Magnificent wrote:TheProsecutor wrote:Anonymous User wrote:My career center has led me to believe that I am competitive at the top firms in DC. I know, DC is the hardest market to crack, and I don't plan on bidding only top firms, and I have a home market that I am equally interested in working in that I will also be bidding. However, I'm wondering what the best firms are in DC, and more importantly if there is a large drop off between firms. FWIW, I am interested chiefly in Government Enforcement/Regulatory as well as General Litigation.
These boards and the Vault DC rankings seem to be in agreement that the top firms are W&C, Covington, A&P, Wilmer and Hogan. Would it peer to say that these are mostly peers or perhaps in that order one being slightly better/more prestigious than the other?? Or are there huge gaps between the quality of some of these firms.
I am mostly interested in this because I'm curious about how overall prestige/ranking translates into the ability to lateral (either into BigGov or In House) 4 to 6 years down the road. Do any of these firm(s) open significantly more doors than the other(s)?
I don't think that you'll have to worry about it. I think that you should look at all different firms in DC. The government is not going to care whether you went to Kirkland DC, Arnold & Porter, Williams & Connolly, Covington, Wilmer Hale, or Skadden. The government cares that you have the specific type of experience that they are looking for.
Prestige is a silly concept and it only exists in your mind. I've never met a kid from a top law firm and thought, wow (S)he is prestigious. I've been in rooms with guys from williams and connolly and women from Hogan and I never thought that one was more prestigious than the other (though williams is a more prestigious firm).
The Williams & Connolly guy probably got better grades, probably went to a better law school, probably did a clerkship and it is why Williams & Connolly wanted him. That's what they are looking for. If he gets good experience, he can go to main justice or become an AUSA pretty easily. If he distinguishes himself, he might become a federal judge.
But main justice and AUSA and the federal government in general is not out there looking for Williams & Connolly associates. They are out there looking for people with top-notch experience and specific experience. The girl from Hogan will get into the government over the guy from W&C if she has the more relevant experience.
And I'm saying this as a guy who believes W&C is the second most prestigious firm in the USA behind Wachtell.
First of all, W&C is much more prestigious than Wachtell. More W&C summers go on to clerk for the Supreme Court than any other firm. W&C also has a sitting SCOTUS judge as an alum, something not many other firms can say.
Second, you obviously know nothing about DC or the legal profession. Pretty much the only capital lawyers have going for them is prestige. Which is why law school, clerkship, and firm prestige always matter. Firm prestige is especially significant at least at the associate level and the W&C associate will ALWAYS be more prestigious and thought of more highly than a Hogan associate. Certain practice areas can carry more prestige than W&C, for example GDC and Wilmer's appellate groups are filled with SCOTUS clerks and they would carry more prestige.
The best part is that CJ Roberts was with Hogan.