DPW v Latham

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p1arnold
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Re: DPW v Latham

Postby p1arnold » Sun Aug 25, 2013 7:48 pm

Fresh Prince wrote:
p1arnold wrote:
thesealocust wrote:
Fresh Prince wrote:Any big law firm, including DPW, could and would do what Latham did when put in that situation. They're businesses, not charities.


+1. Latham, from what I know, expanded heavily into an industry that collapsed. What were they supposed to do when the work immediately evaporated?

I still think it's a strike against them relative to firms which have managed to not conduct massive layoffs, but the risk that your firm will be heavily invested in an industry that goes belly up is universal.

I hear Texas is doing great now during the domestic oil boom - but as soon as that dries up or the next big thing comes along... this is just how the world works.


Latham has a partnership culture that will gladly lay off associates. A place like DPW has a partnership culture that would be more likely to take a hit in PPP rather than conduct massive layoffs to line their pockets.

That's the difference.


LOL "partnership culture."

Depends on how massive the PPP hit it is we're talking about. The kind sealoucust above is describing is, if it happened at DPW, something that would certainly cause mass layoffs at DPW.

And don't forget that DPW laid off associates during the recession as well.


Almost everyone laid associates off during the recession. And the fact that you think there isn't a huge difference between Latham and DPW partners means you're not speaking very intelligently. You can't get more different in terms of management and culture.

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Old Gregg
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Re: DPW v Latham

Postby Old Gregg » Sun Aug 25, 2013 7:58 pm

As for "stealth layoffs", they're hard to gauge. Every firm, in good times or in bad, moves associates out when it's clear they're no longer on track. Maybe firms were more aggressive in doing that during the economic crisis. But the associate is typically given some reasonable period of time to look for another job, while keeping an office and a position, and while continuing to be paid. I'd rather be in that situation than on the street, even with a severance package.


DPW associates were given three months' notice. Kind of hard to lateral in three months, especially in a shit economy. But please, continue to tell me how it is.

enibs
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Re: DPW v Latham

Postby enibs » Sun Aug 25, 2013 8:03 pm

Fresh Prince wrote:DPW associates were given three months' notice. Kind of hard to lateral in three months, especially in a shit economy. But please, continue to tell me how it is.


Sucks either way, but I'd rather three months' notice as a fourth year than out at the end of the month with three months' severance as a first year. Not arguing with your basic premise that firms are businesses whose first priority is to protect themselves. I do take issue with your view that Latham wasn't any more egregious than anyone else. They were.

p1arnold
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Re: DPW v Latham

Postby p1arnold » Sun Aug 25, 2013 8:05 pm

Fresh Prince wrote:
As for "stealth layoffs", they're hard to gauge. Every firm, in good times or in bad, moves associates out when it's clear they're no longer on track. Maybe firms were more aggressive in doing that during the economic crisis. But the associate is typically given some reasonable period of time to look for another job, while keeping an office and a position, and while continuing to be paid. I'd rather be in that situation than on the street, even with a severance package.


DPW associates were given three months' notice. Kind of hard to lateral in three months, especially in a shit economy. But please, continue to tell me how it is.


I haven't heard of DPW firing first years a few months into their careers. That's a killer. There's a reason the term is "lathaming." Not saying other firms didn't do layoffs; but Latham and a few others were pretty bad about how they went about it. If OP has to pick, I'd say DPW unless he/she really liked Latham a lot (and even then, probably haven't see the real Latham).

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Old Gregg
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Re: DPW v Latham

Postby Old Gregg » Sun Aug 25, 2013 8:05 pm

Almost everyone laid associates off during the recession. And the fact that you think there isn't a huge difference between Latham and DPW partners means you're not speaking very intelligently. You can't get more different in terms of management and culture.


I agree. I'm not speaking intelligently. I'm speaking normally and I am shocked that you're thick enough to miss the distinctions and similarities.

Yes, Davis Polk's partnership structure is very different from Latham. Davis Polk is lockstep all the way through. This ostensibly breeds collegiality and cohesiveness, which is why it's rare for a partner to leave Davis Polk or for partners to be divided over compensation issues.

But this structure and "management style" changes the allegiance partners have with other partners in the firm, not the allegiance partners have with other associates.

I don't know why I seem to get into this argument every year around this time, but I'll make the point I continue to make. Law firms don't care about you. Law firms don't care about their associates. I know that seems hard to believe when you have so many offers and they're kissing your ass to accept their offer. But once you accept that offer, you are nothing to them. You are at the bottom of the totem pole the moment you start at the firm and you are a second-class citizen in that firm until that firm awards you shares.

Your relationship with a law firm is a marriage of convenience. The revenue you generate is supposed to exceed your overhead. What is the overhead? You are the overhead. When a law firm looks at its balance sheet, it looks at you as an expense similar to the number of staplers it orders every year. When this convenience ends, you are done. It doesn't matter if you're at Latham, it doesn't matter if you're at Axinn Veltrop, and it sure as hell doesn't matter if you're at Wachtell.

Now I'm not saying that you should be a piece of shit to firms. Do the best work you can and be the best attorney you can be. But you have to look after yourself and watch your back. I know it's great to get caught up in the prestige of V5 shit, but you have to watch your ass.

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Old Gregg
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Re: DPW v Latham

Postby Old Gregg » Sun Aug 25, 2013 8:06 pm

Sucks either way, but I'd rather three months' notice as a fourth year than out at the end of the month with three months' severance as a first year. Not arguing with your basic premise that firms are businesses whose first priority is to protect themselves. I do take issue with your view that Latham wasn't any more egregious than anyone else. They were.


My view isn't that Latham wasn't more egregious. I think they did a shitty think. My view is that no firm is above it, and that Davis Polk did some shitty things too (though, again, I don't think to the level of Latham).

p1arnold
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Re: DPW v Latham

Postby p1arnold » Sun Aug 25, 2013 8:14 pm

Fresh Prince wrote:
Almost everyone laid associates off during the recession. And the fact that you think there isn't a huge difference between Latham and DPW partners means you're not speaking very intelligently. You can't get more different in terms of management and culture.


I agree. I'm not speaking intelligently. I'm speaking normally and I am shocked that you're thick enough to miss the distinctions and similarities.

Yes, Davis Polk's partnership structure is very different from Latham. Davis Polk is lockstep all the way through. This ostensibly breeds collegiality and cohesiveness, which is why it's rare for a partner to leave Davis Polk or for partners to be divided over compensation issues.

But this structure and "management style" changes the allegiance partners have with other partners in the firm, not the allegiance partners have with other associates.

I don't know why I seem to get into this argument every year around this time, but I'll make the point I continue to make. Law firms don't care about you. Law firms don't care about their associates. I know that seems hard to believe when you have so many offers and they're kissing your ass to accept their offer. But once you accept that offer, you are nothing to them. You are at the bottom of the totem pole the moment you start at the firm and you are a second-class citizen in that firm until that firm awards you shares.

Your relationship with a law firm is a marriage of convenience. The revenue you generate is supposed to exceed your overhead. What is the overhead? You are the overhead. When a law firm looks at its balance sheet, it looks at you as an expense similar to the number of staplers it orders every year. When this convenience ends, you are done. It doesn't matter if you're at Latham, it doesn't matter if you're at Axinn Veltrop, and it sure as hell doesn't matter if you're at Wachtell.

Now I'm not saying that you should be a piece of shit to firms. Do the best work you can and be the best attorney you can be. But you have to look after yourself and watch your back. I know it's great to get caught up in the prestige of V5 shit, but you have to watch your ass.


I've worked at multiple vault law firms. You're wrong about partnership culture and its influence on associates. It does trickle down and influence lay off and other management decisions. I've seen it first hand. At some places the partners won't blink an eye to fire associates, at others they care a little bit more and don't feel the need to shed associates to bump PPP. OP is comparing DPW and Latham and this is very relevant to that discussion.

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Old Gregg
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Re: DPW v Latham

Postby Old Gregg » Sun Aug 25, 2013 8:20 pm

I've worked at multiple vault law firms. You're wrong about partnership culture and its influence on associates. It does trickle down and influence lay off and other management decisions. I've seen it first hand. At some places the partners won't blink an eye to fire associates, at others they care a little bit more and don't feel the need to shed associates to bump PPP. OP is comparing DPW and Latham and this is very relevant to that discussion.


I work at a Vault law firm too (whatever that means :roll: ). I think you're wrong too. We'll leave it at that.

p1arnold
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Re: DPW v Latham

Postby p1arnold » Sun Aug 25, 2013 8:26 pm

Fresh Prince wrote:
I've worked at multiple vault law firms. You're wrong about partnership culture and its influence on associates. It does trickle down and influence lay off and other management decisions. I've seen it first hand. At some places the partners won't blink an eye to fire associates, at others they care a little bit more and don't feel the need to shed associates to bump PPP. OP is comparing DPW and Latham and this is very relevant to that discussion.


I work at a Vault law firm too (whatever that means :roll: ). I think you're wrong too. We'll leave it at that.


Fair enough.

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rayiner
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Re: DPW v Latham

Postby rayiner » Mon Aug 26, 2013 10:35 am

I think the focus on "partnership culture" is misplaced. I'd take DPW in your situation, not because they wouldn't do mass layoffs if they got hit as hard as Latham did in 2008, but because they're managed in a way that makes it less likely for them to get into that situation in the first place. DPW doesn't aggressively pursue new markets and doesn't go into a market unless a firm like Latham has done it first and proven that it'll work. This limits profit growth in good times but insulates against risk in bad times.

"Partnership culture" may be a fiction, but there are more aggressively managed firms and more conservatively managed firms. There are dangers for both styles of management. An aggressively managed firm risks pulling a Howrey and imploding. A conservatively managed firm risks pulling a Shearman and declining into irrelevance. There's trade-offs at the associate level too. If you want to make partner, you might be better at a place like Latham where aggressive growth might mean partnership opportunities in new sectors, or in house opportunities in growing sectors. If you want to hang out for a few years before going in house, you might be better at a place like DPW where the lack of aggressive growth means less risk of layoffs before you serve your time.

anon168
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Re: DPW v Latham

Postby anon168 » Mon Aug 26, 2013 12:13 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Making this choice and finding it difficult because I like the people at both. Is there an actual cultural difference? I'm interested in corporate, what are the firms good at?


Between DPW and LW in NYC for corporate, go DPW.

Has nothing to do with layoffs, partnership culture, etc., it's just a better firm in NYC for transactional work.

Anonymous User
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Re: DPW v Latham

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 26, 2013 12:34 pm

anon168 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Making this choice and finding it difficult because I like the people at both. Is there an actual cultural difference? I'm interested in corporate, what are the firms good at?


Between DPW and LW in NYC for corporate, go DPW.

Has nothing to do with layoffs, partnership culture, etc., it's just a better firm in NYC for transactional work.


This advice confuses me because if this reasoning is followed people will usually choose the V3s over many other firms if they are interested in transactional work. Granted if they know the particular areas they are interested in, the reasoning might change. For example one might choose DPW over others if interested in Capital Markets. Is relying on if the firm is better at transactional work really the way to go?

Anonymous User
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Re: DPW v Latham

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 26, 2013 4:26 pm

rayiner wrote:An aggressively managed firm risks pulling a Howrey and imploding. A conservatively managed firm risks pulling a Shearman and declining into irrelevance.


A partner at Cravath explicitly argued that this had almost happened to DPW during an interview (I told him I was considering it most strongly otherwise). I don't think it's an issue presently though - DPW is obviously a thought leader in a lot of areas (capital markets/derivatives/financial institutions/Dodd Frank particularly).

anon168
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Re: DPW v Latham

Postby anon168 » Mon Aug 26, 2013 9:12 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
anon168 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Making this choice and finding it difficult because I like the people at both. Is there an actual cultural difference? I'm interested in corporate, what are the firms good at?


Between DPW and LW in NYC for corporate, go DPW.

Has nothing to do with layoffs, partnership culture, etc., it's just a better firm in NYC for transactional work.


This advice confuses me because if this reasoning is followed people will usually choose the V3s over many other firms if they are interested in transactional work. Granted if they know the particular areas they are interested in, the reasoning might change. For example one might choose DPW over others if interested in Capital Markets. Is relying on if the firm is better at transactional work really the way to go?


Your reply confuses me.

All I'm saying is if the choice is between LW and DPW in NYC for corporate/transactional work (without more details), the choice should be DPW -- regardless of past/present/future possible layoffs, partnership culture, etc.




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