Is Skadden much better than Kirkland for lit?

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Is Skadden much better than Kirkland for lit?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 18, 2012 11:36 am

I asked this earlier in the form of a poll, but need to rephrase: Is Skadden so much better than Kirkland (both NY) in terms of prestige, exit options, etc. that it would be unwise to turn down?

When visiting, it seemed to me that people were generally happier at Kirkland and I just got a better feel for the place in general (but realize this could have been due to luck of the draw re: interviewers). I've gone back and forth on the free market system, but see pluses to that as well. I want to do lit, and don't have my heart set on any one area, although am interested in white collar.

Does anyone have any knowledge or experience that speaks to the wisdom of choosing one over the other, or whether my first impressions of the firms were correct?

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Re: Is Skadden much better than Kirkland for lit?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 18, 2012 11:42 am

They're close enough to go with your gut.

I remember in the earlier thread, someone spoke about how hard it is to break into WCC at Skadden. To offer a point of contrast, at K&E WCC is a part of the general litigation group. Getting WCC work is as simple as approaching the attorneys who do that kind of work. K&E has a growing number of WCC partners as well. Spearheading the NYC group is Michael Garcia, former US-attorney for the SDNY. Kirkland has also been on a hiring spree as of late, taking Neil eggleston from Debevoise in dc (pretty much was the best after Mary Jo white) and recently hiring a former Goldman Sachs associate general counsel. Definitely a good place to be, especially if you want to do fcpa.

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Re: Is Skadden much better than Kirkland for lit?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 18, 2012 12:04 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I asked this earlier in the form of a poll, but need to rephrase: Is Skadden so much better than Kirkland (both NY) in terms of prestige, exit options, etc. that it would be unwise to turn down?


The answer to your question is, for most people, no. It is never "unwise" to take a job where you will be happy. One need only look to the hundreds of attorneys who make careers out public interest lawyering or government work. They're not all making an "unwise" choice by forgoing BigLaw altogether, they're simply doing what will make them happy. You would be well advised to do the same.

If, however, you are the kind of person who will be persistently unhappy because of a sense of inferiority caused by a perceived lack of prestige, then perhaps you should just go with the Vault rankings. Either way, I think it would be a mistake to think that there is an objectively correct answer to the question.

FWIW, I had the opposite impression on my callbacks there. I thought the people at Skadden were more cheery and engaged while the Kirkland people all seemed hurried and troubled.

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Re: Is Skadden much better than Kirkland for lit?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 18, 2012 12:19 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I asked this earlier in the form of a poll, but need to rephrase: Is Skadden so much better than Kirkland (both NY) in terms of prestige, exit options, etc. that it would be unwise to turn down?


The answer to your question is, for most people, no. It is never "unwise" to take a job where you will be happy. One need only look to the hundreds of attorneys who make careers out public interest lawyering or government work. They're not all making an "unwise" choice by forgoing BigLaw altogether, they're simply doing what will make them happy. You would be well advised to do the same.

If, however, you are the kind of person who will be persistently unhappy because of a sense of inferiority caused by a perceived lack of prestige, then perhaps you should just go with the Vault rankings. Either way, I think it would be a mistake to think that there is an objectively correct answer to the question.

FWIW, I had the opposite impression on my callbacks there. I thought the people at Skadden were more cheery and engaged while the Kirkland people all seemed hurried and troubled.


Op here. If I were absolutely certain I'd be happier at Kirkland, I'd definitely go there. However, it is very hard to tell what a firm culture is like after one visit, which is why I wanted to know if anyone had advice about either the difference in firm quality or firm culture. It's interesting that you had the opposite experience--were you looking at lit?

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Re: Is Skadden much better than Kirkland for lit?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 18, 2012 12:34 pm

Skadden is better in New York.

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Re: Is Skadden much better than Kirkland for lit?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 18, 2012 12:36 pm

"culture" can mean different things. Maybe on the day you were interviewing, the attorneys are particularly busy. It's hard to be super enthusiastic and cheery when you are taking out 20 minutes from a ton of work you have to do.

Work environment-wise, there are horror stories from both firms. As someone at k&e, I can tell you that the litigation group does amazingly cutting edge bet the company work. Free market is cool because I can pick the people I work with and the type of work I want to do. No one ever competes with me for work, mostly because there's so much to go around. More often than not, I get calls from partners to be on specific matters and I negotiate with the to make sure I get a specific set of responsibilities.

It cuts both ways, though. If you do bad work, don't expect to bad your pick of work to do. Bad reputations spread, and free market works both ways. Also, while juniors are given plenty of responsibility and guidance if wanted, you are given the rope with which to hang yourself. That said, the standards are so low for juniors such they if you work hard, are committed and demonstrate a sincere effort to learn and understand, no one all fault you for messing something up.

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Re: Is Skadden much better than Kirkland for lit?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 18, 2012 1:19 pm

Kirkland pays bigger bonuses. Nuf said.

Seriously though, most of Skadden's rep is based on transactional work. Kirkland is a non-NYC firm that has always had a significant and wide-ranging litigation practice. If you want to do securities or somewhat related white collar work then Skadden might be better, but they are equals in general commercial litigation.




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