Fenwick West (Mountain View) v. Skadden (Palo Alto)

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Fenwick West (Mountain View) v. Skadden (Palo Alto)

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 15, 2012 2:01 pm

I'm lower t14 median who managed to land offers at Fenwick (Mt View) and Skadden (Palo Alto). Interested primarily in tax and tech. Double-E major undergrad. Nervous about Skadden rep as sweatshop. Really enjoyed my CB at Fenwick. Loved the people. Also nervous about turning down the prestige offered by Skadden. Is prestige gap between Fenwick and Skadden in SV something I should be concerned with? Really torn. Please respond with reason. Thx.

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Re: Fenwick West (Mountain View) v. Skadden (Palo Alto)

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 15, 2012 2:09 pm

Fenwick is pretty prestigious in the Silicon Valley, based on my perception. If you plan to stay in the area, I don't think Fenwick is a bad choice.

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Re: Fenwick West (Mountain View) v. Skadden (Palo Alto)

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 15, 2012 2:37 pm

Seriously, how could you choose Fenwick over Skadden??? That's like choosing SNR Denton over Cravath!

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Re: Fenwick West (Mountain View) v. Skadden (Palo Alto)

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 15, 2012 2:45 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Seriously, how could you choose Fenwick over Skadden??? That's like choosing SNR Denton over Cravath!


Bc it's a small skadden office, where you will be in a bathroom- sized room all day, versus the hq of a well respected firm that has much lower billables (though I don't know the actual number for skadden pa) and a free condo in Hawaii for associates.

I don't know specifically the exit options, but I would take fenwick most days.

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Re: Fenwick West (Mountain View) v. Skadden (Palo Alto)

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 15, 2012 2:58 pm

If you are interested in tax, there is pretty much no better shop on the west coast than Fenwick, especially if you are also interested in tech.

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Re: Fenwick West (Mountain View) v. Skadden (Palo Alto)

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 15, 2012 3:14 pm

Really? Wouldn't you consider the exit options from Skadden to be better and carry that v10 cache. No one has heard of Fenwick fwiw.

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Re: Fenwick West (Mountain View) v. Skadden (Palo Alto)

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 15, 2012 3:24 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Really? Wouldn't you consider the exit options from Skadden to be better and carry that v10 cache. No one has heard of Fenwick fwiw.


V10 exit options boost really only matters in places like NYC. If you are sure you want to be in SV and work in tech, Fenwick definitely is worth considering over Skadden Palo Alto.

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Re: Fenwick West (Mountain View) v. Skadden (Palo Alto)

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 15, 2012 3:26 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Really? Wouldn't you consider the exit options from Skadden to be better and carry that v10 cache. No one has heard of Fenwick fwiw.


False. I worked in-house at a major tech corporation this summer and when I asked them to list top players, Fenwick came up again and again as a good firm. Fenwick is a big deal in Silicon Valley, particularly with emerging companies. To simply consider the V10 cache is blind if one isn't also looking at practice area and industry and legal market.

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Re: Fenwick West (Mountain View) v. Skadden (Palo Alto)

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 15, 2012 4:23 pm

Former Fenwick SA.

You realize that the New York centric Vault rankings mean next to nothing outside NYC, right?

Do you have an offer from the tax program? To the best of my knowledge they hire SAs independently of the main program for corporate/litigation and it would be quite difficult if not impossible to switch over to tax from the main program. If you are interested in tax and not offered by the tax program I would ask how feasible it would be to switch.

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Re: Fenwick West (Mountain View) v. Skadden (Palo Alto)

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 15, 2012 4:27 pm

Anonymous User wrote:If you are interested in tax, there is pretty much no better shop on the west coast than Fenwick, especially if you are also interested in tech.


Not OP here, but I'm curious about the recent expansion of Skadden's tax practice to Palo Alto, and whether there might be some benefit to joining that group in its early stages. Pros/cons to being part of a new and growing group like this as opposed to someplace where the practice group is more established? Anyone have experience with this sort of thing (not necessarily in tax)?

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Re: Fenwick West (Mountain View) v. Skadden (Palo Alto)

Postby gotmilk? » Sat Sep 15, 2012 4:36 pm

Fenwick is infinitely more prestigious in SV than Skadden. Unless you plan on leaving tech work or leaving SV, your exit options are much MUCH better coming from Fenwick.

If you liked the people at Fenwick, that should control your decision. You'll be spending a lot of time at work as a lawyer. The best advice I got when I did OCI was to go where you like the people. Fenwick is a solid firm- even if you believe that Skadden has some advantages over Fenwick (which it probably doesn't in most instances for your situation), it's not worth passing up a place where you get good vibes.

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Re: Fenwick West (Mountain View) v. Skadden (Palo Alto)

Postby Tangerine Gleam » Sat Sep 15, 2012 4:41 pm

If you want to impress law students on TLS, go Skadden.

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Re: Fenwick West (Mountain View) v. Skadden (Palo Alto)

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 15, 2012 5:18 pm

(Disclaimer: I haven't worked at either Fenwick or Skadden.)

I'm an attorney who practices in the Bay Area. I have heard many local attorneys refer to Skadden as a sweatshop with poor QOL in which associates are unhappy. I haven't heard local attorneys express any great enthusiasm for its alleged prestige. I don't think the Bay Area cares about "Vault 10 cache," given the East Coast-centric rankings. We have our own assessment of highly-regarded firms in this area.

I have friends who have been associates at Fenwick for years and are happy. It's extremely well-regarded in this area - and I've heard great stories about the aforementioned Hawaiian condo. If you think you might want to lateral to NY, I can see why you would consider Skadden, but if you know you want to stay in the Bay Area and enjoyed your experience at Fenwick, I really don't think you'd be going wrong by accepting that offer.

Also, what Tangerine Gleam said.

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Re: Fenwick West (Mountain View) v. Skadden (Palo Alto)

Postby absolutazn87 » Sat Sep 15, 2012 9:47 pm

gotmilk? wrote:Fenwick is infinitely more prestigious in SV than Skadden. Unless you plan on leaving tech work or leaving SV, your exit options are much MUCH better coming from Fenwick.

If you liked the people at Fenwick, that should control your decision. You'll be spending a lot of time at work as a lawyer. The best advice I got when I did OCI was to go where you like the people. Fenwick is a solid firm- even if you believe that Skadden has some advantages over Fenwick (which it probably doesn't in most instances for your situation), it's not worth passing up a place where you get good vibes.

This is right on. Fenwick is much much better regarded and will get you much better exit options in the valley and the bay area than Skadden. Fenwick is THE place to be in SV and is highly regarded not only for their great work (they did the Facebook IPO), but for how happy their associates are, which is much more than associates at Wilson and infinitely more than associates at Skadden.

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Re: Fenwick West (Mountain View) v. Skadden (Palo Alto)

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 15, 2012 10:48 pm

I vote Fenwick. I would say start a poll, but I think a lot of TLSers will come in here and just click Skadden because of name recognition.

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Re: Fenwick West (Mountain View) v. Skadden (Palo Alto)

Postby Tanicius » Sat Sep 15, 2012 11:42 pm

Firm culture oughta play a part in this discussion too. Fenwick's culture is the bomb.

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Re: Fenwick West (Mountain View) v. Skadden (Palo Alto)

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 16, 2012 3:37 am

Can people be a bit more specific about this vaunted culture at Fenwick? What is so great about it? How do they maintain it? Do you think it is sustainable as the firm grows? (For example, would they really turn down a lateral partner with a book of business who happens to be a dick?)

Also, is Fenwick predominantly corporate with some IP lit? Within corporate, is it mostly early stage companies, M&A, IPOs, etc? (What would be your guess of the breakdown?)

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Re: Fenwick West (Mountain View) v. Skadden (Palo Alto)

Postby IAFG » Sun Sep 16, 2012 3:43 am

Tangerine Gleam wrote:If you want to impress law students on TLS, go Skadden.

Not sure if this thread is full of trolling or ignorance but it's upsetting.

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Re: Fenwick West (Mountain View) v. Skadden (Palo Alto)

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 17, 2012 1:12 pm

absolutazn87 wrote:
gotmilk? wrote:Fenwick is THE place to be in SV and is highly regarded not only for their great work (they did the Facebook IPO), but for how happy their associates are, which is much more than associates at Wilson and infinitely more than associates at Skadden.



Lol. How can you say Fenwick is THE place to be in tech centered SV? I am not a summer/associate at either but WSGR has been and is the clear leader for corporate work in the SV (example: IPOs of LinkedIn, Tesla, Google, Palo Alto Networks, Jive, Netflix, etc.) . Fenwick did the majority of work for Facebook IPO but WSGR worked on it as well. Fenwick is a great firm but is definitely not considered the top.

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Re: Fenwick West (Mountain View) v. Skadden (Palo Alto)

Postby Tanicius » Mon Sep 17, 2012 1:16 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
absolutazn87 wrote:
gotmilk? wrote:Fenwick is THE place to be in SV and is highly regarded not only for their great work (they did the Facebook IPO), but for how happy their associates are, which is much more than associates at Wilson and infinitely more than associates at Skadden.



Lol. How can you say Fenwick is THE place to be in tech centered SV? I am not a summer/associate at either but WSGR has been and is the clear leader for corporate work in the SV (example: IPOs of LinkedIn, Tesla, Google, Palo Alto Networks, Jive, Netflix, etc.) . Fenwick did the majority of work for Facebook IPO but WSGR worked on it as well. Fenwick is a great firm but is definitely not considered the top.


In terms of places you want to actually work at, it's a different story.

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Re: Fenwick West (Mountain View) v. Skadden (Palo Alto)

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 17, 2012 2:04 pm

I guess we've all decided to forget that Fenwick brutally no-offered large swaths of its summer class when things were going badly & Skadden gave deferred associates a paid vacation ... but Silicon Valley is on an infinite growth trajectory so I'm sure everything is all good now.

Not that there are any guarantees anywhere, but come on. This isn't that much of a slam dunk as it is being made out to be.

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Re: Fenwick West (Mountain View) v. Skadden (Palo Alto)

Postby gotmilk? » Mon Sep 17, 2012 2:51 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
absolutazn87 wrote:
gotmilk? wrote:Fenwick is THE place to be in SV and is highly regarded not only for their great work (they did the Facebook IPO), but for how happy their associates are, which is much more than associates at Wilson and infinitely more than associates at Skadden.



Lol. How can you say Fenwick is THE place to be in tech centered SV? I am not a summer/associate at either but WSGR has been and is the clear leader for corporate work in the SV (example: IPOs of LinkedIn, Tesla, Google, Palo Alto Networks, Jive, Netflix, etc.) . Fenwick did the majority of work for Facebook IPO but WSGR worked on it as well. Fenwick is a great firm but is definitely not considered the top.


Just wanted to point out that (surely bc of something weird with the quoting system) I did not say what I am quoted as saying. In fact, I agree that WSGR is the SV leader and has been for a long time. If I were choosing between working at WSGR and Fenwick, though, I'd choose Fenwick in a heartbeat.

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Re: Fenwick West (Mountain View) v. Skadden (Palo Alto)

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 17, 2012 3:12 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I guess we've all decided to forget that Fenwick brutally no-offered large swaths of its summer class when things were going badly & Skadden gave deferred associates a paid vacation ... but Silicon Valley is on an infinite growth trajectory so I'm sure everything is all good now.

Not that there are any guarantees anywhere, but come on. This isn't that much of a slam dunk as it is being made out to be.


Yes, the banks and F500 companies are on an infinite trajectory too these days... :roll:

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Re: Fenwick West (Mountain View) v. Skadden (Palo Alto)

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 17, 2012 4:09 pm

I would consider Fenwick/Cooley/WSGR generally equal and pick between them based on fit. None of them are "THE place to be in SV" in the sense that they necessarily trump the other 2. But this thread isn't about choosing among SV native firms, it's about choosing between Fenwick and Skadden PA.

Unless OP plans to eventually lateral to NYC or absolutely loved Skadden people and hated Fenwick people, I can't see much reason in taking Skadden in this case. OP seems to think that Vault rankings are absolutely true everywhere in the country which isn't the case or even close to the case. Skadden is not more prestigious than Fenwick in SV anymore than Skadden is more prestigious than Kirkland in Chicago. If OP desired to lateral to NYC a case could be made for Skadden since there might be a possibility of switching offices and, even if there isn't, NYC firms will likely have a better impression of Skadden because of Skadden's NYC office.

Anonymous User wrote:I guess we've all decided to forget that Fenwick brutally no-offered large swaths of its summer class when things were going badly & Skadden gave deferred associates a paid vacation ... but Silicon Valley is on an infinite growth trajectory so I'm sure everything is all good now.

Not that there are any guarantees anywhere, but come on. This isn't that much of a slam dunk as it is being made out to be.


Fenwick did no offer half its class the same year that most every other firm did the same. Alternatively they could have done what Cooley did and completely axed their next year summer program (Cooley only had 3 SAs in 2010). There are arguments to be made in favor or against either (see discussions about whether it is better to strike out or get no-offered). I don't think Fenwick did anything great during the downturn but I don't think they handled it any worse than other firms did. That being said it is important to consider how Skadden has handled the recession in the Bay Area (which has been quite well since they basically folded the SF office into PA to save money). Also that Skadden has had very high offer rates for the entire firm. I personally don't think there is much risk going with Fenwick (and alternatively you risk a more limited career start at Skadden), but of any reason to choose Skadden here I think this is the most legitimate.

SV corporate work has done well in the downturn, but it has trailed off as of late. There's also no guarantee as to what things will be like a year from now (when OP would be up for an offer) or 2 years from now (when OP would start as a first year associate). It could be far worse or far better, it's hard to tell.

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Re: Fenwick West (Mountain View) v. Skadden (Palo Alto)

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jun 05, 2014 3:46 am

If you want more office / career options around the world, and a more big deals / public company / PE-focused practice, Skadden is a better choice. You're talking about a firm that has half the Fortune 250 as clients, with all the resources and sophistication that implies, and that acquitted itself with relative grace during the bad economy.

If you want a CA-based start-up / private company focused practice, I think Fenwick is a very good choice. It's as good as WSGR without that not-so-lovely WSGR culture. It's both much bigger (locally) and much smaller (both nationwide and internationally).




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