Avoiding the next Dewey

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Avoiding the next Dewey

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 17, 2012 2:52 pm

As offer decision deadlines loom, I thought having a thread about the financial stability (or instability) of law firms would be helpful. Anyone have any insight into which firms are financially unstable or on the other hand, firms that are shining stars in terms of financial stability. Also, it would probably be useful to say why (if you know) in addition to sharing firm names. :)

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Re: Avoiding the next Dewey

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 17, 2012 2:54 pm

Anonymous User wrote:As offer decision deadlines loom, I thought having a thread about the financial stability (or instability) of law firms would be helpful. Anyone have any insight into which firms are financially unstable or on the other hand, firms that are shining stars in terms of financial stability. Also, it would probably be useful to say why (if you know) in addition to sharing firm names. :)


Fulbright and Jaworski (Dallas) is not doing well financially.

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Re: Avoiding the next Dewey

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 17, 2012 3:10 pm

Pillsbury in SF/SV is not doing well. Read a bunch here about O'Melveny, but not entirely sure of its accuracy.

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Re: Avoiding the next Dewey

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 17, 2012 3:13 pm

I'd also be curious of throwing in here whether summer positions are going to be fewer in 2013 than last year.

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somewhatwayward
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Re: Avoiding the next Dewey

Postby somewhatwayward » Mon Sep 17, 2012 3:20 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'd also be curious of throwing in here whether summer positions are going to be fewer in 2013 than last year.


Do you mean firm by firm or total number of SA positions? A particular firm hiring a smaller number of SAs than the year before could be a bad sign that they anticipate less business, but at the same time, they seem to be taking the necessary steps to respond to that by hiring less people. The firms that are really in trouble are ones that don't decrease (or, worse, increase) their class when they really should decrease it, resulting in no offers and stealth layoffs down-the-line.

I also agree with Morgan12Oak to some extent (not the part about people posting negative things bc they are mad about being rejected). I think if you're going to say that Pillsbury or F&J are struggling, provide some general explanation and, ideally, a source.

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Re: Avoiding the next Dewey

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 17, 2012 3:22 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:As offer decision deadlines loom, I thought having a thread about the financial stability (or instability) of law firms would be helpful. Anyone have any insight into which firms are financially unstable or on the other hand, firms that are shining stars in terms of financial stability. Also, it would probably be useful to say why (if you know) in addition to sharing firm names. :)


Fulbright and Jaworski (Dallas) is not doing well financially.

As someone who is interested in that firm I'd like to know where this information is coming from. I've seen it posted around TLS without much to support it or reasoning behind it. Anyone care to share?

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Re: Avoiding the next Dewey

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 17, 2012 3:26 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:As offer decision deadlines loom, I thought having a thread about the financial stability (or instability) of law firms would be helpful. Anyone have any insight into which firms are financially unstable or on the other hand, firms that are shining stars in terms of financial stability. Also, it would probably be useful to say why (if you know) in addition to sharing firm names. :)


Fulbright and Jaworski (Dallas) is not doing well financially.

As someone who is interested in that firm I'd like to know where this information is coming from. I've seen it posted around TLS without much to support it or reasoning behind it. Anyone care to share?


Yeah, one person probably got rejected from the firm and decided to post bad information about them and then everyone else repeated such info. That's usually how 95% of these things start/end.

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Re: Avoiding the next Dewey

Postby Aqualibrium » Mon Sep 17, 2012 3:37 pm

I agree with the above poster. Truthfully, unless ATL has documented a year long partner exodus, or you have inside info from a senior associate or partner, there really is no way for someone coming in as a summer or as an entry level associate to know enough about a firm's financial stability going forward to make an informed decision.

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Re: Avoiding the next Dewey

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 17, 2012 3:39 pm

What about a year-long partner exodus that has been allegedly stemmed i.e. OMM?

Aqualibrium wrote:I agree with the above poster. Truthfully, unless ATL has documented a year long partner exodus, or you have inside info from a senior associate or partner, there really is no way for someone coming in as a summer or as an entry level associate to know enough about a firm's financial stability going forward to make an informed decision.

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Re: Avoiding the next Dewey

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 17, 2012 3:41 pm

Aqualibrium wrote:I agree with the above poster. Truthfully, unless ATL has documented a year long partner exodus, or you have inside info from a senior associate or partner, there really is no way for someone coming in as a summer or as an entry level associate to know enough about a firm's financial stability going forward to make an informed decision.


I agree, but how do we as potential summers go about getting this type of information? I'm having a hard time finding reliable sources, thus TLS seems to be the only place to get answers.

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Re: Avoiding the next Dewey

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 17, 2012 3:43 pm

somewhatwayward wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I'd also be curious of throwing in here whether summer positions are going to be fewer in 2013 than last year.


Do you mean firm by firm or total number of SA positions? A particular firm hiring a smaller number of SAs than the year before could be a bad sign that they anticipate less business, but at the same time, they seem to be taking the necessary steps to respond to that by hiring less people. The firms that are really in trouble are ones that don't decrease (or, worse, increase) their class when they really should decrease it, resulting in no offers and stealth layoffs down-the-line.

I also agree with Morgan12Oak to some extent (not the part about people posting negative things bc they are mad about being rejected). I think if you're going to say that Pillsbury or F&J are struggling, provide some general explanation and, ideally, a source.


Good point. Fair enough. :-)

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Re: Avoiding the next Dewey

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 17, 2012 3:44 pm

There's probably some correct info here. But, if you actually believe the information here, you're significantly more likely to talk yourself out of a firm you really like and would fit in at than you are to actually "avoid the next Dewey".

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Re: Avoiding the next Dewey

Postby Old Gregg » Mon Sep 17, 2012 3:50 pm

RPL, assuming its being reported accurately, is the best indicator of firm health.

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Re: Avoiding the next Dewey

Postby bk1 » Mon Sep 17, 2012 4:13 pm

Prediction: law students ITT will actually not be able to guess the next Dewey (or even Winston for that matter).

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Re: Avoiding the next Dewey

Postby 09042014 » Mon Sep 17, 2012 4:15 pm

Fresh Prince wrote:RPL, assuming its being reported accurately, is the best indicator of firm health.


Dewey's was better than average, better than a lot more stable firms. TRY AGAIN.

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Re: Avoiding the next Dewey

Postby acrossthelake » Mon Sep 17, 2012 4:16 pm

bk1 wrote:Prediction: law students ITT will actually not be able to guess the next Dewey (or even Winston for that matter).


Isn't a central part of the Dewey scandal the part where almost everyone in the firm was kept entirely in the dark about the gambles and severity of the finances?

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Re: Avoiding the next Dewey

Postby clintonius » Mon Sep 17, 2012 4:19 pm

Desert Fox wrote:
Fresh Prince wrote:RPL, assuming its being reported accurately, is the best indicator of firm health.


Dewey's was better than average, better than a lot more stable firms. TRY AGAIN.

Wasn't that figure adjusted way downward by AmLaw? Not that doing so after the fact could have helped anybody. I think the problem isn't that RPL is a bad indicator so much as you're not going to find accurate numbers if the firm is in trouble.

How about multi-year, multi-million-dollar guaranteed compensation agreements in excess of five times the average PPP? I bet that's a pretty good indicator that a firm will hit a rough spot.

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Re: Avoiding the next Dewey

Postby 09042014 » Mon Sep 17, 2012 4:20 pm

bk1 wrote:Prediction: law students ITT will actually not be able to guess the next Dewey (or even Winston for that matter).


Go look at last years version of this. It mentions like half the V100 firms but NOT Dewey and WS.

But I'll make an educated guess. Latham will begin Lathaming again.

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Old Gregg
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Re: Avoiding the next Dewey

Postby Old Gregg » Mon Sep 17, 2012 5:02 pm

Desert Fox wrote:
Fresh Prince wrote:RPL, assuming its being reported accurately, is the best indicator of firm health.


Dewey's was better than average, better than a lot more stable firms. TRY AGAIN.


Reread my post. TRY AGAIN :roll:

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Re: Avoiding the next Dewey

Postby dresden doll » Mon Sep 17, 2012 5:13 pm

clintonius wrote: I think the problem isn't that RPL is a bad indicator so much as you're not going to find accurate numbers if the firm is in trouble.


Amen.

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Re: Avoiding the next Dewey

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Mon Sep 17, 2012 5:19 pm

Not a fun thing to hear, but it's more or less impossible to predict "the next Dewey." Lots of smart, informed people—people as smart and as informed as you or I; more so, even!—decided to take offers there just a year ago. There was little hope for them to see it coming and the same is true for anyone making a similar decision today. A hard pill to swallow but probably the truest answer. Look at ATL, look at firm financial numbers, look at offer rates, and otherwise hope for the best.

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Re: Avoiding the next Dewey

Postby ryanmot » Mon Sep 17, 2012 5:41 pm

No one can predict the next Dewey or Winston. But you can look at how firms handled the recession and how they treated associates. If you have offers from Latham or White & Case, be sure to investigate how they treated their associates with such little regard. Then make an educated decision on whether you think they'd do it again under similar circumstances.

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Re: Avoiding the next Dewey

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 17, 2012 6:23 pm

Now that I have my offer from Latham, is there anything I can ask that'll give me a better window into their financial health? I'll obviously always be flying blind to an extent; partners are never going to tell me they'll be tanking. But are there questions/answers that might signal potential warning signs nonetheless?

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Re: Avoiding the next Dewey

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 17, 2012 6:58 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Now that I have my offer from Latham, is there anything I can ask that'll give me a better window into their financial health? I'll obviously always be flying blind to an extent; partners are never going to tell me they'll be tanking. But are there questions/answers that might signal potential warning signs nonetheless?


Latham is unlikely to collapse like Dewey given the quality and diversity of their clients and the number of regions it can draw resources from, but when the economy/work has generally slowed down in the past, they've shown a repeated predilection towards cutting associates (especially junior associates) rather than just gritting out the lower PPP until things pick up again. Conversely, when a recovery seems in the horizon, they'll rapidly re-leverage and hire huge summer classes rather than hiring conservatively. This business model is great for partners but bad for associates, especially since the current economic recovery seems to have stalled.

I'm not sure what questions might elicit useful responses from partners, but I imagine you could ask mid-level/senior associates about how they survived the last round of layoffs, ask junior associates about whether they have any concerns about job security, ask partners whether they predict this summer class will be larger than in the past (and the advantages and disadvantages of that), etc.

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Re: Avoiding the next Dewey

Postby Cavalier » Mon Sep 17, 2012 7:02 pm

At this point I don't think anyone can predict which firm(s) will fail next. Two years ago it was fairly obvious that Howrey was in trouble, but last year Dewey looked fine--only a handful of its partners knew about its problems at the time. A few weeks ago there were a lot of rumors about White & Case stealthing associates, and now there's talk of incoming layoffs at Latham, but the problem with anonymous posting is that there's no way to determine whether these reports are credible or just the work of one or two people who happen to be bitter about a particular firm.

If you're considering a firm, research the heck out of it--search it on Google (in the past year/month/week), Google News, Above the Law, TLS, AutoAdmit, etc. A wave of departures is generally a bad sign. See if the firm's revenue per lawyer has been increasing or decreasing. Talk to any 3Ls at your school who summered there. Also, don't totally blow off school now that you have an offer. My friends who were headed to Dewey both found jobs at other law firms, but I suspect they might have had more difficulty if they had let their grades tank.




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