Davis Polk vs Debevoise

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Davis Polk vs Debevoise

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 10, 2012 10:58 am

I know it is early in the season for this type of question. But, humor me. For someone who wants to do litigation, is Davis Polk really that much better than Debevoise? Assume that culture/fit felt the same at both.

OR better yet, can you guys with your legions of collective knowledge, tell be about the differences between the two when it comes to litigation?

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Re: Davis Polk vs Debevoise

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 10, 2012 11:53 am

Anonymous User wrote:I know it is early in the season for this type of question. But, humor me. For someone who wants to do litigation, is Davis Polk really that much better than Debevoise? Assume that culture/fit felt the same at both.

OR better yet, can you guys with your legions of collective knowledge, tell be about the differences between the two when it comes to litigation?


DPW has a legitimately stronger reputation than Debevoise for litigation. The chambers rankings are just one obvious neutral source.

Query whether being band 1 or band 2 makes much of a difference (or any difference, for that matter) to you as an associate.

Their cultures are known for being fairly similar, and they are close enough in reputation that the corporate attorneys from the two firms are sometimes even working on the same deals (it takes two to tango). DPW is probably 'better' / 'more prestigious' by the slightest amount than Debevoise in most areas, but it's just not going to make a big difference to you over time.

All else being equal, why not go to the (marginally) better firm. But my guess is all isn't equal or you wouldn't be making this thread. Debevoise is a top-notch firm and I'm sure nobody goes there and regrets having turned down a V5 offer down the line, unless they realize it was a mistaken choice for fit reasons.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Fri Aug 10, 2012 1:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

anon168
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Re: Davis Polk vs Debevoise

Postby anon168 » Fri Aug 10, 2012 12:04 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I know it is early in the season for this type of question. But, humor me. For someone who wants to do litigation, is Davis Polk really that much better than Debevoise? Assume that culture/fit felt the same at both.

OR better yet, can you guys with your legions of collective knowledge, tell be about the differences between the two when it comes to litigation?


Which market?

In NYC? There's really no difference.

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Re: Davis Polk vs Debevoise

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 10, 2012 3:02 pm

In terms of Corporate M&A, both are ranked Elite: Band 2 by Chambers. Does this mean that in the long-term, Debevoise is just as good of a place to begin one's career, or do you lose something by taking a (small) dip in the (arguably meaningless) Vault rankings? Is it all the same once you get into the V15 and up?
Also, has anyone CB'd at DPW and heard back?

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Re: Davis Polk vs Debevoise

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 10, 2012 5:02 pm

DPW's litigation department has better placement into prestigious government positions. For instance, the US Attorney's Office (EDNY) hired 8 lawyers this year, and 4 of them were from DPW.

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Re: Davis Polk vs Debevoise

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 10, 2012 6:21 pm

My COA judge keeps forgetting whether I'm working at DPW, Deb, or Dewey the year before my clerkship.

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Re: Davis Polk vs Debevoise

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 10, 2012 6:46 pm

Thanks guys, this is helpful. I welcome other input as well, if anyone else is willing to chime in. The non-equal part that one of the above posters was referring to is the quality of life, and the substantive nature of the work. I get the sense that young associates at Debevoise get proportionally less doc review work, and have slightly lower hours- maybe because it is a slightly smaller firm, idk. Or my rough sense is completely wrong...

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Re: Davis Polk vs Debevoise

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 10, 2012 7:14 pm

Also, has anyone CB'd at DPW and heard back?[/quote]

Yeah, I know of a few. But mostly due to strange circumstances.

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Re: Davis Polk vs Debevoise

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 10, 2012 7:17 pm

anon168 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I know it is early in the season for this type of question. But, humor me. For someone who wants to do litigation, is Davis Polk really that much better than Debevoise? Assume that culture/fit felt the same at both.

OR better yet, can you guys with your legions of collective knowledge, tell be about the differences between the two when it comes to litigation?


Which market?

In NYC? There's really no difference.


NYC.

AP-375
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Re: Davis Polk vs Debevoise

Postby AP-375 » Fri Aug 10, 2012 8:51 pm

.
Last edited by AP-375 on Fri Aug 10, 2012 9:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Davis Polk vs Debevoise

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 10, 2012 9:26 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Thanks guys, this is helpful. I welcome other input as well, if anyone else is willing to chime in. The non-equal part that one of the above posters was referring to is the quality of life, and the substantive nature of the work. I get the sense that young associates at Debevoise get proportionally less doc review work, and have slightly lower hours- maybe because it is a slightly smaller firm, idk. Or my rough sense is completely wrong...


I'd be curious to hear more about this. Can anyone back this up or second this notion?

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Re: Davis Polk vs Debevoise

Postby Magnificent » Fri Aug 10, 2012 9:48 pm

:lol: @ litigation at either of these firms.

You'll be a doc review drone at both firms. You'll never get any real experience. You'll never take or a defend a deposition. You'll never write a motion that is filed in court. You or anyone else in the firm will never see trial because all the banking clients will either settle the case before it goes to trial or hire another firm to take over the case if it ever gets to trial.

If you want to practice litigation, don't be in NYC and don't join a law firm with more associates than partners.

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Re: Davis Polk vs Debevoise

Postby chasgoose » Fri Aug 10, 2012 10:04 pm

Magnificent wrote::lol: @ litigation at either of these firms.

You'll be a doc review drone at both firms. You'll never get any real experience. You'll never take or a defend a deposition. You'll never write a motion that is filed in court. You or anyone else in the firm will never see trial because all the banking clients will either settle the case before it goes to trial or hire another firm to take over the case if it ever gets to trial.

If you want to practice litigation, don't be in NYC and don't join a law firm with more associates than partners.


HE RETURNS!!!!!

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Re: Davis Polk vs Debevoise

Postby imchuckbass58 » Fri Aug 10, 2012 10:55 pm

One thing you may want to consider is the mix of work in the litigation departments.

A big chunk of Debevoise's lit department is internal investigations, which some people love and some people hate. They also have some really cool, strong, but smaller groups, like soft IP (copyright / trademark lit - gets lots of fun cases like the Louboutin litigation, Google books, etc.), and probably the best international arb group in the U.S. Funnily enough, they do relatively less "regular litigation," though it's obviously still a lot in absolute terms.

At Davis Polk, you'll get a lot more bread and butter commercial lit. They also do a fair amount of white collar / investigations, but not as much as Debevoise. They also do much more securities than Debevoise, though it's still not as dominant a part of the lit practice as some other firms.

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Re: Davis Polk vs Debevoise

Postby anon168 » Sat Aug 11, 2012 12:22 am

Anonymous User wrote:DPW's litigation department has better placement into prestigious government positions. For instance, the US Attorney's Office (EDNY) hired 8 lawyers this year, and 4 of them were from DPW.


And this makes DPW better than Debevoise ... how?

Ever consider that EDNY USAO hired those DPW associates not because they were at DPW, but because (oh, I don't know) they were really qualified, a good interview, and just pretty smart and articulate individuals?

anon168
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Re: Davis Polk vs Debevoise

Postby anon168 » Sat Aug 11, 2012 12:22 am

imchuckbass58 wrote:One thing you may want to consider is the mix of work in the litigation departments.

A big chunk of Debevoise's lit department is internal investigations, which some people love and some people hate. They also have some really cool, strong, but smaller groups, like soft IP (copyright / trademark lit - gets lots of fun cases like the Louboutin litigation, Google books, etc.), and probably the best international arb group in the U.S. Funnily enough, they do relatively less "regular litigation," though it's obviously still a lot in absolute terms.

At Davis Polk, you'll get a lot more bread and butter commercial lit. They also do a fair amount of white collar / investigations, but not as much as Debevoise. They also do much more securities than Debevoise, though it's still not as dominant a part of the lit practice as some other firms.


This is excellent advice.

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Re: Davis Polk vs Debevoise

Postby anon168 » Sat Aug 11, 2012 12:23 am

Anonymous User wrote:
anon168 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I know it is early in the season for this type of question. But, humor me. For someone who wants to do litigation, is Davis Polk really that much better than Debevoise? Assume that culture/fit felt the same at both.

OR better yet, can you guys with your legions of collective knowledge, tell be about the differences between the two when it comes to litigation?


Which market?

In NYC? There's really no difference.


NYC.


In NYC, it makes little difference. One dept. is bigger than the other, but that goes more towards fit and culture than whether one is "better" than the other one.

anon168
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Re: Davis Polk vs Debevoise

Postby anon168 » Sat Aug 11, 2012 12:24 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Thanks guys, this is helpful. I welcome other input as well, if anyone else is willing to chime in. The non-equal part that one of the above posters was referring to is the quality of life, and the substantive nature of the work. I get the sense that young associates at Debevoise get proportionally less doc review work, and have slightly lower hours- maybe because it is a slightly smaller firm, idk. Or my rough sense is completely wrong...


I'd be curious to hear more about this. Can anyone back this up or second this notion?


That is not true. Urban Legend.

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Re: Davis Polk vs Debevoise

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 11, 2012 9:36 am

anon168 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Thanks guys, this is helpful. I welcome other input as well, if anyone else is willing to chime in. The non-equal part that one of the above posters was referring to is the quality of life, and the substantive nature of the work. I get the sense that young associates at Debevoise get proportionally less doc review work, and have slightly lower hours- maybe because it is a slightly smaller firm, idk. Or my rough sense is completely wrong...


I'd be curious to hear more about this. Can anyone back this up or second this notion?


That is not true. Urban Legend.


Why do you say urban legend? This was the sense I got when I spoke to a handful of associates at each. I asked what their average hours were- what time they got home each night. Debevoise attorneys said around 7:30-8, DPW said between 9:30 and 10.

Do you guys think there is a real difference in the amount of pro bono that happens at either? Or the amount that first years/ second years have time to take on? I don't expect to get to take a deposition by myself or do a trial in paid work, but I was told that in a pro bono project, you own your case, so many people do have trials and write motions and take depositions as a 1st year if it is a baby case.

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Re: Davis Polk vs Debevoise

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 11, 2012 9:39 am

Magnificent wrote::lol: @ litigation at either of these firms.

You'll be a doc review drone at both firms. You'll never get any real experience. You'll never take or a defend a deposition. You'll never write a motion that is filed in court. You or anyone else in the firm will never see trial because all the banking clients will either settle the case before it goes to trial or hire another firm to take over the case if it ever gets to trial.

If you want to practice litigation, don't be in NYC and don't join a law firm with more associates than partners.


I don't expect to, at least not in paying cases. If all I cared about was "real" litigation, I would go to a DA's office or become a plaintiff's attorney.

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Re: Davis Polk vs Debevoise

Postby Old Gregg » Sat Aug 11, 2012 10:08 am

Anonymous User wrote:This was the sense I got when I spoke to a handful of associates at each. I asked what their average hours were- what time they got home each night. Debevoise attorneys said around 7:30-8, DPW said between 9:30 and 10.


Reality differs from what you experienced on a callback? Holy shit we better call the news :roll:

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Re: Davis Polk vs Debevoise

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 11, 2012 10:55 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Why do you say urban legend? This was the sense I got when I spoke to a handful of associates at each. I asked what their average hours were- what time they got home each night. Debevoise attorneys said around 7:30-8, DPW said between 9:30 and 10.

Do you guys think there is a real difference in the amount of pro bono that happens at either? Or the amount that first years/ second years have time to take on? I don't expect to get to take a deposition by myself or do a trial in paid work, but I was told that in a pro bono project, you own your case, so many people do have trials and write motions and take depositions as a 1st year if it is a baby case.


So, as a former Debevoise summer whose significant other works in lit at DPW, I will chime in on this.

I think average hours is an illusory metric, because virtually nobody works "average hours." Even in lit, if you're on a really active investigation, trial, etc., you'll be slammed almost every night (i.e., getting home at midnight often). If you're not, most days will be much more reasonable (the 7 or 8 you're talking about). I feel like this is pretty common across firms.

Is there some difference where at Debevoise the split between the former and latter categories is 40/60 instead of 50/50? Possibly. But this probably has less to do with firm culture than with (1) how busy the lit department is at any particular point in time, and (2) luck of the draw on staffing.

That said, to give an obviously biased plug for Debevoise, the culture is very humane / considerate. By and large partners care about associates and want them to get home if at all possible. They're also generally very nice people who care about mentoring, etc., so even if you're working hard it's probably more pleasant than it could be at some other firms. Not to imply this is not the case at DPW as well, but I don't have first-hand experience there.

To your second point, both firms have a pretty strong commitment to pro bono (for big NY firms) and tend to offer lots of responsibility on small pro bono cases (i.e., 2nd-4th years basically handling them on their own with minimal oversight from a senior associate or partner) - I can't imagine there's much of a difference in that regard.

The thing is, most of the "small" pro bono cases are the type of things people find less exciting like asylum/immigration work or landlord/tenant stuff. The "big" pro bono cases (cool stuff like appellate lit in conjunction with public interest orgs, voting rights, education policy) will usually be staffed like a normal matter with a partner or SA running things.




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