Chambers Band Rankings

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Anonymous User
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Chambers Band Rankings

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 28, 2013 4:35 pm

Told by Career Office yesterday that band rankings aren't particularly relevant provided the firm is ranked at all. Trying to decide between two firms and not entirely sure how much to utilize the rankings. Thoughts? (For reference, I enjoyed my experiences at both so I wish I had more to go off of in terms of "fit")

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nealric
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Re: Chambers Band Rankings

Postby nealric » Wed Aug 28, 2013 4:39 pm

The fact that a firm is ranked at all says the firm does significant work in an area. However, I do think bands give some indication of how high-profile the firm is in that area. A band 4 firm probably won't be getting as much top work as a band 1. That said, small differences probably fall within the range of debateability.
Last edited by nealric on Thu Aug 29, 2013 5:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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JamMasterJ
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Re: Chambers Band Rankings

Postby JamMasterJ » Wed Aug 28, 2013 4:54 pm

yeah that's wierd. If you want M&A, calling Skadden and Fried Frank equals would be dumb

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hephaestus
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Re: Chambers Band Rankings

Postby hephaestus » Wed Aug 28, 2013 4:58 pm

Shockingly, career services is wrong.

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thesealocust
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Re: Chambers Band Rankings

Postby thesealocust » Wed Aug 28, 2013 5:11 pm

ImNoScar wrote:Shockingly, career services is wrong.


JamMasterJ wrote:yeah that's wierd. If you want M&A, calling Skadden and Fried Frank equals would be dumb


+1. Rankings are impossible to defend when they get hyper precise, but they're still relevant and informative.

It may help to think of bank rankings in terms of what I like to call Legal Employment Plinko. Band 1 practice area firms will probably not frequently hire laterals from lower bands (if they hire them at all) while associates at band 1 practice area firms will likely be attractive candidates for lower band firms looking to hire from that practice group. Other exit opportunities may not depend nearly as heavily on such rankings and instead depend more on geography/client contact/serendipity/economic environment, so it may not even matter for any particular career even if there's a real observable difference over all.

Hardly universal, but I've observed trends like that enough to think it's a helpful way to think about things.

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Re: Chambers Band Rankings

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 28, 2013 5:18 pm

That sounds like dumb advice. I wouldn't base a decision solely on a difference of one band, but the difference between Band 1 and Band 4 is usually significant. I don't think the rankings are that critical for things like exit options, but generally they're a good proxy for the significance of the work the firms do. In antitrust, for instance, the largest mergers are typically handled by the leading firms, and the Band 4 and Band 5 firms tend to do smaller mergers (mergers of only a few hundred million or a few billion dollars). Having practiced for a few months, I can say that it's slightly more exciting to work on a massive, news-worthy case or deal. Also the leading firms generally have more work in those areas, and in a time of layoffs and uncertainty, staying busy is always a good thing.

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Bronck
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Re: Chambers Band Rankings

Postby Bronck » Wed Aug 28, 2013 5:43 pm

What are the differences in Bands when Chambers delineates between Elite and Highly Regarded?

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Re: Chambers Band Rankings

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 28, 2013 5:47 pm

Band 1 firms are firms everyone in that industry (lawyer and non lawyer alike) will have heard of as being the best. It's entirely possible that people aren't aware certain band 4 firms exist (if a boutique) or have a practice area in that field (if biglaw)

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thesealocust
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Re: Chambers Band Rankings

Postby thesealocust » Wed Aug 28, 2013 8:29 pm

Bronck wrote:What are the differences in Bands when Chambers delineates between Elite and Highly Regarded?


At a guess, the difference between national and international mega deals/cases and still large/important but not as gangbusters deals/cases. IIRC, only M&A is broken into those kinds of categories?

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Re: Chambers Band Rankings

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 28, 2013 11:11 pm

Do most people agree with SeaLocust and Anon that the rankings don't really correlate with exit ops? There is a lot of competition at my firm to get into one group because it is more highly ranked than the others. But I guess this could just be because prestige/other reasons.

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thesealocust
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Re: Chambers Band Rankings

Postby thesealocust » Wed Aug 28, 2013 11:33 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Do most people agree with SeaLocust and Anon that the rankings don't really correlate with exit ops? There is a lot of competition at my firm to get into one group because it is more highly ranked than the others. But I guess this could just be because prestige/other reasons.


Not what I said. In fact... close to the opposite of what I said?

A lot of things matter for exit options. People who start at the best firms in the best practice areas will probably have really cool options. People who start at lesser known firms with financial difficulties in down trodden markets aren't going to get heavily recruited. It's just really hard to draw lines inbetween.

Want to work for Goldman? I can think of a firm you should look into and it rhymes with Mullivan & Bromwell. Would sooner die than work for a bank? The exit options out of a lot of specialized financial practices in NYC might not thrill you.

And some stuff is just impossible to quantify because it gets so narrow. All else being equal, "better" or "more prestigious" firms probably produce better results on average, but it's important to keep a sense of perspective. All the firms in Band 2 for M&A or Capital Markets are still going to produce fine lawyers with a LOT of paths open to them should they choose to leave the firm. None of them are going to produce good exit options for family law practices in Florida, though.

Soooo much depends on person, client contacts, geography, and what the market is doing. Rankings aren't irrelevant, they're just not useful if you're looking for fine distinctions.

bdubs
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Re: Chambers Band Rankings

Postby bdubs » Wed Aug 28, 2013 11:47 pm

Take a look at the practitioner rankings to see why bands aren't always the end-all be-all of figuring out what firms have good/great practices. A firm might have a superstar partner who always gets called for really cool stuff, but because the practice is smaller, or his colleagues don't have the same sway, the firm's overall ranking will be lower. On the other hand, some practices are highly ranked but have few outstanding partners, relying mainly on a steady flow from institutional clients.

You might like being one of a handful of associates working for the superstar more than being one of 50 who work for big institutional client X on whatever it is they happen to be doing (from the uber exciting to the mundane). Then again a lot of the exit options into in-house depend a lot more on the relationships at the institutional clients than your set of interesting projects working for an expert in some niche.

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Bronck
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Re: Chambers Band Rankings

Postby Bronck » Thu Aug 29, 2013 3:22 am

thesealocust wrote:
Bronck wrote:What are the differences in Bands when Chambers delineates between Elite and Highly Regarded?


At a guess, the difference between national and international mega deals/cases and still large/important but not as gangbusters deals/cases. IIRC, only M&A is broken into those kinds of categories?


Interesting -- that would make sense. M&A and General Commercial Lit, I believe.

AllTheLawz
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Re: Chambers Band Rankings

Postby AllTheLawz » Thu Aug 29, 2013 11:34 am

I actually agree with CSO for the purposes of choosing between firms. Bands can be good tiebreakers between firms you feel the same or close to the same about but if you feel significantly better about a Band 3 firm than a Band 1 firm I think you should probably take that Band 3 firm.

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Re: Chambers Band Rankings

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 29, 2013 4:30 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Do most people agree with SeaLocust and Anon that the rankings don't really correlate with exit ops? There is a lot of competition at my firm to get into one group because it is more highly ranked than the others. But I guess this could just be because prestige/other reasons.

Earlier anon here. I didn't mean to suggest that rankings don't correlate with exit options. I just don't think that they matter in the same way that school rank, grades, law review, etc., matter for OCI. The associates that I've seen go in-house have all gone to work for one of my firm's major clients. I'm certainly no expert in the in-house hiring process, but from what I've observed, hiring typically occurs through client contacts rather than by submitting your resume into a large pool and hoping you have more boxes checked than your competition. If you're working at a higher-ranked firm, you'll likely work with a larger selection of major clients, which will mean more exit options. But that doesn't necessarily mean associates at lower-ranked firms won't have good options either. It really depends on the firm's clients.

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Re: Chambers Band Rankings

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 03, 2013 11:43 pm

Should people only be looking at the Chambers rankings for where they are going to practice? Are Nationwide rankings relevant?

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thesealocust
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Re: Chambers Band Rankings

Postby thesealocust » Tue Sep 03, 2013 11:52 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Should people only be looking at the Chambers rankings for where they are going to practice? Are Nationwide rankings relevant?


It depends. Ohio firms don't get nationwide work, they get Ohio work. That's not snobbery, that's just tautological - major legal (and financial/business) hubs got that way by concentrating nationwide and worldwide work. So the "national" practice rankings for Skadden won't matter much for its Tucson, Arizona office (I just assume any city I know of has a Skadden office) because the national work isn't being run out of its Tulson office, it's being run out of its New York office. The Tucson office will be representing Tucson companies on important matters, but if one of those Tucson matters has a bajillion dollar deal (or law suit) the odds of the work gravitating to New York or another major legal hub are going to increase.




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