Schiff Hardin Chicago v. Kirkland Chicago

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Schiff Hardin Chicago v. Kirkland Chicago

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 11, 2013 2:02 pm

I have offers at both places, and am would love some feedback about which would be the better choice. I am interested in litigation and am willing to work hard obviously, but would like to have somewhat of a social life/positive and collegial work culture within the realistic constraints of biglaw. Any insight into either of these firms?

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SemperLegal
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Re: Schiff Hardin Chicago v. Kirkland Chicago

Postby SemperLegal » Wed Sep 11, 2013 2:22 pm

One sounds like an erection and one sounds like an awesome brand for us fatties..

Always go for Fatties.

HTH

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Re: Schiff Hardin Chicago v. Kirkland Chicago

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 11, 2013 2:43 pm

I've met attorneys at both firms and I can't understand why anyone would pick Schiff in this situation.

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Re: Schiff Hardin Chicago v. Kirkland Chicago

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 11, 2013 2:45 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I've met attorneys at both firms and I can't understand why anyone would pick Schiff in this situation.


Can you elaborate?

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Re: Schiff Hardin Chicago v. Kirkland Chicago

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 11, 2013 4:37 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I've met attorneys at both firms and I can't understand why anyone would pick Schiff in this situation.


Can you elaborate?



I'm not the Anon you quoted, but I agree with the Anon you quoted. I've met some attorneys at Schiff and they were not pleasant. I have also interviewed with Schiff and it was not pleasant. Also, can you say... inferiority complex? Schiff totally has a chip on its shoulder for not being Vault ranked, not being up there with the other top Chicago firms. It's kind of cute. I'm not saying it's bad to not be a top firm. I just think it's cute when a firm has a complex -- which Schiff most definitely has. "Unlike other law firms, we hire future partners. And our [unnecessarily brutal] interview process reflects that." O RLY? A lot of other firms recruit "future partners" without being a total d-bag in the interview.

ETA: I am not speaking out of bitterness for not getting an offer. I will say that I withdrew my app from them for the reason above, though.

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Re: Schiff Hardin Chicago v. Kirkland Chicago

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 11, 2013 4:39 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I've met attorneys at both firms and I can't understand why anyone would pick Schiff in this situation.


Can you elaborate?



I'm not the Anon you quoted, but I agree with the Anon you quoted. I've met some attorneys at Schiff and they were not pleasant. I have also interviewed with Schiff and it was not pleasant. Also, can you say... inferiority complex? Schiff totally has a chip on its shoulder for not being Vault ranked, not being up there with the other top Chicago firms. It's kind of cute. I'm not saying it's bad to not be a top firm. I just think it's cute when a firm has a complex -- which Schiff most definitely has. "Unlike other law firms, we hire future partners. And our [unnecessarily brutal] interview process reflects that." O RLY? A lot of other firms recruit "future partners" without being a total d-bag in the interview.

ETA: I am not speaking out of bitterness for not getting an offer. I will say that I withdrew my app from them for the reason above, though.



I'm the previous anon and I think all of this is true. I can't help but feel like this is someone with a Schiff offer and no Kirkland offer trying to convince the world that they're comparable. Reminds me of the Harvard vs. NYU threads made a few years ago.

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Re: Schiff Hardin Chicago v. Kirkland Chicago

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 11, 2013 5:52 pm

OP here. I'm not trying to pretend they are similar in the rankings, and I have an offer at both places. Schiff's interview style was different and a little strange but the people I met were actually really nice and normal. I know Kirkland and Schiff are different but I was hoping to get some possible insight into both firm cultures. I didn't pick up on the "chip on the shoulder" aspect during my Schiff callback interview - people just seemed friendly. I'm looking for a firm that will provide early substantive experience, does high quality work, and also allows its associates to have a life outside of work. I would appreciate some constructive comments - thanks!

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Re: Schiff Hardin Chicago v. Kirkland Chicago

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 11, 2013 7:57 pm

OP, if you are going to ask for advice on an internet forum, I wouldn't discount these opinions. Just because you disagree, it doesn't make the feedback any less constructive. I go to NU/Chi and I know our experiences (the two anons above) with Schiff are not isolated.

If work/life balance matters to you (which it appears it does), don't go to Kirkland. I know people who work at both firms, and I know it takes a special kind of character to thrive at Kirkland. That character is not looking for work/life balance.

With that said, Schiff will not be a cake walk. But I've heard of people at Schiff going home, having dinner with wife, and logging in from home for a few hours. The dinner with wife part seems a lot more realistic at Schiff than at Kirkland.

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Re: Schiff Hardin Chicago v. Kirkland Chicago

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 11, 2013 8:28 pm

I've talked to people who summered at Kirkland and one attorney at the firm and they said that the bad rap Kirkland has isn't fair and that the free market system allows people to target 2000-ish hours and be semi-normal like one could be at any other firm. They said those billing 2700 were those who were either crazy or didn't learn to say no to things and that being a valued associate was not dependent upon billing absurd hours.

Truth or am I deceived? Specifics of what people at the firm have told you would be helpful.

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Re: Schiff Hardin Chicago v. Kirkland Chicago

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 11, 2013 9:10 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I've talked to people who summered at Kirkland and one attorney at the firm and they said that the bad rap Kirkland has isn't fair and that the free market system allows people to target 2000-ish hours and be semi-normal like one could be at any other firm. They said those billing 2700 were those who were either crazy or didn't learn to say no to things and that being a valued associate was not dependent upon billing absurd hours.

Truth or am I deceived? Specifics of what people at the firm have told you would be helpful.


I agree that Kirkland doesn't deserve all of the bad rap. But there are a few things to keep in mind: Just because you aren't billing 2700 it doesn't mean you can target 2000. None of these firms "require" you to do anything. If you are smart enough to be working at Kirkland, that means you have been an overachiever all of your life. As an overachiever, how comfortable would you be targeting 2000 when everyone else is billing 2200-2300? You can answer that for yourself. But as a fellow overachiever, I would tell you -- not comfortable at all. That's why it's significantly different working somewhere where everyone else targets 2000, like perhaps Schiff.

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Re: Schiff Hardin Chicago v. Kirkland Chicago

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 11, 2013 11:11 pm

Hmm. Quite possibly true, although I guess the big question for me is whether everyone else really is targeting 2700 rather than 2000. But in any case I think you underestimate my capacity for self-preservation lol.

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Re: Schiff Hardin Chicago v. Kirkland Chicago

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 12, 2013 12:03 am

Previous anon. I've talked to attorneys at Kirkland, and you don't sound like one of them.

I take back my previous advice that's based on objective factors like strength of firm in almost every practice area, firm financial health, level of work, professional development, etc. Go with Schiff--it's likely you'll drown at K&E. You seem unpleasant and like you don't to work hard--two huge problems in a free market system.

User has been warned.

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Re: Schiff Hardin Chicago v. Kirkland Chicago

Postby Old Gregg » Thu Sep 12, 2013 12:08 am

Anonymous User wrote:Previous anon. I've talked to attorneys at Kirkland, and you don't sound like one of them.

I take back my previous advice that's based on objective factors like strength of firm in almost every practice area, firm financial health, level of work, professional development, etc. Go with Schiff--it's likely you'll drown at K&E. You seem unpleasant and like you don't to work hard--two huge problems in a free market system.



:roll:

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Re: Schiff Hardin Chicago v. Kirkland Chicago

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 12, 2013 12:12 am

Fresh Prince wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Previous anon. I've talked to attorneys at Kirkland, and you don't sound like one of them.

I take back my previous advice that's based on objective factors like strength of firm in almost every practice area, firm financial health, level of work, professional development, etc. Go with Schiff--it's likely you'll drown at K&E. You seem unpleasant and like you don't to work hard--two huge problems in a free market system.



:roll:

Same anon. Why roll? This is serious advice. I have a classmate that works at Kirkland. You have to be willing to talk to people in order to get work, and maintain relationships. In addition, you have to be able to handle the amount of work expected. If you don't, partner's won't give you work and you'll end up being forced to leave because you can't bill hours. This happens to a lot of people. Might as well go to Schiff and not worry about keeping up with the crowd. Job > no job; I suppose.

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Re: Schiff Hardin Chicago v. Kirkland Chicago

Postby Old Gregg » Thu Sep 12, 2013 12:18 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Fresh Prince wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Previous anon. I've talked to attorneys at Kirkland, and you don't sound like one of them.

I take back my previous advice that's based on objective factors like strength of firm in almost every practice area, firm financial health, level of work, professional development, etc. Go with Schiff--it's likely you'll drown at K&E. You seem unpleasant and like you don't to work hard--two huge problems in a free market system.



:roll:

Same anon. Why roll? This is serious advice. I have a classmate that works at Kirkland. You have to be willing to talk to people in order to get work, and maintain relationships. In addition, you have to be able to handle the amount of work expected. If you don't, partner's won't give you work and you'll end up being forced to leave because you can't bill hours. This happens to a lot of people. Might as well go to Schiff and not worry about keeping up with the crowd. Job > no job; I suppose.


If OP billed what he bills at Schiff at Kirkland, he'll have at least two years at K&E. The kinds of people who are fired in two years are people who shouldn't be in biglaw in the first place.

More importantly, at K&E (and at any firm), it's about quality more than quantity. 2,700 hours with 1 shitty job and 9 good jobs is not nearly as good as 2,300 hours but owning every task you're given. The former will lead to the result you describe above, and the latter will pave the path to non-equity partner.

Partners at K&E, and at any firm in general, won't not give you work because you're not working hard enough. They will avoid giving work to you because you suck. But never in my career as an attorney have I heard anyone say, "he billed 150 hours last month, let's not give him more work--he seems lazy." If anything, I've seen the exact opposite at my firm.

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Re: Schiff Hardin Chicago v. Kirkland Chicago

Postby soj » Thu Sep 12, 2013 12:21 am

op: i interviewed at both places. i know kirkland's higher ranked but i liked people at schiff too! tls, help me decide.
anon: lol you sound unpleasant. you probably won't cut it at kirkland.

fucking lol

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Re: Schiff Hardin Chicago v. Kirkland Chicago

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 12, 2013 12:21 am

Fresh Prince wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Fresh Prince wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Previous anon. I've talked to attorneys at Kirkland, and you don't sound like one of them.

I take back my previous advice that's based on objective factors like strength of firm in almost every practice area, firm financial health, level of work, professional development, etc. Go with Schiff--it's likely you'll drown at K&E. You seem unpleasant and like you don't to work hard--two huge problems in a free market system.



:roll:

Same anon. Why roll? This is serious advice. I have a classmate that works at Kirkland. You have to be willing to talk to people in order to get work, and maintain relationships. In addition, you have to be able to handle the amount of work expected. If you don't, partner's won't give you work and you'll end up being forced to leave because you can't bill hours. This happens to a lot of people. Might as well go to Schiff and not worry about keeping up with the crowd. Job > no job; I suppose.


If OP billed what he bills at Schiff at Kirkland, he'll have at least two years at K&E. The kinds of people who are fired in two years are people who shouldn't be in biglaw in the first place.

More importantly, at K&E (and at any firm), it's about quality more than quantity. 2,700 hours with 1 shitty job and 9 good jobs is not nearly as good as 2,300 hours but owning every task you're given. The former will lead to the result you describe above, and the latter will pave the path to non-equity partner.

Partners at K&E, and at any firm in general, won't not give you work because you're not working hard enough. They will avoid giving work to you because you suck. But never in my career as an attorney have I heard anyone say, "he billed 150 hours last month, let's not give him more work--he seems lazy." If anything, I've seen the exact opposite at my firm.



Yeah, but you could bill 2700 hours and produce lots of bad quality work, or you can work the same amount of time and produce 2300 of quality work. Either way, you're having to spend more time working than OP wants to work.

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Re: Schiff Hardin Chicago v. Kirkland Chicago

Postby Old Gregg » Thu Sep 12, 2013 12:22 am

soj wrote:op: i interviewed at both places. i know kirkland's higher ranked but i liked people at schiff too! tls, help me decide.
anon: lol you sound unpleasant. you probably won't cut it at kirkland.

fucking lol


Agreed. If anything, anon sounds unpleasant and like someone I wouldn't want to work with.

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Re: Schiff Hardin Chicago v. Kirkland Chicago

Postby Old Gregg » Thu Sep 12, 2013 12:24 am

Yeah, but you could bill 2700 hours and produce lots of bad quality work, or you can work the same amount of time and produce 2300 of quality work. Either way, you're having to spend more time working than OP wants to work.


You're not reading what I'm saying. I said 2,300 hours of good work paves the path to non-equity partner. The alternative is not being fired in five months, it's just being pushed out before getting that really cool title. You're assuming OP wants to make partner, but that's because you're projecting harder than a powerpoint presentation. Many people go to super prestigious firms, firms far more prestigious than K&E, with the intention of not making partner and using it as a stepping stone to other goals that are more aligned with their interests.

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Re: Schiff Hardin Chicago v. Kirkland Chicago

Postby los blancos » Thu Sep 12, 2013 3:06 am

Why hasn't anyone brought up offer rates in this conversation? That, to me, might be the most relevant deciding factor.

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Re: Schiff Hardin Chicago v. Kirkland Chicago

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 12, 2013 9:50 am

Fresh Prince wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Fresh Prince wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Previous anon. I've talked to attorneys at Kirkland, and you don't sound like one of them.

I take back my previous advice that's based on objective factors like strength of firm in almost every practice area, firm financial health, level of work, professional development, etc. Go with Schiff--it's likely you'll drown at K&E. You seem unpleasant and like you don't to work hard--two huge problems in a free market system.



:roll:

Same anon. Why roll? This is serious advice. I have a classmate that works at Kirkland. You have to be willing to talk to people in order to get work, and maintain relationships. In addition, you have to be able to handle the amount of work expected. If you don't, partner's won't give you work and you'll end up being forced to leave because you can't bill hours. This happens to a lot of people. Might as well go to Schiff and not worry about keeping up with the crowd. Job > no job; I suppose.


If OP billed what he bills at Schiff at Kirkland, he'll have at least two years at K&E. The kinds of people who are fired in two years are people who shouldn't be in biglaw in the first place.

More importantly, at K&E (and at any firm), it's about quality more than quantity. 2,700 hours with 1 shitty job and 9 good jobs is not nearly as good as 2,300 hours but owning every task you're given. The former will lead to the result you describe above, and the latter will pave the path to non-equity partner.

Partners at K&E, and at any firm in general, won't not give you work because you're not working hard enough. They will avoid giving work to you because you suck. But never in my career as an attorney have I heard anyone say, "he billed 150 hours last month, let's not give him more work--he seems lazy." If anything, I've seen the exact opposite at my firm.


Can anyone actually speak to the median hours at Kirkland. In this thread alone, you've seen both 2300 (quality) and 2700, but no one can confirm what reasonable expectations are.

With such a huge gap, an informed decision becomes almost impossible. 2300 over Schiff's 2000 seems worth it for the level of work/exit options from Kirkland. But at 2500 or 2700 the decision becomes a lot more difficult.

Asking Kirkland about hours doesn't seem to work either. At best, you are unlikely to get a straight answer. At worst, you'll get dinged for asking.

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Re: Schiff Hardin Chicago v. Kirkland Chicago

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 12, 2013 11:10 am

I love that people in this thread gang up on Schiff based on a bad interview alone. I actually summered at Schiff, so hopefully I can provide some perspective that's actually based on something more substantial than 15 minute conversations.

First of all, both firms have a free market system, so that's not really an issue one way or another. Yes, Kirkland has a better reputation. And yes, you'll be able to get away with billing less hours at Schiff. That being said, Schiff was absolutely amazing. I interviewed with several big vault firms, and ultimately chose Schiff for several reasons. First of all, you can actually have a good work-life balance there and still move up in the ranks. The associate to equity partner ratio is nearly 1:1, and making partner there is a real possibility if you stay long enough. The people are amazing, and it was a very low-stress, friendly atmosphere. The offices work very closely together, and they are not shy about letting partners (and even associates) fly to other offices to work with partners on specific projects. It is free market, but you will get real responsibility quite early on. Schiff also pays $160k in all of its offices, including satellite offices with lower market rates (i.e. Ann Arbor, Atlanta), and is continually expanding. Schiff also operates with no debt, and is a very stable firm that is 150+ years old that operates with incredible transparency. A sample of this year's vault rankings:

#13 Best Law Firms to Work For
#4 Associate/Partner Relations
#4 Firm Culture
#14 Hours
#15 Satisfaction
#5 Transparency
#5 Best Law Firms for Diversity

I am close friends with someone who summered at K&E at the same time, and while it's a great firm, my impression (directly from his/her first-hand experience) was that it's much more uptight and competitive, and you will be expected to bill many more hours with low odds of ever making partner. K&E is a great firm, but all this hate on Schiff is misplaced and I don't really understand it. Every single person I worked with (and this was across 4-5 different offices) was incredibly helpful, laid back, and very smart.

And as far as offer rates, K&E offered 100% last summer, and Schiff offered 96% last summer (100% in Chicago), FWIW.




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