Davis Polk NY v Debevoise NY v Weil NY v Skadden London

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Davis Polk NY v Debevoise NY v Weil NY v Skadden London

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 03, 2012 9:32 pm

*Edited to add Weil to the list - love the people and location at Weil, have concerns about financials/prestige/exit options/screamers

So I know the DPW/Debevoise match up is a popular one, but I'm just going to put this combo out there. I prefer the people at Davis Polk, but Debevoise outright offered to split with non-NY firms, and said they only need the first 6 weeks of the summer. No word on that from DPW, but will only ask once I hear back from Skadden about splitting. If that doesn't work, though, which is best? Would love anyone's input on these choices, given the factors below:

- Love London, and want to have more time there, if not end up there permanently (lived there for 7 years pre-LS, so I know it well)
- Interested in corporate/transactional work, obviously
- Have a background in soft IP and would love to apply that in corporate practice, and DPW has a nice, small IP group where I have made some connections; they seem to get some cool work due to being part of the wider M&A group as well as having some of their own clients (obviously I know that DPW is not really known for/strong in IP, though)
- Skadden London does a variety of work, not just capital markets - there is also some international M&A and project finance; London does not have any IP practice at the moment, but they indicated that some IP expertise may be helpful, since they are considering supplementing their M&A practice with IP work in the future, rather than farming it out
- London would come with a very generous cost of living allowance, but am concerned about tax rate as am a dual US/UK citizen - not sure how that impacts things
- Doing a London rotation from DPW does not seem like a possibility at this point; in addition, Skadden is more respected in Europe and has a more robust international practice - if I were going to be in London, I would rather be there
- Very concerned about exit options, as I have no illusions about being made partner at any of these firms

If DPW/Skadden split is impossible (which seems likely), what would you do? Any thoughts would be much appreciated! Sorry if the choice is obvious, but I could definitely use the perspective...
Last edited by Anonymous User on Wed Sep 05, 2012 11:34 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Davis Polk NY v Debevoise NY v Skadden London

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 03, 2012 10:24 pm

CB'd at each of these (Skadden NY though) and I have similar interests, so I've given it some thought as well. (Note: I know nothing about Skadden London)
1) Not interested in splitting with Debevoise London?
2) I leaned against Skadden because I felt like there wasn't as fluid of movement between NY and London in terms of US attorney staffing. At Debevoise and even moreso at DPW, I got the sense that overseas rotations are a common practice, whereas at Skadden, I didn't really get the sense that moving between NY and London was very common. Sounds like you're more interested in a permanent placement, so maybe that doesn't matter to you.
3) My impression is similar to yours: DPW London is huge in capital markets, but I think Debevoise's office is more active in M&A.
4) Debevoise also has a dedicated IP-transactional "team".
You can probably guess which way I leaned, but just some thoughts or discussion points.

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Re: Davis Polk NY v Debevoise NY v Skadden London

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 03, 2012 11:09 pm

Does Debevoise allow a NY/London split? If so, does that involve getting another CB?

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Re: Davis Polk NY v Debevoise NY v Skadden London

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 03, 2012 11:25 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Does Debevoise allow a NY/London split? If so, does that involve getting another CB?

Yeah, you can split, but it is not guaranteed at acceptance. (Doesn't require an additional CB.) If you're in demand at other firms, you might want to talk to your partner contact to see if you can get any kind of assurance.
From the website:
"Students interested in working in one of our international offices during the summer are encouraged to express their interest during the recruiting process. Selection for a stint in one of the international offices is based on international office needs, experience, background, and language skills. International office stints are confirmed in the spring. In addition to these stints, Summer associates occasionally have the opportunity to travel for work based on particular assignments on which they are staffed."

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Re: Davis Polk NY v Debevoise NY v Skadden London

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 04, 2012 12:32 am

I'm at U of Toronto -- I know of two people past and present who have split their summers at DPW NYC and a Toronto firm.

Hopefully that's a helpful anecdote re: splitting summers with DPW

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Re: Davis Polk NY v Debevoise NY v Skadden London

Postby monkey85 » Tue Sep 04, 2012 1:10 am

If you can swing the London office of an American firm (e.g., Skadden London) - I think that is a great opportunity.

1. You get the name recognition of a great firm.
2. You get the London/Europe lifestyle - it is my understanding that London offices work very differently (read: less hard) than NY offices; Associates even contract for required billables of only low 1300-1400s, as opposed to our 1800-1900s.

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Re: Davis Polk NY v Debevoise NY v Skadden London

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 04, 2012 6:57 am

monkey85 wrote:If you can swing the London office of an American firm (e.g., Skadden London) - I think that is a great opportunity.

1. You get the name recognition of a great firm.
2. You get the London/Europe lifestyle - it is my understanding that London offices work very differently (read: less hard) than NY offices; Associates even contract for required billables of only low 1300-1400s, as opposed to our 1800-1900s.

OP here.

See, this is interesting. The associates I met at Skadden were telling me that they had minimums of 1600 (I think that's the same firmwide) but that they only worked 60-70% of the hours as their NY counterparts. However, there is a lot of advice that I've seen here and from NY attorneys saying that London associates actually work much harder, since there are so few at each level and there is a lot of work.

Yet another point of view says that the European economy is still on a slow decline, so there is no work in London. Very confusing.

I would also be paid in dollars, which is pretty much a lose-lose, as if the pound gets weaker my purchasing power goes up, but the pound weakening is a sign that the London economy is sinking, which will impact firm financials and work flow. Hmmm....

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Re: Davis Polk NY v Debevoise NY v Skadden London

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 04, 2012 7:44 am

How much is the COLA in London?

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Re: Davis Polk NY v Debevoise NY v Skadden London

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 04, 2012 8:39 am

Unreasonably perhaps, I'm not comfortable sharing the exact COLA, but it's a dollar amount above a third of base salary.

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Re: Davis Polk NY v Debevoise NY v Skadden London

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 04, 2012 11:32 am

Bump. I know there's been some talk of exit options here, wondering if anyone with any knowledge wants to have a crack at this. Most attorneys I've asked have advised me that starting in London is extremely career-limiting, but then again, they're all living and working in NY, so the advice is a bit biased IMO.

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Re: Davis Polk NY v Debevoise NY v Weil NY v Skadden London

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 05, 2012 11:34 am

Bump! Added Weil to the list.... any thoughts? Deadline is in a few hours basically.

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Re: Davis Polk NY v Debevoise NY v Weil NY v Skadden London

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 05, 2012 11:59 am

Weil is probably more prestigious than Debavoise and the exit options from any of these firms is going to largely be similar (we are talking about all very prestigious law firms with multiple great practices). Nevertheless, and putting your immediate aspirations for London aside, DPW is always the credited response for top tier NYC Biglaw. The office is gorgeous and the people are friendly. Also, with your strong to London, you could always lateral to a foreign office. Go with DPW.




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