NYC V5 versus Kirkland Chicago

(On Campus Interviews, Summer Associate positions, Firm Reviews, Tips, ...)
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are revealing sensitive employment related information about a firm, job, etc. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned.
Anonymous User
Posts: 273348
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

NYC V5 versus Kirkland Chicago

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 12, 2012 2:39 am

Have offers from three of NYC's V5 firms. Probably like DPW the most out of those three, but mind is still not made up. On the other hand, the COL in NYC is atrocious, especially with $200k in loans waiting to be paid. Also really like Kirkland in Chicago and have an offer there as well. Interested in corporate. Have lived in, and like, both cities. Would I be shooting myself in the foot, in terms of things like exit options, by opting out of the heart of corporate law in America (NYC)?

User avatar
thesealocust
Posts: 8446
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2008 8:50 pm

Re: NYC V5 versus Kirkland Chicago

Postby thesealocust » Wed Sep 12, 2012 3:19 am

Nope. I know many who had Kirkland Chicago and DPW NYC offers and people split pretty evenly between them.

For litigation it would be easier to say you're not giving up anything by going to Chicago, but still it'd be hard to argue against it if your gut is pulling you there. NYC isn't for everyone and Kirkland is still the cream of the crop, vault rankings get silly if you're looking between different cities.

The corporate work in NYC probably will be "better," and the exit options will be different (but if you don't want to work in NYC, I doubt you'll shed a tear for losing exit opportunities into NYC-based banks/government agencies, neh?), but it won't matter much to you as a junior.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273348
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: NYC V5 versus Kirkland Chicago

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 12, 2012 3:36 am

thesealocust wrote:Nope. I know many who had Kirkland Chicago and DPW NYC offers and people split pretty evenly between them.

For litigation it would be easier to say you're not giving up anything by going to Chicago, but still it'd be hard to argue against it if your gut is pulling you there. NYC isn't for everyone and Kirkland is still the cream of the crop, vault rankings get silly if you're looking between different cities.

The corporate work in NYC probably will be "better," and the exit options will be different (but if you don't want to work in NYC, I doubt you'll shed a tear for losing exit opportunities into NYC-based banks/government agencies, neh?), but it won't matter much to you as a junior.


Honestly, the biggest drawback of NYC is the money. I love the city. I also love Chicago and could be happy longterm there as well. I think there's a possibility that I might be interested in NYC-based banks in the future. Really, I just want access to the highest level of work as possible. Kirkland Chicago people like to tout the firm's exit options, but I just don't know how they compare to a Davis Polk.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273348
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: NYC V5 versus Kirkland Chicago

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 12, 2012 7:20 am

What kind of corporate? Cap markets? Then yes, DPW is the best choice by far. M&A? Choice isn't that clear cut. DPW's m&a group is good, but not super good. K&E focuses on mid market private m&a. In recent years, the firm has also done and intends to do more mega private and public deals.

Would you work on more wsj level deals at DPW? Maybe. But the experience isn't really different. If anything, middle market deals give you more experience and the opportunity to run them at a much more junior level. In terms of work, IME, the 2 billion $ deals involve just as much work as 100m$ deals.

Aside from that, for m&a, the middle market offers more job security. In this economy, megadeals just aren't happening. Firms like K&E are killing it because there are still a ton of smaller deals. Firms staffed for mega deals are having a hard time bringing those deals in and keeping all of their associates busy.

Anecdotally, I heard DPW M&A was slow this summer, but it could've been because it was the summer. Things tend to be slower then.

WODKilla123
Posts: 62
Joined: Wed Jun 06, 2012 7:57 pm

Re: NYC V5 versus Kirkland Chicago

Postby WODKilla123 » Wed Sep 12, 2012 7:41 am

OP, not sure how much you are weighing future LTR exit ops, but if you want to be NYTweddingSectionSecure DPW has a huge edge.

http://m.theatlanticwire.com/entertainm ... ion/45440/

Anonymous User
Posts: 273348
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: NYC V5 versus Kirkland Chicago

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 12, 2012 10:03 am

If you are interested in working for a NYC bank DPW has a clear edge in that regard. The best way to decide between these two firms is to try to narrow your focus from corp to say cap markets or private equity, then go with whichever firm is stronger in what you are really interested in.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273348
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: NYC V5 versus Kirkland Chicago

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 12, 2012 11:39 am

I had exactly this choice. I chose DPW, mostly for signaling reasons. I did my summer and loved the firm, but in retrospect I think I really overvalued how much "V5" versus "V10" really mattered. And your QoL is going to be much better in Chicago. First of all, you'll have an extra $700/month in your pocket from saving on state and city taxes. In our tax bracket, that's equivalent to making $175k versus $160k. Your bonuses will be twice as big, so add another $8-10k. Then there is cost of living. $1650 will get you a big 1BR in a modern high-rise within walking distance of work. K&E is located in River North, which is a trendy part of town with a lot of new development in terms of bars and restaurants. You can get something on the Brown Line which puts you a quick hop away from the "younger" parts of town if you're into that.

Cost aside, there are a lot of other little things. The air quality is way better in Chicago, and the lake is much cleaner than the rivers around Manhattan. Boating on the lake or going to the lakeshore beach becomes a possibility. Everything is much cleaner, without the piles of trash littering the sidewalks on trash collection days. On the flip side, the nightlife is better in NYC, with a broader variety of lounges and stuff for higher-income professionals. Chicago skews a bit towards the college bar crowd, though it certainly does have its share of upscale lounges. The ethnic food in NYC is almost uniformly better and more accessible. How much each of these things matters depends on your personality.

I disagree that the best way to choose is to focus on capital markets versus private equity. The best way to choose is to decide whether you want to live in NYC or Chicago. It sounds to me like you'd rather live in Chicago and pocket the extra money, but are hesitant because you're not sure how much you're giving up with a "V10" rather than "V5" on your resume.

User avatar
thesealocust
Posts: 8446
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2008 8:50 pm

Re: NYC V5 versus Kirkland Chicago

Postby thesealocust » Wed Sep 12, 2012 12:08 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Honestly, the biggest drawback of NYC is the money. I love the city. I also love Chicago and could be happy longterm there as well. I think there's a possibility that I might be interested in NYC-based banks in the future. Really, I just want access to the highest level of work as possible. Kirkland Chicago people like to tout the firm's exit options, but I just don't know how they compare to a Davis Polk.


If you think you would prefer NYC it'd be silly to give it up for the money. Kirkland's bonus structure is neither set in stone nor transparent, so while I'd agree you are likely to get a bigger bonus there than at DPW it is far from a guarantee. Chicago has lower cost of living in many regards, but if you're already thinking about exit options your take-home (after taxes, CoL, etc.) over time could easily be higher out of NYC. Lateraling to a New York bank vs. lateraling to... does Chicago even have jobs anymore that aren't at Kirkland?

I kid, but the easily calculable different in 1st-year take-home salary doesn't tell the whole story.

Also, cruise through the chambers & partners rankings - Kirkland is an excellent firm with an excellent Corporate group, but it really shines / its reputation is really pegged on its litigation. DPW is almost the exact opposite. If you're looking for "the highest level of work as possible" and are interested in corporate, I think that's a fairly significant edge to Davis Polk. Every firm has a few well regarded practice areas, but Davis Polk has a ton of different and extremely well regarded / top-flight corporate practice. Its weakest might actually be M&A, where it is still excellent just smaller (just 40-50 M&A attorneys in NYC).

Anonymous User
Posts: 273348
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: NYC V5 versus Kirkland Chicago

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 12, 2012 12:28 pm

A) Kirkland bonuses will always be higher than market, so that's a guarantee. Only question is by how much. The structure is also transparent. Every year, during bonus season, partnership will show a grid that shows hours worked corresponding to bonus level. There is a merit component, but that's also transparent and discussed during your annual review.

b) while I think DPW has an edge if you want to lateral into a bank, K&E can get you into banks as well. That aside, I question the value of lateraling to a bank. The pay tends to be better than other in house positions but is still lower than big law and there's very limited room for advancement.

C) to say that k&e's rep is pegged to litigation is misguided. jack levin is the father of private equity law. While the firm began as a litigation firm (I think DPW did too), PE has helped carry the firm to what it is today: One of the two best PE law firms. Going forward, firm is looking to expand the public M&A group, but I think that growth is more ny-targeted.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273348
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: NYC V5 versus Kirkland Chicago

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 12, 2012 12:36 pm

There are some really good replies so far. When I did OCI, I cancelled callbacks at Cravath, S&C, Skadden, and DPW in favor of Kirkland Chicago (not corporate, though). I had reasons to want to be in Chicago, but if I had not gotten Kirkland I would have gone to one of the New York V20s. I think you simply have to consider the obvious factors:

- City preference: Would you rather live in Chicago or New York? From either firm, however, you could probably lateral to the other city. It might actually be harder to go from New York to Chicago given that Chicago firms (excepting Kirkland) tend to be more insular.

- Prestige: DPW has a prestige edge in corporate. Whether this translates into anything tangible is an open question.

- Practice group: DPW is going to be more public megadeals; Kirkland more private midmarket deals. While DPW's practice is probably sexier in this regard, Kirkland's has the advantage of being more stable and probably affording more hands on experience to young associates.

- Money: Taking into account take home cash and buying power, you will make literally two times more money at Kirkland. To the extent that the foregoing three factors weigh in favor of New York, do they weigh in favor of New York to the tune of an extra six figures a year? (They very well might. After all, these are market-determined prices. New York commands a premium because people want to live in New York. Then again, you might feel New York is "overpriced.")

It's easy to say you should just "decide based on the city," but I think a lot of people that are dead set on one city don't understand that some people do not have a strong city preference or place career considerations before city preferences.

keg411
Posts: 5935
Joined: Tue Apr 21, 2009 9:10 pm

Re: NYC V5 versus Kirkland Chicago

Postby keg411 » Wed Sep 12, 2012 12:44 pm

Out of curiosity, which of the other two V5's do you have offers at out of Cravath/S&C/Skadden? I mean, it might make a difference depending on where you're interest in corporate lies (Capital Markets? PE? Public M&A?) and what "exit options" you're interested in.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273348
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: NYC V5 versus Kirkland Chicago

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 12, 2012 1:36 pm

thesealocust wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Honestly, the biggest drawback of NYC is the money. I love the city. I also love Chicago and could be happy longterm there as well. I think there's a possibility that I might be interested in NYC-based banks in the future. Really, I just want access to the highest level of work as possible. Kirkland Chicago people like to tout the firm's exit options, but I just don't know how they compare to a Davis Polk.


If you think you would prefer NYC it'd be silly to give it up for the money. Kirkland's bonus structure is neither set in stone nor transparent, so while I'd agree you are likely to get a bigger bonus there than at DPW it is far from a guarantee. Chicago has lower cost of living in many regards, but if you're already thinking about exit options your take-home (after taxes, CoL, etc.) over time could easily be higher out of NYC. Lateraling to a New York bank vs. lateraling to... does Chicago even have jobs anymore that aren't at Kirkland?


If you're going to try and hang on as long as possible before being booted-out, then you have to consider more than just the bonuses. Over 6 years, you'll save $60-70k (post-tax) in taxes alone. You'll save a huge amount on housing, because the downtown Chicago market is in a great state for buying. You can buy a newish, large 1BR condo in River North for $225k. At prevailing interest rates, your payment including mortgage, HOA, taxes, will be about $1700/month. An equivalent apartment in midtown east would be around $2700-$3000/month to rent (you couldn't afford to buy). The tax incentives for buying, however, are huge in the big law tax bracket. That 1BR condo would generate for you around $25k in tax advantages over six years. Factor in nominal appreciation of the property and nominal rent increases in NYC, and you're looking at over $150k (post-tax) from housing. Add in bonuses, and you're looking at nearly $300k in actual post-tax cash in your pocket at K&E versus an NYC V5.

It's totally legitimate to consider exit options in NYC versus Chicago, but I don't think anyone on this board can really quantify those. At the end of the day Chicago isn't NYC, but it's still by far the second-largest financial center in the country and one of the five largest metro economies in the world (about the same size as London). Both are mature economies, and are growing at around 2% (real) over the last 30 years, versus the 4%+ for places like Atlanta or Dallas. Legal activity is quite proportional to GDP, so if you really want a place with a growing set of opportunities, go south.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273348
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: NYC V5 versus Kirkland Chicago

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 12, 2012 1:47 pm

Anonymous User wrote:(They very well might. After all, these are market-determined prices. New York commands a premium because people want to live in New York. Then again, you might feel New York is "overpriced.")


Housing prices are of course market-determined, but the "people want to live in New York" point just looks at the demand side of the equation. While people certainly do want to live in NYC more than Chicago, other factors come into play also. IL has lower taxes than NY, and Chicago has no city tax. Supply is more constrained in NY because Manhattan is an Island, while Chicago has no real natural limits to its physical expansion. Supply is also artificially constrained in NYC because of housing regulations. In NYC, developers have to painstakingly preserve every turn of the century tenement building. In Chicago, developers have much more freedom to tear down old buildings and replace them with high-rise apartments. Moreover, Chicago has never had rent control, while NYC has a strong tradition of rent control. To this day, only 40% of NYC apartments are unregulated. While in NYC rent stabilization doesn't apply to housing built after 1974, the effect is cumulative. Much of the high-rise housing stock in Chicago was built between 1950 and 1975. During this same period in NYC, construction was dampened by rent controls and the city has never really made up for this deficit.

Even accounting for the higher demand in NYC, housing in NYC would still be a lot cheaper if there weren't acres and acres of low-rises and mid-rises taking up valuable and limited Manhattan real estate.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273348
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: NYC V5 versus Kirkland Chicago

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 12, 2012 2:44 pm

OP here. Am highly interested in Bankruptcy work (have a little bit of work experience in the area and it's something that I'm really drawn to). How does that change things?

User avatar
thesealocust
Posts: 8446
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2008 8:50 pm

Re: NYC V5 versus Kirkland Chicago

Postby thesealocust » Wed Sep 12, 2012 2:56 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP here. Am highly interested in Bankruptcy work (have a little bit of work experience in the area and it's something that I'm really drawn to). How does that change things?


Both are great. Both are band 1 nationally as well as in their home markets per Chambers & Partners.

lesananas
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Sep 12, 2012 1:56 am

Re: NYC V5 versus Kirkland Chicago

Postby lesananas » Wed Sep 12, 2012 3:09 pm

.
Last edited by lesananas on Fri Sep 14, 2012 2:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
thesealocust
Posts: 8446
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2008 8:50 pm

Re: NYC V5 versus Kirkland Chicago

Postby thesealocust » Wed Sep 12, 2012 3:16 pm

lesananas wrote:Not disagreeing but I will throw out there that you pay 11% sales tax in Chicago. NY is high also, but not applied to every purchase. I always forget about the 11% until my bill comes back being way higher than I anticipated.


CHECKMATE, MIDWESTERNERS.

User avatar
Old Gregg
Posts: 5413
Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2011 1:26 pm

Re: NYC V5 versus Kirkland Chicago

Postby Old Gregg » Wed Sep 12, 2012 3:41 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP here. Am highly interested in Bankruptcy work (have a little bit of work experience in the area and it's something that I'm really drawn to). How does that change things?


Yes. Davis Polk is a nothing in bankruptcy (sorry, seal), even if they are band 1. Equation would change if Weil was in the game.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273348
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: NYC V5 versus Kirkland Chicago

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 12, 2012 3:50 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
- Practice group: DPW is going to be more public megadeals; Kirkland more private midmarket deals. While DPW's practice is probably sexier in this regard, Kirkland's has the advantage of being more stable and probably affording more hands on experience to young associates.


I was a DPW summer this year and did a good bit of work with the M&A group. The staffing structure in M&A deals tends to be very lean, given the relative smallness of the group (compared to, e.g., Skadden M&A or DPW Capital Markets). Generally a partner, mid-level, and a junior. For smaller deals, just a partner and a junior. Note that DPW does have several mid-market PE clients, one of which was very active this summer. The lean staffing plus the mid-market clients showed me that junior M&A lawyers can get a lot of substantive responsibility early in their careers. One first year I know was negotiating terms in the merger agreement with opposing counsel's partner (opposing counsel was a V20 type firm like Gibson). On another deal, another junior was completely in charge of the diligence process, with no mid-level supervision.

User avatar
thesealocust
Posts: 8446
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2008 8:50 pm

Re: NYC V5 versus Kirkland Chicago

Postby thesealocust » Wed Sep 12, 2012 3:51 pm

Fresh Prince wrote:Davis Polk is a nothing in bankruptcy


You're entitled to your opinion, but what I posted was derived from independent and objective analysis of practice area strengths, so you're really going to have to back your statement up if you want anybody ITT to take you seriously. Convincing me is irrelevant and I don't really care if we disagree, but it isn't helpful to say a firm's practice area "is nothing" without backing it up.

Playing devil's advocate, the best I could come up with is that DPW's BK group is small, but K&E's Chicago practice isn't huge either.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273348
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: NYC V5 versus Kirkland Chicago

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 12, 2012 4:02 pm

Fresh Prince wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:OP here. Am highly interested in Bankruptcy work (have a little bit of work experience in the area and it's something that I'm really drawn to). How does that change things?


Yes. Davis Polk is a nothing in bankruptcy (sorry, seal), even if they are band 1. Equation would change if Weil was in the game.


Well, as someone who used to work in the restructuring/turnaround space, this is pretty much blatantly wrong.

The one real distinction you can make is that DPW tends to do much more creditor-side work, whereas Kirkland and Weil do a lot more debtor side work. They both have upsides of downsides. Debtor-side work gives you broader exposure since you'll be dealing with every aspect of the bankruptcy, but also is very associate-intensive and involves mindless work (think the bankruptcy equivalent of doc review). Creditor-side work tends to be more narrowly focused (since your creditor is only worried about its position rather than having to deal with all the various stakeholders), but tends to be more strategic / less leveraged.

Both give pretty similar exit options. You might have slightly better exit options to distressed debt funds / bank workout groups if you're at a creditor practice, since they're your clients, and slightly better exit options to other firms if you're at a debtor practice, but it's not a big difference.

And for what it's worth, OP, I would decide based on NY vs. Chicago and the relative mix of work/clients. More mega public M&A and capital markets in NY, more mid-market and private M&A in Chicago (which isn't bad! sometimes more interesting, usually less leveraged). More exit options to financial institutions / banks in NY, proportionally more to in-house positions in Chicago.

Yes, obviously it is true that you can move from NY to Chicago and vice versa, and you can do cap markets coming out of Kirkland CHI and mid-market private M&A coming out of DPW, but once you get past a certain point, your exit options will be increasingly influenced by who your clients are and what work you have done. It's not impossible or even particularly hard to move to a bank from Kirkland CHI (if that's what you want), but it's going to be a hell of a lot easier if you've been working with that bank on 10+ deals at DPW.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Wed Sep 12, 2012 4:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Old Gregg
Posts: 5413
Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2011 1:26 pm

Re: NYC V5 versus Kirkland Chicago

Postby Old Gregg » Wed Sep 12, 2012 4:06 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Fresh Prince wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:OP here. Am highly interested in Bankruptcy work (have a little bit of work experience in the area and it's something that I'm really drawn to). How does that change things?


Yes. Davis Polk is a nothing in bankruptcy (sorry, seal), even if they are band 1. Equation would change if Weil was in the game.


Well, as someone who used to work in the restructuring/turnaround space, this is pretty much blatantly wrong.

The one real distinction you can make is that DPW tends to do much more creditor-side work, whereas Kirkland and Weil do a lot more debtor side work. They both have upsides of downsides. Debtor-side work gives you broader exposure since you'll be dealing with every aspect of the bankruptcy, but also is very associate-intensive and involves mindless work (think the bankruptcy equivalent of doc review). Creditor-side work tends to be more narrowly focused (since your creditor is only worried about its position rather than having to deal with all the various stakeholders), but tends to be more strategic / less leveraged.

Both give pretty similar exit options. You might have slightly better exit options to distressed debt funds / bank workout groups if you're at a creditor practice, since they're your clients, and slightly better exit options to other firms if you're at a debtor practice, but it's not a big difference.


I should have been more detailed. My bad. Putting aside seal's objective and independent analysis (where is it ITT???), DPW is a nothing in debtors work. I didn't really think that people cared about creditors side when given the choice between debtor and creditor rep, but I guess was wrong.

User avatar
Old Gregg
Posts: 5413
Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2011 1:26 pm

Re: NYC V5 versus Kirkland Chicago

Postby Old Gregg » Wed Sep 12, 2012 4:15 pm

Just gonna drop this here and not discuss this further. OP can decide for himself what to do with the mix of information. Either way, hope it helps.

--LinkRemoved--

User avatar
thesealocust
Posts: 8446
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2008 8:50 pm

Re: NYC V5 versus Kirkland Chicago

Postby thesealocust » Wed Sep 12, 2012 4:23 pm

Fresh Prince wrote:Just gonna drop this here and not discuss this further. OP can decide for himself what to do with the mix of information. Either way, hope it helps.

--LinkRemoved--


Cool, that's very helpful.

Fresh Prince wrote:Putting aside seal's objective and independent analysis (where is it ITT???)


By objective and independent, I was referring to the fact that my only comment about K&E vs. DPW BK practices was about their Chambers & Partners profiles/rankings.

Anyway, so long as we're on the topic, you seem extremely dismissive of creditor side work. For OP and others (and myself honestly, I know next to nothing about BK), why is that? It's an interesting perspective and I'm curious where it comes from.

User avatar
Old Gregg
Posts: 5413
Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2011 1:26 pm

Re: NYC V5 versus Kirkland Chicago

Postby Old Gregg » Wed Sep 12, 2012 4:30 pm

By objective and independent, I was referring to the fact that my only comment about K&E vs. DPW BK practices was about their Chambers & Partners profiles/rankings.


Yeah, I know. My post was more of a subtle dig at the objectivity of chambers. Same with legal500. I think they're more objective than other sources available at our fingers, but aren't necessarily objective. Even league tables aren't objective, though again more objective than most of the materials we have available to us.

At the end of the day, I don't really care to get into a debate about which one is better. As always, everything has its pros and cons. OP can decide how to weight it all. Just from my perspective (and this is from working with BK lawyers at the best debtor and creditor practices), it's generally believed that it's Weil>K&E>>>>Skadden>>>>>everyone else. I don't know what the exit options are, but my belief is that debtor practices are generally considered more prestigious than creditor ones, if you care about that sort of thing.




Return to “Legal Employment”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.