Let's Talk San Francisco - Taking Questions

(On Campus Interviews, Summer Associate positions, Firm Reviews, Tips, ...)
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are revealing sensitive employment related information about a firm, job, etc. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned.
Anonymous User
Posts: 273182
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Let's Talk San Francisco - Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 05, 2013 5:45 am

Rising 2L here, thanks for doing this.

I'm trying to decide between targeting LA, with which I'm familiar, and SF, with which I'm not (fortunately in a school/grades position that I should be comfortable targeting either).

One huge consideration is CoL while I pay off stacks of loans - LA seems to win CoL handily. Could you comment on this briefly? This thread already has interesting advice about living in Oakland, etc. - any other thoughts for someone trying to minimize CoL (within reason) in SF?

A more specific Q on those lines: How doable is SF without a car, if you live and work in the city? Cutting a car out of the equation would certainly help - wondering whether that's a good idea (logistically, "culturally", etc.).

Anonymous User
Posts: 273182
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Let's Talk San Francisco - Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 05, 2013 6:09 am

Anonymous User wrote:Rising 2L here, thanks for doing this.

I'm trying to decide between targeting LA, with which I'm familiar, and SF, with which I'm not (fortunately in a school/grades position that I should be comfortable targeting either).

One huge consideration is CoL while I pay off stacks of loans - LA seems to win CoL handily. Could you comment on this briefly? This thread already has interesting advice about living in Oakland, etc. - any other thoughts for someone trying to minimize CoL (within reason) in SF?

A more specific Q on those lines: How doable is SF without a car, if you live and work in the city? Cutting a car out of the equation would certainly help - wondering whether that's a good idea (logistically, "culturally", etc.).


No problemo. SF is awesome, so happy to help.

LA is definitely cheaper than SF, there's really no question. Much of that is built into housing costs - really, controlling for housing, I think SF is not more expensive than LA. But housing is very pricey, so there are a few ways to minimize costs. The first is living in Oakland or another East Bay community and doing the BART commute. Apart from the recent strike, BART is fairly reliable and it isn't too unmanageable to do that commute daily.

There are also a few neighborhoods in SF itself that are on the BART line and cheaper (I'm thinking Glen Park, or the areas in Bernal Heights that are walking distance to the 24th St. Station). Conversely, you could live somewhere on a Muni (the city train line; BART is the whole East/South Bay) line and take Muni to work, since it stops anywhere a major law office would be located. Finally, you could live somewhere farther afield and take a bus to work.

All this being said, housing costs will still be more expensive than a decent place in LA. But the tradeoff is that you don't need a car at all (barring your desire to live in the Sunset or Outer Richmond, or WAY south in the Valley). I haven't had a car in the city for a while and don't miss it - it's more a hassle finding parking, or a garage, or dealing with street sweeping, than it is to just buck up and get cabs every once in a while. Plus you're saving that car cost and can throw it into your rent.

I'm going to be paying off nearly full loans ($175ish) and living in a nicer neighborhood, and on a biglaw salary it is incredible doable, with substantial savings left over. But I was also super poor before law school, so my costs apart from these built-in necessities are fairly low.

- Brian Wilson's Beard.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273182
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Let's Talk San Francisco - Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 05, 2013 10:14 am

Anonymous User wrote:I'm going to be paying off nearly full loans ($175ish) and living in a nicer neighborhood, and on a biglaw salary it is incredible doable, with substantial savings left over. But I was also super poor before law school, so my costs apart from these built-in necessities are fairly low.

- Brian Wilson's Beard.


You're just starting off as an SA though, right? So this is your planned budget, not what you've done?

I kind of want to have a roommate once I head out there. I'm going to be starting at a big firm downtown in the Fall too.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273182
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Let's Talk San Francisco - Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 05, 2013 10:32 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I'm going to be paying off nearly full loans ($175ish) and living in a nicer neighborhood, and on a biglaw salary it is incredible doable, with substantial savings left over. But I was also super poor before law school, so my costs apart from these built-in necessities are fairly low.

- Brian Wilson's Beard.


You're just starting off as an SA though, right? So this is your planned budget, not what you've done?

I kind of want to have a roommate once I head out there. I'm going to be starting at a big firm downtown in the Fall too.


No, I was an SA last year, have graduated, and am starting full-time at the firm this fall. I've also lived in the city apart from when I was an SA.

I think roommates are a good idea. I have two for the upcoming year - 3 BR tend to hbe a little cheaper per person than 2 BR, though it's easier to find 2 BR places in places like Hayes, Mission Dolores, Lower Pac, and the Marina.

-BR's B

Anonymous User
Posts: 273182
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Let's Talk San Francisco - Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 05, 2013 10:51 am

What are the best options for someone interested in transactional work, but wanting to be in SF as opposed to SV? Have interviews through BADCF at Kirkland, MoFo, Goodwin Procter, and Arnold and Porter so any thoughts on those particular firms in general and the relative strength of their corporate practices would be appreciated. Also are there any other SF firms im missing for corporate work?

Anonymous User
Posts: 273182
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Let's Talk San Francisco - Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 05, 2013 11:08 am

Anonymous User wrote:What are the best options for someone interested in transactional work, but wanting to be in SF as opposed to SV? Have interviews through BADCF at Kirkland, MoFo, Goodwin Procter, and Arnold and Porter so any thoughts on those particular firms in general and the relative strength of their corporate practices would be appreciated. Also are there any other SF firms im missing for corporate work?


I'm doing litigation, so take my opinions with a hefty grain of salt. However, I have transactional friends at Kirkland, MoFo, and A&P - all are solid choices, with some differences in hours and practice focus. KE seems to be a lot of PE, A&P is some tech transactions, some M&A, and some venture capital stuff. Unsure about the nature of MoFo's practice, tbh.

I'd add Sidley, which I know has a good number of transactional lawyers in the SF office, and Ropes. Maybe also Pillsbury, Cooley, and Latham. I think that Gibson's office is primarily lit and RE, so I'd avoid them, and I'm pretty sure Covington doesn't have a hefty corporate practice in their SF office, either.

Sorry that's not more helpful.

-BR's B.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273182
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Let's Talk San Francisco - Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 05, 2013 11:18 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:What are the best options for someone interested in transactional work, but wanting to be in SF as opposed to SV? Have interviews through BADCF at Kirkland, MoFo, Goodwin Procter, and Arnold and Porter so any thoughts on those particular firms in general and the relative strength of their corporate practices would be appreciated. Also are there any other SF firms im missing for corporate work?


I'm doing litigation, so take my opinions with a hefty grain of salt. However, I have transactional friends at Kirkland, MoFo, and A&P - all are solid choices, with some differences in hours and practice focus. KE seems to be a lot of PE, A&P is some tech transactions, some M&A, and some venture capital stuff. Unsure about the nature of MoFo's practice, tbh.

I'd add Sidley, which I know has a good number of transactional lawyers in the SF office, and Ropes. Maybe also Pillsbury, Cooley, and Latham. I think that Gibson's office is primarily lit and RE, so I'd avoid them, and I'm pretty sure Covington doesn't have a hefty corporate practice in their SF office, either.

Sorry that's not more helpful.

-BR's B.


Cooley def has an SF office and my friend was there doing transactional, although from what I recall their big thing there is "privacy," and I just don't know what that means. Maybe this tells: http://www.cooley.com/privacy

hiima3L
Posts: 837
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2012 10:26 pm

Re: Let's Talk San Francisco - Taking Questions

Postby hiima3L » Fri Jul 05, 2013 11:48 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Rising 2L here, thanks for doing this.

I'm trying to decide between targeting LA, with which I'm familiar, and SF, with which I'm not (fortunately in a school/grades position that I should be comfortable targeting either).



No problemo. SF is awesome, so happy to help.

LA is definitely cheaper than SF

...

I'm going to be paying off nearly full loans ($175ish) and living in a nicer neighborhood, and on a biglaw salary it is incredible doable, with substantial savings left over. But I was also super poor before law school, so my costs apart from these built-in necessities are fairly low.


This is all credited.

Just wanted to add that if a shortish commute is important to you, where you live in SF can make a dramatic difference even though it's a small city. There are areas where it can take forever. The MUNI is not very reliable, and LOL at all the bus lines. I lived in an area where I had to take the bus and it ranged from 20 mins to over an hour during work hours, and depending on where I went out at night, it could take upwards of 2 hours to get home (or a really expensive cab ride).

Often times it's faster to commute from the East Bay if you live/work on a BART line.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273182
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Let's Talk San Francisco - Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 05, 2013 12:30 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:What are the best options for someone interested in transactional work, but wanting to be in SF as opposed to SV? Have interviews through BADCF at Kirkland, MoFo, Goodwin Procter, and Arnold and Porter so any thoughts on those particular firms in general and the relative strength of their corporate practices would be appreciated. Also are there any other SF firms im missing for corporate work?


I'm doing litigation, so take my opinions with a hefty grain of salt. However, I have transactional friends at Kirkland, MoFo, and A&P - all are solid choices, with some differences in hours and practice focus. KE seems to be a lot of PE, A&P is some tech transactions, some M&A, and some venture capital stuff. Unsure about the nature of MoFo's practice, tbh.

I'd add Sidley, which I know has a good number of transactional lawyers in the SF office, and Ropes. Maybe also Pillsbury, Cooley, and Latham. I think that Gibson's office is primarily lit and RE, so I'd avoid them, and I'm pretty sure Covington doesn't have a hefty corporate practice in their SF office, either.

Sorry that's not more helpful.

-BR's B.

I'm an SA at an SF boutique. I hear that PE work is down, so that may be something to think about re Kirkland. I have also heard that Kirkland is a difficult place to work, although TBF I have heard that from lit people.

-JG Wentworth

ETA: Mods, went anon just because my screenname is known on TLS.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273182
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Let's Talk San Francisco - Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 05, 2013 12:33 pm

Any thoughts on STB/ White & Case/ Skadden/ DPW (New York firms with offices in SV)?
How grade selective are these firms in the bay?
I'm a median at T14 with good ties to SF/SV and good corporate WE.

Thanks!

User avatar
sundance95
Posts: 2123
Joined: Wed Jun 09, 2010 7:44 pm

Re: Let's Talk San Francisco - Taking Questions

Postby sundance95 » Fri Jul 05, 2013 12:39 pm

hiima3L wrote:This is all credited.

Just wanted to add that if a shortish commute is important to you, where you live in SF can make a dramatic difference even though it's a small city. There are areas where it can take forever. The MUNI is not very reliable, and LOL at all the bus lines. I lived in an area where I had to take the bus and it ranged from 20 mins to over an hour during work hours, and depending on where I went out at night, it could take upwards of 2 hours to get home (or a really expensive cab ride).

Often times it's faster to commute from the East Bay if you live/work on a BART line.

+1. I would strongly discourage anyone moving to the city for the first time from living in the Richmond, even the Inner Richmond. The Richmond is serviced only by buses, which are ridiculously slow, even by San Francisco standards. Muni's avg speed is 8.1 mph, making it the slowest transit system in the nation. A great deal of that average is a result of the Muni buses.

If you need to live on the west side of the city, I would look at the Inner Sunset on the N light rail line, or near West Portal on the L. The N is pretty notorious for being slow--the L is pretty quick relative the N because it gets underground much earlier than the N.

The problem with both of these areas is that, if you haven't lived in San Francisco before, they probably aren't what you think of as San Francisco. The west side of the city also gets a lot of fog. But it is definitely doable for a summer, or for your first year until you find another place (apt hunting is extremely competitive here).

Anonymous User
Posts: 273182
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Let's Talk San Francisco - Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 05, 2013 12:40 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Any thoughts on STB/ White & Case/ Skadden/ DPW (New York firms with offices in SV)?
How grade selective are these firms in the bay?
I'm a median at T14 with good ties to SF/SV and good corporate WE.

Thanks!


Wondering the same thing. T6, top 1/3, K-JD, interested in transacational, family lives in SF, and throwing a few bids at the V10s with satellites in SV.

Interested to see whether I have a good shot at these firms or not.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273182
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Let's Talk San Francisco - Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 05, 2013 2:55 pm

What have people heard about Quinn SF? What about the particular practice groups there?

potted plant
Posts: 96
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2013 8:01 pm

Re: Let's Talk San Francisco - Taking Questions

Postby potted plant » Fri Jul 05, 2013 3:02 pm

I've universally heard that Quinn gets a lot of interesting work and that it is a really unpleasant place to work.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273182
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Let's Talk San Francisco - Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 05, 2013 4:16 pm

potted plant wrote:I've universally heard that Quinn gets a lot of interesting work and that it is a really unpleasant place to work.

+1, I've heard this specific to Quinn SF

Anonymous User
Posts: 273182
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Let's Talk San Francisco - Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 05, 2013 4:18 pm

Litigation-wise, I'd really like to hear thoughts on: MoFo vs. Gibson Dunn vs. Covington. Which would you most like to work for in SF and why?

Anonymous User
Posts: 273182
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Let's Talk San Francisco - Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 05, 2013 4:20 pm

Anonymous User wrote:What have people heard about Quinn SF? What about the particular practice groups there?

same anon as two posts above, I've also heard that Quinn SF is essentially an IP lit office despite the presence of some other practice groups there

Anonymous User
Posts: 273182
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Let's Talk San Francisco - Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 05, 2013 4:23 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Any thoughts on STB/ White & Case/ Skadden/ DPW (New York firms with offices in SV)?
How grade selective are these firms in the bay?
I'm a median at T14 with good ties to SF/SV and good corporate WE.

Thanks!


Wondering the same thing. T6, top 1/3, K-JD, interested in transacational, family lives in SF, and throwing a few bids at the V10s with satellites in SV.

Interested to see whether I have a good shot at these firms or not.


Got an offer at one of the above with top 15% at T14, minimal ties, non-relevant work experience, and interest in transactional. Just a data point.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273182
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Let's Talk San Francisco - Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 05, 2013 4:24 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Litigation-wise, I'd really like to hear thoughts on: MoFo vs. Gibson Dunn vs. Covington. Which would you most like to work for in SF and why?

the cultures at these places are wildly divergent--it's impossible to generalize this because you might like one culture and not another. I personally find GDC stuffy, MoFo is much less so, don't know enough about C&B to comment but would wager that the culture is more east coast than MoFo. If you are asking for bidding purposes you should bid all of them and decide based on callbacks if you are fortunate enough to have choices

Anonymous User
Posts: 273182
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Let's Talk San Francisco - Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 05, 2013 5:55 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Litigation-wise, I'd really like to hear thoughts on: MoFo vs. Gibson Dunn vs. Covington. Which would you most like to work for in SF and why?

the cultures at these places are wildly divergent--it's impossible to generalize this because you might like one culture and not another. I personally find GDC stuffy, MoFo is much less so, don't know enough about C&B to comment but would wager that the culture is more east coast than MoFo. If you are asking for bidding purposes you should bid all of them and decide based on callbacks if you are fortunate enough to have choices


Very. Had CBs/offers at each, and each were quite different.

Gibson was the kid with the 4.0 in high school who also wanted to throw parties whenever his parents were gone and invite everyone, MoFo was the kid who acted like things were totally chill all the time and worked his ass off while trying not to let his friends know, and Covington was the nice kid who was also kinda loaded and you didn't even mind because he was so nice.

But in all seriousness, they're fairly different vibes, and also have pretty different practice focuses.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273182
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Let's Talk San Francisco - Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 05, 2013 7:40 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Litigation-wise, I'd really like to hear thoughts on: MoFo vs. Gibson Dunn vs. Covington. Which would you most like to work for in SF and why?

the cultures at these places are wildly divergent--it's impossible to generalize this because you might like one culture and not another. I personally find GDC stuffy, MoFo is much less so, don't know enough about C&B to comment but would wager that the culture is more east coast than MoFo. If you are asking for bidding purposes you should bid all of them and decide based on callbacks if you are fortunate enough to have choices


Very. Had CBs/offers at each, and each were quite different.

Gibson was the kid with the 4.0 in high school who also wanted to throw parties whenever his parents were gone and invite everyone, MoFo was the kid who acted like things were totally chill all the time and worked his ass off while trying not to let his friends know, and Covington was the nice kid who was also kinda loaded and you didn't even mind because he was so nice.

But in all seriousness, they're fairly different vibes, and also have pretty different practice focuses.


[anon who asked the initial question]

Since you're anon, mind saying which of the three you chose? (or if not one of those three, then which over them? I just ask because for whatever reason I've gotten the impression that aside from elite boutiques these were the three SF lit heavyweights)

- btw, is it just me or do your MoFo and GDC descriptions sound like the same kid?

Anonymous User
Posts: 273182
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Let's Talk San Francisco - Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jul 06, 2013 5:35 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Litigation-wise, I'd really like to hear thoughts on: MoFo vs. Gibson Dunn vs. Covington. Which would you most like to work for in SF and why?

the cultures at these places are wildly divergent--it's impossible to generalize this because you might like one culture and not another. I personally find GDC stuffy, MoFo is much less so, don't know enough about C&B to comment but would wager that the culture is more east coast than MoFo. If you are asking for bidding purposes you should bid all of them and decide based on callbacks if you are fortunate enough to have choices


Very. Had CBs/offers at each, and each were quite different.

Gibson was the kid with the 4.0 in high school who also wanted to throw parties whenever his parents were gone and invite everyone, MoFo was the kid who acted like things were totally chill all the time and worked his ass off while trying not to let his friends know, and Covington was the nice kid who was also kinda loaded and you didn't even mind because he was so nice.

But in all seriousness, they're fairly different vibes, and also have pretty different practice focuses.


[anon who asked the initial question]

Since you're anon, mind saying which of the three you chose? (or if not one of those three, then which over them? I just ask because for whatever reason I've gotten the impression that aside from elite boutiques these were the three SF lit heavyweights)

- btw, is it just me or do your MoFo and GDC descriptions sound like the same kid?


Anon above. I suppose they are somewhat similar; GDC seemed more outgoing and Covington a bit more inwardly cerebral, but they were more similar to each other than either was to MoFo.

And I wound up picking one of the "indigenous," small SF boutique firms instead of any of the above. My choice actually came down between it and a major firm that wasn't one of the three listed. Choice was mainly for training and responsibility opportunities, along with firm culture, rather than practice interests.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273182
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Let's Talk San Francisco - Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jul 06, 2013 9:55 am

When looking at SF Bay Area.. Is there a huge distinction b/w the SF firms (people, culture, grade selectivity, etc.) and their counterparts in PA/SV offices?

Edit: Specifically for their IP groups.

hiima3L
Posts: 837
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2012 10:26 pm

Re: Let's Talk San Francisco - Taking Questions

Postby hiima3L » Sat Jul 06, 2013 11:29 am

sundance95 wrote:
hiima3L wrote:This is all credited.

Just wanted to add that if a shortish commute is important to you, where you live in SF can make a dramatic difference even though it's a small city. There are areas where it can take forever. The MUNI is not very reliable, and LOL at all the bus lines. I lived in an area where I had to take the bus and it ranged from 20 mins to over an hour during work hours, and depending on where I went out at night, it could take upwards of 2 hours to get home (or a really expensive cab ride).

Often times it's faster to commute from the East Bay if you live/work on a BART line.

+1. I would strongly discourage anyone moving to the city for the first time from living in the Richmond, even the Inner Richmond. The Richmond is serviced only by buses, which are ridiculously slow, even by San Francisco standards. Muni's avg speed is 8.1 mph, making it the slowest transit system in the nation. A great deal of that average is a result of the Muni buses.

If you need to live on the west side of the city, I would look at the Inner Sunset on the N light rail line, or near West Portal on the L. The N is pretty notorious for being slow--the L is pretty quick relative the N because it gets underground much earlier than the N.

The problem with both of these areas is that, if you haven't lived in San Francisco before, they probably aren't what you think of as San Francisco. The west side of the city also gets a lot of fog. But it is definitely doable for a summer, or for your first year until you find another place (apt hunting is extremely competitive here).


If someone lives in the Richmond/Sunset, it's generally to save money. But it's not that much cheaper or closer to the point where it would make sense living out there over the east bay. Unless you plan on going out late on weekends and don't want to have to spend $60 for cross-bay cab rides, commuting from, say, Lake Merritt to the Embarcadero is way easier than most everywhere in the Richmond/Sunset.

I love both areas and think they're great places to live, but goddamn, they are a pain to get to/from.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273182
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Let's Talk San Francisco - Taking Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 07, 2013 11:59 am

Does anyone know whether the big downtown firms will pay for cab rides back to the East Bay if you have to work late?




Return to “Legal Employment”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.