exit to, and which firms are better for that, than slavishly following the vault rankings. For example if you want to go in house or work in finance after firm work, going to a Vault 10 makes total sense. But if you are interested in being an AUSA going to Sullivan and Cromwell or Watchell over WilmerHale DC or Hogan DC doesn't make a lot of sense. People seem to automatically think that going to the highest Vault firm is the best thing to do if you want to "preserve your exit options".


I could not agree more with this. While in previous posts in this thread I mention hating the thought of losing my associates, we also actively recruit laterals which in most cases all come from other firms. When seeking a lateral, we need someone with specific experience in a particular area. While a Vault 10 firm name may get ourattention, we will pass if you don't have the experience we are looking for. The same will be true for any employer, whether a firm or corporation.



And this should be relatively obvious---I mean what do people think any employer is looking for when they say "experienced hire"? How about experience for one...I think the obsession with rank and "prestige" clouds the thinking of a lot of otherwise intelligent people.

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Re: Exit Options

Postby Helmholtz » Fri Sep 09, 2011 1:20 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
lawfirmrecruiter wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Helmholtz wrote:Anybody not seriously considering exit options is showing a profound lapse in judgment.


But I often wonder if people even know what exit options really means. And if they understand that even with exit options, you should have a general idea of what you want to exit to, and which firms are better for that, than slavishly following the vault rankings. For example if you want to go in house or work in finance after firm work, going to a Vault 10 makes total sense. But if you are interested in being an AUSA going to Sullivan and Cromwell or Watchell over WilmerHale DC or Hogan DC doesn't make a lot of sense. People seem to automatically think that going to the highest Vault firm is the best thing to do if you want to "preserve your exit options".


I could not agree more with this. While in previous posts in this thread I mention hating the thought of losing my associates, we also actively recruit laterals which in most cases all come from other firms. When seeking a lateral, we need someone with specific experience in a particular area. While a Vault 10 firm name may get ourattention, we will pass if you don't have the experience we are looking for. The same will be true for any employer, whether a firm or corporation.



And this should be relatively obvious---I mean what do people think any employer is looking for when they say "experienced hire"? How about experience for one...I think the obsession with rank and "prestige" clouds the thinking of a lot of otherwise intelligent people.


Are you sure you need to be anonymous for this?

Look, I have seen certain job postings ask for people from Cravath and Wachtell. A number of people working at Fortune 100 companies admit the company gives boosts to applicants based on the "prestige" of the firm. It matters. I know you're one to usually rant against the foolishness of your prestige-obsessed colleagues, but the name of the firm on your resume can matter a lot. Yes, if somebody wants to be an AUSA, maybe he shouldn't go to Wachtell, but I imagine that somebody with that specific of an interest has done some searching into which firm is best for his goals.

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Re: Exit Options

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

I really wish there was an an associate attrition rate per firm chart somewhere.

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Re: Exit Options

Postby quakeroats » Fri Sep 09, 2011 1:28 pm

Helmholtz wrote:
Are you sure you need to be anonymous for this?


II. If you see a comment that you believe is misuse or abuse of the anon feature, please report it using the "Report" button on the lower-right corner of each post. This button, which appears as a red exclamation point, allows you to flag a post for moderator investigation. When a moderator has time, he/she will look at the post and determine whether or not the post needs to remain anonymous. Do NOT post in the thread itself about what you perceive to be misuse or abuse of the anonymous feature, as this only serves to derail the thread.

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Re: Exit Options

Postby keg411 » Fri Sep 09, 2011 1:29 pm

BTW, you don't just do doc review and due diligence as a first-year/junior associate and end up with "no experience" if you're in BigMarket BigLaw and you don't magically get to try cases immediately or be the point-person on a major deal if you go to SmallMarket BigLaw. I think this is a serious misconception.

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Re: Exit Options

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 09, 2011 1:32 pm

keg411 wrote:BTW, you don't just do doc review and due diligence as a first-year/junior associate and end up with "no experience" if you're in BigMarket BigLaw and you don't magically get to try cases immediately or be the point-person on a major deal if you go to SmallMarket BigLaw. I think this is a serious misconception.


I think this is pretty credited. I've talked to third-year associates at big law firms that have had an insane amount of responsibility and real, practical experience beyond doc review or due diligence.

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Re: Exit Options

Postby rayiner » Fri Sep 09, 2011 1:40 pm

Helmholtz wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
lawfirmrecruiter wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
But I often wonder if people even know what exit options really means. And if they understand that even with exit options, you should have a general idea of what you want to exit to, and which firms are better for that, than slavishly following the vault rankings. For example if you want to go in house or work in finance after firm work, going to a Vault 10 makes total sense. But if you are interested in being an AUSA going to Sullivan and Cromwell or Watchell over WilmerHale DC or Hogan DC doesn't make a lot of sense. People seem to automatically think that going to the highest Vault firm is the best thing to do if you want to "preserve your exit options".


I could not agree more with this. While in previous posts in this thread I mention hating the thought of losing my associates, we also actively recruit laterals which in most cases all come from other firms. When seeking a lateral, we need someone with specific experience in a particular area. While a Vault 10 firm name may get ourattention, we will pass if you don't have the experience we are looking for. The same will be true for any employer, whether a firm or corporation.



And this should be relatively obvious---I mean what do people think any employer is looking for when they say "experienced hire"? How about experience for one...I think the obsession with rank and "prestige" clouds the thinking of a lot of otherwise intelligent people.


Are you sure you need to be anonymous for this?

Look, I have seen certain job postings ask for people from Cravath and Wachtell. A number of people working at Fortune 100 companies admit the company gives boosts to applicants based on the "prestige" of the firm. It matters. I know you're one to usually rant against the foolishness of your prestige-obsessed colleagues, but the name of the firm on your resume can matter a lot. Yes, if somebody wants to be an AUSA, maybe he shouldn't go to Wachtell, but I imagine that somebody with that specific of an interest has done some searching into which firm is best for his goals.


+1. You have to remember, that our prestige-obsessed colleagues are the same people who end up in-house hiring people out of law firms. IBM gives Cravath their M&A work, not Bryan Cave, and prestige has a lot to do with why.

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Re: Exit Options

Postby nymario » Fri Sep 09, 2011 1:41 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I really wish there was an an associate attrition rate per firm chart somewhere.


Take the NALP total number of associates and divide by the number of entry level hires each year. Compare the firms. The closer to 8, the lower the attrition.

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Re: Exit Options

Postby quakeroats » Fri Sep 09, 2011 1:44 pm

rayiner wrote:IBM gives Cravath their M&A work, not Bryan Cave, and prestige has a lot to do with why.


You're right, but only because there's a gulf between Bryan Cave and Cravath.

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Re: Exit Options

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 09, 2011 1:45 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
keg411 wrote:BTW, you don't just do doc review and due diligence as a first-year/junior associate and end up with "no experience" if you're in BigMarket BigLaw and you don't magically get to try cases immediately or be the point-person on a major deal if you go to SmallMarket BigLaw. I think this is a serious misconception.


I think this is pretty credited. I've talked to third-year associates at big law firms that have had an insane amount of responsibility and real, practical experience beyond doc review or due diligence.


I think the meme shows a misunderstanding of the big law model. At least at places like Cravath and its peers, corporate deals are very leanly staffed because they have so much work to go around. I talked to a second-year Cravath associate who said she was running her own (small) securities deal. She ran things by the partner, but the client called her first.

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Re: Exit Options

Postby rayiner » Fri Sep 09, 2011 1:46 pm

quakeroats wrote:
rayiner wrote:IBM gives Cravath their M&A work, not Bryan Cave, and prestige has a lot to do with why.


You're right, but only because there's a gulf between Bryan Cave and Cravath.


Sure, but OP said that he'd heard that "the exit options at the very top of the Vault 100 are much better than towards the bottom."

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Re: Exit Options

Postby quakeroats » Fri Sep 09, 2011 1:57 pm

rayiner wrote:
quakeroats wrote:
rayiner wrote:IBM gives Cravath their M&A work, not Bryan Cave, and prestige has a lot to do with why.


You're right, but only because there's a gulf between Bryan Cave and Cravath.


Sure, but OP said that he'd heard that "the exit options at the very top of the Vault 100 are much better than towards the bottom."


Good point.




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