Latham NY v. Bingham DC

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Latham NY v. Bingham DC

Latham NY
13
48%
Bingham DC
14
52%
 
Total votes: 27

Anonymous User
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Latham NY v. Bingham DC

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 04, 2011 3:22 pm

The two offers I am most realistically considering are with Latham in NYC and Bingham McCutchen in DC (in their tax group).

Latham is obviously a well-known, great firm and I really like the idea of their unassigned program. However, I dont know if I should be at all concerned about the 09 layoffs and I dont know how I feel about the prospect of being one of so many attorneys in an office (the idea of just being put on doc review for months...). Also, Latham is NYC and, being from DC, I currently think that I want to be in DC. I have nothing against NYC, I just prefer DC because of family and familiarity.

As far as Bingham goes, I know their DC summer program is great and after acquiring McKee Nelson their tax practice has become extremely well-respected. They are in my preferred location (DC) and I really liked their office and the people I met there were great. My biggest concern for Bingham is that I would be a summer in their tax group, and, if the summer goes well, would accept an offer in that group. While I enjoy tax in the classroom, I have no idea how I will like it in practice and I am a bit hesitant to put myself in one practice group before I even do my 2L summer.

Other factors include: I am also a bit concerned about exit opportunities, if I should decide to take an alternative route instead of going for partner. I feel like the Latham name carries a lot of weight (not that Bingham doesnt carry weight, it just seems like that advantage goes to Latham). Both offices were great, slight advantage to Bingham for people and office. I feel like I would probably have more of a life outside of work at Bingham also. The summer program at Latham is probably a lot more fun though (which I see the importance of).

I know this seems like just a list of pros/cons and that the easy answer is: What matters more, location or practice group? The problem is, I don't really know the answer. Any insight or things I might be missing that you think could help make the decision easier would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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Re: Latham NY v. Bingham DC

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 04, 2011 3:37 pm

Practice group matters more. A firm isn't going to want a lateral that has worked in a different practice group. If its any help, I also interviewed at Bingham DC, and I got the impression that if you SA in the tax group then they will keep you in the tax group.

itbdvorm
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Re: Latham NY v. Bingham DC

Postby itbdvorm » Tue Oct 04, 2011 3:55 pm

Anonymous User wrote:The two offers I am most realistically considering are with Latham in NYC and Bingham McCutchen in DC (in their tax group).

Latham is obviously a well-known, great firm and I really like the idea of their unassigned program. However, I dont know if I should be at all concerned about the 09 layoffs and I dont know how I feel about the prospect of being one of so many attorneys in an office (the idea of just being put on doc review for months...). Also, Latham is NYC and, being from DC, I currently think that I want to be in DC. I have nothing against NYC, I just prefer DC because of family and familiarity.

As far as Bingham goes, I know their DC summer program is great and after acquiring McKee Nelson their tax practice has become extremely well-respected. They are in my preferred location (DC) and I really liked their office and the people I met there were great. My biggest concern for Bingham is that I would be a summer in their tax group, and, if the summer goes well, would accept an offer in that group. While I enjoy tax in the classroom, I have no idea how I will like it in practice and I am a bit hesitant to put myself in one practice group before I even do my 2L summer.

Other factors include: I am also a bit concerned about exit opportunities, if I should decide to take an alternative route instead of going for partner. I feel like the Latham name carries a lot of weight (not that Bingham doesnt carry weight, it just seems like that advantage goes to Latham). Both offices were great, slight advantage to Bingham for people and office. I feel like I would probably have more of a life outside of work at Bingham also. The summer program at Latham is probably a lot more fun though (which I see the importance of).

I know this seems like just a list of pros/cons and that the easy answer is: What matters more, location or practice group? The problem is, I don't really know the answer. Any insight or things I might be missing that you think could help make the decision easier would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.


I'm really surprised this is a debate. Is Bingham really that good in DC? I'd say, go to Latham in NY and try to split w/DC office, or do a kickass job and try to transfer to DC either at end of summer or a year or two in.

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Re: Latham NY v. Bingham DC

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 04, 2011 3:58 pm

Seems like you want in your heart to go Bingham but you think Latham is better just because of what Mr. Vault has them ranked as. Go with your heart, as Polonius says, "To thine own self be true, Bingham is better for you"

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Re: Latham NY v. Bingham DC

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 04, 2011 4:03 pm

itbdvorm wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:The two offers I am most realistically considering are with Latham in NYC and Bingham McCutchen in DC (in their tax group).

Latham is obviously a well-known, great firm and I really like the idea of their unassigned program. However, I dont know if I should be at all concerned about the 09 layoffs and I dont know how I feel about the prospect of being one of so many attorneys in an office (the idea of just being put on doc review for months...). Also, Latham is NYC and, being from DC, I currently think that I want to be in DC. I have nothing against NYC, I just prefer DC because of family and familiarity.

As far as Bingham goes, I know their DC summer program is great and after acquiring McKee Nelson their tax practice has become extremely well-respected. They are in my preferred location (DC) and I really liked their office and the people I met there were great. My biggest concern for Bingham is that I would be a summer in their tax group, and, if the summer goes well, would accept an offer in that group. While I enjoy tax in the classroom, I have no idea how I will like it in practice and I am a bit hesitant to put myself in one practice group before I even do my 2L summer.

Other factors include: I am also a bit concerned about exit opportunities, if I should decide to take an alternative route instead of going for partner. I feel like the Latham name carries a lot of weight (not that Bingham doesnt carry weight, it just seems like that advantage goes to Latham). Both offices were great, slight advantage to Bingham for people and office. I feel like I would probably have more of a life outside of work at Bingham also. The summer program at Latham is probably a lot more fun though (which I see the importance of).

I know this seems like just a list of pros/cons and that the easy answer is: What matters more, location or practice group? The problem is, I don't really know the answer. Any insight or things I might be missing that you think could help make the decision easier would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.


I'm really surprised this is a debate. Is Bingham really that good in DC? I'd say, go to Latham in NY and try to split w/DC office, or do a kickass job and try to transfer to DC either at end of summer or a year or two in.


I agree. You will have lots of options available in DC if you work at Latham NY. Don't pin yourself into a practice group that you may not like (who wants to be a tax lemming?). At Latham, you will have the option to try out many different practice areas.

Enjoy the summer in NY. You will definitely be able to come back to DC.

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Re: Latham NY v. Bingham DC

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 04, 2011 4:07 pm

itbdvorm wrote:
I'm really surprised this is a debate. Is Bingham really that good in DC? I'd say, go to Latham in NY and try to split w/DC office, or do a kickass job and try to transfer to DC either at end of summer or a year or two in.


BIngham as a whole is not as "good" as Latham in DC (or NYC for that matter), but their tax practice is on-level with Latham and the other top tax practices. Vault has them both in the T15 and Chambers puts them in Band 2 in DC and Band 1 Nationwide.

I already spoke with Latham re: splitting with NY and DC. They said they will get back to me; however, I have heard from last year's summers that they are over-yielding this summer. So that doesn't look promising for splitting or even getting to transfer after the summer (they said it happens without a problem, as long as there is room, just doesn't look like there is room). I guess the transferring to DC in a year or two is an option, it just then brings me back to the question of why am I starting at a firm in one city just to transfer to another city when I could take a different firm in that city to begin with?
AKA
Is 2 years in unassigned and the possibility of transferring to DC really better than getting 2 years of experience in a practice area I will probably enjoy in the city I want to be in?

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Re: Latham NY v. Bingham DC

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 04, 2011 4:09 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Seems like you want in your heart to go Bingham but you think Latham is better just because of what Mr. Vault has them ranked as. Go with your heart, as Polonius says, "To thine own self be true, Bingham is better for you"


OP: I agree that if Bingham had the unassigned program it would be a no-brainer for me... but its not so much the ranking, its the idea of getting stuck in a practice area vs. having the freedom of the unassigned program.

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Re: Latham NY v. Bingham DC

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 04, 2011 4:35 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Seems like you want in your heart to go Bingham but you think Latham is better just because of what Mr. Vault has them ranked as. Go with your heart, as Polonius says, "To thine own self be true, Bingham is better for you"


OP: I agree that if Bingham had the unassigned program it would be a no-brainer for me... but its not so much the ranking, its the idea of getting stuck in a practice area vs. having the freedom of the unassigned program.


If you think you are going to enjoy tax, I don't see a reason to not go to Bingham. Most good exit options out of firms arise after 3-4 years. That is a long time to be in a city you don't want to be in.

PeanutHead
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Re: Latham NY v. Bingham DC

Postby PeanutHead » Tue Oct 04, 2011 4:39 pm

OP: send me an PM if you would please. I don't want to lay out why here.

Anonymous User
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Re: Latham NY v. Bingham DC

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 04, 2011 6:00 pm

I think this is Latham NY and I don't think it should be this close. In terms of stability - look, Latham ain't doing it again. Even a dumb dog doesn't lick a hot stove twice. That is to say, Bingham isn't exactly a poster child either. Isn't Bingham the firm that had the chairman that declared they had their "best year ever" in the midst of the downturn and then after this statement, decided to lay off a bunch of lawyers and staff?

If you are 100% devoted to tax, I see the reason in Bingham DC maybe. But, assuming you are interested in tax, I'd probably assume you would also be interested in corporate law also and when it comes to that, Latham NY is absolutely the better choice. Try out corporate work and try it in NY - no where else comes even remotely close to the corporate work in NY. No firm in DC can offer corporate law at the level NY does at the highest levels - Latham is included in the high level work.

Exit opportunities - Latham, Latham, Latham

My final decision came down between Latham NY and another one of their peer firms and it was an extremely close choice. I loved the people at Latham. Lot of people on this board knew people that fell victim to the layoffs so there is a lot of negative sentiment. Yes, it sucks what happened, but business is business. Law firms will always put PPP first; it's a belly of the beast.

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Re: Latham NY v. Bingham DC

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 04, 2011 7:10 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I think this is Latham NY and I don't think it should be this close. In terms of stability - look, Latham ain't doing it again. Even a dumb dog doesn't lick a hot stove twice. That is to say, Bingham isn't exactly a poster child either. Isn't Bingham the firm that had the chairman that declared they had their "best year ever" in the midst of the downturn and then after this statement, decided to lay off a bunch of lawyers and staff?

If you are 100% devoted to tax, I see the reason in Bingham DC maybe. But, assuming you are interested in tax, I'd probably assume you would also be interested in corporate law also and when it comes to that, Latham NY is absolutely the better choice. Try out corporate work and try it in NY - no where else comes even remotely close to the corporate work in NY. No firm in DC can offer corporate law at the level NY does at the highest levels - Latham is included in the high level work.

Exit opportunities - Latham, Latham, Latham
You do realize that Latham also fired people in 1991 and the early 2000s right?
My final decision came down between Latham NY and another one of their peer firms and it was an extremely close choice. I loved the people at Latham. Lot of people on this board knew people that fell victim to the layoffs so there is a lot of negative sentiment. Yes, it sucks what happened, but business is business. Law firms will always put PPP first; it's a belly of the beast.

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Re: Latham NY v. Bingham DC

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 04, 2011 10:18 pm

If you want tax, this is an obvious answer. Bingham's tax practice is essentially McKee Nelson, which was one of the elite DC boutiques before they merged. I think they are Band 1 nationally for controversy and not far off that for planning. Plus you would be in DC, which makes doing a tour through DOJ, IRS or tax court a little easier.

Latham's tax practice frankly isn't all that great. But if you want to do anything other than tax, then it is also an obvious answer- go to Latham. Latham is way better than Bingham for pretty much everything other than tax.

Also, doesnt Latham have a pretty harsh up and out policy?

Best of luck, neither are bad choices.

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Re: Latham NY v. Bingham DC

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 04, 2011 10:24 pm

I'm not necesarrily pro-Bingham but wanted to put up a "pro" for their office.

Tax is a stable practice group.

It has business in boom times and down cycles. You'll probably have a much more secure, and continuously demanded job, as a tax attorney than anything else.

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Re: Latham NY v. Bingham DC

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 04, 2011 11:13 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Tax is a stable practice group.

It has business in boom times and down cycles


This.

I don't understand all the tax hate on TLS in general. Yeah, it's not the most exciting field all the time, but if you are a young M&A attorney, good luck contacting the tax department to give their blessing on your deal after 7pm. The billing requirements are generally lower as well.

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Re: Latham NY v. Bingham DC

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 05, 2011 1:19 pm

Latham fired people in 1991, the early 2000s, and during the financial crisis. It is their business model. They will do it again. Are you okay with risking getting laid off and essentially ending your career before its starts

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Re: Latham NY v. Bingham DC

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 05, 2011 1:23 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Tax is a stable practice group.

It has business in boom times and down cycles


This.

I don't understand all the tax hate on TLS in general. Yeah, it's not the most exciting field all the time, but if you are a young M&A attorney, good luck contacting the tax department to give their blessing on your deal after 7pm. The billing requirements are generally lower as well.


+1 my exact experience. I don't love tax and won't be doing it, but I envy those who enjoy tax and do it at biglaw firms. Their QoL is a lot better. Firm I summered at, 4th year tax associate told me he's had to stay past 7 pm like...once. lol.

Anonymous User
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Re: Latham NY v. Bingham DC

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 05, 2011 1:58 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Tax is a stable practice group.

It has business in boom times and down cycles


This.

I don't understand all the tax hate on TLS in general. Yeah, it's not the most exciting field all the time, but if you are a young M&A attorney, good luck contacting the tax department to give their blessing on your deal after 7pm. The billing requirements are generally lower as well.


+1 my exact experience. I don't love tax and won't be doing it, but I envy those who enjoy tax and do it at biglaw firms. Their QoL is a lot better. Firm I summered at, 4th year tax associate told me he's had to stay past 7 pm like...once. lol.


This is true at firms where the tax department services other departments in the law. But, Bingham DC has an independent tax group that generates its own business. These "independent" tax practices work much harder than the "service" practices.

As to the lower hours, it is true that tax attorneys have lower billable hour requirements, but this is often because they do a lot more research.

Anonymous User
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Re: Latham NY v. Bingham DC

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 05, 2011 2:02 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Latham fired people in 1991, the early 2000s, and during the financial crisis. It is their business model. They will do it again. Are you okay with risking getting laid off and essentially ending your career before its starts


Didn't Bingham fire a lot of people too? Also, at the rate that Bingham has been growing, it may have more disposable attorneys than Latham.

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Re: Latham NY v. Bingham DC

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 05, 2011 2:23 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Latham fired people in 1991, the early 2000s, and during the financial crisis. It is their business model. They will do it again. Are you okay with risking getting laid off and essentially ending your career before its starts


Didn't Bingham fire a lot of people too? Also, at the rate that Bingham has been growing, it may have more disposable attorneys than Latham.

Also keep in mind that Bingham did nothing to comfort their recent summer associates when it came to the downturn and no-offers. Instead of making people feel welcome, the firmwide recruiting director did what many might characterize as the exact opposite:

At Bingham McCutchen, this year’s second-place firm, summer clerks also took their duties seriously — perhaps in part because the firm laid out the stakes up front. “We told them all this is a ten-week job interview,” says Bingham national director of legal recruiting Ari Katz, “and that a job offer wasn’t theirs to lose. They had to earn it.”
http://abovethelaw.com/2010/10/summer-associate-job-survey-the-kids-are-still-stressed/

My summer firm took the opposite approach: they told us from the very beginning that they fully expected every single person to receive offers baring some sort of ATL-level misconduct, and then they followed through on that promise. It's no wonder Bingham ranked #2 in the SA survey that year - summers were probably scared to death to put down anything other than 5's despite being assured it was anonymous.

Even though this doesn't directly relate to OP's situation, it may give some insight into the type of culture the firm has built. Maybe this approach works for some people, but I find inducing unnecessary anxiety following the worst summer for no-offers in history to be a far cry from the approach I want my firm to take.

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Re: Latham NY v. Bingham DC

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 05, 2011 2:37 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Latham fired people in 1991, the early 2000s, and during the financial crisis. It is their business model. They will do it again. Are you okay with risking getting laid off and essentially ending your career before its starts


Didn't Bingham fire a lot of people too? Also, at the rate that Bingham has been growing, it may have more disposable attorneys than Latham.

Also keep in mind that Bingham did nothing to comfort their recent summer associates when it came to the downturn and no-offers. Instead of making people feel welcome, the firmwide recruiting director did what many might characterize as the exact opposite:

At Bingham McCutchen, this year’s second-place firm, summer clerks also took their duties seriously — perhaps in part because the firm laid out the stakes up front. “We told them all this is a ten-week job interview,” says Bingham national director of legal recruiting Ari Katz, “and that a job offer wasn’t theirs to lose. They had to earn it.”
http://abovethelaw.com/2010/10/summer-associate-job-survey-the-kids-are-still-stressed/

My summer firm took the opposite approach: they told us from the very beginning that they fully expected every single person to receive offers baring some sort of ATL-level misconduct, and then they followed through on that promise. It's no wonder Bingham ranked #2 in the SA survey that year - summers were probably scared to death to put down anything other than 5's despite being assured it was anonymous.

Even though this doesn't directly relate to OP's situation, it may give some insight into the type of culture the firm has built. Maybe this approach works for some people, but I find inducing unnecessary anxiety following the worst summer for no-offers in history to be a far cry from the approach I want my firm to take.


OP here: I had literally the exact opposite conversation with them, where I was basically told if I accepted the offer was mine to lose and that they, as basically McKee, expect all of their summers to get offers and stay with the firm long-term. But I do agree that, if that were true for maybe the other offices, it is a poor approach. I'd say that right now I am leaning towards Bingham, mostly for the city aspect and the idea of joining a smaller practice within a bigger firm. I guess I am just uneasy about being in NY with the intention of one day leaving for DC and being one of a million at such a big powerhouse. I also like the idea of being able to practice tax law in DC and taking the DOJ/IRS tour.

PeanutHead
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Re: Latham NY v. Bingham DC

Postby PeanutHead » Wed Oct 05, 2011 2:52 pm

Yeah I think a lot of people don't get that Bingham as a whole and Bingham's tax practice are kind of separate. Also Bingham had a 100% offer rate this past year. So there's that.

Anonymous User
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Re: Latham NY v. Bingham DC

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 05, 2011 5:10 pm

Can't speak for the DC office, but at the NY office this summer, they made it clear to us on our first day that there was a spot for everyone. This definitely calmed our nerves; it was not a zero-sum game where summer associates had to compete with each other. So yes, the offer is there for you, but it isn't something that you will automatically get by coming off as a semi-decent person, going to $50 lunches, and schmoozing at baseball games. Just be conscientious and diligent, and you'll get it.

FYI, the leverage ratio at Bingham is also sig. lower compared to Latham.

Anonymous User
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Re: Latham NY v. Bingham DC

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 05, 2011 5:51 pm

Seems like a big risk to stay in DC and pigeon hole yourself into tax. You won't be able to lateral to a different practice area at another DC firm. If you go to Latham you will be able to chose your practice area and can definitely lateral to DC.

I would only chose Bingham if I was 100% sold on being a tax lawyer. If I had any doubt about what I wanted to practice, I would go to Latham NY for the greater flexibility that it would provide in DC.

Plus elite DC firms will hire 3Ls that received offers from elite firms.

Anonymous User
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Re: Latham NY v. Bingham DC

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 05, 2011 6:05 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Plus elite DC firms will hire 3Ls that received offers from elite firms.


+1

I know a 3L who who took a 2L summer associateship at an elite NY firm because he didn't get the job that he wanted in DC. Once he got his offer from the NY firm, he applied to DC firms and received offers to be an associate. He ended up at one of the top firms in DC.

If you have an offer from an elite NY firm, elite DC firms will hire you as a 3L.




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