California Lit: Irell, SullCrom, or Latham?

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California Lit: Irell, SullCrom, or Latham?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 01, 2012 11:09 pm

Considering offers from Irell (LA), SullCrom (Palo Alto) and Latham (SF). I'm a NorCal guy and would prefer to be in the Bay Area, but I'm wondering whether Irell is too good to pass up for lit, given that SullCrom PA is a satellite and Latham is so highly leveraged. I'm looking to clerk and could potentially trade up after clerking, so this may not be a permanent firm choice.

Pros/Cons

Irell
Pros: Would be at firm HQ; associates are given substantive work; above market bonuses.
Cons: Lots of closed doors; have heard its sweatshoppy even compared to other biglaw shops; in Los Angeles (although I think I could handle living on the west side).

SullCrom
Pros: Really liked partners I'd be working for; no explicit hours requirement (whatever that's worth).
Cons: Small office (this could cut either way, I guess), satellite office.

Latham
Pros: Liked the people; in SF; seemed like their summer program would be the most enjoyable (i.e., least expectation of substantive work/most social events).
Cons: Highly leveraged; seemed like I'd be doing a fair amount of doc review for a year or two.

All advice/anecdotes/"nice humblebrag, breh" posts welcome.

anon168
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Re: California Lit: Irell, SullCrom, or Latham?

Postby anon168 » Sat Sep 01, 2012 11:18 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Considering offers from Irell (LA), SullCrom (Palo Alto) and Latham (SF). I'm a NorCal guy and would prefer to be in the Bay Area, but I'm wondering whether Irell is too good to pass up for lit, given that SullCrom PA is a satellite and Latham is so highly leveraged. I'm looking to clerk and could potentially trade up after clerking, so this may not be a permanent firm choice.

Pros/Cons

Irell
Pros: Would be at firm HQ; associates are given substantive work; above market bonuses.
Cons: Lots of closed doors; have heard its sweatshoppy even compared to other biglaw shops; in Los Angeles (although I think I could handle living on the west side).

SullCrom
Pros: Really liked partners I'd be working for; no explicit hours requirement (whatever that's worth).
Cons: Small office (this could cut either way, I guess), satellite office.

Latham
Pros: Liked the people; in SF; seemed like their summer program would be the most enjoyable (i.e., little expectation of substantive work, most social events).
Cons: Highly leveraged; seemed like I'd be doing a fair amount of doc review for a year or two.

All advice/anecdotes/"nice humblebrag, breh" posts welcome.


I can't speak to S&C, but I think you've summed up LW SF and Irell pretty well. If you want to stay in NoCal, I think it's a no-brainer to summer at LW. If you open it up to the entire state, it's a close call, but Irell would probably be my choice and not because of any advantage of being given more substantive work or early responsibility (because that's more hit-and-miss and a function of luck and happenstance than anything else on a systemic basis). I would choose Irell over LW-SF for litigation simply because of name recognition, esp. for a young associate. However, if it was LW-LA v. Irell, I might just go with LW-LA for litigation.

You really can't go wrong with either Irell or LW-SF; it'll probably just come down to where you want to summer and where you want to start your career off at.

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Re: California Lit: Irell, SullCrom, or Latham?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 02, 2012 12:25 am

S&C Palo Alto is EXTREMELY small, something like 20 attorneys in the entire office.

Irell is ranked as one of the "most fun" summer programs, fwiw.

One thing to keep in mind about Latham is that they are only chambers band 2 for litigation in California, behind the band 1 firms Gibson, Keker and Quinn. Irell isn't band 1 in general litigation either, but is certainly at the top for IP litigation. If you want to do IP lit, that's probably the way to go.

Also, don't forget that Latham laid off 190 associates (and 250 staff) less than three years ago. They axed half of their 1st year associates in NY, and 1/3 of their 1st year associates in LA. That says A LOT about their management, growth strategy, how they value associates, how they handle economic downturns, etc. This was a huge negative for me. Lucky for them, law students have ridiculously short memories.

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Re: California Lit: Irell, SullCrom, or Latham?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 02, 2012 12:26 am

anon168 wrote:
I can't speak to S&C, but I think you've summed up LW SF and Irell pretty well. If you want to stay in NoCal, I think it's a no-brainer to summer at LW. If you open it up to the entire state, it's a close call, but Irell would probably be my choice and not because of any advantage of being given more substantive work or early responsibility (because that's more hit-and-miss and a function of luck and happenstance than anything else on a systemic basis). I would choose Irell over LW-SF for litigation simply because of name recognition, esp. for a young associate. However, if it was LW-LA v. Irell, I might just go with LW-LA for litigation.

You really can't go wrong with either Irell or LW-SF; it'll probably just come down to where you want to summer and where you want to start your career off at.


I think Irell is the right call given the weight that name carries in litigation, especially out west. And as much as you may like S&C, going with a satellite office over the main office of a powerhouse like Irell would be a pretty odd choice.

anon168
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Re: California Lit: Irell, SullCrom, or Latham?

Postby anon168 » Sun Sep 02, 2012 12:49 am

Anonymous User wrote:S&C Palo Alto is EXTREMELY small, something like 20 attorneys in the entire office.

Irell is ranked as one of the "most fun" summer programs, fwiw.

One thing to keep in mind about Latham is that they are only chambers band 2 for litigation in California, behind the band 1 firms Gibson, Keker and Quinn. Irell isn't band 1 in general litigation either, but is certainly at the top for IP litigation. If you want to do IP lit, that's probably the way to go.

Also, don't forget that Latham laid off 190 associates (and 250 staff) less than three years ago. They axed half of their 1st year associates in NY, and 1/3 of their 1st year associates in LA. That says A LOT about their management, growth strategy, how they value associates, how they handle economic downturns, etc. This was a huge negative for me. Lucky for them, law students have ridiculously short memories.


I can't believe how much weight law students put into those Chambers rankings. You do realize that only law school students pay any real attention to those, right?

imchuckbass58
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Re: California Lit: Irell, SullCrom, or Latham?

Postby imchuckbass58 » Sun Sep 02, 2012 12:51 am

Anonymous User wrote:S&C Palo Alto is EXTREMELY small, something like 20 attorneys in the entire office.


Yeah, website says 32 in the entire office. 14 litigators. The vast majority of the big cases are also probably run out of NY. I would cross S&C off the list, then decide what matters more to you - SF vs. LA or slightly more substantive work.

Edit: Also, one (admittedly far out) possibility is clerking, then trying to do MTO San Francisco. It's a very selective firm, but if you got offers at Irell and S&C, you must have pretty good grades.
Last edited by imchuckbass58 on Sun Sep 02, 2012 12:56 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: California Lit: Irell, SullCrom, or Latham?

Postby imchuckbass58 » Sun Sep 02, 2012 12:54 am

anon168 wrote:I can't believe how much weight law students put into those Chambers rankings. You do realize that only law school students pay any real attention to those, right?


Not totally true. During my summer we had to retain local counsel for a client in a bunch of obscure countries. When possible, we used the internal referral database to find the appropriate firm, but for a couple of countries there was no local go-to counsel, and the partner basically had me read reviews on Chambers and pick a firm.

Now, I think the US is well developed enough that very few people do the above for US firms, but people do pay attention to them. Also, regardless of the actual rankings, to the degree it is based on the opinions/perceptions of clients (which it is), that's indicative of something that most people care about.

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quakeroats
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Re: California Lit: Irell, SullCrom, or Latham?

Postby quakeroats » Sun Sep 02, 2012 12:56 am

If you're sure you want litigation--and bear in mind that a sizable percentage of transactional partners were once sure they'd be litigators--then Irell's for you.

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Re: California Lit: Irell, SullCrom, or Latham?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 02, 2012 1:52 am

They are all good firms. You should base your decision on objective criteria (Irell objectively pays slightly more; there are clear differences between LA/Bay Area) and the impression of culture/fit that you got on callbacks. I suggest you ignore uninformed internet reputations -- I've seen zero evidence that Irell is more "sweatshoppy" than any other Biglaw firm.

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Re: California Lit: Irell, SullCrom, or Latham?

Postby Old Gregg » Sun Sep 02, 2012 9:01 am

anon168 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:S&C Palo Alto is EXTREMELY small, something like 20 attorneys in the entire office.

Irell is ranked as one of the "most fun" summer programs, fwiw.

One thing to keep in mind about Latham is that they are only chambers band 2 for litigation in California, behind the band 1 firms Gibson, Keker and Quinn. Irell isn't band 1 in general litigation either, but is certainly at the top for IP litigation. If you want to do IP lit, that's probably the way to go.

Also, don't forget that Latham laid off 190 associates (and 250 staff) less than three years ago. They axed half of their 1st year associates in NY, and 1/3 of their 1st year associates in LA. That says A LOT about their management, growth strategy, how they value associates, how they handle economic downturns, etc. This was a huge negative for me. Lucky for them, law students have ridiculously short memories.


I can't believe how much weight law students put into those Chambers rankings. You do realize that only law school students pay any real attention to those, right?


While I agree that the differnce between Bands is minuscule sometimes, chambers rankings do matter to firms and clients.

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Re: California Lit: Irell, SullCrom, or Latham?

Postby sundance95 » Sun Sep 02, 2012 1:15 pm

tag

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Re: California Lit: Irell, SullCrom, or Latham?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 02, 2012 1:16 pm

Anonymous User wrote:S&C Palo Alto is EXTREMELY small, something like 20 attorneys in the entire office.

Irell is ranked as one of the "most fun" summer programs, fwiw.

One thing to keep in mind about Latham is that they are only chambers band 2 for litigation in California, behind the band 1 firms Gibson, Keker and Quinn. Irell isn't band 1 in general litigation either, but is certainly at the top for IP litigation. If you want to do IP lit, that's probably the way to go.

Also, don't forget that Latham laid off 190 associates (and 250 staff) less than three years ago. They axed half of their 1st year associates in NY, and 1/3 of their 1st year associates in LA. That says A LOT about their management, growth strategy, how they value associates, how they handle economic downturns, etc. This was a huge negative for me. Lucky for them, law students have ridiculously short memories.

OP here. I have an offer from Quinn as well, but Quinn's rapid expansion makes me nervous, particularly when that growth is via lateral partners who I assume would not hesitate to bug out if Quinn has an insufficiently profitable year. Irell seemed more stable, so I listed it as my LA option. Anyone think Quinn is a better choice than Irell?

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Re: California Lit: Irell, SullCrom, or Latham?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 02, 2012 1:29 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:S&C Palo Alto is EXTREMELY small, something like 20 attorneys in the entire office.

Irell is ranked as one of the "most fun" summer programs, fwiw.

One thing to keep in mind about Latham is that they are only chambers band 2 for litigation in California, behind the band 1 firms Gibson, Keker and Quinn. Irell isn't band 1 in general litigation either, but is certainly at the top for IP litigation. If you want to do IP lit, that's probably the way to go.

Also, don't forget that Latham laid off 190 associates (and 250 staff) less than three years ago. They axed half of their 1st year associates in NY, and 1/3 of their 1st year associates in LA. That says A LOT about their management, growth strategy, how they value associates, how they handle economic downturns, etc. This was a huge negative for me. Lucky for them, law students have ridiculously short memories.

OP here. I have an offer from Quinn as well, but Quinn's rapid expansion makes me nervous, particularly when that growth is via lateral partners who I assume would not hesitate to bug out if Quinn has an insufficiently profitable year. Irell seemed more stable, so I listed it as my LA option. Anyone think Quinn is a better choice than Irell?


Quinn and Irell are very different firms. While both firms have high quality work, the culture of and associate experience at each is very, very different. If you are considering Irell and Quinn, the choice is not about what is better objectively because they are both great litigation firms with a ton of brand recognition in California, but on how you like the culture of each.

As for work, Quinn probably does a bit more plaintiffs work, but Irell also does plenty of plaintiffs work in IP and general commercial lit cases. Plenty of IP, securities, and general litigation at each firm, but if you want a specific practice area, you should look into that more. But as I said, this is really a choice about where you can see yourself working given the very real firm culture differences.

source: firsthand experience with one of the above firms and plenty of anecdotal evidence of associates at the other.

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Re: California Lit: Irell, SullCrom, or Latham?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 02, 2012 1:53 pm

TY, and I agree that the cultural differences were sufficient to make a call.




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