Is V&E Underrated?

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Old Gregg
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Re: Is V&E Underrated?

Postby Old Gregg » Tue Sep 18, 2012 8:06 pm

Anonymous User wrote:V&E is totally underrated; they are even trying to become a bigger force in NYC so it would be great to be a part of that. It's also someplace you can stay for more than 3 years, as opposed to getting kicked out after 3 years at a V10 firm in NYC.


Youre entirely overstating this. If you're incompetent enough to be booted at year 3 from a v10, youre incompetent enough to be booted from v&e at year 3.

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Old Gregg
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Re: Is V&E Underrated?

Postby Old Gregg » Tue Sep 18, 2012 8:10 pm

V&E has a lot of talented M&A partners in Houston doing cutting edge work that V10s would love to have. That's whey they've been hiring them left and right and opening offices in the town. Look at Latham and Simpson. Weil to a lesser extent.

This is an important consideration. The firms above have almost double the PPP of V&E, and therefore enough buying power to sway at partner at V&E. I'm sure this "talent drain" is something being taken very seriously by management.

Of course, you can follow the partner, but I doubt departing partners have much sympathy for summers and juniors (though it does happen). More often than not, partners tend to bring with them their most talented senior and midlevel associates.

Something to think about.

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Re: Is V&E Underrated?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 18, 2012 8:16 pm

Anonymous User wrote: I chose my firm over V&E for a variety of reasons - but mostly because V&E Dallas is a pale imitation of V&E Houston and I wanted to be in Dallas.


Please expound on this. Did you end up at HayBoo?

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Re: Is V&E Underrated?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 18, 2012 8:17 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote: I chose my firm over V&E for a variety of reasons - but mostly because V&E Dallas is a pale imitation of V&E Houston and I wanted to be in Dallas.


Please expound on this. Did you end up at HayBoo?


That's a pretty harsh over-generalization, IMO, and really not true.

There are less classic energy deals out of the Dallas office, but still plenty of work.

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Re: Is V&E Underrated?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 18, 2012 11:55 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote: I chose my firm over V&E for a variety of reasons - but mostly because V&E Dallas is a pale imitation of V&E Houston and I wanted to be in Dallas.


Please expound on this. Did you end up at HayBoo?


That's a pretty harsh over-generalization, IMO, and really not true.

There are less classic energy deals out of the Dallas office, but still plenty of work.


I'm not going to say where I ended up. I didn't mean to imply that V&E Dallas doesn't have enough work, but when you compare V&E Houston and V&E Dallas, there are some very stark differences. Namely:

1. Much less capital markets work in Dallas (much, much, much less - probably because Dallas overall has less than Houston, but there are firms in town with significantly larger/stronger capital markets practices, e.g., Jones Day and HayBoo)

2. Much stuffier culture in Dallas (they actually compare themselves to BB Houston with respect to culture - why? I have no idea, because I've never met someone that I liked who would consider that a compliment).

3. Exit ops out of V&E Houston are more varied, better and easier to get (V&E has significantly more attrition than other Texas firms, and in Houston, the people who leave often end up in-house of great clients - this is not the case for associates who leave V&E Dallas - mainly because the Dallas office has fewer institutional clients and even fewer actually based in Dallas)

If you ask anyone in V&E Houston which offices V&E is focused on, they would tell you: 1. Houston, 2. NYC, 3. International, 4. Palo Alto/SF, and in that order. Dallas, Austin and DC are basically afterthoughts.

I have talked with many associates who have left V&E over the years - I don't think its any coincidence that every single associate I talked to from Houston at least had mixed things to say about V&E and nearly all say that if they had to do it over again, they would still go to V&E. Every single associate I've talked to who has left V&E Dallas says they wished they had done more research about the Dallas legal market and the V&E Dallas office in particular. As others have mentioned, it is very very difficult to lateral between Dallas offices, so you can't just call TK when you realize that V&E isn't going to work out. Ask yourself is more "prestige" now is going to be worth a dead-end in-house job in five years...

As to the poster's original question, I think V&E is somewhat underrated - V&E Houston has, hands down, the best corporate work in Texas. Look at the league tables - its not even close (only Latham comes close these days). After V&E (and Latham), AK and Bracewell are both very strong players. BB is strong but seems to be slipping and is often ranked lower than both Bracewell and AK in the league tables. However, these tables are all Houston-skewed since Houston firms get so much more transactional work than Dallas. If you want to know how the Dallas offices shake out, let me know and we can discuss.

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Re: Is V&E Underrated?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 19, 2012 12:04 am

Can you discuss Dallas?

That was a very helpful discussion.

nonprofit-prophet
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Re: Is V&E Underrated?

Postby nonprofit-prophet » Wed Sep 19, 2012 12:12 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote: I chose my firm over V&E for a variety of reasons - but mostly because V&E Dallas is a pale imitation of V&E Houston and I wanted to be in Dallas.


Please expound on this. Did you end up at HayBoo?


That's a pretty harsh over-generalization, IMO, and really not true.

There are less classic energy deals out of the Dallas office, but still plenty of work.


I'm not going to say where I ended up. I didn't mean to imply that V&E Dallas doesn't have enough work, but when you compare V&E Houston and V&E Dallas, there are some very stark differences. Namely:

1. Much less capital markets work in Dallas (much, much, much less - probably because Dallas overall has less than Houston, but there are firms in town with significantly larger/stronger capital markets practices, e.g., Jones Day and HayBoo)

2. Much stuffier culture in Dallas (they actually compare themselves to BB Houston with respect to culture - why? I have no idea, because I've never met someone that I liked who would consider that a compliment).

3. Exit ops out of V&E Houston are more varied, better and easier to get (V&E has significantly more attrition than other Texas firms, and in Houston, the people who leave often end up in-house of great clients - this is not the case for associates who leave V&E Dallas - mainly because the Dallas office has fewer institutional clients and even fewer actually based in Dallas)

If you ask anyone in V&E Houston which offices V&E is focused on, they would tell you: 1. Houston, 2. NYC, 3. International, 4. Palo Alto/SF, and in that order. Dallas, Austin and DC are basically afterthoughts.

I have talked with many associates who have left V&E over the years - I don't think its any coincidence that every single associate I talked to from Houston at least had mixed things to say about V&E and nearly all say that if they had to do it over again, they would still go to V&E. Every single associate I've talked to who has left V&E Dallas says they wished they had done more research about the Dallas legal market and the V&E Dallas office in particular. As others have mentioned, it is very very difficult to lateral between Dallas offices, so you can't just call TK when you realize that V&E isn't going to work out. Ask yourself is more "prestige" now is going to be worth a dead-end in-house job in five years...

As to the poster's original question, I think V&E is somewhat underrated - V&E Houston has, hands down, the best corporate work in Texas. Look at the league tables - its not even close (only Latham comes close these days). After V&E (and Latham), AK and Bracewell are both very strong players. BB is strong but seems to be slipping and is often ranked lower than both Bracewell and AK in the league tables. However, these tables are all Houston-skewed since Houston firms get so much more transactional work than Dallas. If you want to know how the Dallas offices shake out, let me know and we can discuss.


I agree with a lot of this, but I will say that (from the perspective of a 2L) VE Dallas seems to be trying to change its culture. The new hiring partner seems to have placed a premium on social skills (judging by last year's summers from UT and the UT students with offers this year).

That being said, there are definitely Dallas firms with better cultures/work environments. I highly recommend HB to everyone.

Also, I do know that you can get on a lot of Houston deals from the Dallas office, so you can get the best of both worlds (living in Dallas and good work) to some extent.

P.S. To the author of the post I quoted, I think we're FB friends.

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Re: Is V&E Underrated?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 19, 2012 8:05 am

nonprofit-prophet wrote:
P.S. To the author of the post I quoted, I think we're FB friends.


Am I that transparent? :)

Back into hiding I go...

As for V&E Dallas changing its culture, that is good to hear. I also want to go on record as saying that the office still has some great people - whose opinions I really trust. Much of my information about the office comes from them.

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Re: Is V&E Underrated?

Postby sherpaorlawschool » Wed Sep 19, 2012 8:35 am

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Last edited by sherpaorlawschool on Wed Sep 19, 2012 9:10 am, edited 1 time in total.

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ryanmot
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Re: Is V&E Underrated?

Postby ryanmot » Wed Sep 19, 2012 8:43 am

Anonymous User wrote:Latham Houston is 1 or 2 for some metrics for energy work now.


I heard Latham is band 1 in lathaming people..

My gut is to go with V&E, but their Vault ranking is somewhere in the 50s.


This doesn't matter. It totally depends on which "v10" firm you're talking about.

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Re: Is V&E Underrated?

Postby NoleinNY » Wed Sep 19, 2012 9:05 am

englawyer wrote:Their corporate work for Enron was unparalleled : )

Damn, beat me to it.

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Re: Is V&E Underrated?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 19, 2012 10:05 am

I just finished choosing a V15 over V&E in Dallas. It really had nothing to do with V&E, and everything to do with the other firm. I'm a big "gut feeling" guy, so if your gut is telling you V&E, I'm sure you wouldn't regret it.

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Re: Is V&E Underrated?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:22 am

This may be the best place for this, but have they been giving out offers for V&E NY? It's easily my top choice, but I haven't heard from them. Coming on 3 weeks from cb

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Re: Is V&E Underrated?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 19, 2012 2:51 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Can you discuss Dallas?

That was a very helpful discussion.


Here we go.

First, I want to note that this analysis relates solely to transactional work. Litigation is an entirely different ballgame - if you would like to see that analysis, I can do a cursory one, but it won't be nearly as informed. Also, I think the analysis of transactional work in Dallas is easiest when grouped into three categories (National Satellites, Houston Satellites, and Dallas-based Firms), so that's what I've done. Not everyone is the same, so every person's analysis should be different, especially when it comes to culture decisions - rumor on the street is that some people actually like BB Houston's culture.

1. National Satellites:

Top Tier:
Weil – great work, top of the market pay, some difficult personalities, no partnership chances, long hours (but I’ve heard that the hours are actually a little better than JD), has maintained its size over the past few years, the best national name recognition
Jones Day – great work, pay is no better than BigTex firms, some very difficult partners (in the capital markets group, not the m&a group), no partnership chances, very very long hours, the biggest corporate group among the national satellites (but the office as a whole has shed about 50 lawyers (or 25%) in 4 years), great name recognition if you aren’t sure about staying in Dallas long-term
Gibson Dunn – good work, top of the market pay, hours aren’t bad, mostly good people (with one notable exception among the corporate partners), no partnership chances

Lower Tier:
K&L Gates – very slow, slightly below market pay, some nice people but not overly outgoing
Akin Gump – yes, I know it started in Dallas, but this office is a shell of its former self (just like the Houston office) and way smaller than the NYC or DC offices so imo this is a satellite office, pay is in line with BigTex firms, very little partnership chance as this office is not a priority for the firm, has good investment fund work but little other transactional work
Patton Boggs – don’t know much other than they have a lot of finance/bank work (less m&a work) and the pay is in line with BigTex firms
Baker McKenzie – small and not growing but people stay relatively busy, pay is in line with BigTex firms
Hunton & Williams – small corporate group, but has a few heavy hitters leftover from when it acquired the remaining Jenkins & Gilchrist lawyers, pay is probably a little worse than the BigTex firms

2. Houston Satellites:

Top Tier (the largest of the BigTex firms):
Vinson & Elkins – the biggest corporate group of the Houston satellites by far, at the top of the BigTex firms when it comes to pay, very stuffy/introverted office culture (esp when compared to the Houston office), very small (and random) partnership chance, the best exit ops of the Houston satellites (due to both its reputation and group size), has maintained a relatively consistent size over the past few years
Baker Botts – this office has been shrinking dramatically (from almost 200 lawyers 4 years ago to around 120 today), very small corporate group (IP and lit are the focus of this office – and every BB office other than Houston), not very busy, more laid back and friendly firm culture (especially when compared to BB Houston), pay is in line with BigTex firms but no better (and bonuses are notoriously late – up to 4 months late)
Fulbright – friendly (if overly fratty) office culture, very small corporate group (the partners are mostly ex-Winstead), pretty slow right now, pay is in line with BigTex firms, has maintained a relatively consistent size over the past few years (VE, BB, and Fulbright are all in the 120-135 range now, I believe)

Lower Tier (still BigTex – as a whole, these firms are very similar to the top tier of the Dallas-based firms below in terms of size/prestige/etc.):
Andrews Kurth – small corporate group (but probably the same as BB and Fulbright) but growing, fairly busy, pay is in line with BigTex firms, friendly office culture (but not nearly as social/fratty as AK Houston), slim partnership chance
Bracewell – very very small group, doesn’t really make a dent in the Dallas market

One thing to note about the Houston satellites is that these offices seem to be more of an afterthought than the top national satellites – each of the Houston firms ranks Dallas pretty low on their list of priorities (they’re all focused on Houston, NYC and international work because that is what feeds their energy work)

3. Dallas-based Firms:

Top Tier (the remaining three BigTex firms):
Haynes Boone – the largest corporate group in town (with JD second), very outgoing (some say too outgoing/fratty) firm culture, busy (but not totally swamped as they hire the largest incoming classes in Dallas), pay matches the BigTex firms (HB matches but never leads the way on pay increases), probably the best (but still far from a guarantee) partnership chances of any place in town, hours can be bad when you’re busy but generally a low facetime requirement, the only Dallas-based firm other than Locke to actively expand into new markets such as NYC (has probably the largest NYC office now of any BigTex firm) and CA but is behind the Houston 3 when it comes to international expansion, firm hasn’t shrunk or grown much over the past 4 years
Thompson & Knight – small corporate group (they’re more known for oil&gas, tax, and real estate work), friendly firm culture, decent partnership chances, firm is actively looking to merge and isn’t very successful outside of the Dallas market (the non-Dallas offices have like 4-1 partner to associate ratios), they’re shrunk quite a bit over the past 4 years (by about 20%) in Dallas and have lost almost all of their international lawyers (most to Mayer Brown)
Locke Lord – small corporate group (they’re mostly known for litigation), friendly but quirky firm culture, good partnership chances (they are partner heavy), the merger seems to have worked out pretty well, and they are ahead of the other Dallas firms when it comes to expansion in London, the Dallas office has shrunk by about 20% over the past 4 years

Lower Tier:
Gardere – still has some good work but the corporate group is smaller, friendly people but didn’t do much for their popularity when they no offered an entire summer class (in Dallas and Houston – about 25 people) in 2009, pay below the BigTex firms
Winstead – used to be a much bigger player in Dallas (there are a lot of former Winstead corporate lawyers in the big shops in town), still has a good real estate group, friendly people, corporate group is pretty busy, pay significantly below the BigTex firms
Jackson Walker – small corporate group, friendly firm culture, seems intent on staying a Texas-only regional firm, moderately busy, pay similar to Winstead
Strasburger – like Jackson Walker but in worse financial shape (with crazy partner to associate ratios – something like 6 partners to each associate), not very busy and probably the worst pay of any firm listed here

If anyone has any further questions, let me know and I’ll pm you. Hope this helps!

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Re: Is V&E Underrated?

Postby DMXdawg » Wed Sep 19, 2012 3:07 pm

To the above anon:

Thanks!! That was very,very helpful!

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Re: Is V&E Underrated?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 19, 2012 3:21 pm

DMXdawg wrote:To the above anon:

Thanks!! That was very,very helpful!


You're welcome. I'll also add my personal rankings (if I had offers at every firm listed and was trying to choose) by category:

National:
GDC (since partnership doesn't matter in this category, might as well go for the best work/life/pay balance and I think this puts GDC slightly ahead of Weil, with JD pretty far behind), Weil, JD, Akin, K&L, PB, H&W, BM

Houston satellites:
AK (work is second to VE, but firm culture, work/life balance and partnership chances helps place it first), VE, Fulbright, BB, Bracewell

Dallas-based:
HB (don't think the competition is really that close within this category, though TK is very good for non-corporate transactional work - the real question here is whether you go for GDC's/Weil's/VE's national name recognition (and associated perks like pay at GDC and a little bit better national exit ops at all 3) over HB), TK, LL, Gardere, Winstead, JW, Strasburger.

Final thought re exit ops - firms (and employers to some extent but probably less so) are very aware of the top firms in each market. Just because Fulbright is more highly ranked nationally than Dorsey & Whitney does not mean that if you want the option to lateral out of Minneapolis you should choose Fulbright. Everyone in the know in the legal market knows that Dorsey is the best shop in Minneapolis.

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Re: Is V&E Underrated?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 19, 2012 3:39 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Latham Houston is 1 or 2 for some metrics for energy work now.


I heard Latham had to spend a ton of money to woo some V&E partners away to try to build any kind of practice in TX. They still don't seem like one of the big dogs there to me.


They did woo those partners away, but those partners were big rainmakers, so it was a fantastic move that could've blown up in their faces, but didn't. They're still growing at this point (SA classes 7 to 9 to likely 11 this year). Plus, they're all transactional.

Latham is killing it right now, and they've actually succeeded in breaking into a market and thriving. I'm not saying they've won a land war in Russia, but they have done far better than Skadden, etc.

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Re: Is V&E Underrated?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 19, 2012 3:45 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Latham Houston is 1 or 2 for some metrics for energy work now.


I heard Latham had to spend a ton of money to woo some V&E partners away to try to build any kind of practice in TX. They still don't seem like one of the big dogs there to me.


They did woo those partners away, but those partners were big rainmakers, so it was a fantastic move that could've blown up in their faces, but didn't. They're still growing at this point (SA classes 7 to 9 to likely 11 this year). Plus, they're all transactional.

Latham is killing it right now, and they've actually succeeded in breaking into a market and thriving. I'm not saying they've won a land war in Russia, but they have done far better than Skadden, etc.


Completely agree. They're pretty much the only firm to ever move into Houston and really make a dent. I would argue, though, that Sidley is landing some pretty impressive people too. I'm not sure what the future holds for Latham, but I don't think they'll flame out like so many others have.

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Re: Is V&E Underrated?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 19, 2012 4:15 pm

So what about the New York office then? It seems like the firm has an awesome reputation in general, and posters here are saying that NY is one of their highest priority offices. I know they have done some absolutely massive deals through NY, especially over the past couple years. Basically my thinking is that because V&E is the best in a large state and has some really significant areas of expertise, going to its New York office is not like going to the New York "satellite" office of some of the smaller/lesser firms that are based elsewhere.

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Re: Is V&E Underrated?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 19, 2012 4:27 pm

Anonymous User wrote:So what about the New York office then? It seems like the firm has an awesome reputation in general, and posters here are saying that NY is one of their highest priority offices. I know they have done some absolutely massive deals through NY, especially over the past couple years. Basically my thinking is that because V&E is the best in a large state and has some really significant areas of expertise, going to its New York office is not like going to the New York "satellite" office of some of the smaller/lesser firms that are based elsewhere.


Anon from above that was asking about offers. I'm from Texas and go to school in the NE. Interviewed with V&E and loved them. Seem very cutting edge and they claim that 60-70% of their work, even in NY, is energy deals. Everyone I met there loved their job, with the exception of one associate who had been a bit over worked the past month.

nonprofit-prophet
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Re: Is V&E Underrated?

Postby nonprofit-prophet » Wed Sep 19, 2012 4:34 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
DMXdawg wrote:To the above anon:

Thanks!! That was very,very helpful!


You're welcome. I'll also add my personal rankings (if I had offers at every firm listed and was trying to choose) by category:

National:
GDC (since partnership doesn't matter in this category, might as well go for the best work/life/pay balance and I think this puts GDC slightly ahead of Weil, with JD pretty far behind), Weil, JD, Akin, K&L, PB, H&W, BM

Houston satellites:
AK (work is second to VE, but firm culture, work/life balance and partnership chances helps place it first), VE, Fulbright, BB, Bracewell

Dallas-based:
HB (don't think the competition is really that close within this category, though TK is very good for non-corporate transactional work - the real question here is whether you go for GDC's/Weil's/VE's national name recognition (and associated perks like pay at GDC and a little bit better national exit ops at all 3) over HB), TK, LL, Gardere, Winstead, JW, Strasburger.

Final thought re exit ops - firms (and employers to some extent but probably less so) are very aware of the top firms in each market. Just because Fulbright is more highly ranked nationally than Dorsey & Whitney does not mean that if you want the option to lateral out of Minneapolis you should choose Fulbright. Everyone in the know in the legal market knows that Dorsey is the best shop in Minneapolis.


I'm curious about your take on Dallas lit. I think most of our prior discussions (assuming I've got the right person in mind) pertained to culture and M&A.

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Re: Is V&E Underrated?

Postby justinp » Wed Sep 19, 2012 5:32 pm

Piggybacking on the above, if someone reasonably well-informed could give a breakdown of the litigation situation in Texas generally, I'd really appreciate it. As in: what various lit groups mainly do, culture of those groups, who the major and up-and-coming players are, etc. etc. in the Houston/Dallas/Austin areas.

Thanks!

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Re: Is V&E Underrated?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 19, 2012 5:33 pm

justinp wrote:Piggybacking on the above, if someone reasonably well-informed could give a breakdown of the litigation situation in Texas generally, I'd really appreciate it. As in: what various lit groups mainly do, culture of those groups, who the major and up-and-coming players are, etc. etc. in the Houston/Dallas/Austin areas.

Thanks!


Breaking down all of the lit groups in three markets? - that's quite a task.

Do you have any specific questions or options you're considering?

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Re: Is V&E Underrated?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 19, 2012 5:37 pm

Anonymous User wrote:So what about the New York office then? It seems like the firm has an awesome reputation in general, and posters here are saying that NY is one of their highest priority offices. I know they have done some absolutely massive deals through NY, especially over the past couple years. Basically my thinking is that because V&E is the best in a large state and has some really significant areas of expertise, going to its New York office is not like going to the New York "satellite" office of some of the smaller/lesser firms that are based elsewhere.


I would agree. V&E NYC definitely gets great work. However, because NYC is so much bigger than the Texas markets and a little more anonymous, Vault matters a bit more there. With that said, if you want to work at a firm for a while (and possibly stick around to try and make partner), V&E would definitely be a good option if you want to do energy transactional work. The only other Texas-based firms that really compete in NYC are Bracewell (mostly on a securities/white collar lit front), HB (on a real estate/mid-market corporate front), Fulbright (on a litigation front, obviously) and BB (solely on an IP front).

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Re: Is V&E Underrated?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 24, 2012 10:01 pm

T-14, top 15%, LR.

Just chose V&E Htown over BB Htown and a 3 NYC V25 firm offers, including 1 V5. Hard decision, but when it comes down to it, OP, the money goes farther in Texas and the people in all areas at V&E are phenomenal (granted some groups do seem a little more "fratty" than others).

I have to admit though, the most surprising part of the OCI process was how assbergery the people at BB Htown were. I had a dinner and CB with BB people and EVERY SINGLE conversation seemed forced. Seriously, like how does that firm get business?




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