Friend at Ropes [Boston]

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Friend at Ropes [Boston]

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 05, 2012 1:15 am

I know that recruiting is coming to an end, but I thought I would share with everyone that a friend of mine at Ropes Boston [2-4 year] was stealthed [recent but don't want to out him/her so can't give date] for "performance reasons" which he/she says [I am at another firm in New York and wouldn't know for sure] is b.s. He/she also says that it is not just him/her who has been let go and that the firm is slow on work and, as a result, has really cut down its summer class size [in Boston at least] because of this. He/she said it started when he/she wasn't able to get enough hours because the lack of work to go around. Really sucks.

Obviously, I'm not on the inside, so I have no clue, but from what he/she is telling me, they really screwed him/her over on this.

I don't work for them and I'll never know what is really happening but my friend is a quality person and it really sucks that he/she is in this position. I think they probably could have handled it better and he/she says it didn't just happen to him/her.

[Sorry for the gender ambiguity, really don't want person to be outed]

*Please don't quote.

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Re: Friend at Ropes [Boston]

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 05, 2012 1:28 am

there were partner defections in SF recently as well.

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Re: Friend at Ropes [Boston]

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 05, 2012 1:39 am

Yeah, there has been some talk about this on one of the sub-boards here. It is valuable to know that some of the rumors may be more substantiated than we thought (we heard about potential layoffs but didn't know if it was true). I also know that the entire litigation team in SF left for another firm. I had also heard that the summer class is way smaller (about 30 instead of 50 in Boston though who knows for sure). I kind of wish I knew this three weeks earlier as I have already accepted an offer with Ropes but I hope Ropes is past the worst.

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Re: Friend at Ropes [Boston]

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 05, 2012 7:10 am

Anybody know how Wilmer and Goodwin compare or if there are similar issues? Out of the three is there one that is objectively better or worse in Boston?

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Re: Friend at Ropes [Boston]

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 05, 2012 7:37 am

Anonymous User wrote:Anybody know how Wilmer and Goodwin compare or if there are similar issues? Out of the three is there one that is objectively better or worse in Boston?


I've actually heard that Goodwin has been busy this year. There are rumors that the hours are a lot tougher at Goodwin than the other two, but I'm not sure that's a bad thing. I don't know the difference in the lateral markets going into Ropes and Goodwin, but in recent history Ropes has taken a lot more SAs each year than Goodwin, even though the sizes are similar. (Ropes took 56 SAs last year with 500 associates, whereas Goodwin took 28 for 440 associates). Suggests that Ropes is a much more bottom heavy firm.

On another note, there's all kinds of rumors that Wilmers corporate department is struggling a lot this year. But conversely, I've heard their lit department is great.

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Re: Friend at Ropes [Boston]

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 05, 2012 8:47 am

Anonymous User wrote:there were partner defections in SF recently as well.


People told me that this was a killer loss. I remember hearing that they went to Gibson Dunn. A lot of Associates follow?

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Re: Friend at Ropes [Boston]

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 05, 2012 8:57 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:there were partner defections in SF recently as well.


People told me that this was a killer loss. I remember hearing that they went to Gibson Dunn. A lot of Associates follow?


Yup. Looks like partners went to GDC: http://www.gibsondunn.com/news/Pages/Li ... cisco.aspx

Know some associates followed as well (don't know exactly how many though). Also can't say if it was a "killer loss" or not.

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Re: Friend at Ropes [Boston]

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 05, 2012 9:29 am

New York also asked some of the associates scheduled to start this year to defer a year.

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Re: Friend at Ropes [Boston]

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 05, 2012 9:32 am

Given that Ropes did better in the recession than most firms, I guess things are catching up to it.

http://www.americanlawyer.com/firmProfi ... s+%26+Gray

Does anyone know why work is down? I don't understand the nature of the work that Ropes gets, but have things in, e.g. private equity, slowed down a bit?

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Re: Friend at Ropes [Boston]

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 05, 2012 9:49 am

Anonymous User wrote:New York also asked some of the associates scheduled to start this year to defer a year.


Oh wow, really? Is that with pay? Anyone else going to Ropes feeling worried?

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Re: Friend at Ropes [Boston]

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 05, 2012 10:31 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:New York also asked some of the associates scheduled to start this year to defer a year.


Oh wow, really? Is that with pay? Anyone else going to Ropes feeling worried?


I feel anxious but, to tell the truth, I have heard rumors about 70% of the firms I applied to so at this point I have given up on trying to predict anything.

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Re: Friend at Ropes [Boston]

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 05, 2012 10:40 am

Just so there is accuracy here - I was a 2011 SA at Ropes NY. The entire firm OFFERED to the 2012 incoming class a voluntary deferral. It comes with a stipend if you do public interest work or clerkships. MANY people took advantage of this to do federal clerkships. I am not saying that this means everything is fine - but for sake of accuracy - yes it was voluntary (regular start dates in end of October for those who did not take it) AND yes it was paid.

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Re: Friend at Ropes [Boston]

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 05, 2012 10:41 am

Anonymous User wrote:Just so there is accuracy here - I was a 2011 SA at Ropes NY. The entire firm OFFERED to the 2012 incoming class a voluntary deferral. It comes with a stipend if you do public interest work or clerkships. MANY people took advantage of this to do federal clerkships. I am not saying that this means everything is fine - but for sake of accuracy - yes it was voluntary (regular start dates in end of October for those who did not take it) AND yes it was paid.


Thank you for the accuracy.

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Re: Friend at Ropes [Boston]

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 05, 2012 11:01 am

Anonymous User wrote:Just so there is accuracy here - I was a 2011 SA at Ropes NY. The entire firm OFFERED to the 2012 incoming class a voluntary deferral. It comes with a stipend if you do public interest work or clerkships. MANY people took advantage of this to do federal clerkships. I am not saying that this means everything is fine - but for sake of accuracy - yes it was voluntary (regular start dates in end of October for those who did not take it) AND yes it was paid.

Were these actual federal clerkships they'd applied for through the normal process, or let's-call-an-internship-a-clerkship clerkships? Just because I understood clerks aren't allowed to take salary from a firm while they're clerking. And as a clerk I kinda hate when people doing the internship route call it a clerkship like they went through the normal hiring process.

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Re: Friend at Ropes [Boston]

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 05, 2012 11:14 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Just so there is accuracy here - I was a 2011 SA at Ropes NY. The entire firm OFFERED to the 2012 incoming class a voluntary deferral. It comes with a stipend if you do public interest work or clerkships. MANY people took advantage of this to do federal clerkships. I am not saying that this means everything is fine - but for sake of accuracy - yes it was voluntary (regular start dates in end of October for those who did not take it) AND yes it was paid.

Were these actual federal clerkships they'd applied for through the normal process, or let's-call-an-internship-a-clerkship clerkships? Just because I understood clerks aren't allowed to take salary from a firm while they're clerking. And as a clerk I kinda hate when people doing the internship route call it a clerkship like they went through the normal hiring process.


You can hate all you want, sorry. Judges in these courts are overburdened with cases. They took on volunteer clerks (from all over the place) who work the same hours (and for every judge I heard of did the same work) as the clerks hired in the "normal proces" (not that one exists bc I know so many people who got clerkships through random connections or non-normal paths). So yes, they are clerks NOT interns. And yes, they are being paid by a law firm and that is NOT a problem. Obviously, it is up the JUDGE what the clerk's role in the office is and how the person will present their experience in the future. I do recommend you get over your hate, though. It does you no good and this decision is up the judge. Any judge who takes on an additional full time person clearly felt that he or she could use more assistance. If that judge then says - you can call yourself a clerk - I REALLY don't think you should have a problem with that. Either way, it's not up to you to decide.

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Re: Friend at Ropes [Boston]

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 05, 2012 11:26 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Just so there is accuracy here - I was a 2011 SA at Ropes NY. The entire firm OFFERED to the 2012 incoming class a voluntary deferral. It comes with a stipend if you do public interest work or clerkships. MANY people took advantage of this to do federal clerkships. I am not saying that this means everything is fine - but for sake of accuracy - yes it was voluntary (regular start dates in end of October for those who did not take it) AND yes it was paid.

Were these actual federal clerkships they'd applied for through the normal process, or let's-call-an-internship-a-clerkship clerkships? Just because I understood clerks aren't allowed to take salary from a firm while they're clerking. And as a clerk I kinda hate when people doing the internship route call it a clerkship like they went through the normal hiring process.


You can hate all you want, sorry. Judges in these courts are overburdened with cases. They took on volunteer clerks (from all over the place) who work the same hours (and for every judge I heard of did the same work) as the clerks hired in the "normal proces" (not that one exists bc I know so many peopel who got clerkships through random connections or non-normal paths). So yes, they are clerks NOT interns. Obviously, it is up the JUDGE what the clerk's role in the office is and how the person will present their experience in the future. I do recommend you get over your hate, though. It does you no good and this decision was up the judge. Any judge who takes on an additional full time person clearly felt that he or she could use more assistance. If that judge then says - you can call yourself a clerk - I REALLY don't think you should have a problem with that. Either way, it's not up to you to decide.

No, of course it's not up to me what people get to call the work they did, and of course judges are overworked and need the assistance. I'm not saying they shouldn't use the people or that people shouldn't do these jobs. It just that getting a clerkship is so tough, you can't say it's not natural to think, okay, I sweated through the application process, and now this person who already has a job at a fancy firm gets the same opportunity to do the same work just because they can offer to do it for free? I mean, I'm sure some of the judges who rejected me as paid clerk would have been perfectly happy to have me come work in their chambers for free.

Granted, when it comes down to it, I'm sure the people you're talking about all have impeccable qualifications and probably could have got clerkships in most if not all cases. But you can't tell me it's not normal to find that a little annoying. I mean, it's not like I sit up at night thinking about this, so I don't think my "hate" is something I need to get over.

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Re: Friend at Ropes [Boston]

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 05, 2012 11:32 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Just so there is accuracy here - I was a 2011 SA at Ropes NY. The entire firm OFFERED to the 2012 incoming class a voluntary deferral. It comes with a stipend if you do public interest work or clerkships. MANY people took advantage of this to do federal clerkships. I am not saying that this means everything is fine - but for sake of accuracy - yes it was voluntary (regular start dates in end of October for those who did not take it) AND yes it was paid.

Were these actual federal clerkships they'd applied for through the normal process, or let's-call-an-internship-a-clerkship clerkships? Just because I understood clerks aren't allowed to take salary from a firm while they're clerking. And as a clerk I kinda hate when people doing the internship route call it a clerkship like they went through the normal hiring process.


You can hate all you want, sorry. Judges in these courts are overburdened with cases. They took on volunteer clerks (from all over the place) who work the same hours (and for every judge I heard of did the same work) as the clerks hired in the "normal proces" (not that one exists bc I know so many peopel who got clerkships through random connections or non-normal paths). So yes, they are clerks NOT interns. Obviously, it is up the JUDGE what the clerk's role in the office is and how the person will present their experience in the future. I do recommend you get over your hate, though. It does you no good and this decision was up the judge. Any judge who takes on an additional full time person clearly felt that he or she could use more assistance. If that judge then says - you can call yourself a clerk - I REALLY don't think you should have a problem with that. Either way, it's not up to you to decide.

No, of course it's not up to me what people get to call the work they did, and of course judges are overworked and need the assistance. I'm not saying they shouldn't use the people or that people shouldn't do these jobs. It just that getting a clerkship is so tough, you can't say it's not natural to think, okay, I sweated through the application process, and now this person who already has a job at a fancy firm gets the same opportunity to do the same work just because they can offer to do it for free? I mean, I'm sure some of the judges who rejected me as paid clerk would have been perfectly happy to have me come work in their chambers for free.

Granted, when it comes down to it, I'm sure the people you're talking about all have impeccable qualifications and probably could have got clerkships in most if not all cases. But you can't tell me it's not normal to find that a little annoying. I mean, it's not like I sit up at night thinking about this, so I don't think my "hate" is something I need to get over.


No, I do get it. It's defintiely not entirely fair (but what in the clerkship process is?!). And sorry about the hate references, was just using your word. Anyhow, these people have a great opportunity and are very lucky - no doubt about it. At the same time, they are at a law firm that is the subject of this thread - with potential problems and reported lay-offs.

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Re: Friend at Ropes [Boston]

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 05, 2012 11:33 am

Anonymous User wrote:No, I do get it. It's defintiely not entirely fair (but what in the clerkship process is?!). And sorry about the hate references, was just using your word. Anyhow, these people have a great opportunity and are very lucky - no doubt about it. At the same time, they are at a law firm that is the subject of this thread - with potential problems and reported lay-offs.

Yeah, hate was a little strong on my part. :)

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Re: Friend at Ropes [Boston]

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 05, 2012 11:42 am

Out of curiousity - was your friend who was stealthed in lit or corporate?

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Re: Friend at Ropes [Boston]

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 05, 2012 1:30 pm

I know they were pushing a "deferral program" to this year's incoming class. Not the same as when firms just told associates that they were deferred though. Designed to look like an option/opportunity/pro bono commitment, but with the obvious effect of reducing the number of incoming 1st year associates they had.

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Re: Friend at Ropes [Boston]

Postby sunynp » Fri Oct 05, 2012 2:08 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I know they were pushing a "deferral program" to this year's incoming class. Not the same as when firms just told associates that they were deferred though. Designed to look like an option/opportunity/pro bono commitment, but with the obvious effect of reducing the number of incoming 1st year associates they had.


I wonder how many people took them up on this. They had to have a target number in mind. I'm thinking that if they didn't get enough voluntary deferrals it might have become mandatory. At any rate, having this years class starting late doesn't bode well for this summer or next years incoming class.

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Re: Friend at Ropes [Boston]

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 05, 2012 2:32 pm

I'm the person here who has committed to Ropes. I really hope they don't force deferrals on us. I'm already one of those people who was out of school for some time before law school, and forcing a person -- particularly a woman -- to delay a career can be harmful. I can understand making a K-JD do it to get more work experience, but people who join Ropes are, on average, older compared to other firms, since Ropes values work experience.

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Re: Friend at Ropes [Boston]

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 05, 2012 2:34 pm

sunynp wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I know they were pushing a "deferral program" to this year's incoming class. Not the same as when firms just told associates that they were deferred though. Designed to look like an option/opportunity/pro bono commitment, but with the obvious effect of reducing the number of incoming 1st year associates they had.


I wonder how many people took them up on this. They had to have a target number in mind. I'm thinking that if they didn't get enough voluntary deferrals it might have become mandatory. At any rate, having this years class starting late doesn't bode well for this summer or next years incoming class.


Okay, just bc you guys still seem confused, I'll try again. This year's incoming class (starting 2012) is NOT starting late. The people who did not take the voluntary deferral are starting at a normal time. Then yes, the people who took the deferral will start the following year but Ropes will also offer the voluntary deferral AGAIN and so the people coming back from their deferral year will just take the place of the people who are STARTING their deferral year. Make more sense? Ropes may stop offering this deferral program at some point, and yes it benefits them by not having to pay for first years they don't really need, but it also benefits them by having people get these skills (esp fed clerkships) before starting work.

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Re: Friend at Ropes [Boston]

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 05, 2012 3:06 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
sunynp wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I know they were pushing a "deferral program" to this year's incoming class. Not the same as when firms just told associates that they were deferred though. Designed to look like an option/opportunity/pro bono commitment, but with the obvious effect of reducing the number of incoming 1st year associates they had.


I wonder how many people took them up on this. They had to have a target number in mind. I'm thinking that if they didn't get enough voluntary deferrals it might have become mandatory. At any rate, having this years class starting late doesn't bode well for this summer or next years incoming class.


Okay, just bc you guys still seem confused, I'll try again. This year's incoming class (starting 2012) is NOT starting late. The people who did not take the voluntary deferral are starting at a normal time. Then yes, the people who took the deferral will start the following year but Ropes will also offer the voluntary deferral AGAIN and so the people coming back from their deferral year will just take the place of the people who are STARTING their deferral year. Make more sense? Ropes may stop offering this deferral program at some point, and yes it benefits them by not having to pay for first years they don't really need, but it also benefits them by having people get these skills (esp fed clerkships) before starting work.


Sort of. I know at least one person who took the deferral, did a federal clerkship, and then didn't come back because a different firm offered a clerkship bonus and Ropes wouldn't pay one (since they already paid a stipend). Seems like anyone in their right mind would take a clerkship bonus elsewhere since the stipend is no-strings-attached. The stipend might just be hush money to let people go without getting bad press.

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Re: Friend at Ropes [Boston]

Postby sunynp » Fri Oct 05, 2012 3:14 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
sunynp wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I know they were pushing a "deferral program" to this year's incoming class. Not the same as when firms just told associates that they were deferred though. Designed to look like an option/opportunity/pro bono commitment, but with the obvious effect of reducing the number of incoming 1st year associates they had.


I wonder how many people took them up on this. They had to have a target number in mind. I'm thinking that if they didn't get enough voluntary deferrals it might have become mandatory. At any rate, having this years class starting late doesn't bode well for this summer or next years incoming class.


Okay, just bc you guys still seem confused, I'll try again. This year's incoming class (starting 2012) is NOT starting late. The people who did not take the voluntary deferral are starting at a normal time. Then yes, the people who took the deferral will start the following year but Ropes will also offer the voluntary deferral AGAIN and so the people coming back from their deferral year will just take the place of the people who are STARTING their deferral year. Make more sense? Ropes may stop offering this deferral program at some point, and yes it benefits them by not having to pay for first years they don't really need, but it also benefits them by having people get these skills (esp fed clerkships) before starting work.


Sort of. I know at least one person who took the deferral, did a federal clerkship, and then didn't come back because a different firm offered a clerkship bonus and Ropes wouldn't pay one (since they already paid a stipend). Seems like anyone in their right mind would take a clerkship bonus elsewhere since the stipend is no-strings-attached. The stipend might just be hush money to let people go without getting bad press.

Yes, I don't see why they would keep hiring more than their needs and then deferring people. It will effect the size of the incoming class. This is a business model that I don't understand. Maybe they want people just in case they get more work? Or more likely they projected that they would have more work and it turns out that they over-estimated.

I understand that it is voluntary. The firm has to know and intend that at least some of the people won't be returning. A voluntary deferral is a strong signal that they don't currently have enough work. (and who knows that if no one took them up on it, they may have had to move to involuntary deferrals. The voluntary part is a first step, like companies who first look for people who want to take early retirement before they start laying people off.)
I think it is just semantics to say that the class isn't starting late, when at least some fraction of the class isn't starting until next year. Voluntary or otherwise, they don't want those bodies in the firm right now. But if it is so important to you, we can go ahead and say that the class is starting on time except for the people who chose not to.




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