Help me choose a firm (round 2)

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Which firm?

Proskauer (NJ)
9
27%
Jones Day (NY)
24
73%
 
Total votes: 33

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Help me choose a firm (round 2)

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 10, 2011 5:01 pm

I know I made a thread not too long ago about this choice, but now that certain new firms are in the fold (and some previous choices are out of the mix), I wanted to re-open the discussion to hear people's feedback. I found it very valuable last time, and am always willing to listen. The firms I removed from the discussion are Cadwalader & Dechert, and it is now down to Proskauer & Jones Day (with Paul Hastings still pending, so its not in the poll yet). Here are the pros/cons from my perspective (labor & employment law is what I want to practice):

Jones Day (NY):

-A pretty strong labor and employment practice, about 20 people in this practice group in NY
-Very strong in a number of different areas of litigation, and they don't require you to pick a practice area when you join the firm, so that you can try other things out
-Very large office of about 350 people, so it seems like its a bit easier to get lost in the mix
-Higher Vault ranking, and considered a bit more of a "top" firm, at least thats the opinion I get from people

Proskauer (NJ):

-40 person office, with a super chill environment, and I feel very comfortable with the people (went to lunches, some sports events, etc. with them and the environment seems very personal
-The office ONLY does labor and employment, so I wouldn't try out other areas
-Not quite as high ranked in Vault, but still a very reputable firm, and you still get top labor and employment clients (i.e. all major sports leagues, large banks, retailers, etc.)

As for me, I will never be a corporate attorney, and I only have a mind for problems/issues with a human element (i.e. securities or tax law obviously aren't in my future). Thus, so many areas of big firm practice are off the table for me because I will just never feel any passion for most of them, and could never do it 10+ hours a day, every day. And I'm a Jersey kid through and through so there is something endearing to me about a smaller firm environment where personal comfort and relationships are the rule, rather than the exception. But it is so hard to actually sit down and make a choice. So any advice would help (and I apologize if this thread rehashes a lot of what was in the other thread).

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Re: Help me choose a firm (round 2)

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 10, 2011 5:06 pm

Oh, and one more note: Please do not make a choice based on a preference for NY over NJ. Assume that this is a non-issue (which it is to me), and that there is no difference between the two. This is NOT a debate of NY vs. NJ offices. Just keep that in mind. Thanks.

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Re: Help me choose a firm (round 2)

Postby imchuckbass58 » Mon Oct 10, 2011 5:19 pm

Did you have any preference between the two firms as far as the people you met? This should be a much bigger consideration for you than for other people. I know it's hard to tell just from interviews. but in 20-40 person groups, your happiness, the quality of work you get, and even your career advancement/exit options are going to be largely dictated by how well you click with the 20-40 people you work with.

From your post, sounds like you preferred the people at Proskauer, in which case you should just go with them. The difference in "prestige" is not big (if it exists at all, so that shouldn't swing your decision.

If you have any doubts about wanting to do labor/employment, however, you should probably go to Jones Day, given the increased flexibility they offer.

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Re: Help me choose a firm (round 2)

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 10, 2011 5:26 pm

imchuckbass58 wrote:Did you have any preference between the two firms as far as the people you met? This should be a much bigger consideration for you than for other people. I know it's hard to tell just from interviews. but in 20-40 person groups, your happiness, the quality of work you get, and even your career advancement/exit options are going to be largely dictated by how well you click with the 20-40 people you work with.

From your post, sounds like you preferred the people at Proskauer, in which case you should just go with them. The difference in "prestige" is not big (if it exists at all, so that shouldn't swing your decision.

If you have any doubts about wanting to do labor/employment, however, you should probably go to Jones Day, given the increased flexibility they offer.


Honestly, I haven't had the chance to really meet too many Jones Day labor and employment people. I just today spent half a day at Proskauer, went to lunch in a group of 6 or 7 people (which is essentially 1/6 of the whole office), and everyone just seemed so chill together (i.e. talking about the social events they have, and not the stuffy NY type, but more low-key things like going to the local hot dog joint for an eating contest). It was a mix of associates, counsel & partners, so its not like they just sent the kids my age that I would most relate to. But again, I haven't had a chance to meet with any Jones Day people outside from my CB interview to really get a feel for what the atmosphere is like among co-workers there.

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Re: Help me choose a firm (round 2)

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 10, 2011 5:39 pm

And also, the Proskauer attorneys (obviously they had a vested interest that would make them biased) made a nonetheless compelling argument: They said that labor and employment involves cross-sections of many other interesting areas of law. Among the 6 people I was with, they said they have done rape cases involving tort law, non-compete issues involving copyrights and trademarks, assault/battery issues, contract disputes, etc. Also, it involves a mix of litigation and counseling, so its not like the traditional dichotomy of litigation vs. transactional. So it seems like something to consider at least, when asking myself the overarching question of whether I'd be limiting myself to areas I might otherwise really enjoy.

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Re: Help me choose a firm (round 2)

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 10, 2011 6:51 pm

Anything other advice on this? My long-term career goal would like be to one day go in-house, or perhaps move on to a small firm where the hours would be manageable, so it seems like labor & employment in a large firm setting is a smart route to that goal. My gut is telling me to go with Proskauer (at least at the moment), but what about Jones Day am I failing to consider?

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Re: Help me choose a firm (round 2)

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 10, 2011 6:54 pm

And I see a bunch of people voting Jones Day, yet no one has made a post explaining why. I'd appreciate it if you could

keg411
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Re: Help me choose a firm (round 2)

Postby keg411 » Mon Oct 10, 2011 7:34 pm

I didn't vote, but I think you should do an offer visit at JD similarly to the one you did at Proskauer and meet the L&E people. Then go from there and see who you like better. But it sounds like from your posts you want Proskauer.

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Re: Help me choose a firm (round 2)

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 10, 2011 7:42 pm

keg411 wrote:I didn't vote, but I think you should do an offer visit at JD similarly to the one you did at Proskauer and meet the L&E people. Then go from there and see who you like better. But it sounds like from your posts you want Proskauer.


Yeah, I just really like the tight and pretty laidback environment, the clients that they work with, the people I met, etc. But I inevitably get hit with the counter argument of "how can you possibly know what you want to do at this point?" Sure, there are some other areas I could see myself doing, such as mass torts or soft IP, but beyond that I'm not really sure what else I could possibly enjoy. I definitely need to get a visit with Jones Day and compare.

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Re: Help me choose a firm (round 2)

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 10, 2011 8:16 pm

Can anyone share the reasoning for their vote?

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Re: Help me choose a firm (round 2)

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 10, 2011 9:06 pm

I voted JD, but I have caveats. I didn't love JD NY when I did my callback there and don't think it's anything to write home about. Just a good, solid firm. And I can definitely see the appeal of being in an intimate office of a national firm. (I made a choice along those lines myself.) However, for Proskauer to make sense, you had better be 100% goddamn sure you want to do labor and employment law. Not just for the summer, or for your first couple of years. You will be a L&E lawyer. This is, probably, your career. Are you ready to commit to that? How informed are you about what the work actually entails? I wouldn't be ready to make that decision if I were in your shoes, and though you have reasons for wanting to practice in that area, I'm not sold that they are compelling enough to put all your eggs in that basket.

However, if you truly and totally feel confident that you want to focus in this area, then go for it. Just don't do it to be a contrarian and work in NJ and turn down a higher ranked firm.

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Re: Help me choose a firm (round 2)

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 10, 2011 9:44 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I voted JD, but I have caveats. I didn't love JD NY when I did my callback there and don't think it's anything to write home about. Just a good, solid firm. And I can definitely see the appeal of being in an intimate office of a national firm. (I made a choice along those lines myself.) However, for Proskauer to make sense, you had better be 100% goddamn sure you want to do labor and employment law. Not just for the summer, or for your first couple of years. You will be a L&E lawyer. This is, probably, your career. Are you ready to commit to that? How informed are you about what the work actually entails? I wouldn't be ready to make that decision if I were in your shoes, and though you have reasons for wanting to practice in that area, I'm not sold that they are compelling enough to put all your eggs in that basket.

However, if you truly and totally feel confident that you want to focus in this area, then go for it. Just don't do it to be a contrarian and work in NJ and turn down a higher ranked firm.


I appreciate the feedback. I have certainly been considering the point you raised, about being damn sure that L&E is the path I want. In trying to answer this question, I think about what other areas I could possibly see myself doing, and I really can't think of many areas of big firm practice that involve some sort of human issues. Perhaps white collar crime would, and maybe mass tort class actions, but I'm not sure what else. And it seems like, even if you go into L&E, you can still do class action work, as well as touch on white collar crime issues, since both will often be intertwined with employment law issues.

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Re: Help me choose a firm (round 2)

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 10, 2011 10:09 pm

Voted JD for several reasons:

1. Summered with the firm (in another of their larger offices) and loved the firm wide vibe.
2. The L&E people I met were fabulous. Including one who left mid summer for an in house gig.
3. New Lawyers Group. (but this is because I'm not as sold on a career path as you seem to be)

caveat: I know zip about Proskauer. So it's not really a comparison as a vote of confidence from inside JD for a summer

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Re: Help me choose a firm (round 2)

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 10, 2011 10:25 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Voted JD for several reasons:

1. Summered with the firm (in another of their larger offices) and loved the firm wide vibe.
2. The L&E people I met were fabulous. Including one who left mid summer for an in house gig.
3. New Lawyers Group. (but this is because I'm not as sold on a career path as you seem to be)

caveat: I know zip about Proskauer. So it's not really a comparison as a vote of confidence from inside JD for a summer


Any chance you could make a non-anon post so that I could PM you? I would love to learn some more about JD before I make any final decision.

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Re: Help me choose a firm (round 2)

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 10, 2011 10:39 pm

If anyone summered for either firm, I would really like to hear about your experiences.

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Re: Help me choose a firm (round 2)

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 11, 2011 4:23 pm

Just bumping this since I'm so on the fence about it. To those who summered (or currently work) in large firms, are you still able to get personal relationships and a tight-knit environment within your case teams and practice group, even though the office itself may be very big? My hunch is that NJ is less of a pressure-cooker and the hours aren't quite as brutal, but I could be completely wrong about this. And does anyone have any insight into the "black box" system at JD? I'd imagine that, if people were systematically paid less than market, people would be leaving in droves, and that doesn't seem to be the case. Just some additional thoughts/considerations to toss around.

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Re: Help me choose a firm (round 2)

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 11, 2011 10:00 pm

I just set up a lunch appointment with Jones Day, in which I will be able to meet with the head of the employment law group, and then go out to lunch with some associates from the group. I think this will be super valuable, because I want to get a feel for the particular group is close and collegial with strong personal relationships. That is the biggest selling point of Proskauer's Newark office, so if the employment group at Jones Day is similar in that respect, it would make it a bit easier to pass on Proskauer. Plus, a veteran partner from another firm made it sound like it would be very difficult to get back to NY if I start in NJ, but would be easy to transition to NJ from NY should I choose to do so in the future. Again, just adding in whatever feedback I hear, so as to spark any other thoughts you guys might have.

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Re: Help me choose a firm (round 2)

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 11, 2011 10:22 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I just set up a lunch appointment with Jones Day, in which I will be able to meet with the head of the employment law group, and then go out to lunch with some associates from the group. I think this will be super valuable, because I want to get a feel for the particular group is close and collegial with strong personal relationships. That is the biggest selling point of Proskauer's Newark office, so if the employment group at Jones Day is similar in that respect, it would make it a bit easier to pass on Proskauer. Plus, a veteran partner from another firm made it sound like it would be very difficult to get back to NY if I start in NJ, but would be easy to transition to NJ from NY should I choose to do so in the future. Again, just adding in whatever feedback I hear, so as to spark any other thoughts you guys might have.


I know someone that made a lateral move from Prosk. Newark to a NY firm because he felt that he was working NY hours for NJ pay. Liked the firm quite a bit, but thought it didn't make sense to be on such a compressed payment scale for doing the same work as in NY.

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Re: Help me choose a firm (round 2)

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 11, 2011 10:25 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I just set up a lunch appointment with Jones Day, in which I will be able to meet with the head of the employment law group, and then go out to lunch with some associates from the group. I think this will be super valuable, because I want to get a feel for the particular group is close and collegial with strong personal relationships. That is the biggest selling point of Proskauer's Newark office, so if the employment group at Jones Day is similar in that respect, it would make it a bit easier to pass on Proskauer. Plus, a veteran partner from another firm made it sound like it would be very difficult to get back to NY if I start in NJ, but would be easy to transition to NJ from NY should I choose to do so in the future. Again, just adding in whatever feedback I hear, so as to spark any other thoughts you guys might have.


I know someone that made a lateral move from Prosk. Newark to a NY firm because he felt that he was working NY hours for NJ pay. Liked the firm quite a bit, but thought it didn't make sense to be on such a compressed payment scale for doing the same work as in NY.


Hmm, thats definitely interesting. My initial assumption was that there is less pressure to bill hours, and the work/life balance is a little better in NJ. Based on this story, it would seem that it is much more similar than I thought. Yeah, the payscale is definitely more compressed (5K increases, at least for the first few years), compared to the NY scale (Jones Day has that "black box" system in which no one knows for sure what anyone else gets paid, but I've heard it sticks pretty close to NY market).

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Re: Help me choose a firm (round 2)

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 11, 2011 10:30 pm

Oh, and to add to the previous post, do you know where your friend ended up going in NY, and how his experience compared?

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Re: Help me choose a firm (round 2)

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 17, 2011 3:12 pm

Went for lunch with some Jones Day labor and employment people, and they seemed nice. I certainly didn't get the same buddy-buddy vibe I got at Proskauer, but they all seemed to really like Jones Day. They said it is good to try out some work other than L&E since it will give me perspective on it, and show me a broader picture. Plus, they seemed to argue that Jones Day will handle more national matters with tons of cross-office collaboration, whereas Proskauer's Newark office would be a bit more regional in the scope of the work. Something important is that Jones Day never did mass layoffs, had 100% offer rate in NY office the past few years, and didn't defer the summers (whereas I recall seeing some news about Proskauer layoffs in the past). They said the "black box" compensation structure isn't just some free pass for the firm to pay less than market, and they seemed to indicate that most people pretty much make market, with some people making even more.

So that was their pitch today, and now it comes down to me just sitting down and making a choice. Looking for any last minute input you guys can offer.

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Re: Help me choose a firm (round 2)

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 17, 2011 3:13 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Went for lunch with some Jones Day labor and employment people, and they seemed nice. I certainly didn't get the same buddy-buddy vibe I got at Proskauer, but they all seemed to really like Jones Day. They said it is good to try out some work other than L&E since it will give me perspective on it, and show me a broader picture. Plus, they seemed to argue that Jones Day will handle more national matters with tons of cross-office collaboration, whereas Proskauer's Newark office would be a bit more regional in the scope of the work. Something important is that Jones Day never did mass layoffs, had 100% offer rate in NY office the past few years, and didn't defer the summers (whereas I recall seeing some news about Proskauer layoffs in the past). They said the "black box" compensation structure isn't just some free pass for the firm to pay less than market, and they seemed to indicate that most people pretty much make market, with some people making even more.

So that was their pitch today, and now it comes down to me just sitting down and making a choice. Looking for any last minute input you guys can offer.

I still say Jones Day. More options, more recognizably, more resources.

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Re: Help me choose a firm (round 2)

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 17, 2011 3:20 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Went for lunch with some Jones Day labor and employment people, and they seemed nice. I certainly didn't get the same buddy-buddy vibe I got at Proskauer, but they all seemed to really like Jones Day. They said it is good to try out some work other than L&E since it will give me perspective on it, and show me a broader picture. Plus, they seemed to argue that Jones Day will handle more national matters with tons of cross-office collaboration, whereas Proskauer's Newark office would be a bit more regional in the scope of the work. Something important is that Jones Day never did mass layoffs, had 100% offer rate in NY office the past few years, and didn't defer the summers (whereas I recall seeing some news about Proskauer layoffs in the past). They said the "black box" compensation structure isn't just some free pass for the firm to pay less than market, and they seemed to indicate that most people pretty much make market, with some people making even more.

So that was their pitch today, and now it comes down to me just sitting down and making a choice. Looking for any last minute input you guys can offer.

I still say Jones Day. More options, more recognizably, more resources.


Thats the way I feel myself leaning. And most lawyers/professors I speak with seem to feel that Jones Day would be the better choice given the point I am at in my career (i.e. the very beginning). They seemed to feel that Proskauer would be a great place down the road if I ever want to leave NY after building up some expertise in L&E (once I know for sure thats the area for me)

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Re: Help me choose a firm (round 2)

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 17, 2011 4:02 pm

I just hope I wouldn't be burning bridges by me turning down Proskauer. I really liked them a lot, and could certainly see myself there in the future. Hopefully a sincere and honest phone call will leave everything on a good note, so that I can stay in touch as time goes on.

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Re: Help me choose a firm (round 2)

Postby Blindmelon » Mon Oct 17, 2011 4:04 pm

I'd go for Prosk. personally. While JD is a better name overall, its a bloated massive firm in which you may get that lost feeling as you said. It seems like you want to be in Jersey, and the COL difference will be decent enough to warrant a difference in pay (assuming its not huge). I'm biased though, as I wouldn't want to work in Manhatten (too annoying/expensive).

Something also to think about, if you work at Prosk, you will be able to do employment stuff - you may not be able to at JD. If JD's employment group is 20 people, they may not want new associates and there may not be enough work for another person. Just because a firm does a type of work, doesn't mean that you can do that work there.




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