Is V&E Underrated?

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de5igual
Posts: 1463
Joined: Mon Dec 08, 2008 11:52 pm

Re: Is V&E Underrated?

Postby de5igual » Thu Apr 11, 2013 12:29 am

Anonymous User wrote:I am a current Baker Botts associate in the Houston office. I don't typically monitor this board, but was sent a link to this thread from a friend. I can confirm that Baker Botts recently raised base salaries for associates who bill over 2000. If you bill under 2000 for a year, you are bumped down to the old Texas scale the following year, but then you'll get the difference made up at bonus time if you get your hours back above 2000.

The scale is:
Level 1 (i.e., 1st year) - $160k
Level 2 (i.e., 2-3 year) - $180k
Level 3 (i.e., 4-6 year) - $230k
Level 4 (i.e., 7-8 year) - $270k

Presumably bonus ranges will be a little lower than they were before this raise in base comp, although I'm not exactly sure what those numbers will be.

EDIT: I just checked, and for bonus ranges, I have the following written down. I don't recall where these numbers came from, and they may not be accurate. But just for full disclosure, here's what I have:

Level 1 - up to $10k
First year level 2 - up to $10k
Subsequent year level 2 - up to $30k
First year level 3 - up to $10k
Subsequent year level 3 - up to $50k
Level 4 - up to $50k

Again, those numbers may not be accurate.


appreciate the post. are you at the office right now?

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

Re: Is V&E Underrated?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 11, 2013 12:33 am

f0bolous wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I am a current Baker Botts associate in the Houston office. I don't typically monitor this board, but was sent a link to this thread from a friend. I can confirm that Baker Botts recently raised base salaries for associates who bill over 2000. If you bill under 2000 for a year, you are bumped down to the old Texas scale the following year, but then you'll get the difference made up at bonus time if you get your hours back above 2000.

The scale is:
Level 1 (i.e., 1st year) - $160k
Level 2 (i.e., 2-3 year) - $180k
Level 3 (i.e., 4-6 year) - $230k
Level 4 (i.e., 7-8 year) - $270k

Presumably bonus ranges will be a little lower than they were before this raise in base comp, although I'm not exactly sure what those numbers will be.

EDIT: I just checked, and for bonus ranges, I have the following written down. I don't recall where these numbers came from, and they may not be accurate. But just for full disclosure, here's what I have:

Level 1 - up to $10k
First year level 2 - up to $10k
Subsequent year level 2 - up to $30k
First year level 3 - up to $10k
Subsequent year level 3 - up to $50k
Level 4 - up to $50k

Again, those numbers may not be accurate.


appreciate the post. are you at the office right now?


Goodness no.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273110
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Is V&E Underrated?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 11, 2013 12:47 am

Anonymous User wrote:I am a current Baker Botts associate in the Houston office. I don't typically monitor this board but was sent a link to this thread from a friend. I can confirm that Baker Botts recently raised base salaries for associates who bill over 2000. If you bill under 2000 for a year, you are bumped down to the old Texas scale the following year, but then you'll get the difference made up at bonus time if you get your hours back above 2000.

The scale is:
Level 1 (i.e., 1st year) - $160k
Level 2 (i.e., 2-3 year) - $180k
Level 3 (i.e., 4-6 year) - $230k
Level 4 (i.e., 7-8 year) - $270k

Presumably bonus ranges will be a little lower than they were before this raise in base comp, although I'm not exactly sure what those numbers will be.

EDIT: I just checked, and for bonus ranges, I have the following written down. I don't recall where these numbers came from, and they may not be accurate. But just for full disclosure, here's what I have:

Level 1 - up to $10k
First year level 2 - up to $10k
Subsequent year level 2 - up to $30k
First year level 3 - up to $10k
Subsequent year level 3 - up to $50k
Level 4 - up to $50k

Again, those numbers may not be accurate.


I was told by someone that the levels are not lock-step. (Thus, while most people do move up the levels at the rate of the indicated years, some move slower and some move faster.) I was under the impression that bonuses work the same way (some people may get larger bonuses than others). If that's accurate (I may have misunderstood the description about the bonuses), did the increase in base salary change this or is the blackbox still part of the process?

Anonymous User
Posts: 273110
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Is V&E Underrated?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 11, 2013 12:57 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I am a current Baker Botts associate in the Houston office. I don't typically monitor this board but was sent a link to this thread from a friend. I can confirm that Baker Botts recently raised base salaries for associates who bill over 2000. If you bill under 2000 for a year, you are bumped down to the old Texas scale the following year, but then you'll get the difference made up at bonus time if you get your hours back above 2000.

The scale is:
Level 1 (i.e., 1st year) - $160k
Level 2 (i.e., 2-3 year) - $180k
Level 3 (i.e., 4-6 year) - $230k
Level 4 (i.e., 7-8 year) - $270k

Presumably bonus ranges will be a little lower than they were before this raise in base comp, although I'm not exactly sure what those numbers will be.

EDIT: I just checked, and for bonus ranges, I have the following written down. I don't recall where these numbers came from, and they may not be accurate. But just for full disclosure, here's what I have:

Level 1 - up to $10k
First year level 2 - up to $10k
Subsequent year level 2 - up to $30k
First year level 3 - up to $10k
Subsequent year level 3 - up to $50k
Level 4 - up to $50k

Again, those numbers may not be accurate.


I was told by someone that the levels are not lock-step. (Thus, while most people do move up the levels at the rate of the indicated years, some move slower and some move faster.) I was under the impression that bonuses work the same way (some people may get larger bonuses than others). If that's accurate (I may have misunderstood the description about the bonuses), did the increase in base salary change this or is the blackbox still part of the process?


Correct that promotion between levels is not lockstep. What I've outlined in my post (e.g., level 3 = years 4-6) is the standard advancement scheme. When the levels system was announced, I was cynical that anyone would get promoted a level early; and perhaps even more cynical that it would only be used as an excuse to slow folks down. We only have a few years under our belt of using the system, so I guess we'll see how it continues to play out, but so far I have been pleasantly surprised. To the extent I know about associates who have not been promoted on the expected schedule, there has typically been a strong reason for that—for example, someone switching from the litigation to corporate departments. Also, there have been a surprising (to me) number of early promotions. The most common scenario seems to be in groups where, for whatever reason, there is not a lot of senior associates, so I've seen a number of level 3s get bumped to level 4 a year ahead of pace. Although viewing it from management's perspective, there is a strong incentive to promote early, as they get to bill you out at the higher rate provided the client will accept that you're worth that amount.

Bonuses are also, at least superficially, totally discretionary. In practice, they track very closely to hours. I guess we'll see if this changes, but for the past few years you become eligible for bonus at 2000 hours and, at that billing, typically get around half the bonus you're eligible for. You get the max bonus at around 2300 hours, and the amounts in between are proportional (e.g., at 2150 you get ~75%). It isn't quite that mechanical—and the process is a black box so it is hard to compare notes—but that's a fair estimate. To the extent I know other people's hours and bonus amounts, it seems the bonuses have been a little more generous than that formula would predict, but that's based on limited evidence.

I don't have any reason to believe the upping of base compensation will change any of that. The other BB offices outside of Texas (NY, DC, Palo Alto, etc.) were already on this scale. This just means the stragglers of Dallas, Houston, and Austin will catch up with the rest of the firm.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Thu Apr 11, 2013 1:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

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

Re: Is V&E Underrated?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 11, 2013 1:00 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I am a current Baker Botts associate in the Houston office. I don't typically monitor this board but was sent a link to this thread from a friend. I can confirm that Baker Botts recently raised base salaries for associates who bill over 2000. If you bill under 2000 for a year, you are bumped down to the old Texas scale the following year, but then you'll get the difference made up at bonus time if you get your hours back above 2000.

The scale is:
Level 1 (i.e., 1st year) - $160k
Level 2 (i.e., 2-3 year) - $180k
Level 3 (i.e., 4-6 year) - $230k
Level 4 (i.e., 7-8 year) - $270k

Presumably bonus ranges will be a little lower than they were before this raise in base comp, although I'm not exactly sure what those numbers will be.

EDIT: I just checked, and for bonus ranges, I have the following written down. I don't recall where these numbers came from, and they may not be accurate. But just for full disclosure, here's what I have:

Level 1 - up to $10k
First year level 2 - up to $10k
Subsequent year level 2 - up to $30k
First year level 3 - up to $10k
Subsequent year level 3 - up to $50k
Level 4 - up to $50k

Again, those numbers may not be accurate.


I was told by someone that the levels are not lock-step. (Thus, while most people do move up the levels at the rate of the indicated years, some move slower and some move faster.) I was under the impression that bonuses work the same way (some people may get larger bonuses than others). If that's accurate (I may have misunderstood the description about the bonuses), did the increase in base salary change this or is the blackbox still part of the process?


Correct that promotion between levels is not lockstep. What I've outlined in my post (e.g., level 3 = years 4-6) is the standard advancement scheme. When the levels system was announced, I was cynical that anyone would get promoted a level early; and perhaps even more cynical that it would only be used as an excuse to slow folks down. We only have a few years under our belt of using the system, so I guess we'll see how it continues to play out, but so far I have been pleasantly surprised. To the extent I know about folks who have not been promoted on the expected schedule, there has typically been a strong reason for that—for example, someone switching from the litigation to corporate departments. Also, there have been a surprising (to me) number of early promotions. The most common scenario seems to be in groups where, for whatever reason, there is not a lot of senior associates, so I've seen a number of level 3s get bumped to level 4 a year ahead of pace. Although viewing it from management's perspective, there is a strong incentive to promote early, as they get to bill you out at the higher rate provided the client will accept that you're worth that amount.

Bonuses are also, at least superficially, totally discretionary. In practice, they track very closely to hours. I guess we'll see if this changes, but for the past few years you become eligible for bonus at 2000 hours and, at that billing, typically get around half the bonus you're eligible for. You get the "max" bonus at around 2300 hours, and the amounts in between are proportional (e.g., at 2150 you get ~75%). It isn't quite that mechanical—and the process is a black box so it is hard to compare notes—but that's a good estimate.

I don't have any reason to believe the upping of base compensation will change any of that. The other BB offices outside of Texas (NY, DC, Palo Alto, etc.) were already on this scale. This just means the stragglers of Dallas, Houston, and Austin will catch up with the rest of the firm.


(The previous anon you are responding to)

Thanks, that reply was helpful.

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

Re: Is V&E Underrated?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 11, 2013 2:24 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I am a current Baker Botts associate in the Houston office. I don't typically monitor this board but was sent a link to this thread from a friend. I can confirm that Baker Botts recently raised base salaries for associates who bill over 2000. If you bill under 2000 for a year, you are bumped down to the old Texas scale the following year, but then you'll get the difference made up at bonus time if you get your hours back above 2000.

The scale is:
Level 1 (i.e., 1st year) - $160k
Level 2 (i.e., 2-3 year) - $180k
Level 3 (i.e., 4-6 year) - $230k
Level 4 (i.e., 7-8 year) - $270k

Presumably bonus ranges will be a little lower than they were before this raise in base comp, although I'm not exactly sure what those numbers will be.

EDIT: I just checked, and for bonus ranges, I have the following written down. I don't recall where these numbers came from, and they may not be accurate. But just for full disclosure, here's what I have:

Level 1 - up to $10k
First year level 2 - up to $10k
Subsequent year level 2 - up to $30k
First year level 3 - up to $10k
Subsequent year level 3 - up to $50k
Level 4 - up to $50k

Again, those numbers may not be accurate.


I was told by someone that the levels are not lock-step. (Thus, while most people do move up the levels at the rate of the indicated years, some move slower and some move faster.) I was under the impression that bonuses work the same way (some people may get larger bonuses than others). If that's accurate (I may have misunderstood the description about the bonuses), did the increase in base salary change this or is the blackbox still part of the process?


Correct that promotion between levels is not lockstep. What I've outlined in my post (e.g., level 3 = years 4-6) is the standard advancement scheme. When the levels system was announced, I was cynical that anyone would get promoted a level early; and perhaps even more cynical that it would only be used as an excuse to slow folks down. We only have a few years under our belt of using the system, so I guess we'll see how it continues to play out, but so far I have been pleasantly surprised. To the extent I know about associates who have not been promoted on the expected schedule, there has typically been a strong reason for that—for example, someone switching from the litigation to corporate departments. Also, there have been a surprising (to me) number of early promotions. The most common scenario seems to be in groups where, for whatever reason, there is not a lot of senior associates, so I've seen a number of level 3s get bumped to level 4 a year ahead of pace. Although viewing it from management's perspective, there is a strong incentive to promote early, as they get to bill you out at the higher rate provided the client will accept that you're worth that amount.

Bonuses are also, at least superficially, totally discretionary. In practice, they track very closely to hours. I guess we'll see if this changes, but for the past few years you become eligible for bonus at 2000 hours and, at that billing, typically get around half the bonus you're eligible for. You get the max bonus at around 2300 hours, and the amounts in between are proportional (e.g., at 2150 you get ~75%). It isn't quite that mechanical—and the process is a black box so it is hard to compare notes—but that's a fair estimate. To the extent I know other people's hours and bonus amounts, it seems the bonuses have been a little more generous than that formula would predict, but that's based on limited evidence.

I don't have any reason to believe the upping of base compensation will change any of that. The other BB offices outside of Texas (NY, DC, Palo Alto, etc.) were already on this scale. This just means the stragglers of Dallas, Houston, and Austin will catch up with the rest of the firm.



Thank you for coming in here, all of us really appreciate the inside view.

I had a question about BB in general. I did a 1L interview with the Houston office and the setting seemed much different than V&E and F&J. It seemed like the people were a little more uptight, slightly harder to carry a conversation with but at the same time (and this may not make sense) seemed much more genuine and seemed to care more about family life.

How has your experience at BB Houston been? Is there plenty of work in the corporate department to meet that 2,300 hours if thats what you are going for (or trying to make partner)? I know someone at V&E (1st year) who says its somewhat uneven between associates. He is swamped with work while others are struggling to get the hours needed to get a bonus, is this the feeling you get at BB?

Have you got any insight on the difference between the Houston and Dallas offices?

Thanks again!

Anonymous User
Posts: 273110
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Is V&E Underrated?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 11, 2013 3:09 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I am a current Baker Botts associate in the Houston office. I don't typically monitor this board but was sent a link to this thread from a friend. I can confirm that Baker Botts recently raised base salaries for associates who bill over 2000. If you bill under 2000 for a year, you are bumped down to the old Texas scale the following year, but then you'll get the difference made up at bonus time if you get your hours back above 2000.

The scale is:
Level 1 (i.e., 1st year) - $160k
Level 2 (i.e., 2-3 year) - $180k
Level 3 (i.e., 4-6 year) - $230k
Level 4 (i.e., 7-8 year) - $270k

Presumably bonus ranges will be a little lower than they were before this raise in base comp, although I'm not exactly sure what those numbers will be.

EDIT: I just checked, and for bonus ranges, I have the following written down. I don't recall where these numbers came from, and they may not be accurate. But just for full disclosure, here's what I have:

Level 1 - up to $10k
First year level 2 - up to $10k
Subsequent year level 2 - up to $30k
First year level 3 - up to $10k
Subsequent year level 3 - up to $50k
Level 4 - up to $50k

Again, those numbers may not be accurate.


I was told by someone that the levels are not lock-step. (Thus, while most people do move up the levels at the rate of the indicated years, some move slower and some move faster.) I was under the impression that bonuses work the same way (some people may get larger bonuses than others). If that's accurate (I may have misunderstood the description about the bonuses), did the increase in base salary change this or is the blackbox still part of the process?


Correct that promotion between levels is not lockstep. What I've outlined in my post (e.g., level 3 = years 4-6) is the standard advancement scheme. When the levels system was announced, I was cynical that anyone would get promoted a level early; and perhaps even more cynical that it would only be used as an excuse to slow folks down. We only have a few years under our belt of using the system, so I guess we'll see how it continues to play out, but so far I have been pleasantly surprised. To the extent I know about associates who have not been promoted on the expected schedule, there has typically been a strong reason for that—for example, someone switching from the litigation to corporate departments. Also, there have been a surprising (to me) number of early promotions. The most common scenario seems to be in groups where, for whatever reason, there is not a lot of senior associates, so I've seen a number of level 3s get bumped to level 4 a year ahead of pace. Although viewing it from management's perspective, there is a strong incentive to promote early, as they get to bill you out at the higher rate provided the client will accept that you're worth that amount.

Bonuses are also, at least superficially, totally discretionary. In practice, they track very closely to hours. I guess we'll see if this changes, but for the past few years you become eligible for bonus at 2000 hours and, at that billing, typically get around half the bonus you're eligible for. You get the max bonus at around 2300 hours, and the amounts in between are proportional (e.g., at 2150 you get ~75%). It isn't quite that mechanical—and the process is a black box so it is hard to compare notes—but that's a fair estimate. To the extent I know other people's hours and bonus amounts, it seems the bonuses have been a little more generous than that formula would predict, but that's based on limited evidence.

I don't have any reason to believe the upping of base compensation will change any of that. The other BB offices outside of Texas (NY, DC, Palo Alto, etc.) were already on this scale. This just means the stragglers of Dallas, Houston, and Austin will catch up with the rest of the firm.



Thank you for coming in here, all of us really appreciate the inside view.

I had a question about BB in general. I did a 1L interview with the Houston office and the setting seemed much different than V&E and F&J. It seemed like the people were a little more uptight, slightly harder to carry a conversation with but at the same time (and this may not make sense) seemed much more genuine and seemed to care more about family life.

How has your experience at BB Houston been? Is there plenty of work in the corporate department to meet that 2,300 hours if thats what you are going for (or trying to make partner)? I know someone at V&E (1st year) who says its somewhat uneven between associates. He is swamped with work while others are struggling to get the hours needed to get a bonus, is this the feeling you get at BB?

Have you got any insight on the difference between the Houston and Dallas offices?

Thanks again!


I think your observations from the interview are accurate. I don't have a lot of experience with the other firms, but from comparing notes with friends who work around the city, a main difference you should consider is firm culture. It is my impression that V&E and, to a lesser extent, F&J have more outgoingly friendly (some of my friends who were not fans might say "fratty") firm culture. I think there is more emphasis on work hard/play hard at those firms--e.g., lots of happy hour socializing. I have had friends who were not as into that and felt like they missed out on developing intra-firm connections by skipping those events.

BB Houston, in my experience, does not have that culture. People are a little more formal, but also fairly genuine. Most have families and kids, and instead of work hard/play hard, it tends to be more work hard/go home to your families. The main social activity is lunch, not happy hour. I think we lose out on recruiting to V&E for young, single, going-out-on-the-town types, but have a major advantage for everyone else (including young single people for whom that is not their scene). I don't mean to overplay the difference, certainly you'd find similarly-minded people at any firm, but broadly Baker Botts Houston prides itself on being the more culturally conservative firm.

My experience has been tremendously positive. I know others who would not say the same. I do think making your way in any big law firm requires a certain amount of self-starting initiative; to the extent there are formal mentoring/training/etc. programs, they aren't going to provide everything you need for guiding your career in the direction that you want. While people have gripes about BB, I think they are mostly things that are common to the BIGLAW experience. People often leave for in-house or other non-firm positions and talk about how much better life is, but I haven't heard many people who jumped ship to other firms doing similar gloating. It is part of the job description that outside counsel has to deal with unreasonable client demands and, occasionally, unreasonable partner demands--it is a big factor in your getting paid the big bucks--and I don't think BB is significantly different in that regard from other firms.

Work-wise, I do not have a lot of hours details, but it is my impression that our transactional departments are consistently busy. I don't know if that means 2300 hours (or why you would even want to work that much), but I don't think anyone is starving. I believe litigation has been more uneven over the past year, but I do not know if that is a systemic problem vs. just a temporary slowdown.

If you're comparing department strength, from what I can tell BB, Latham, and V&E are the top transactional practices in the city. I've heard second- or third-hand that V&E has de-emphasized their litigation practice and wants to be more of a pure transactional NYC-type firm.

I have worked some with the Dallas office and enjoyed the people I interacted with, but really don't have a lot of experience for an assessment. Broadly, I think the difference between the two offices are similar to the differences between Houston and Dallas culture generally. Houston is a little more laid back, a little more down to earth; Dallas seems a little more aggressive, a little more type A.

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

Re: Is V&E Underrated?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 11, 2013 11:01 am

[quote="Anonymous User"

I think your observations from the interview are accurate. I don't have a lot of experience with the other firms, but from comparing notes with friends who work around the city, a main difference you should consider is firm culture. It is my impression that V&E and, to a lesser extent, F&J have more outgoingly friendly (some of my friends who were not fans might say "fratty") firm culture. I think there is more emphasis on work hard/play hard at those firms--e.g., lots of happy hour socializing. I have had friends who were not as into that and felt like they missed out on developing intra-firm connections by skipping those events.

BB Houston, in my experience, does not have that culture. People are a little more formal, but also fairly genuine. Most have families and kids, and instead of work hard/play hard, it tends to be more work hard/go home to your families. The main social activity is lunch, not happy hour. I think we lose out on recruiting to V&E for young, single, going-out-on-the-town types, but have a major advantage for everyone else (including young single people for whom that is not their scene). I don't mean to overplay the difference, certainly you'd find similarly-minded people at any firm, but broadly Baker Botts Houston prides itself on being the more culturally conservative firm.

My experience has been tremendously positive. I know others who would not say the same. I do think making your way in any big law firm requires a certain amount of self-starting initiative; to the extent there are formal mentoring/training/etc. programs, they aren't going to provide everything you need for guiding your career in the direction that you want. While people have gripes about BB, I think they are mostly things that are common to the BIGLAW experience. People often leave for in-house or other non-firm positions and talk about how much better life is, but I haven't heard many people who jumped ship to other firms doing similar gloating. It is part of the job description that outside counsel has to deal with unreasonable client demands and, occasionally, unreasonable partner demands--it is a big factor in your getting paid the big bucks--and I don't think BB is significantly different in that regard from other firms.

Work-wise, I do not have a lot of hours details, but it is my impression that our transactional departments are consistently busy. I don't know if that means 2300 hours (or why you would even want to work that much), but I don't think anyone is starving. I believe litigation has been more uneven over the past year, but I do not know if that is a systemic problem vs. just a temporary slowdown.

If you're comparing department strength, from what I can tell BB, Latham, and V&E are the top transactional practices in the city. I've heard second- or third-hand that V&E has de-emphasized their litigation practice and wants to be more of a pure transactional NYC-type firm.

I have worked some with the Dallas office and enjoyed the people I interacted with, but really don't have a lot of experience for an assessment. Broadly, I think the difference between the two offices are similar to the differences between Houston and Dallas culture generally. Houston is a little more laid back, a little more down to earth; Dallas seems a little more aggressive, a little more type A.[/quote]


Wow, this is really great. Do you think BB has as big a name (or bigger) than V&E in Texas? I was always under the impression that BB was #1 in Texas (just from talking to lawyers and the Vault rankings (looking at TX ranks), or do you think V&E has a leg up if looking at transactional work?

Would you say it would be easy to move from BB doing corporate to a firm like AK, Bracewell, LL etc. after being told to start looking? Also, what is your opinion on people being "forced" to leave. I know biglaw is built on attrition, but one partner at BB told me they actually do their best to retain associates and dont force people out b/c they have put so much into training them... I just couldnt tell if he was just trying to sell me or actually meant it.

Anonymous User
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Re: Is V&E Underrated?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 11, 2013 2:03 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Wow, this is really great. Do you think BB has as big a name (or bigger) than V&E in Texas? I was always under the impression that BB was #1 in Texas (just from talking to lawyers and the Vault rankings (looking at TX ranks), or do you think V&E has a leg up if looking at transactional work?

Would you say it would be easy to move from BB doing corporate to a firm like AK, Bracewell, LL etc. after being told to start looking? Also, what is your opinion on people being "forced" to leave. I know biglaw is built on attrition, but one partner at BB told me they actually do their best to retain associates and dont force people out b/c they have put so much into training them... I just couldnt tell if he was just trying to sell me or actually meant it.


Baker Botts is probably on the same level as V&E in the state, but my impression is that V&E has a much bigger name outside of Texas. V&E's New York office seems to recruit almost entirely from Harvard, Columbia, and NYU, and I don't think Baker Botts has the same pull. It's also telling that V&E has been on the New York scale for some time, while Baker seems to just be getting there. The transactional practice at V&E is also in the top 5-10 nationally for transaction volume and deal size, and I'm not sure if that's true for Baker Botts.

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Re: Is V&E Underrated?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Apr 12, 2013 12:29 am

Do you have any idea how Fulbright falls into the scheme of things? Both when thinking about litigation and when thinking about corporate. They seem to be a leg lower in corporate, but thats definitely not the feeling that anyone in their corporate department gives off (obviously) so curious to hear any insight on F&J.

Anonymous User
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Re: Is V&E Underrated?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Apr 12, 2013 12:40 am

@ the BB Associate -

Do you know what the exit options are like for those in the non-TX satellite offices in Houston? A lot's been talked about Latham, but what about the others—Jones Day, Weil, Mayer, Sidley, STB, Cadwalader, etc.?

Anonymous User
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Re: Is V&E Underrated?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Apr 12, 2013 1:02 am

Anonymous User wrote:Wow, this is really great. Do you think BB has as big a name (or bigger) than V&E in Texas? I was always under the impression that BB was #1 in Texas (just from talking to lawyers and the Vault rankings (looking at TX ranks), or do you think V&E has a leg up if looking at transactional work?

See below.

Anonymous User wrote:Would you say it would be easy to move from BB doing corporate to a firm like AK, Bracewell, LL etc. after being told to start looking? Also, what is your opinion on people being "forced" to leave. I know biglaw is built on attrition, but one partner at BB told me they actually do their best to retain associates and dont force people out b/c they have put so much into training them... I just couldnt tell if he was just trying to sell me or actually meant it.

I keep track of where the associates around my year have gone when they left the firm. There are a handful that head to other firms--enough that it is clearly possible--but I couldn't say whether it is "easy." Probably the better answer is I don't know that many of them would want to leave for another firm. If you're looking to get out, it is probably because you want a change of pace from BIGLAW, and heading to AK, Bracewell, etc. isn't really going to do that.

My general impression is that BB really does try to retain. I'm sure folks get pushed out if they're not cutting it, but if you're doing good work and staying busy, there is not a lot of reason to get rid of you. To the extent that I've talked with folks who've left, none of them have mentioned getting pushed, but of course it is tough to expect anyone would admit to that anyway. The best indirect indicator that I have is that people seem to leave in relatively even spacing through the year; there's a little uptick after bonuses get paid out (typically March), but it doesn't appear from my vantage point that during review time every year a bunch of folks are being shown the door.

Anonymous User wrote:Baker Botts is probably on the same level as V&E in the state, but my impression is that V&E has a much bigger name outside of Texas. V&E's New York office seems to recruit almost entirely from Harvard, Columbia, and NYU, and I don't think Baker Botts has the same pull. It's also telling that V&E has been on the New York scale for some time, while Baker seems to just be getting there. The transactional practice at V&E is also in the top 5-10 nationally for transaction volume and deal size, and I'm not sure if that's true for Baker Botts.

I don't have a good viewpoint to weigh in on how firms are perceived outside of Texas, but I disagree with this post. First, I skimmed through the associate bios on the respective BB and V&E NY websites. Maybe I missed something in my quick look, but I did not see an obvious gap between the pedigree of the V&E and BB associates. Overall, I saw a few more top-of-the-class-at-lower-ranked schools at BB than V&E (St. John, Cardozo, etc.), but I also saw a couple Harvard at BB and zero at V&E. There seemed to be a mix of NYU/CLS at both--and a surprising amount of Texas. Certainly the V&E associates were not uniformly HLS/CLS/NYU.

Second, your statement about V&E being on the NY scale for significantly longer than BB is not accurate. V&E and BB have both been on the NY scale outside of Texas for the past few years. In December, V&E announced that they were transitioning their Texas offices to that scale effective January 1 (which, as I understand it, was primarily motivated by their having bled some key midlevels to Latham Houston). Baker Botts announced in February that they would do the same, and made that raise retroactive to January 1. It is true that V&E tends to make the first moves in the salary wars, and BB tends to follow; but BB does always follow.

Inside of Texas, I think they are considered pretty comparable. I'm not the best person to ask, but I've been told that Latham/BB/V&E are the go-to big firms in the state for most transactional work. That said, I understand that BB is considered maybe a step ahead with respect to the types of matters that are handled by our Global Projects group -- transactional work related to the buying and selling of physical assets, primarily in the energy industry (as opposed to the securities type transactional work handled by our corporate group). But take that with a grain of salt, given the bias in my perspective.

EDIT: Also, I try not to talk trash about other firms, and I don't have anything specifically negative to say about Latham Houston. But I come from an era when "Latham" was a verb. I know a good number of people who got laid off as first years with huge amounts of student loan debt. Going through recruiting cycles now, and seeing Latham get a lot of attention in the Houston market, makes me frustrated for the short institutional memory. I get it if that's your only offer, but if you have options, I don't know why Latham's history wouldn't cause some serious hesitation. I appreciate that nobody expects those particular circumstances to repeat themselves, but from my perspective the management who made the decision to lay all those first- and second-years off are the management who are still running the firm. That says something about their character, and if I had options, I would not voluntarily let them have any involvement in my career.

EDIT #2: And in case you don't know what I'm referencing, please read this: http://abovethelaw.com/2010/06/how-did- ... r-layoffs/
Last edited by Anonymous User on Fri Apr 12, 2013 1:34 am, edited 3 times in total.

Anonymous User
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Re: Is V&E Underrated?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Apr 12, 2013 1:22 am

Anonymous User wrote:Do you have any idea how Fulbright falls into the scheme of things? Both when thinking about litigation and when thinking about corporate. They seem to be a leg lower in corporate, but thats definitely not the feeling that anyone in their corporate department gives off (obviously) so curious to hear any insight on F&J.


Fulbright is kind of a black box for me. Reputation-wise inside of Baker Botts (for whatever that is worth), it seems like their litigation department is well thought of, but not so much their transactional practice. It is the inverse of V&E. I also know that there's some nervousness over what will happen given the Norton Rose acquisition, although realistically the answer is likely not much.

Anecdotally, when folks split V&E/BB (which is becoming nearly impossible), it seems we win about half those battles. When folks split F&J/BB, we win almost all of them. Similarly, whenever anyone at BB is discussing "the market," it is typically understood that that means V&E. So from my perspective, maybe F&J is a step behind compared to V&E? But I don't know if that is reflective of any reality about their practice, people, clients, etc.

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Re: Is V&E Underrated?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Apr 12, 2013 1:36 am

Anonymous User wrote:@ the BB Associate -

Do you know what the exit options are like for those in the non-TX satellite offices in Houston? A lot's been talked about Latham, but what about the others—Jones Day, Weil, Mayer, Sidley, STB, Cadwalader, etc.?

Unfortunately, I don't know the answer to this.

EDIT: I gave this some more thought, and let me say something a little more productive. I know sometimes people don't want to ask about exit options during an interview because it can make it seem like you're thinking about leaving before you get hired. But your first best lead for exit options will be the clients you have good relationships with, so another tactic is to find out as much about them as you can during the interview. Ask the folks interviewing you about who their clients are and how matters are handled between offices. The information you want to get is (1) are the matters you'd be working on managed locally in the Houston office, or are you going to be a remote team members on matters managed out of some other office; and (2) are the clients you'd be working for based in Houston/have significant legal departments in Houston.

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Re: Is V&E Underrated?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 12, 2015 1:50 am

Rising UT 2L, very interested in Lit and looking more deeply into V&E, Fulbright, BB and Bracewell. I have heard nothing but good things about V&E but I also understand that along with BB they are very focused on transactional, and that Fulbright is the litigation king of Houston when it comes to BigTex firms. Is this still true? A breakdown of all of the Houston lit groups would be great but I am more curious about the individual culture, emphasis and workload of these four firms.

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Re: Is V&E Underrated?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 08, 2016 9:05 pm

Bump. Thoughts on V&E in NYC for corporate? I know the Houston reputation dominates but is the NYC office generally well respected for corporate work (M&A or capital markets)?

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Re: Is V&E Underrated?

Postby Clearly » Thu Sep 08, 2016 9:21 pm

Lol of course the nyc office is a satellite, it's got like 45 lawyers in it!

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Re: Is V&E Underrated?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 08, 2016 11:10 pm

Different anon, same question.

Can anyone speak to V&E's reputation/perception in NY, their clientele in NY, and their exit options?

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Re: Is V&E Underrated?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 10, 2016 9:09 pm

Bump regarding the New York office.......

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Re: Is V&E Underrated?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 10, 2016 9:50 pm

Have heard multiple V&E attorneys describe the NY office as a "vanity project." Within the firm, it is known to to lose money. I would avoid.

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Re: Is V&E Underrated?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 10, 2016 10:31 pm

Do you have any other info or specifics? If yes, can I pm you?




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