Attrition at V5 (NY)

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Re: Attrition at V5 (NY)

Postby Anonymous User » Sun May 12, 2013 6:21 pm

Tiago Splitter wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Not exactly the same question as OP, but related -- is there a "normal" amount/proportion of associates to leave each year? Or an average? I know how many fewer associates there were at my firm in 2012 as opposed to 2011, and I'm wondering if there's any way to tell whether these are stealth layoffs or just normal attrition.

Edit: I realize Chuck posted relevant info to this earlier, thanks. Interested to see any more.

It's actually less than what many people think, although it might be higher than average for the V5. kappycaft1 got a copy of the NALP Associate Attrition Report and posted this in a different thread:

kappycaft1 wrote:Well, I finally got my hands on The NALP Foundation’s “2012 Update on Associate Attrition for Calendar Year 2011,” and I even made some kick-ass Google spreadsheets from the data, but I was denied access to share them by NALP. So… I am going to have to simply state points that I thought were interesting here. Before that, however, I would highly recommend that anyone who is considering going to law school read their report as it is literally a goldmine of information; it shows what percentage of associates (broken down into categories of new-hires, lateral hires, male, female, minority, etc.) leave what size firms and after how many years, as well as why they leave and where they end up going.

Synopsis:
Biglaw firms lost roughly 69% of their entry-level associates within the first 5 years, but only a quarter within the first 3 years. Apparently only about a quarter of the associate departures were desired by the law firms, whereas roughly half of the departures were unwanted (the remaining attrition was viewed neutrally). As for where the entry-level associates ended up after leaving their firms, slightly less than half moved to associate positions at other legal firms, and one-fifth of them moved in house with corporate counsels. Unfortunately, there is no way to tell how many of these associates that lateraled into other law firms went to a smaller firm (biglaw to midlaw, midlaw to shitlaw, etc.). Additionally, only 2% of departing associates went to judicial clerkships, and NALP doesn’t break this down into “type” of clerkship, so there is no way to tell how many of these were AIII clerkships, although we know it is a max of 2%. In conclusion, it looks like roughly 31% of entry-level associates are still with their firms after 5 years when it comes to the largest firms (501+ attorneys); this number is slightly higher for other large firms (101-250 attorneys). Of the 69% that leave, approximately 73% end up in decent legal employment such as law firm associate, law firm partner, judicial clerk, other governmental legal job, and corporate in-house counsel. Accordingly, 31% + 50% (73% of 69%) = 81% of entry-level associates are still in some sort of (presumably) decent legal position at the end of year 5.


viewtopic.php?f=1&t=207971&start=200


Exactly what I wanted, thanks.

-1:14

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Re: Attrition at V5 (NY)

Postby 09042014 » Sun May 12, 2013 7:48 pm

What the hell is a neutral exit? I think that counts as fired.

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Re: Attrition at V5 (NY)

Postby thesealocust » Sun May 12, 2013 7:55 pm

Desert Fox wrote:What the hell is a neutral exit? I think that counts as fired.


Up or out? Associates salary and billing rate rises too quickly for firms to be able to keep on even very good employees - they only want to keep people who are indispensably expertized (for counsel type positions) or business generating.

So if somebody sucks I assume the firm is happy about the departure, and if somebody has a lot of potential I assume they're sad about it, and the rest are about on-pace for the model?

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Re: Attrition at V5 (NY)

Postby 09042014 » Sun May 12, 2013 8:01 pm

thesealocust wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:What the hell is a neutral exit? I think that counts as fired.


Up or out? Associates salary and billing rate rises too quickly for firms to be able to keep on even very good employees - they only want to keep people who are indispensably expertized (for counsel type positions) or business generating.

So if somebody sucks I assume the firm is happy about the departure, and if somebody has a lot of potential I assume they're sad about it, and the rest are about on-pace for the model?


Silly way of looking at it, if that's what they are doing. The firm still wanted a departure.

Maybe they mean, the persons was on the path to getting dinged, and they quit before it could happen.

Or more likely, this is just firms pretending they don't actually lay people off despite it being part of their business plan.

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Re: Attrition at V5 (NY)

Postby wisdom » Sun May 12, 2013 8:20 pm

The entire big law business model is predicated on associates. The partners bill out associates at X per hour, and pay them X/4 per hour. So I take it that a "neutral" departure is probably one where the associate bills enough that they are making the firm plenty of money, but not so much that they are long-term partner material. Those guys you don't mind carrying for 6-8 years.

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Re: Attrition at V5 (NY)

Postby AllTheLawz » Sun May 12, 2013 8:45 pm

Borg wrote:
bizzybone1313 wrote:
Borg wrote:
I agree, that guy sounds super fucking annoying and I don't blame the other guy for not wanting to talk. I'd hate to work with either of them. I also agree that biglaw in general is terrible, and it has always puzzled me why thousands of allegedly smart people are willing to go running into the lion's open mouth after having seen thousands before them go in there and not come out. Do people think that the firms can take enormous classes because they are growing? Do they actually think the "exit options" that everyone talks about are anything other than the same shitty work with a little bit less pressure? Working in a cubicle at some company for the sake of low six figures for the rest of my life sounds awful.


I agree. So what is the alternative with a prefstigious T-14 law degree?


I'm going into banking and then elsewhere from there. For those who want to litigate, I think the answer is to go be a public defender or something and get significant trial experience, and then open a private practice. I feel like that would be a better, more interesting, and potentially more lucrative path than 95% of litigators in biglaw wind up on. For those who want to do corporate, I guess big firms are the only option. Based on my own experience, I think that law students should make a much bigger effort to learn about business and finance and become more malleable. Take corporate finance, accounting, and other courses in the business school instead of yet another bullshit law class.


Funny thing is, most of my banking friends are saying the same thing about their path. I think everyone would be better off accepting that the corporate world is mostly boring and suck and they should look outside of work for something more fulfilling. The truly interesting, fun job is extremely rare. If you are in the position of "shitty work with a little bit less pressure" for low to mid six figures for the rest of your life then you accomplished a top 10% life outcome. Congrats.

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Re: Attrition at V5 (NY)

Postby tripu11 » Wed May 15, 2013 12:05 am

.
Last edited by tripu11 on Wed Jan 06, 2016 11:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Attrition at V5 (NY)

Postby Old Gregg » Wed May 15, 2013 12:55 am

Cool man. I know lateral associates there, and I know the headhunters aren't BSing me.

On the other hand, you work there. That must mean you know every attorney there and their professional histories.

Dang.

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Re: Attrition at V5 (NY)

Postby thesealocust » Wed May 15, 2013 10:16 am

Fresh Prince wrote:Cool man. I know lateral associates there, and I know the headhunters aren't BSing me.

On the other hand, you work there. That must mean you know every attorney there and their professional histories.

Dang.


The point isn't whether Cravath has ever hired a lateral associate - the point, which unless I'm mistaken we all agree on, is that Cravath (and a handful of other firms like it) rely less heavily on lateral hiring than many/most other large firms.

It's always an impression I've had that the gigantic summer classes tend to be correlated with reduced levels of lateral hiring (i.e. part of the reason for hiring so many at once is an assumption that few will be replaced on the lateral market).

It's difficult to be sure of these things just watching trends, reading published numbers, and swapping anecdotes though.

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Re: Attrition at V5 (NY)

Postby Old Gregg » Wed May 15, 2013 11:12 am

thesealocust wrote:
Fresh Prince wrote:Cool man. I know lateral associates there, and I know the headhunters aren't BSing me.

On the other hand, you work there. That must mean you know every attorney there and their professional histories.

Dang.


The point isn't whether Cravath has ever hired a lateral associate - the point, which unless I'm mistaken we all agree on, is that Cravath (and a handful of other firms like it) rely less heavily on lateral hiring than many/most other large firms.

It's always an impression I've had that the gigantic summer classes tend to be correlated with reduced levels of lateral hiring (i.e. part of the reason for hiring so many at once is an assumption that few will be replaced on the lateral market).

It's difficult to be sure of these things just watching trends, reading published numbers, and swapping anecdotes though.


That's not really what you said in the first place. If you keep changing the goal posts, it's hard as fuck to meet them.

And on top of that you cited a statement on a firm's website, even though you yourself have posted numerous times that people interviewing at such firms shouldn't put much stock in when they say they want grades in the 25%, etc. So what, firms are lying in one instance but not in the other? That's certainly plausible, but what is the underlying reason for why they're lying there and not here?

Anyways, this has the potential to devolve into some stupid debate. Let's just drop it.

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Re: Attrition at V5 (NY)

Postby thesealocust » Wed May 15, 2013 12:46 pm

This was my original point, which is still what I was trying to convey in my post you quoted:

thesealocust wrote:Attrition can seem artificially high at some 'top' NY firms because they hire fewer (or even nearly zero) laterals.

Cravath doesn't replace the people it loses - many other firms do though, so their relatively smaller summer classes don't necessarily indicate a (correspondingly) smaller rate of attrition.


I don't care about debating the semantics, and am happy to drop that. I don't doubt you that Cravath has hired laterals.

But I am still curious whether or not you have the same read on the general on class sizes and relative lateral hiring levels. You have a lot of experience with firms and paying attention to their behavior, so it's possible you have more or clearer insight on this than I do.

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Re: Attrition at V5 (NY)

Postby KidStuddi » Wed May 15, 2013 11:49 pm

thesealocust wrote:It's always an impression I've had that the gigantic summer classes tend to be correlated with reduced levels of lateral hiring (i.e. part of the reason for hiring so many at once is an assumption that few will be replaced on the lateral market).


I think this is pretty widely accepted as part of the reason for why some firms have massive summer classes relative to their overall size. It also probably has something to do with the quality of their recruits and the recruits' ability to exercise other options. It would be perfectly logical for the firms who pull candidates with the highest grades to end up losing the most to the clerkship -> boutique, clerkship -> different firm, clerkship -> academia routes.

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Re: Attrition at V5 (NY)

Postby Borg » Thu May 16, 2013 12:25 pm

AllTheLawz wrote:
Borg wrote:
bizzybone1313 wrote:
Borg wrote:
I agree, that guy sounds super fucking annoying and I don't blame the other guy for not wanting to talk. I'd hate to work with either of them. I also agree that biglaw in general is terrible, and it has always puzzled me why thousands of allegedly smart people are willing to go running into the lion's open mouth after having seen thousands before them go in there and not come out. Do people think that the firms can take enormous classes because they are growing? Do they actually think the "exit options" that everyone talks about are anything other than the same shitty work with a little bit less pressure? Working in a cubicle at some company for the sake of low six figures for the rest of my life sounds awful.


I agree. So what is the alternative with a prefstigious T-14 law degree?


I'm going into banking and then elsewhere from there. For those who want to litigate, I think the answer is to go be a public defender or something and get significant trial experience, and then open a private practice. I feel like that would be a better, more interesting, and potentially more lucrative path than 95% of litigators in biglaw wind up on. For those who want to do corporate, I guess big firms are the only option. Based on my own experience, I think that law students should make a much bigger effort to learn about business and finance and become more malleable. Take corporate finance, accounting, and other courses in the business school instead of yet another bullshit law class.


Funny thing is, most of my banking friends are saying the same thing about their path. I think everyone would be better off accepting that the corporate world is mostly boring and suck and they should look outside of work for something more fulfilling. The truly interesting, fun job is extremely rare. If you are in the position of "shitty work with a little bit less pressure" for low to mid six figures for the rest of your life then you accomplished a top 10% life outcome. Congrats.


I'm not complaining about the work environment at all, anyone who thinks that work at a big bank is fun is an idiot. I'm saying that my "elsewhere" is much better from a bank than it would be from a firm. The difference is that the elsewhere that I will go will be to a hedge fund or private equity shop, where I will never have an artificially imposed ceiling on how much I can make. The elsewhere that most biglaw associates go to is in-house at a company, where they are told what to do every day and have standard raise packages in place for the rest of their lives. I think that would make me unhappy.

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Re: Attrition at V5 (NY)

Postby Anonymous User » Thu May 16, 2013 1:31 pm

I agree. So what is the alternative with a prefstigious T-14 law degree?[/quote]

I'm going into banking and then elsewhere from there. For those who want to litigate, I think the answer is to go be a public defender or something and get significant trial experience, and then open a private practice. I feel like that would be a better, more interesting, and potentially more lucrative path than 95% of litigators in biglaw wind up on. For those who want to do corporate, I guess big firms are the only option. Based on my own experience, I think that law students should make a much bigger effort to learn about business and finance and become more malleable. Take corporate finance, accounting, and other courses in the business school instead of yet another bullshit law class.[/quote]

Funny thing is, most of my banking friends are saying the same thing about their path. I think everyone would be better off accepting that the corporate world is mostly boring and suck and they should look outside of work for something more fulfilling. The truly interesting, fun job is extremely rare. If you are in the position of "shitty work with a little bit less pressure" for low to mid six figures for the rest of your life then you accomplished a top 10% life outcome. Congrats.[/quote]

I'm not complaining about the work environment at all, anyone who thinks that work at a big bank is fun is an idiot. I'm saying that my "elsewhere" is much better from a bank than it would be from a firm. The difference is that the elsewhere that I will go will be to a hedge fund or private equity shop, where I will never have an artificially imposed ceiling on how much I can make. The elsewhere that most biglaw associates go to is in-house at a company, where they are told what to do every day and have standard raise packages in place for the rest of their lives. I think that would make me unhappy.[/quote]

Making the jump from IBD associate to PE/HF is much more difficult (and unlikely) than you think.

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Re: Attrition at V5 (NY)

Postby Borg » Thu May 16, 2013 1:55 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Making the jump from IBD associate to PE/HF is much more difficult (and unlikely) than you think.


I don't think you have any idea what I think or know.

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Re: Attrition at V5 (NY)

Postby Anonymous User » Thu May 16, 2013 10:44 pm

Borg wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Making the jump from IBD associate to PE/HF is much more difficult (and unlikely) than you think.


I don't think you have any idea what I think or know.


Good luck.

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Re: Attrition at V5 (NY)

Postby Anonymous User » Fri May 17, 2013 10:21 pm

SA and got my first departure email at my firm after only 3 days.

One thing I realized was that you can do a bit of digging by looking up your firm's website in the internet archive and comparing the listed attorneys. Certainly were more than I thought there would be.

I am in a DC office of a V10. Of the 25 people I was able to track down online that departed in the last 1.5 years (I was unable to find 12), they went to the following:

Clerkship 2
AUSA 1
Fed. Govt Agency 8
Other Firm 14

I was suprised at the "quality" of most of the lateral firms. A few unknowns in secondary markets, but mostly V50 or boutiques in DC.

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Re: Attrition at V5 (NY)

Postby Anonymous User » Sat May 18, 2013 1:28 pm

Anonymous User wrote:SA and got my first departure email at my firm after only 3 days.

One thing I realized was that you can do a bit of digging by looking up your firm's website in the internet archive and comparing the listed attorneys. Certainly were more than I thought there would be.

I am in a DC office of a V10. Of the 25 people I was able to track down online that departed in the last 1.5 years (I was unable to find 12), they went to the following:

Clerkship 2
AUSA 1
Fed. Govt Agency 8
Other Firm 14

I was suprised at the "quality" of most of the lateral firms. A few unknowns in secondary markets, but mostly V50 or boutiques in DC.


Surprised how?

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Re: Attrition at V5 (NY)

Postby Anonymous User » Sat May 18, 2013 1:48 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Surprised how?


I kind of thought that lateraling meant a bigger jump down the prestige scale. I always figured that the VXX would prefer their homegrown candidates over laterals who couldn't cut it at a V10. I made the assumption that people are lateraling to places where they think they have partnership chances, but maybe i'm off about that.

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Re: Attrition at V5 (NY)

Postby Old Gregg » Sat May 18, 2013 7:34 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Surprised how?


I kind of thought that lateraling meant a bigger jump down the prestige scale. I always figured that the VXX would prefer their homegrown candidates over laterals who couldn't cut it at a V10. I made the assumption that people are lateraling to places where they think they have partnership chances, but maybe i'm off about that.



You are.

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Re: Attrition at V5 (NY)

Postby Anonymous User » Sun May 19, 2013 2:21 am

Fresh Prince wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Surprised how?


I kind of thought that lateraling meant a bigger jump down the prestige scale. I always figured that the VXX would prefer their homegrown candidates over laterals who couldn't cut it at a V10. I made the assumption that people are lateraling to places where they think they have partnership chances, but maybe i'm off about that.



You are.


Why would people lateral to similarly situated firms? If they were pushed out, why would other firms want them?

I don't get it.

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Re: Attrition at V5 (NY)

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sun May 19, 2013 2:29 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Fresh Prince wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Surprised how?


I kind of thought that lateraling meant a bigger jump down the prestige scale. I always figured that the VXX would prefer their homegrown candidates over laterals who couldn't cut it at a V10. I made the assumption that people are lateraling to places where they think they have partnership chances, but maybe i'm off about that.



You are.


Why would people lateral to similarly situated firms? If they were pushed out, why would other firms want them?

I don't get it.

Well, firms aren't entirely fungible - different people work at different firms, there are different practice opportunities at different firms, different firms have different cultures, and so on. So a similarly situated firm might present a very different work experience. And there are reasons people could get pushed out that wouldn't reflect on their particular skills and abilities - maybe there's some restructuring, the firm isn't taking many cases in that person's practice area any more, it's clear there won't be partnership opportunities. That doesn't mean another firm with lots going on in that practice area wouldn't appreciate that person's skills.

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Re: Attrition at V5 (NY)

Postby Anonymous User » Sun May 19, 2013 2:36 am

jitsrenzo wrote:Over the summer, just look at how many departure memos you get.

I got at least 8 last summer and they were all from about 4th-6th year associates.

I am not sure if that is good or bad...

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Re: Attrition at V5 (NY)

Postby Balthy » Sun May 19, 2013 3:36 am

westphillybandr wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Fair enough. I guess my neurotic concern is that even if I want to stay and do reasonably well, I'll be pushed out within 2-3 years and will be F'ed. In terms of that high attrition rate, how much is people being pushed versus pushing themselves?


In the end, attrition is generally because of one of two reasons (or both). After a while either the associate can't cut it (either hours or work product) or the associate can't stand it anymore--or a combination of both.

Please see this: http://thepeoplestherapist.com/2012/10/ ... -bartleby/

Here is an excerpt:

I got my first taste of the answer one dismal night in a Sullivan & Cromwell conference room.

My second or third assignment at S&C had me reporting to a senior associate in the real estate group. I’ll never forget this guy (he haunts my dreams, and appears in several of these columns) – an obese, greasy-haired ogre with yellowed fingernails perpetually clutching a smoldering Marlboro.

On our first evening together, it became apparent we were the only attorneys assigned to this deal… and we were in for a late night. We ordered food – I remember an aluminum foil take-out container of eggplant parmesan – and were sitting in a conference room together, with said victuals, at around ten p.m. At which juncture I chose to deliver the following oration:

“It looks like we’ll be spending a lot of time together on this deal – so we might as well get to know one another. I never thought I’d end up on a real estate deal, but I guess why not? Anyway, I’m originally from New Jersey, grew up in the suburbs. You might hear a lot of jazz and classical music coming out of my office – those are my big passions. What are your hobbies in the outside world?”

The real estate ogre cut me off with a riposte as ingenious in its precision as it was elegant in its profanity.

“Do you think I give a ****ing shit who you are or any of your bull****? Shut the **** up.”

And so I did. I shut the **** up.

Voila! We understood one another – and I assimilated an essential lesson of biglaw, with especial regard to my place within it. As we fed in silence, cherished notions of “collegiality,”“white shoe tradition,” “patrician institutions,” “practicing law,” “the profession of law,” “the Sullivan & Cromwell way” – and other such bullcrap and associated bullcrap of a similar nature miraculously fell by the wayside. I became, as they say in Scientology, “clear.”

I was a slave. I was owned. I did what he told me to do. I didn’t pretend he was my friend, or even a close acquaintance, or that he “gave a ****ing s*** about me or any of my bull****.” No one there did. That isn’t how S&C works.


Yea this guy is trying to sell books. you shouldn't go to his blog for realistic info



I REALLY hope you are right because, though I am usually not a very fickle person, reading a few of his paragraphs always hits me in the feels.

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Re: Attrition at V5 (NY)

Postby quakeroats » Sun May 19, 2013 4:26 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Fresh Prince wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Surprised how?


I kind of thought that lateraling meant a bigger jump down the prestige scale. I always figured that the VXX would prefer their homegrown candidates over laterals who couldn't cut it at a V10. I made the assumption that people are lateraling to places where they think they have partnership chances, but maybe i'm off about that.



You are.


Why would people lateral to similarly situated firms? If they were pushed out, why would other firms want them?

I don't get it.


The only way in which V5s are similarly situated is that they're V5 firms. It's common to decry the Vault rankings on TLS, but not usually for the right reasons. The problem with the Vault rankings (and therefore your question) is the assumption that Vault measures something relevant to career decisions. It doesn't, at least not to decisions of practicing attorneys (as opposed to law students).

Take a look at Vault's methodology. It purports to measure "prestige" and does so by sending out a survey to firm associates. They tally up the surveys they get back and that's that (let's ignore for now that they appear to just take the mean of all responses, which won't lead to a valid result even for the population they're trying to measure). The only question asked that counts toward the Vault rank appears to be something like, "how would you rank the following firm on a scale of 1 to 10 based on prestige?"

First, the human desire to round off by decile and half decile doesn't match with the data. Take the V5. WLRK gets 9.022 prestige points to Davis Polk's 8.095, a difference of approximately 1 point. That's the same spread between Weil at 6 and Boies at 20. Comparing #1 to #15 gives you the same spread as between #15 and #65 (or between #32 and #100)

Second, prestige is an idiosyncratic notion that can't easily be applied to large law firms as a whole. Take Jenner, a V100 firm. How prestigious are they? They're in the bottom half of the Vault rankings, and this no doubt reflects their non-Kirkland non-Sidley position in Chicago. But this also ignores their Supreme Court practice, which is one of the best in the country. It also ignores how much money they make. On a revenue-per-lawyer basis, they make more than Covington, a firm 44 spots and approximately 2 prestige points higher than Jenner. This sort of thing is the rule rather than the exception, to the point that rankings of whole firms, even if conducted perfectly, aren't meaningful.

Third, most of the people polled are junior associates. I don't know about you, but I'm not confident in juniors' directions to the bathroom, much less their opinions on a bunch of firms they're only passingly familiar with.

Fourth, lawyers switching firms generally don't find firm prestige to be an important factor. The moment you step into a law firm, you're likely to find that you didn't join Sidley or S&C, you joined Litigation or Capital Markets. Even these are too broad. A midlevel leaving Simpson won't care that it's much more prestigous than Milbank if they're in project finance (where Milbank is the industry leader). Overall prestige doesn't directly get at compensation, vacation time, work environment, office location, advancement opportunity, etc. As such, it shouldn't be any surprise that no one (outside of law students and recruiters) pays much attention to Vault rankings when making career decisions.




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