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

johndhi
Posts: 358
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Re: California Firms

Postby johndhi » Mon Aug 27, 2012 4:32 pm

Sigh... this thread is, as anon168 pointed out, mired in some serious TLS rumor-mill hyperbole. But there's some good information, too.

Let's get away from talking shit about a bunch of really good lawyers who we don't know and who are far more experienced than (most of, maybe excluding anon168) us.

My thoughts are that the Gibson lover guy was being over-zealous, certainly about the SF office. Quinn and KVN are probably at the top of white collar. MoFo is a great firm in reputation and in my experience - I wasn't a big fan of some of my interactions with them but I've been impressed by them in other ways.

As to Keker, Munger and Susman, these are different types of firms and you should consider the differences before deciding on them. Susman, for example, represents plaintiffs far more than the others (Quinn excepted in a small way). Is plaintiffs' securities litigation something you're interested in? Most of the Susman love here comes from the fact that they pay a shitload. Don't think that necessarily correlates to treating you really well or having the kind of work you'll like. That said, getting paid more is obviously preferable if you aren't sure what you want to do. Would you feel comfortable trying to tear down businesses with big class action damages demands? Would you feel comfortable on the OTHER side, defending corporate coffers and/or bad-guy executives? This is one thing to think about, at least between Susman and the others.

Are you interested in patent? Maybe Quinn SF, then. Information privacy? Maybe Cooley SF. Hollywood stuff? MTO, Gibson, LA.

Remember that when you ask TLS what firm to choose, you're basically polling for the reputational vibe that the firm garners among a particular breed of overachiever law students. While somewhat interesting and useful, that data is not an ideal way to choose where to work.

anon168
Posts: 920
Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2012 10:36 pm

Re: California Firms

Postby anon168 » Mon Aug 27, 2012 5:05 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:There is a lot of misinformation in this thread. Firms like Quinn, Gibson, and MoFo are absolute TRASH compared to some of the other choices on here. To even speak of these firms as if they are peers with Susman/Keker/MTO is ridiculous. Any young lawyer who wants to be a litigator would be a fool to big any of those large highly leveraged firms with more boutique firms like Susman/Keker.

If you want to do commercial litigation, then Susman is peerless when it comes to pay and the type of work you get as a young associate. Only at Susman can you take depos and argue hearings before court as a FIRST YEAR!!! The LA office is small and tough to get hired in but its possible.

After Susman, I would consider Keker. Like Susman its a small boutique which allows you as a first year to get experience that most associates won't see until they are partners at other firms.

MTO comes next and although its a small firm with great associate to partner ratio compared to other big law firms, its still a big law firm. Its definitely better than all other firms in California but it is no longer what it used to be.


What is the Keker payscale? Is it like Susman, market biglaw salary, or something else?


Tad below biglaw, but essentially it's biglaw.

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

Re: California Firms

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 27, 2012 8:11 pm

Anonymous User wrote:If you want to do commercial litigation, then Susman is peerless when it comes to pay and the type of work you get as a young associate. Only at Susman can you take depos and argue hearings before court as a FIRST YEAR!!! The LA office is small and tough to get hired in but its possible.

Having summered at Quinn LA, I can say you are dead wrong about Susman being the only firm with opportunities for first years. I knew plenty of first year associates who took depos and argued in court.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273083
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: California Firms

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 27, 2012 8:20 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:If you want to do commercial litigation, then Susman is peerless when it comes to pay and the type of work you get as a young associate. Only at Susman can you take depos and argue hearings before court as a FIRST YEAR!!! The LA office is small and tough to get hired in but its possible.

Having summered at Quinn LA, I can say you are dead wrong about Susman being the only firm with opportunities for first years. I knew plenty of first year associates who took depos and argued in court.


Can you talk about your experience at QE LA? I'm interested in them. What's the summer program like? How much did associates really work (is 2400 real)? Did you chose them over other LA firms, and if so, why?

Anonymous User
Posts: 273083
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: California Firms

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 27, 2012 10:30 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Can you talk about your experience at QE LA? I'm interested in them. What's the summer program like? How much did associates really work (is 2400 real)? Did you chose them over other LA firms, and if so, why?

Quinn LA was a blast. All the summers were working directly for partners on real cases. Based on conventional wisdom I expected the office to be filled with aggressive assholes, but that was not at all the reality. There's a mix of people like anywhere else, but I didn't encounter any actual assholes all summer. In fact most people were chill and normal (at least for lawyer types).

I knew associates billing 2000, and associates billing 2800. The higher end happens when you (as an associate) go to trial on a big case, like Apple v. Samsung or Mattel. The firm is very busy so you can pile up the hours if you choose to. Most associates would leave the office by 6, do some work at home at night, and maybe work a little from home on Saturday. If you are going to trial, of course, that all goes out the window and you will be billing mad hours.

I chose Quinn because I knew I wanted litigation, because I do not like wearing a suit (or even business casual) every day, and because I like the kinds of cases they work on. A great firm if you want job security, lit experience, or you are a workaholic. Not a good fit if you want corporate, don't like patent or securities, or want to max out at 1800 billable hours.

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gotmilk?
Posts: 203
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Re: California Firms

Postby gotmilk? » Mon Aug 27, 2012 11:24 pm

anon168 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:There is a lot of misinformation in this thread. Firms like Quinn, Gibson, and MoFo are absolute TRASH compared to some of the other choices on here. To even speak of these firms as if they are peers with Susman/Keker/MTO is ridiculous. Any young lawyer who wants to be a litigator would be a fool to big any of those large highly leveraged firms with more boutique firms like Susman/Keker.

If you want to do commercial litigation, then Susman is peerless when it comes to pay and the type of work you get as a young associate. Only at Susman can you take depos and argue hearings before court as a FIRST YEAR!!! The LA office is small and tough to get hired in but its possible.

After Susman, I would consider Keker. Like Susman its a small boutique which allows you as a first year to get experience that most associates won't see until they are partners at other firms.

MTO comes next and although its a small firm with great associate to partner ratio compared to other big law firms, its still a big law firm. Its definitely better than all other firms in California but it is no longer what it used to be.


What is the Keker payscale? Is it like Susman, market biglaw salary, or something else?


Tad below biglaw, but essentially it's biglaw.


Source? I assumed they were biglaw + bigger bonuses, but I don't have any real evidence.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273083
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: California Firms

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 27, 2012 11:38 pm

Anonymous User wrote: 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)


Had to necro this from the first page to say lol. The big Weil SV clients are certainly not planning on working with him at Tensegrity (although he has been finishing up his old Weil cases for them). And Ed Reines (who is now running the Weil SV patent lit practice and who is the current head of the Federal Circuit Advisory Council and chair of the NDCal Patent Rules Committee) is no slouch. It isn't anything like it was when Matt Powers and the others who left with/before/after him were there, but it's still a solid practice.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Mon Aug 27, 2012 11:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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gotmilk?
Posts: 203
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Re: California Firms

Postby gotmilk? » Mon Aug 27, 2012 11:39 pm

^^ Whoops, didn't mean to be anon.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273083
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: California Firms

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 28, 2012 12:38 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Can you talk about your experience at QE LA? I'm interested in them. What's the summer program like? How much did associates really work (is 2400 real)? Did you chose them over other LA firms, and if so, why?

Quinn LA was a blast. All the summers were working directly for partners on real cases. Based on conventional wisdom I expected the office to be filled with aggressive assholes, but that was not at all the reality. There's a mix of people like anywhere else, but I didn't encounter any actual assholes all summer. In fact most people were chill and normal (at least for lawyer types).

I knew associates billing 2000, and associates billing 2800. The higher end happens when you (as an associate) go to trial on a big case, like Apple v. Samsung or Mattel. The firm is very busy so you can pile up the hours if you choose to. Most associates would leave the office by 6, do some work at home at night, and maybe work a little from home on Saturday. If you are going to trial, of course, that all goes out the window and you will be billing mad hours.

I chose Quinn because I knew I wanted litigation, because I do not like wearing a suit (or even business casual) every day, and because I like the kinds of cases they work on. A great firm if you want job security, lit experience, or you are a workaholic. Not a good fit if you want corporate, don't like patent or securities, or want to max out at 1800 billable hours.



Awesome--this is really helpful. Thanks. Any downsides to the firm other than what you mentioned above? Is the lack of support staff a problem? Any idea on partnership prospects (especially with the influx of laterals)? Exit options?

Anonymous User
Posts: 273083
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: California Firms

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 28, 2012 2:13 am

Anonymous User wrote:Awesome--this is really helpful. Thanks. Any downsides to the firm other than what you mentioned above? Is the lack of support staff a problem? Any idea on partnership prospects (especially with the influx of laterals)? Exit options?

I didn't hear of anyone having problems with a lack of support staff. That doesn't mean it's not an issue, I just never heard that complaint. The firm's offices are not as nice and fancy as some other firms. This isn't something I cared about, the LA office was nice enough IMO, but don't expect Sullivan & Cromwell's NYC office if you go to Quinn.

I think if you actually stick around for the whole partnership track, your chances of making partner are probably decent. There is a lot of attrition over those 6-7 years. The firm has a lot of lateral partners, but part of that is because it has been expanding nationwide and worldwide at quite a clip in the last ten years. But you can't say partnership prospects are good at any biglaw firm, including Quinn.

People are rarely fired -- they have to do shitty work or be lazy or be totally unprofessional to get the boot. A lot of people leave to start their own practice, go in-house, go to other firms (one guy left for Boies), go into government, or go into an entirely different field (one guy left to start a film production company). Exit options seem pretty good based on my limited exposure to the firm. The associates who did leave said they felt comfortable trying something else out since they knew Quinn would take them back if it didn't work out. And yes, there were associates who came back to the firm after a few years elsewhere.

I met one associate who lateraled into Quinn after 5 years at Cravath. He said the work load was about the same, maybe a bit less. He liked the larger bonuses, the fact that he no longer had to spend $200/month on dry cleaning, and that LA was a better place to raise a kid than NYC.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273083
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: California Firms

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 28, 2012 10:30 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Awesome--this is really helpful. Thanks. Any downsides to the firm other than what you mentioned above? Is the lack of support staff a problem? Any idea on partnership prospects (especially with the influx of laterals)? Exit options?

I didn't hear of anyone having problems with a lack of support staff. That doesn't mean it's not an issue, I just never heard that complaint. The firm's offices are not as nice and fancy as some other firms. This isn't something I cared about, the LA office was nice enough IMO, but don't expect Sullivan & Cromwell's NYC office if you go to Quinn.

I think if you actually stick around for the whole partnership track, your chances of making partner are probably decent. There is a lot of attrition over those 6-7 years. The firm has a lot of lateral partners, but part of that is because it has been expanding nationwide and worldwide at quite a clip in the last ten years. But you can't say partnership prospects are good at any biglaw firm, including Quinn.

People are rarely fired -- they have to do shitty work or be lazy or be totally unprofessional to get the boot. A lot of people leave to start their own practice, go in-house, go to other firms (one guy left for Boies), go into government, or go into an entirely different field (one guy left to start a film production company). Exit options seem pretty good based on my limited exposure to the firm. The associates who did leave said they felt comfortable trying something else out since they knew Quinn would take them back if it didn't work out. And yes, there were associates who came back to the firm after a few years elsewhere.

I met one associate who lateraled into Quinn after 5 years at Cravath. He said the work load was about the same, maybe a bit less. He liked the larger bonuses, the fact that he no longer had to spend $200/month on dry cleaning, and that LA was a better place to raise a kid than NYC.



Thank you!!! This is very helpful!

anon168
Posts: 920
Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2012 10:36 pm

Re: California Firms

Postby anon168 » Tue Aug 28, 2012 10:43 am

gotmilk? wrote:
anon168 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:There is a lot of misinformation in this thread. Firms like Quinn, Gibson, and MoFo are absolute TRASH compared to some of the other choices on here. To even speak of these firms as if they are peers with Susman/Keker/MTO is ridiculous. Any young lawyer who wants to be a litigator would be a fool to big any of those large highly leveraged firms with more boutique firms like Susman/Keker.

If you want to do commercial litigation, then Susman is peerless when it comes to pay and the type of work you get as a young associate. Only at Susman can you take depos and argue hearings before court as a FIRST YEAR!!! The LA office is small and tough to get hired in but its possible.

After Susman, I would consider Keker. Like Susman its a small boutique which allows you as a first year to get experience that most associates won't see until they are partners at other firms.

MTO comes next and although its a small firm with great associate to partner ratio compared to other big law firms, its still a big law firm. Its definitely better than all other firms in California but it is no longer what it used to be.




What is the Keker payscale? Is it like Susman, market biglaw salary, or something else?


Tad below biglaw, but essentially it's biglaw.


Source? I assumed they were biglaw + bigger bonuses, but I don't have any real evidence.


From horse's mouth. Base is about ~5k less than typical SF biglaw (although it might now be comparable), but bonuses are definitely below market.

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gotmilk?
Posts: 203
Joined: Mon Jun 29, 2009 2:25 am

Re: California Firms

Postby gotmilk? » Tue Aug 28, 2012 1:07 pm

anon168 wrote:
gotmilk? wrote:
anon168 wrote:
Tad below biglaw, but essentially it's biglaw.


Source? I assumed they were biglaw + bigger bonuses, but I don't have any real evidence.


From horse's mouth. Base is about ~5k less than typical SF biglaw (although it might now be comparable), but bonuses are definitely below market.


What kind of bonuses do they pay then? Hard to pay a bonus the first few years and be below market. Are the bonuses relatively lockstop, based on hours, or are they some kind of performance-based bonus?




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