S&C or Cleary????

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LawStudent711
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S&C or Cleary????

Postby LawStudent711 » Wed Sep 19, 2012 3:02 pm

Hi everyone,

I recently received offers from a few firms and have narrowed it down to Sullivan & Cromwell or Cleary Gottlieb. Any thoughts? PLEASE HELP!

LawStudent711
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Re: S&C or Cleary????

Postby LawStudent711 » Wed Sep 19, 2012 3:04 pm

BOTH IN NYC

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Re: S&C or Cleary????

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 19, 2012 3:07 pm

S&C is a marginally better transactional firm and a much better lit firm. It's also a clearly more prestigious name. But cleary is probably a better place to work and has a more international practice. But in terms of reputation s&c wins, and likely in terms of level of work as well.

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Re: S&C or Cleary????

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 19, 2012 4:24 pm

Anonymous User wrote:S&C is a marginally better transactional firm and a much better lit firm. It's also a clearly more prestigious name. But cleary is probably a better place to work and has a more international practice. But in terms of reputation s&c wins, and likely in terms of level of work as well.


I'd say S&C has a MUCH better corporate practice - pretty much across the board, S&C has a stronger practice than Cleary. And Cleary is well known to not be a great place to work... (though S&C has been known for that reputation too).

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Re: S&C or Cleary????

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 19, 2012 6:11 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:S&C is a marginally better transactional firm and a much better lit firm. It's also a clearly more prestigious name. But cleary is probably a better place to work and has a more international practice. But in terms of reputation s&c wins, and likely in terms of level of work as well.


I'd say S&C has a MUCH better corporate practice - pretty much across the board, S&C has a stronger practice than Cleary. And Cleary is well known to not be a great place to work... (though S&C has been known for that reputation too).


Care to elaborate on Cleary not being a great place to work? I don't think I've really ever heard anyone say anything negative about Cleary. Certainly not even close to the level of what the rumor mill spits out about S&C.

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Re: S&C or Cleary????

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 19, 2012 8:38 pm

I heard an interesting anecdote from a law professor at NYU. He said a few years ago, S&C was threatening to stop interviewing at NYU, because the firm did so badly with NYU students. They would give a bunch of offers and they would all (or mostly) be rejected. Cleary, on the other hand, does extremely well with NYU students, far more than other schools. Apparently, this is the opposite case at Columbia (though this is speculation--I haven't verified this).

And this makes some intuitive sense. A lot of the people who go to NYU also got into Columbia, but picked NYU because they thought it would be a better "fit" or they liked the environment/people better, etc. You can see this in a small way in the difference between living/going to school in the village and going to school in the Upper West Side. NYU students (at least some of them) chose these sorts of things over ranking. Whereas there are likely at least some people at Columbia (though I wouldn't know because I don't go there) who valued the ranking over some of those more intangible things.

My suspicion is that the choice between S&C and Cleary is similar. If you value "fit" and the overall experience of work, you're probably going to pick Cleary. If you value ranking and the "quality" of the work you receive, you are more likely to pick S&C. One isn't necessarily better than the other. It's just different strokes for different folks.

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Re: S&C or Cleary????

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 19, 2012 8:44 pm

^ Similarly, I'm at M, and everyone here rejected their SullCrom offer last year (there must have been at least ten and maybe fifteen+ offers given). I think Michigan has a similarly "laid back" vibe as NYU. Many more people accepted offers at firms like Cleary and DPW. On the other hand, a school like HLS (similar in vibe to Columbia) routinely has 25-30 students accept offers (though they obviously give out many more offers to H students than to M students--possibly in the 75+ range).

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Re: S&C or Cleary????

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 19, 2012 9:00 pm

Turned down an S&C offer last year. Didn't like the people I met both at the firm and those from my school who were at the offer dinner.

Always spooked me a bit that S&C has such a high callback:offer ratio. To me that reflects that S&C cares primarily about grades, moreso than other firms, and that fit is less of a consideration.

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Re: S&C or Cleary????

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 19, 2012 9:22 pm

I went to Cleary and S&C offer dinners this year.. S&C people were okay. Cleary people were the most obnoxious and elitist people I've met. Declined both offers.

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Re: S&C or Cleary????

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 19, 2012 9:28 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I heard an interesting anecdote from a law professor at NYU. He said a few years ago, S&C was threatening to stop interviewing at NYU, because the firm did so badly with NYU students. They would give a bunch of offers and they would all (or mostly) be rejected. Cleary, on the other hand, does extremely well with NYU students, far more than other schools. Apparently, this is the opposite case at Columbia (though this is speculation--I haven't verified this).

And this makes some intuitive sense. A lot of the people who go to NYU also got into Columbia, but picked NYU because they thought it would be a better "fit" or they liked the environment/people better, etc. You can see this in a small way in the difference between living/going to school in the village and going to school in the Upper West Side. NYU students (at least some of them) chose these sorts of things over ranking. Whereas there are likely at least some people at Columbia (though I wouldn't know because I don't go there) who valued the ranking over some of those more intangible things.

My suspicion is that the choice between S&C and Cleary is similar. If you value "fit" and the overall experience of work, you're probably going to pick Cleary. If you value ranking and the "quality" of the work you receive, you are more likely to pick S&C. One isn't necessarily better than the other. It's just different strokes for different folks.


I'm not sure what you consider Cleary doing "well" with NYU, but I go to CLS and I'll just say that last year, 19 out of 50 people accepted their Cleary offer and 10 out of 33 accepted their S&C offer. So about 40% accepted Cleary and a little less then 33% accepted S&C. 56% accepted in 2009 and again a little less than 33% accepted S&C that year. So... take that for what it's worth I guess? I think the dichotomy between CLS and NYU is a false dichotomy anyway.

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Re: S&C or Cleary????

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 19, 2012 9:29 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I went to Cleary and S&C offer dinners this year.. S&C people were okay. Cleary people were the most obnoxious and elitist people I've met. Declined both offers.


Mind saying where you accepted? Might help us tell what type of culture you do like.

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Re: S&C or Cleary????

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:05 pm

Received an S&C offer and would definitely accept it over any other NYC firm.

They put much more effort into convincing me to come than any other firm. When asked about partners to meet with, they were the only firm that gave me multiple interviews with senior partners that I requested to talk to. Those people were not only genuinely nice people but they also followed up after my offer. I also thought their answers about collaboration and quality of work assignments were very encouraging. I guess everyone has their own experience though which is why it is silly to make these decisions based on such small pieces of info.

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Re: S&C or Cleary????

Postby 5ky » Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:10 pm


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Re: S&C or Cleary????

Postby Old Gregg » Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:18 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Received an S&C offer and would definitely accept it over any other NYC firm.

They put much more effort into convincing me to come than any other firm. When asked about partners to meet with, they were the only firm that gave me multiple interviews with senior partners that I requested to talk to. Those people were not only genuinely nice people but they also followed up after my offer. I also thought their answers about collaboration and quality of work assignments were very encouraging. I guess everyone has their own experience though which is why it is silly to make these decisions based on such small pieces of info.


Yes, they're trying to recruit you. You seem to be easy to convince,

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Re: S&C or Cleary????

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:42 pm

Fresh Prince wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Received an S&C offer and would definitely accept it over any other NYC firm.

They put much more effort into convincing me to come than any other firm. When asked about partners to meet with, they were the only firm that gave me multiple interviews with senior partners that I requested to talk to. Those people were not only genuinely nice people but they also followed up after my offer. I also thought their answers about collaboration and quality of work assignments were very encouraging. I guess everyone has their own experience though which is why it is silly to make these decisions based on such small pieces of info.


Yes, they're trying to recruit you. You seem to be easy to convince,


I figure every firm i get a callback at is trying to recruit me, S&C was just better at it.

Firms that aren't willing to put resources behind recruiting make me think that they don't value talent.

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Re: S&C or Cleary????

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:45 pm

This thread definitely makes me feel better about choosing a V40 firm over S&C.

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Re: S&C or Cleary????

Postby bk1 » Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:48 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Firms that aren't willing to put resources behind recruiting make me think that they don't value talent.

Yes, because 2nd year law students can be considered "talent."

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Re: S&C or Cleary????

Postby ph14 » Thu Sep 20, 2012 12:01 am

bk1 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Firms that aren't willing to put resources behind recruiting make me think that they don't value talent.

Yes, because 2nd year law students can be considered "talent."


That 2nd year law student now could be a future rainmaker.

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Re: S&C or Cleary????

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 20, 2012 12:05 am

I chose Cleary over S&C, despite being lit focused. You ultimately have to decide where you like the people better. I recognize that S&C's lit practice is definitely better than Cleary's, but frankly, there are maybe a ten thousand people in the world who can actually tell the difference between the two.

The way I would characterize the difference in cultures is this: S&C tried to sell me on the quality of the work, hard. All I wanted was someone there to tell me they liked working there, or genuinely enjoyed their coworkers, and I'd have been sold. But all I kept getting was that the work was unparalleled (something I literally conceded to them to try and get around it at the beginning of the conversation). They don't care about who they have- they just want geniuses, and they have to recruit extremely aggressively, and still get minimal yield.

Cleary's recruitment strategy focuses heavily on fit (low callback:offer matches this). They have extremely high yield, and will not overtly recruit you- they want you to come to them, and are confident you will. They will absolutely work you to the bone, just like S&C- but the firm seems to genuinely care about its human capital, and about having a good working environment, in ways that S&C doesn't.

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Re: S&C or Cleary????

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 20, 2012 12:10 am

Anonymous User wrote:I chose Cleary over S&C, despite being lit focused. You ultimately have to decide where you like the people better. I recognize that S&C's lit practice is definitely better than Cleary's, but frankly, there are maybe a ten thousand people in the world who can actually tell the difference between the two.

The way I would characterize the difference in cultures is this: S&C tried to sell me on the quality of the work, hard. All I wanted was someone there to tell me they liked working there, or genuinely enjoyed their coworkers, and I'd have been sold. But all I kept getting was that the work was unparalleled (something I literally conceded to them to try and get around it at the beginning of the conversation). They don't care about who they have- they just want geniuses, and they have to recruit extremely aggressively, and still get minimal yield.

Cleary's recruitment strategy focuses heavily on fit (low callback:offer matches this). They have extremely high yield, and will not overtly recruit you- they want you to come to them, and are confident you will. They will absolutely work you to the bone, just like S&C- but the firm seems to genuinely care about its human capital, and about having a good working environment, in ways that S&C doesn't.



Exactly my sentiments on S&C's recruiting pitch. Every interaction I had with them was about work, work, work. "I hear you're interested in XYZ, well I once did a deal in XYZ, blah blah blah." I think law is fine, but my life doesn't revolve around it. That seemed to be the case at S&C though.

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Re: S&C or Cleary????

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 20, 2012 12:12 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I chose Cleary over S&C, despite being lit focused. You ultimately have to decide where you like the people better. I recognize that S&C's lit practice is definitely better than Cleary's, but frankly, there are maybe a ten thousand people in the world who can actually tell the difference between the two.

The way I would characterize the difference in cultures is this: S&C tried to sell me on the quality of the work, hard. All I wanted was someone there to tell me they liked working there, or genuinely enjoyed their coworkers, and I'd have been sold. But all I kept getting was that the work was unparalleled (something I literally conceded to them to try and get around it at the beginning of the conversation). They don't care about who they have- they just want geniuses, and they have to recruit extremely aggressively, and still get minimal yield.

Cleary's recruitment strategy focuses heavily on fit (low callback:offer matches this). They have extremely high yield, and will not overtly recruit you- they want you to come to them, and are confident you will. They will absolutely work you to the bone, just like S&C- but the firm seems to genuinely care about its human capital, and about having a good working environment, in ways that S&C doesn't.



Exactly my sentiments on S&C's recruiting pitch. Every interaction I had with them was about work, work, work. "I hear you're interested in XYZ, well I once did a deal in XYZ, blah blah blah." I think law is fine, but my life doesn't revolve around it. That seemed to be the case at S&C though.


Quoted anon here: Exactly. At one Cleary meal, I talked about television shows we all watched, and sports. At the S&C meal, we talked about an anti-trust case (which, admittedly, was awesome). But like, really?

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Re: S&C or Cleary????

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 20, 2012 12:22 am

Don't know what this is worth, but I've known litigators who have lateraled out of both firms to a well-regarded "friendly" firm in NYC. When I left for law school and sought advice about other firms, the Cleary defectors had nothing but the best to say about their old firm, but the S&C folks were nowhere near as enthusiastic and some of them wound up being poor fits for our firm.

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Re: S&C or Cleary????

Postby Old Gregg » Thu Sep 20, 2012 7:05 am

ph14 wrote:
bk1 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Firms that aren't willing to put resources behind recruiting make me think that they don't value talent.

Yes, because 2nd year law students can be considered "talent."


That 2nd year law student now could be a future rainmaker.


:lol:

I really have nothing to add to this.

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Re: S&C or Cleary????

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 20, 2012 7:17 am

I also picked Cleary over S&C, partly because I am interested in working internationally but mostly because I just felt far more comfortable with the people/office environment. S&C felt far more formal, but at Cleary I felt more relaxed and able to be a little bit goofy(I find it quite hard to be super professional and serious all the time and am naturally quite a loud chatty person and I felt like an alien during my S&C callback/offer dinner). However, I had a friend who had literally the opposite feeling and went to S&C because he felt more comfortable with the more formal/professional atmosphere. Different strokes for different folks. You'll work hard at either, its just a question of where/with whom you want to spend 14 hours a day.

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Re: S&C or Cleary????

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 20, 2012 9:28 am

I picked S&C over Cleary because of fit. I could see that at Cleary attorneys were able to show more of their personality, but with that came both the good and the bad. I met some really nice people, but I also met some arrogant people. At S&C people seemed to be more respectful even if that meant they were holding back a bit. It really comes down to what type of environment you want.




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