California Firms

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Which would you pick?

Irell & Manella (CC)
7
13%
Susman Godfrey (LA)
5
10%
O'Melveny & [deleted] (LA)
1
2%
Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher (LA)
9
17%
Munger, Tolles & Olson (LA)
5
10%
Keker & Van Nest (SF)
7
13%
Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan (LA)
2
4%
Morrison & Foerster (SF)
6
12%
Skadden (LA)
1
2%
I just want to see the results without voting.
9
17%
 
Total votes: 52

Anonymous User
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California Firms

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 16, 2012 9:41 am

Edit: I'm leaning 80/90% litigation, and have a 1L summer job with a solid corporate practice I could accept if I decided to do corporate work. I removed Latham from the poll.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Sat Aug 18, 2012 11:24 am, edited 3 times in total.

bdubs
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Re: California Firms

Postby bdubs » Thu Aug 16, 2012 9:45 am

Choose a city first.

For someone who is unsure, I think Gibson wins in LA and MoFo probably wins in SF. MTO is also a good choice, but it won't offer the same breadth of opportunities as a Gibson or MoFo (just because of size, not necessarily quality of work).

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Re: California Firms

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 16, 2012 12:38 pm

These votes are all over the place (and IMHO essentially worthless as they stand on 8/16/12), but the confusion might have been caused by OP asking about LA and SF simultaneously.

SF: Gibson Dunn dominates SF litigation - general commercial, appellate, white collar - and really only comes in second (in general commercial, etc - excluding patents or IP, which would make for an entirely different ranking including Weil Gotshal SV, but which list probably wouldn't help an OP who's only at the "leaning litigation" stage) to Keker & Van Nest, which is light years more selective and clerkship oriented than Gibson (or any other firm in SF, for that matter). I didn't vote Keker first though because they're a litigation boutique, which I think is a little too specialized for someone who hasn't made up their mind on transactional vs. litigation yet.

O'Melveny, Latham, MoFo are all easily a tier below Gibson (maybe two tiers below Keker, but it's hard to compare a boutique to megafirms). Quinn SF is great, definitely elite as far as litigation goes, but its attorneys admit it's a sweatshop among Big Law sweatshops, and it's notoriously cheap (attorneys handling filings, minimal support staff, although some potential to earn above market bonuses for insanely high hours).

LA: For LA, you missed Irell & Manella first of all, but Gibson comes out the clear leader down there as well, followed closely by Munger/Quinn/Skadden, then maybe Irell. I'm less knowledgeable about LA.

(Source: I just finished callbacks in CA covering most of these firms, and I shamelessly gunned the research on them).

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Cade McNown
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Re: California Firms

Postby Cade McNown » Thu Aug 16, 2012 12:42 pm

You're missing some pretty important satellite offices of major firms, e.g. SullCrom, Kirkland, Jones Day, Akin Gump, etc.

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Re: California Firms

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 16, 2012 12:48 pm

Cade McNown wrote:You're missing some pretty important satellite offices of major firms, e.g. SullCrom, Kirkland, Jones Day, Akin Gump, etc.

Anon from directly above again. You're missing the point that satellite offices (S&C's Bay Area presence being a perfect example) don't usually have litigation practices that even cause a ripple in the SF/SV/LA markets. They usually handle matters sent down the pipe from their New York offices and don't register as major players. Weil SV is an exception since they developed a major patent litigation practice under Matt Powers (who has since left to start his own firm, taking a lot of Weil's clients with him), but other than excluding Irell, OP did a great job listing firms with real CA presences.

That said, Kirkland and to a lesser extent Jones Day aren't purely satellite offices - they do have a decent (or in the case of Kirkland SF, a good) percentage of homegrown clients.

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Cade McNown
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Re: California Firms

Postby Cade McNown » Thu Aug 16, 2012 1:00 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Cade McNown wrote:You're missing some pretty important satellite offices of major firms, e.g. SullCrom, Kirkland, Jones Day, Akin Gump, etc.

Anon from directly above again. You're missing the point that satellite offices (S&C's Bay Area presence being a perfect example) don't usually have litigation practices that even cause a ripple in the SF/SV/LA markets. They usually handle matters sent down the pipe from their New York offices and don't register as major players. Weil SV is an exception since they developed a major patent litigation practice under Matt Powers (who has since left to start his own firm, taking a lot of Weil's clients with him), but other than excluding Irell, OP did a great job listing firms with real CA presences.

That said, Kirkland and to a lesser extent Jones Day aren't purely satellite offices - they do have a decent (or in the case of Kirkland SF, a good) percentage of homegrown clients.

All the firms I mentioned have sizable lit practices in LA. Akin even stations its appellate division in Century City. Plus, because OP asked "where would you rather work," I'm sure there are many like me who would pick Kirkland LA over MTO or Irell, especially those not looking to make partner but instead make the jump to AUSA, DOJ, FBI, etc. down the line.

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Re: California Firms

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 16, 2012 10:28 pm

Anonymous User wrote:These votes are all over the place (and IMHO essentially worthless as they stand on 8/16/12), but the confusion might have been caused by OP asking about LA and SF simultaneously.

SF: Gibson Dunn dominates SF litigation - general commercial, appellate, white collar - and really only comes in second (in general commercial, etc - excluding patents or IP, which would make for an entirely

I don't agree that Gibson dominates white collar litigation in SF. IMO, it lags behind both KVN and Quinn in white collar crime. And Gibson doesn't do a lot of appellate work out of its SF office. It does some, but not enough to justify the statement that it "dominates" appellate work in SF.


LA: For LA, you missed Irell & Manella first of all, but Gibson comes out the clear leader down there as well, followed closely by Munger/Quinn/Skadden, then maybe Irell. I'm less knowledgeable about LA.

I disagree with this as well. I don't think Gibson is the clear leader over Munger. If anything, the conventional wisdom is the other way around.

Gibson Dunn is a great firm, and, depending on what you're looking for, there might be good reasons to pick it over the other elite firms mentioned in this thread. But it's just not true that Gibson Dunn "dominates" in SF or is the "clear leader" in LA.

anon168
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Re: California Firms

Postby anon168 » Thu Aug 16, 2012 11:00 pm

For a First Year Associate, it would be MTO (LA) and KVN (SF).

As a senior associate, or partner level person, it would depend.

Reprisal
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Re: California Firms

Postby Reprisal » Thu Aug 16, 2012 11:11 pm

I've squared off against most of these firms this summer in litigation briefing and was seriously underwhelmed with Gibson Dunn and Skadden's performances. MoFo had the highest quality briefs I saw, which surprised me, but *shrug*.

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Re: California Firms

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 16, 2012 11:45 pm

anon168 wrote:For a First Year Associate, it would be MTO (LA) and KVN (SF).

As a senior associate, or partner level person, it would depend.


Can you elaborate?

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Re: California Firms

Postby anon168 » Thu Aug 16, 2012 11:51 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
anon168 wrote:For a First Year Associate, it would be MTO (LA) and KVN (SF).

As a senior associate, or partner level person, it would depend.


Can you elaborate?


As a young associate you are most likely to get substantive work and front-line experience at litigation-centric and quasi-boutique firms like MTO or KVN. Leverage is low, and you're less likely to be a number where attrition is the name of the game.

As a partner, I personally would want a more national, if not global, platform in which to develop my practice, something that KVN and MTO simply cannot provide (and I don't care how "prestigious" those firms are). I'd also want the leverage that comes with a biglaw firm like GDC, LW, MoFo, etc.

And truth be told, the biggest known secret is that there really are only a handful of true rainmakers at MTO and KVN, and the rest of the partners are, to be kind, just service partners, or if you want to be real about it, glorified senior associates.

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Re: California Firms

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 16, 2012 11:54 pm

anon168 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
anon168 wrote:For a First Year Associate, it would be MTO (LA) and KVN (SF).

As a senior associate, or partner level person, it would depend.


Can you elaborate?


As a young associate you are most likely to get substantive work and front-line experience at litigation-centric and quasi-boutique firms like MTO or KVN. Leverage is low, and you're less likely to be a number where attrition is the name of the game.

As a partner, I personally would want a more national, if not global, platform in which to develop my practice, something that KVN and MTO simply cannot provide (and I don't care how "prestigious" those firms are). I'd also want the leverage that comes with a biglaw firm like GDC, LW, MoFo, etc.

And truth be told, the biggest known secret is that there really are only a handful of true rainmakers at MTO and KVN, and the rest of the partners are, to be kind, just service partners, or if you want to be real about it, glorified senior associates.


Do you think it's smart to consider things such as partnership when you're looking for a SA position?

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L’Étranger
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Re: California Firms

Postby L’Étranger » Thu Aug 16, 2012 11:55 pm

Um, is this all a hypo? Getting offers from all of these firms would be quite a feat.
Last edited by L’Étranger on Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:00 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: California Firms

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 16, 2012 11:57 pm

L’Étranger wrote:Um, is this all a hypo? Getting offers from all of these firms would be a quite a feat.


It's a realistic hypo.

anon168
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Re: California Firms

Postby anon168 » Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:00 am

Anonymous User wrote:
anon168 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
anon168 wrote:For a First Year Associate, it would be MTO (LA) and KVN (SF).

As a senior associate, or partner level person, it would depend.


Can you elaborate?


As a young associate you are most likely to get substantive work and front-line experience at litigation-centric and quasi-boutique firms like MTO or KVN. Leverage is low, and you're less likely to be a number where attrition is the name of the game.

As a partner, I personally would want a more national, if not global, platform in which to develop my practice, something that KVN and MTO simply cannot provide (and I don't care how "prestigious" those firms are). I'd also want the leverage that comes with a biglaw firm like GDC, LW, MoFo, etc.

And truth be told, the biggest known secret is that there really are only a handful of true rainmakers at MTO and KVN, and the rest of the partners are, to be kind, just service partners, or if you want to be real about it, glorified senior associates.


Do you think it's smart to consider things such as partnership when you're looking for a SA position?


I think you should definitely consider all factors -- including such things as partnership (likelihood and type of) -- when making any employment decision.

While most of the people who take an SA position do not think seriously believe that they will stay with this firm forever, you just never know. You might be that one person out of 100 who actually makes it through the partnership track grind. You just never know. And if you are that person, you don't want to have not at least considered it when making an SA decision.

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Re: California Firms

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:06 am

anon168 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
anon168 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Can you elaborate?


As a young associate you are most likely to get substantive work and front-line experience at litigation-centric and quasi-boutique firms like MTO or KVN. Leverage is low, and you're less likely to be a number where attrition is the name of the game.

As a partner, I personally would want a more national, if not global, platform in which to develop my practice, something that KVN and MTO simply cannot provide (and I don't care how "prestigious" those firms are). I'd also want the leverage that comes with a biglaw firm like GDC, LW, MoFo, etc.

And truth be told, the biggest known secret is that there really are only a handful of true rainmakers at MTO and KVN, and the rest of the partners are, to be kind, just service partners, or if you want to be real about it, glorified senior associates.


Do you think it's smart to consider things such as partnership when you're looking for a SA position?


I think you should definitely consider all factors -- including such things as partnership (likelihood and type of) -- when making any employment decision.

While most of the people who take an SA position do not think seriously believe that they will stay with this firm forever, you just never know. You might be that one person out of 100 who actually makes it through the partnership track grind. You just never know. And if you are that person, you don't want to have not at least considered it when making an SA decision.


Which would you pick? Would that answer change if Williams & Connolly is in the picture?

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Re: California Firms

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:08 am

Anonymous User wrote:
L’Étranger wrote:Um, is this all a hypo? Getting offers from all of these firms would be a quite a feat.


It's a realistic hypo.



Bullshit. I've talked to people that've had 7 CBs after 2 days of interviewing and I still think getting ALL or even most of these firms is a fucking joke.

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Re: California Firms

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:09 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
L’Étranger wrote:Um, is this all a hypo? Getting offers from all of these firms would be a quite a feat.


It's a realistic hypo.



Bullshit. I've talked to people that've had 7 CBs after 2 days of interviewing and I still think getting ALL or even most of these firms is a fucking joke.


Relax. It's realistic. Please stay on topic.

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Re: California Firms

Postby anon168 » Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:14 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Which would you pick? Would that answer change if Williams & Connolly is in the picture?


I'm at a different point in my career than you (and probably most of the folks here on this board).

But I've already told what I would do depending on what stage in my legal career I was in. Of course, this is all with the benefit of hindsight. When I was a young associate choosing a firm, I did not follow my own advice.

WC is a great firm, but it holds little attraction for me simply because I have absolutely no desire to work, much less live, in the District.

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Emma.
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Re: California Firms

Postby Emma. » Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:31 am

KVN or MTO would be the obvious choices if you knew you wanted lit (though KVN is nearly impossible to get) but since you aren't sure, I chose GDC.

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L’Étranger
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Re: California Firms

Postby L’Étranger » Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:47 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
L’Étranger wrote:Um, is this all a hypo? Getting offers from all of these firms would be a quite a feat.


It's a realistic hypo.



Bullshit. I've talked to people that've had 7 CBs after 2 days of interviewing and I still think getting ALL or even most of these firms is a fucking joke.


Relax. It's realistic. Please stay on topic.


I think the point is that depending on your circumstances the question could come off as obnoxious. Granted, if you do have all of these offers in hand this early in the game then you are the man/woman and it wouldn't be an easy choice, but if you are just making up some hypo because you think you have bomb grades and all of these ultra-competative firms will grab you up, well...

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bk1
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Re: California Firms

Postby bk1 » Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:58 am

Emma. wrote:KVN or MTO would be the obvious choices if you knew you wanted lit (though KVN is nearly impossible to get) but since you aren't sure, I chose GDC.


This makes sense to me. If you're not sure you want lit I would not take a place that wasn't strong on both sides.

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Re: California Firms

Postby igo2northwestern » Fri Aug 17, 2012 2:44 am

At Northwestern, Keker is harder to get than Wachtell.

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Re: California Firms

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 17, 2012 3:09 am

Reprisal wrote:I've squared off against most of these firms this summer in litigation briefing and was seriously underwhelmed with Gibson Dunn and Skadden's performances. MoFo had the highest quality briefs I saw, which surprised me, but *shrug*.


firstly, lol just lol. you're a 2L with zero experience. the opinion you gleaned from 10 weeks as a summer associate on this topic is worthless.

Anonymous User wrote:These votes are all over the place (and IMHO essentially worthless as they stand on 8/16/12), but the confusion might have been caused by OP asking about LA and SF simultaneously.

SF: Gibson Dunn dominates SF litigation - general commercial, appellate, white collar - and really only comes in second (in general commercial, etc - excluding patents or IP, which would make for an entirely different ranking including Weil Gotshal SV, but which list probably wouldn't help an OP who's only at the "leaning litigation" stage) to Keker & Van Nest, which is light years more selective and clerkship oriented than Gibson (or any other firm in SF, for that matter). I didn't vote Keker first though because they're a litigation boutique, which I think is a little too specialized for someone who hasn't made up their mind on transactional vs. litigation yet.

O'Melveny, Latham, MoFo are all easily a tier below Gibson (maybe two tiers below Keker, but it's hard to compare a boutique to megafirms). Quinn SF is great, definitely elite as far as litigation goes, but its attorneys admit it's a sweatshop among Big Law sweatshops, and it's notoriously cheap (attorneys handling filings, minimal support staff, although some potential to earn above market bonuses for insanely high hours).


no man, just no. to echo another poster, by no means does GDC dominate SF litigation. great firm, obviously a litigation powerhouse, but not at all noticeably more prominent then mofo, quinn, or even latham/OMM. for tip top SF litigation, I'd include KVN, mofo, GDC, and quinn.

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Re: California Firms

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 17, 2012 8:26 am

L’Étranger wrote:
I think the point is that depending on your circumstances the question could come off as obnoxious. Granted, if you do have all of these offers in hand this early in the game then you are the man/woman and it wouldn't be an easy choice, but if you are just making up some hypo because you think you have bomb grades and all of these ultra-competative firms will grab you up, well...


I'm happy to pm you details of my situation, but otherwise, I would appreciate it if we could stay on topic.




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