Anonymous User wrote:I get the feeling that Latham gets crap mainly because it is ranked as a V10 which means some people think it is peers with DPW, Simpson, Cleary, etc. While it is a V10 firm, its peers are probably more along the lines of Weil, Debevoise, GDC, etc. It reminds me a lot of the bickering over law schools where the entire T14 is elite (just like all the firms mentioned above), but some people want to think that their MVPDCNG is a peer with CCN.
Debevoise, GDC, etc, didn't lay off hundreds of attorneys. They all grew their headcount through the recession. Latham's layoffs place it in the company of CWT, White & Case, etc.
Latham's big problem is that it straddles an uncomfortable place between the most elite firms and less elite firms. It does mega-M&A, but is behind quite a few firms on the totem pole for that work. It does mega-litigation, but is behind quite a few firms on the totem pole for that work. It's got the cost structure of a national firm, but is not a top-tier player in any market besides LA. When times are good, it can pick up a lot of work, but when times are bad, other firms are ahead in line for what little work is available.
Firms that are lower on the totem poll are actually better for associates in a way, both because they can't bulk up as much in good times and because partners don't have the same sorts of profitability expectations. Firms that don't play in the mega-M&A area to begin with can't be hurt when those deals dry up. I think a lot of law students are blinded by Latham's Vault ranking and think they'll be be safer there than at say Jones Day, Shearman, Milbank, Willkie, Cahill, Fried Frank, etc, etc, but the numbers say otherwise.
I know for a fact that GDC had layoffs during 2009. It refused to acknowledge them publicly which made the laid off associates' life that much more difficult (this is from first hand accounts). And GDC grew its headcount in the 2008-11 by lateral partners and groups, while at the same time shedding associates and recalibrating its leverage ratio. Again, this is first-hand reports.
And people keep saying that LW's model isn't sustainable, or that it doesn't work. Last I checked LW has been around for decades, has grown to be one of the biggest and most profitable firms in the world, if not one of the most prestigious. Seems like they are doing ok. And unless you are going to call a "Dewey" on LW, I would leave the law firm management guessing game to the folks who've been doing it for years.
And I don't care where you go, midlaw, biglaw, V1, V100 or whatever. Layoffs happen. It just does. People need to get over it. In fact, I would rather work at a firm that can recognize it needs to cull the fat, than one that hides its head in economic reality (Heller Ehrman), or simply tries to outgrow the problem by putting lipstick on the proverbial pig (Dewey).
It's like pruning a tree. Every so often you need to cut the dead branches so that the tree can regenerate and grow bigger and better.
I don't care if anyone goes to LW or not, or any other firm. I just want people here to make a choice knowing all the info that they possibly can.