Paul Weiss versus smaller NYC firms for lit

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Best for junior litigation associates?

Paul Weiss
2
67%
Patterson
1
33%
 
Total votes: 3

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Paul Weiss versus smaller NYC firms for lit

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 14, 2011 8:52 pm

I am curious what people's thoughts are on Paul Weiss versus some of the smaller offices in NY listed as far as quality of experience for junior litigation associates. Prime considerations include substantive responsibility; mentoring and training; variety of cases and tasks; strength in both white collar and commercial work. Secondary considerations include hours/quality of life, firm culture (yellers or laid back), pro bono, and likelihood of being forced out of the firm. Paul Weiss seems like a nice place full of good people with a sterling reputation, but also huge, highly-leveraged, and potentially easy to get lost in or stuck on tedious tasks until you leave after three years with little quality experience to show for it. Thoughts?

*Edited to add: And just to make clear, another major consideration is opportunities later either in government or other firms, in the highly likely event I eventually find myself looking for a new job.*
Last edited by Anonymous User on Sat Sep 17, 2011 1:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Paul Weiss versus smaller NYC firms for lit

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 14, 2011 11:10 pm

I have a very similar choice to make and am choosing Paul, Weiss. The firm really cares about helping get people where they want to be next and encourages significant pro bono. The growing "boutiques" I think overstate how much opportunity they afford associates to get substantive work after several years of growth. Most senior associates still remember the days when they were forced on a regular basis to go way over their heads; now it's not so likely, especially compared to how busy Paul, Weiss is. Plus, the support structures at those firms are more established for their current size.

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Re: Paul Weiss versus smaller NYC firms for lit

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 14, 2011 11:56 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I have a very similar choice to make and am choosing Paul, Weiss. The firm really cares about helping get people where they want to be next and encourages significant pro bono. The growing "boutiques" I think overstate how much opportunity they afford associates to get substantive work after several years of growth. Most senior associates still remember the days when they were forced on a regular basis to go way over their heads; now it's not so likely, especially compared to how busy Paul, Weiss is. Plus, the support structures at those firms are more established for their current size.


+1. In the exact same position and came away with a very high impression of Paul, Weiss. I also spoke with two associates entering their second year who have had the chance to do VERY substantive work, especially in their pro bono cases, that I would suspect is at least on par with what any lit boutique is claiming to offer junior associates.

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Re: Paul Weiss versus smaller NYC firms for lit

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 15, 2011 12:07 am

OP here. Thanks for your responses. I had a very positive gut level reaction to PW, too, and reading Chambers and the like about them is also very encouraging. Looking at those numbers, though (650 attorneys, 90 SAs) makes me a little queasy. Maybe it's irrational.

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Re: Paul Weiss versus smaller NYC firms for lit

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 15, 2011 12:08 am

Summered at PW this last summer, if you have any specific questions feel free to post and I'll do my best to answer.

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Re: Paul Weiss versus smaller NYC firms for lit

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 15, 2011 12:08 am

The people I know at Kasowitz certainly seem happier than the people I know at Paul, Weiss, but we're talking about a pretty small sample size.

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quiver
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Re: Paul Weiss versus smaller NYC firms for lit

Postby quiver » Thu Sep 15, 2011 12:10 am

Patterson Belknap Vault rankings:
#3 Associate/Partner relations
#4 for firm culture
#2 in pro bono
#4 in transparency

And that was just the rankings in which they were in the top 5. I don't have a Vault membership to see the rest but I remember that they're ranked highly in the other "best to work for" categories as well (top 20). Of the associates I talked to, all of them loved the firm and told me stories of how much experience they had early on. Associates are not forced to specialize and may practice in the areas they want; a coordinator tracks project requests of every associate and, from what I've heard, they're almost always accommodated. The quality of life considerations seem big there too: one associate I talked to specifically chose the firm for that reason (he's raising a family) and said that it has met every one of his expectations. Also, they have some notable alumni (see http://www.pbwt.com/careers/lifeafterpattersonbelknap/) and lots of exit options since associates acquire substantive responsibilities earlier than comparative firms.

From what I understand, Cov NY does mainly white collar and comparatively not as much commercial work as the others. Paul Weiss is obviously an excellent firm, but, as you noted, their size has some major drawbacks. I'm not too familiar with Kasowitz so I'll defer to others on that one. Given your list of considerations, I'd go Patterson Belknap but you really can't go wrong with any of them.

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Re: Paul Weiss versus smaller NYC firms for lit

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 15, 2011 12:21 am

quiver wrote:Patterson Belknap Vault rankings:
#3 Associate/Partner relations
#4 for firm culture
#2 in pro bono
#4 in transparency

And that was just the rankings in which they were in the top 5. I don't have a Vault membership to see the rest but I remember that they're ranked highly in the other "best to work for" categories as well (top 20). Of the associates I talked to, all of them loved the firm and told me stories of how much experience they had early on. Associates are not forced to specialize and may practice in the areas they want; a coordinator tracks project requests of every associate and, from what I've heard, they're almost always accommodated. The quality of life considerations seem big there too: one associate I talked to specifically chose the firm for that reason (he's raising a family) and said that it has met every one of his expectations. Also, they have some notable alumni (see http://www.pbwt.com/careers/lifeafterpattersonbelknap/) and lots of exit options since associates acquire substantive responsibilities earlier than comparative firms.

From what I understand, Cov NY does mainly white collar and comparatively not as much commercial work as the others. Paul Weiss is obviously an excellent firm, but, as you noted, their size has some major drawbacks. I'm not too familiar with Kasowitz so I'll defer to others on that one. Given your list of considerations, I'd go Patterson Belknap but you really can't go wrong with any of them.

OP again, sorry for the bump but this was a really excellent response, thank you.




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