Cleary v. Weil

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Cleary v. Weil

Cleary
50
74%
Weil
18
26%
 
Total votes: 68

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Cleary v. Weil

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 30, 2013 6:53 pm

Got offers at both in NY. Both are very strong for the work I want to do. Which is better in terms of culture/associate satisfaction, etc.?

Please provide rationale as well! Thanks!

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Re: Cleary v. Weil

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 30, 2013 7:54 pm

OP here - reasons? Or is this just in response to the layoffs?

bdubs
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Re: Cleary v. Weil

Postby bdubs » Fri Aug 30, 2013 7:54 pm

One just laid off a lot of associates and essentially demoted some of their partners, the other never laid off associates during the downturn and has lockstep compensation from associate through partner. I think it's pretty clear.

The quality of the work between the two is so close that, IMO, it doesn't make any sense to choose Weil.

Reposted since you nixed your old thread.

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Re: Cleary v. Weil

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 30, 2013 8:03 pm

Have you considered client list?

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thesealocust
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Re: Cleary v. Weil

Postby thesealocust » Fri Aug 30, 2013 8:08 pm

Hmmm... do I pick the firm that just did a ton of layoffs, or the firm that did not.

Hmmmm.

Life is hard.

Also, I'm wondering whether I should have a cup of coffee or punch myself in the crotch tomorrow morning. Better make a poll on TLS.

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Re: Cleary v. Weil

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 30, 2013 8:09 pm

Cleary most definitely laid people off during the downturn...

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Re: Cleary v. Weil

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 30, 2013 8:15 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Cleary most definitely laid people off during the downturn...

Proof?

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Re: Cleary v. Weil

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 30, 2013 8:46 pm

From my interviews, Weil appeared extraordinarily fratty. I have heard, though never talked to them, that Cleary is the exact opposite. That is something else to look out.

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Re: Cleary v. Weil

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 30, 2013 9:07 pm

Weil culture vs. Cleary culture should make this an easy choice.

Unless you want to do debtor-side bankruptcy, Cleary today, tomorrow, and every day.

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Re: Cleary v. Weil

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 30, 2013 10:07 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Weil culture vs. Cleary culture should make this an easy choice.

Unless you want to do debtor-side bankruptcy, Cleary today, tomorrow, and every day.


Interested in bankruptcy but don't know enough to know the difference between debtor's-side and creditor's side

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Re: Cleary v. Weil

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 30, 2013 10:15 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Weil culture vs. Cleary culture should make this an easy choice.

Unless you want to do debtor-side bankruptcy, Cleary today, tomorrow, and every day.


Interested in bankruptcy but don't know enough to know the difference between debtor's-side and creditor's side


There are some threads on the differences, I suggest you look them up. How do you know you're interested in bk if you don't know the difference between debtor and creditor?

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Re: Cleary v. Weil

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 30, 2013 11:21 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Weil culture vs. Cleary culture should make this an easy choice.

Unless you want to do debtor-side bankruptcy, Cleary today, tomorrow, and every day.


Interested in bankruptcy but don't know enough to know the difference between debtor's-side and creditor's side


There are some threads on the differences, I suggest you look them up. How do you know you're interested in bk if you don't know the difference between debtor and creditor?


I didn't mean I didn't know the difference I meant the nature of the work itself.

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Re: Cleary v. Weil

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 30, 2013 11:37 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Weil culture vs. Cleary culture should make this an easy choice.

Unless you want to do debtor-side bankruptcy, Cleary today, tomorrow, and every day.


Interested in bankruptcy but don't know enough to know the difference between debtor's-side and creditor's side


There are some threads on the differences, I suggest you look them up. How do you know you're interested in bk if you don't know the difference between debtor and creditor?


I didn't mean I didn't know the difference I meant the nature of the work itself.


Cleary does creditor work, with a few smaller debtor projects. Weil is known for being a debtor powerhouse. Culture aside, what you want to do will make this decision for you. There is info all over the internet on the differences. For what it's worth, I hear that at Weil you can be staffed on one large ch 11 deal for multiple years, which can result in you getting very little experience for your time spent (you'll be filing the same types of motions over and over). You're essentially a cog in a machine for the first few years. That being said, debtor work is known as being the "more prestigious" work and will likely be more interesting if you don't get stuck on a megacase. Creditor work is supposed to have better exit options because of the relationships you can build with your clients, while I've been told most debtor exit options are in-house.

If you can't decide between the two, I think you can let Cleary's culture do it for you. Weil can be very stuffy, though they will claim they all have bright/outgoing personalities. Cleary prides themselves on their culture and most people are very nice (but it isn't social in the sense that people go out for drinks after work regularly). Cleary is financially stronger (see Weil layoffs) and while they did layoffs during the recession, they aren't struggling for work like Weil is currently.

Overall, I think your job would be safer and more enjoyable at Cleary, but if you want to be on big debtor cases then Weil may be more your style. Honestly, these really depend on your personality and who you think you would fit in with, these are just my impressions that are compared with my personality. Boring for some may be relaxing for others. If you can't tell the difference from callbacks because everyone is so happy-go-lucky, do a second visit and try to meet real attorneys--that'll clear it up.

All of this being said, is Kirkland on the table? DPW? Milbank? PW? There are a lot of great bankruptcy firms out there--I'm not sure Cleary would be at the top of my list. Also, check this.

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Re: Cleary v. Weil

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 31, 2013 12:11 am

Anonymous User wrote:All of this being said, is Kirkland on the table? DPW? Milbank? PW? There are a lot of great bankruptcy firms out there--I'm not sure Cleary would be at the top of my list. Also, check this.

I'm not OP, but I'm very interested in bankruptcy and have offers at several of the above. Any chance you could expand on the relative merits of their practices? I get that K&E does a lot of PE-driven debtor-work, while Skadden does a lot of debtor-work in the form of prepacks, Milbank is creditor-heavy, and PW does a mix. But can you elaborate on the reputations of these firms? And/or can you speak to the experience for an associate at any of them?

I'd really appreciate it.

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Re: Cleary v. Weil

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 31, 2013 12:28 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:All of this being said, is Kirkland on the table? DPW? Milbank? PW? There are a lot of great bankruptcy firms out there--I'm not sure Cleary would be at the top of my list. Also, check this.

I'm not OP, but I'm very interested in bankruptcy and have offers at several of the above. Any chance you could expand on the relative merits of their practices? I get that K&E does a lot of PE-driven debtor-work, while Skadden does a lot of debtor-work in the form of prepacks, Milbank is creditor-heavy, and PW does a mix. But can you elaborate on the reputations of these firms? And/or can you speak to the experience for an associate at any of them?

I'd really appreciate it.


I think that if you want to do debtor work, there's no firm like Kirkland right now--they're incredibly healthy (tons of work) and they allow for associates to take on a lot of responsibility early on. Culture is very entrepreneurial and social--don't go there if you'd prefer an office where you can keep to yourself. Pretty competitive (bonuses individualized, have to ask for work, etc)

PW has great people and do a mix of work, from what I hear, the summer is focused real world assignments rather than social events. If I were to pick PW, it would be for culture and the (albeit small) chance at partner (4:1 associate to partner ratio). The culture is very team-oriented, but not nearly as competitive as Kirkland (lockstep associate/partnership pay).

Milbank is creditor committee heavy--which is slightly different. There are some benefits, though--you often have standing on every issue, and you have to learn to balance the needs of different parties in the committee. Lots of the lawyer's recommendations have to be approved, so there isn't too much flexibility in terms of practicing it. But they're known for their committee work and they are good at what they do. The people there seemed rather boring to me, but with a hint of personality deep down.

Skadden does debtor work too, and is more like Weil than Kirkland. Assignment system, lockstep responsibility, etc etc but I get the feeling that the group is there because their clients want a full-service firm. There isn't a lot of work from what I hear. Culture is very work hard play hard.

DPW is the creditor firm if that's what you want to do and the culture seems uptight (once again, just comparing to my personality)--Cleary is close behind in terms of creditor work, but not at the same level.

Most of the other top firms will have strong practices, but they are generally a mix of debtor/creditor work and are there for the purpose of servicing clients from other groups, or participating in middle-market ch. 11s.


I'm currently going through callbacks for these firms and I'm into restructuring, but I've met with attorneys at each so I have a bit of experience behind what I'm saying. Take it with a grain of salt--I've learned some of it from attys at other firms. Let me know if you have any more questions.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Sat Aug 31, 2013 12:30 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Cleary v. Weil

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 31, 2013 12:28 am

I would pick cleary over Weil based on the people I have met. As for financial stability, I don't think anyone here knows the stability of both firms. The Weil layoffs were a shock to most and cleary can do the same next week and many wouldn't expect it. Do second looks at both and while you are there ask many questions. Then make your decision after.

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Re: Cleary v. Weil

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 31, 2013 12:42 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:All of this being said, is Kirkland on the table? DPW? Milbank? PW? There are a lot of great bankruptcy firms out there--I'm not sure Cleary would be at the top of my list. Also, check this.

I'm not OP, but I'm very interested in bankruptcy and have offers at several of the above. Any chance you could expand on the relative merits of their practices? I get that K&E does a lot of PE-driven debtor-work, while Skadden does a lot of debtor-work in the form of prepacks, Milbank is creditor-heavy, and PW does a mix. But can you elaborate on the reputations of these firms? And/or can you speak to the experience for an associate at any of them?

I'd really appreciate it.


I think that if you want to do debtor work, there's no firm like Kirkland right now--they're incredibly healthy (tons of work) and they allow for associates to take on a lot of responsibility early on. Culture is very entrepreneurial and social--don't go there if you'd prefer an office where you can keep to yourself. Pretty competitive (bonuses individualized, have to ask for work, etc)

PW has great people and do a mix of work, from what I hear, the summer is focused real world assignments rather than social events. If I were to pick PW, it would be for culture and the (albeit small) chance at partner (4:1 associate to partner ratio). The culture is very team-oriented, but not nearly as competitive as Kirkland (lockstep associate/partnership pay).

Milbank is creditor committee heavy--which is slightly different. There are some benefits, though--you often have standing on every issue, and you have to learn to balance the needs of different parties in the committee. Lots of the lawyer's recommendations have to be approved, so there isn't too much flexibility in terms of practicing it. But they're known for their committee work and they are good at what they do. The people there seemed rather boring to me, but with a hint of personality deep down.

Skadden does debtor work too, and is more like Weil than Kirkland. Assignment system, lockstep responsibility, etc etc but I get the feeling that the group is there because their clients want a full-service firm. There isn't a lot of work from what I hear. Culture is very work hard play hard.

DPW is the creditor firm if that's what you want to do and the culture seems uptight (once again, just comparing to my personality)--Cleary is close behind in terms of creditor work, but not at the same level.

Most of the other top firms will have strong practices, but they are generally a mix of debtor/creditor work and are there for the purpose of servicing clients from other groups, or participating in middle-market ch. 11s.


I'm currently going through callbacks for these firms and I'm into restructuring, but I've met with attorneys at each so I have a bit of experience behind what I'm saying. Take it with a grain of salt--I've learned some of it from attys at other firms. Let me know if you have any more questions.

Thanks. This was enormously helpful, and basically confirms what I've been hearing.

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Re: Cleary v. Weil

Postby Old Gregg » Sat Aug 31, 2013 12:43 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Cleary most definitely laid people off during the downturn...

Proof?


My friends fired from the firm? Would you like blood samples???

Jesus.

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Re: Cleary v. Weil

Postby Pokemon » Sat Aug 31, 2013 2:38 am

If cultural differences or nature of work does not help you make a decision, it is worth considering that Cleary has the much better website. Indeed, in my opinion, one of the best law firm websites ever.

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Re: Cleary v. Weil

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 31, 2013 3:46 am

I speak as someone who has looked pretty closely at the Weil layoffs -- I've spoken with lots of people on both sides of the table, including partners and associates at competing V10 firms. Really, the layoffs should be viewed as a positive thing for a person like you -- (1) there's no way in heck that Weil would layoff again in the next 3+ years and (2) the reason why Weil did it now was because it didn't really need to do it during the downturn (Lehman client).

Also, I don't have a lot of exposure to bankruptcy, but the person above who talked about limited exit options from Weil's bankruptcy division is out of his/her mind. They have their pick of firms and in-house opportunities as well.

Be a bit more cautious about Cleary... I know for a fact that Weil didn't do any stealth layoffs, and ATL doesn't publish this stuff until there is an unhealthy amount of chatter: http://abovethelaw.com/2013/05/a-myster ... ottlieb/2/. Also, as to culture, I heard that there was a shift to the negative in recent years due to a change in Cleary management -- someone else might be able to comment more on this.

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Re: Cleary v. Weil

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 31, 2013 3:56 am

"For about a year now, Cleary has been laying off staff. I estimate about 30-40 so far. They are doing it one or two people at a time. They have reduced staff through attrition for several years, but now they are just letting people go. They are reassigning, changing schedules, and otherwise driving staff nuts."

"This started about a couple of years ago, when Sheldon Alster became the Managing Partner for the New York office. He is a miserable person and he brought in one Kelly Stevens as Administrator. They have really been busting chops. They even took five sick days away from staff this year from the ten [previously given].
In Cleary’s defense, I have to say it has been a good firm in the past…. Now they’re acting like the firm is in a death spiral."

"So what does this all mean? The times, they are a-changin’. The firms that used to be known as kinder, gentler Biglaw firms, like Cleary and Debevoise, are increasingly focused on the bottom line. Debevoise ditched its trusts and estates practice, essentially because T&E wasn’t paying its own freight. And now Cleary is clearing out unneeded support staff, for basically the same reasons."


I wouldn't really buy this whole "culture" thing, and I think you're probably splitting hairs between Weil & Cleary. Pick the firm that has the better practice group for what you're interested in, and go with the place that has good exits.

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Re: Cleary v. Weil

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 31, 2013 8:58 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Also, I don't have a lot of exposure to bankruptcy, but the person above who talked about limited exit options from Weil's bankruptcy division is out of his/her mind. They have their pick of firms and in-house opportunities as well.


I'm not saying limited exit options from Weil. I'm saying that creditor work generally leads to better exit-options than debtor work. This should be obvious--creditors are lenders and they will always have work (and thus need an in-house attorney), while companies generally don't have in-house attorneys around in case there's a bankruptcy (though, you can do banking/finance work). Obviously a v10 like Weil will have great exit options, but the thread title is Weil vs. Cleary--and if you're comparing the type of work, it's good to know that one type has a smoother exit.

Additionally, I have heard of a Weil associate trying to lateral to another major debtor shop, and they only had experience doing one type of motion on one case for three years--that's not desirable experience from a firm's perspective. If it turns out OP doesn't like his job at Weil--the move to Skadden/Kirkland is going to be tougher than the move from Cleary to DPW/PW

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Re: Cleary v. Weil

Postby NYstate » Sat Aug 31, 2013 9:10 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Also, I don't have a lot of exposure to bankruptcy, but the person above who talked about limited exit options from Weil's bankruptcy division is out of his/her mind. They have their pick of firms and in-house opportunities as well.


I'm not saying limited exit options from Weil. I'm saying that creditor work generally leads to better exit-options than debtor work. This should be obvious--creditors are lenders and they will always have work (and thus need an in-house attorney), while companies generally don't have in-house attorneys around in case there's a bankruptcy (though, you can do banking/finance work). Obviously a v10 like Weil will have great exit options, but the thread title is Weil vs. Cleary--and if you're comparing the type of work, it's good to know that one type has a smoother exit.

Additionally, I have heard of a Weil associate trying to lateral to another major debtor shop, and they only had experience doing one type of motion on one case for three years--that's not desirable experience from a firm's perspective. If it turns out OP doesn't like his job at Weil--the move to Skadden/Kirkland is going to be tougher than the move from Cleary to DPW/PW


Not sure how to respond to this. I doubt that any associate at Weil only works on one type of motion for three years. I also doubt that creditors would be disinterested in hiring someone from Weil. You meet a lot of people from both sides in doing reorgs and bankruptcies.

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Re: Cleary v. Weil

Postby NYstate » Sat Aug 31, 2013 9:17 am

Anonymous User wrote:I would pick cleary over Weil based on the people I have met. As for financial stability, I don't think anyone here knows the stability of both firms. The Weil layoffs were a shock to most and cleary can do the same next week and many wouldn't expect it. Do second looks at both and while you are there ask many questions. Then make your decision after.


One positive aspect of Weil layoffs is that the firm was upfront about it and gave people 6 months severance. This helps the people looking for jobs because the firm made it clear it wasn't due to their poor work. People who have been stealthed don't have that option of the firm backing you up.

But it shows that the firm is not going to carry people, so take that into account,

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Re: Cleary v. Weil

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 31, 2013 9:21 am

NYstate wrote:Not sure how to respond to this. I doubt that any associate at Weil only works on one type of motion for three years. I also doubt that creditors would be disinterested in hiring someone from Weil. You meet a lot of people from both sides in doing reorgs and bankruptcies.


Once again, I'm not saying it's a bad gig. I'm comparing Cleary and Weil. If you do choose Weil, I'd try to avoid the megacases for the first two years so you can get substantive experience under your belt because it's easier to sell. I've talked to Weil associates who have said that some people get hurt by trying to get the big name on their resume at the expense of experience.

And it's just not the case that a creditor wants to hire a debtor-side attorney at Weil over creditor-side at Cleary. Creditor shops focus on one part of the bankruptcy in depth, while the debtors run the entire show--meaning that they're learning a bunch of things that aren't necessarily useful for a creditor-side job. Once again, it's possible and it happens all the time, but it's easier to exit to a creditor when you have lots of creditor experience. You're right, though, there is exposure to creditors in a debtor shop, but to a lesser extent.

I'm really not trying to argue, and OP can take it with a grain of salt because I don't have first-hand experience. I'm just relaying what I've heard from Weil associates and other bankruptcy attorneys.




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