S&C Questions

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S&C Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 13, 2013 11:50 am

I am currently deciding between S&C and DPW. Maybe Skadden but thinking not.

Can anyone speak to these points:

· Leverage: How many associates per partner? How large is the incoming class? How many are they 12 months later?

· Partner compensation: How do partners get paid? What does this mean for associate professional development?

· Client base: Do you want to work for their clients? How concentrated is the client base? Do the personalities of a couple of large clients drive the firm’s culture?

· Downturn: What did the firm do in 2009-10 when the macroeconomy got tough and associates were not as busy? Layoffs? Raise the associate review bar?

Thanks!

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thesealocust
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Re: S&C Questions

Postby thesealocust » Fri Sep 13, 2013 11:59 am

S&C and DPW are incredibly similar structurally. It's hard to pick two more similar firms in terms of reputation, work they do, client base, size, locations, structure, etc. They both have broad corporate practices and represent a lot of financial institutions, just slightly different financial institutions.

Amongst the things you listed, there aren't many differences. You should focus primarily on your reaction to the people you met with and the work you're interested in (i.e. there are a few things one firm does but the other doesn't if you have narrow interests) + assignment system (i.e. DPW has two corporate rotations while S&C starts you in a corporate generalist pool and then has people specialize later).

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Re: S&C Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 13, 2013 12:13 pm

thesealocust wrote:S&C and DPW are incredibly similar structurally. It's hard to pick two more similar firms in terms of reputation, work they do, client base, size, locations, structure, etc. They both have broad corporate practices and represent a lot of financial institutions, just slightly different financial institutions.

Amongst the things you listed, there aren't many differences. You should focus primarily on your reaction to the people you met with and the work you're interested in (i.e. there are a few things one firm does but the other doesn't if you have narrow interests) + assignment system (i.e. DPW has two corporate rotations while S&C starts you in a corporate generalist pool and then has people specialize later).



OP.

Thanks! Anyone else wanna weigh in? I know I can't really go wrong... I think it is smarter going with one of those over Skadden ...

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Re: S&C Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 13, 2013 12:23 pm

S&C's summer class this summer was 147 (up from about 134 in 2012) and they lose about 50% of their associates after the first year.

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Re: S&C Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 13, 2013 12:24 pm

Anonymous User wrote:S&C's summer class this summer was 147 (up from about 134 in 2012) and they lose about 50% of their associates after the first year.



Wow. 50%? Attributed to...?

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Re: S&C Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 13, 2013 12:26 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:S&C's summer class this summer was 147 (up from about 134 in 2012) and they lose about 50% of their associates after the first year.



Wow. 50%? Attributed to...?


Being one of the most miserable places in the country to work... or at least thats what associates who left have told me

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Re: S&C Questions

Postby thesealocust » Fri Sep 13, 2013 12:33 pm

Anonymous User wrote:they lose about 50% of their associates after the first year.


wat? I have a very hard time believing that figure...

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Re: S&C Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 13, 2013 12:39 pm

why does anyone pick S&C? Especially given other similar options?

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Re: S&C Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 13, 2013 12:56 pm

Anonymous User wrote:why does anyone pick S&C? Especially given other similar options?


I think the name "Sullivan and Cromwell" sounds a little more prestigious to laypeople just in the way the vowels roll off the tongue. Some might even think you work in banking!

Different anon: I can confirm for palo alto and LA office that their associate head count for 1-2 years are down around 50%. In palo alto around 6 people left before 1 year and they currently only have one first year associate left in that office. They really like to churn through associates over at s&c. My friends who have left universally use the word "abusive" when referring to their time there.

Take that for what you will. Reputations do not appear from thin air. Though s&c does do a helluva good recruiting and selling job - giving you all that personalized stuff and having partners randomly appear to congratulate you after you get your same day offer. Just LOL if you think that the treatment continues once you start as a 1st yr.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Fri Sep 13, 2013 1:00 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: S&C Questions

Postby thesealocust » Fri Sep 13, 2013 12:59 pm

Anonymous User wrote:why does anyone pick S&C? Especially given other similar options?


It's an incredible firm with a breadth of practices, and the negative reputation is hard to distinguish (a) from personality types/preferences and (b) the fact that all big law firms, especially its peers, involve harsh lifestyles. Basically, it's not clear that S&C is so much "worse" of a place to work, especially depending on the personality of the candidate, from the other top 10-15ish firms people frequently compare it with.

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Re: S&C Questions

Postby Tiago Splitter » Fri Sep 13, 2013 1:00 pm

thesealocust wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:they lose about 50% of their associates after the first year.


wat? I have a very hard time believing that figure...

Me too. According to Chambers they had 108 first years and 94 second years. For there to be 50% attrition you'd need dozens of people to come in after clerkships or lateral in from other firms as second years, which seems unlikely. And even pre-ITE when the exit options were supposedly so great and S&C had to give a powerpoint presentation to the partners to teach them how to be nice and boost morale, attrition was quoted at 30%.

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Re: S&C Questions

Postby IAFG » Fri Sep 13, 2013 1:05 pm

Tiago Splitter wrote:
thesealocust wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:they lose about 50% of their associates after the first year.


wat? I have a very hard time believing that figure...

Me too. According to Chambers they had 108 first years and 94 second years. For there to be 50% attrition you'd need dozens of people to come in after clerkships or lateral in from other firms as second years, which seems unlikely. And even pre-ITE when the exit options were supposedly so great and S&C had to give a powerpoint presentation to the partners to teach them how to be nice and boost morale, attrition was quoted at 30%.

I am not at all arguing that SC actually has a 50% first year attrition rate because I have no idea, but OF COURSE they could find 50 laterals and clerks. No problem.

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Re: S&C Questions

Postby Tiago Splitter » Fri Sep 13, 2013 1:06 pm

IAFG wrote:
Tiago Splitter wrote:
thesealocust wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:they lose about 50% of their associates after the first year.


wat? I have a very hard time believing that figure...

Me too. According to Chambers they had 108 first years and 94 second years. For there to be 50% attrition you'd need dozens of people to come in after clerkships or lateral in from other firms as second years, which seems unlikely. And even pre-ITE when the exit options were supposedly so great and S&C had to give a powerpoint presentation to the partners to teach them how to be nice and boost morale, attrition was quoted at 30%.

I am not at all arguing that SC actually has a 50% first year attrition rate because I have no idea, but OF COURSE they could find 50 laterals and clerks. No problem.

That goes without saying. The question is did they?

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Re: S&C Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 13, 2013 1:07 pm

I'm interested in this thread/question as well, so thank you everyone for the good discussion so far. Can anyone opine on how OP's questions relate to Cravath (relative to SandC and DPW)?

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Re: S&C Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 13, 2013 1:13 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm interested in this thread/question as well, so thank you everyone for the good discussion so far. Can anyone opine on how OP's questions relate to Cravath (relative to SandC and DPW)?



Jesus. I was almost sold on S&C before this thread. The people I met there (many of them...totaling about 12) were really enthusiastic, with it, cool and fucking smart.

This confusion is ENDLESS!!!

Oh yeah. I'm OP.

DPW just seemed square. Nice, but square. No edge.

I also am weighing Skadde and Debevoise. And the previous poster wants to compare to Cravath...

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Re: S&C Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 13, 2013 1:21 pm

This is a classic xo post from a couple of years back concerning sullcrom:

Date: October 27th, 2006 8:17 PM

Author: Mason27

Subject: Congratulations!

Based on your reaction to getting the offer, this is probably the best thing that could have ever happened to you. I encourage you to enjoy the summer and accept their offer as nothing in the world will cure you of your prestige obsession quicker than some time at S&C.

During orientation, they'll give you an S&C shoulderbag and you'll wear it with the S&C logo facing outward so any other commuters in the know can see it and you'll just know that they're either impressed or envious. And that will make you happy and proud. And then you'll try to figure out the best way to ensure that you're sworn in as soon as possible after receiving your bar results because then you'll get the box full of business cards that say "Sullivan & Cromwell LLP" with your actual name underneath. You'll be giddy at the thought of casually passing one (mid-conversation) to some acquaintance from undergrad you've lost touch with.

You'll start working and you'll notice that there are an awful lot of "Farewell" emails and someone will tell you that the farewell emails can only contain 4 names at a time per firm policy because the partners decided sometime in 2004 that emails indicating 6 or 7 people were leaving the firm in a two week period might cause some unhelpful whispering. You'll talk to a midlevel associate who is super-psyched to work at S&C and you'll find out that he (not a lot of shes) lateralled from some firm that frankly you would never have considered working for (too TTT for you). When you get back to your office, this will trouble you a bit, you'll wonder if your own escutcheon is being blemished by the presence of this type of person (i.e., non-elite) at your S&C. But that feeling will pass as you'll find plenty of other like-minded first years who equally relish the prestige as you you head for a drink at Ulysses (shoulderbag logo facing outward).

Then you'll get staffed on your first big deal and you'll work late night after late night and then on the weekend and on to the next weekend and then on to the weekend when you had planned to go to a friend's wedding. And you won't go because the work has to get done and you have dues to pay (or so you'll be told). You'll get a little bit upset about this turn of events, but the arrival of those business cards will soften the blow.

You'll meet more and more laterals from firms that you would never work for (some you've never even heard of). You'll note in the farewell emails that some of the junior and midlevel associates leaving S&C are going to those very same firms. Survival of the fittest you'll say. But late at night, when the air conditioning clicks down from a barely perceptible hissing sound to complete silence, these things will bother you. But you'll tell yourself you're just tired and frustrated and anyway you have work to do.

You'll have lunch with Rodge and he'll tell you that business is good and that he's listening to associates' concerns about quality of life issues. You'll notice that some of the senior associates visibly roll their eyes at each other when this comes up, but you won't mind that much because, really, what other firm's managing partner regulalry has lunch with associates to hear their concerns (and takes notes!)

A few months will pass, a few marathon deals will happen, you'll have to re-schedule a vacation but you'll tell yourself that that is to be expected.

About a year in, a couple of your classmates will crack and start talking about how much the job sucks. They'll very likely have gone to Yale Law School. You'll joke that they couldn't hack it when they leave the firm for a clerkship, or an academic position or to go to a firm in another city.

Things will go on in this pattern and you'll notice the fact that you're working a lot harder than your friends who went to "peer" firms. At first you'll be proud of this and brag about it, but after a while you'll find yourself downplaying it. At least when you have the time to get out and socialize with your law school friends.

Something will happen: a partner will scream at you, a senior associate gunning for partner will blame you for her mistake, the partner will tell you that the trip to Europe your spouse meticulously planned just won't be able to happen (he'll be really sorry and will tell you a funny story about the exotic vacation he missed or cut short). Doesn't matter what, but you'll get really pissed and you'll start to take some of the 4 or 5 calls from headhunters that you'll receive every day at that point (vultures spell blood). They'll give you the names of firms that you laughed on in the days when you posted on the XOXO board, but you'll find yourself looking into them. The headhunter will encourage to just listen to their offer and you'll consider doing so. But you won't leave because then you'd have to give up your business cards. And stop wearing the shoulder bag. And the bonus is only x months away so you'll start thinking about it then.

Until one day you won't be able to take it any more and you'll find yourself arranging to meet with people from a lightly regarded firm for a position in their New York office. And you'll worry that the XOXO crowd will see you.

And you don't believe any of this will happen, but I suggest you print this out and keep it in the top desk of your drawer so late at night when you're feeling sorry for yourself, you can add to the list of reasons to be miserable this fact: someone told you this was going to happen and you thought that person was crazy.

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Re: S&C Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 13, 2013 1:29 pm

I got that number from my friend who is an associate there (so not chambers but actually getting the accurate raw data).

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Re: S&C Questions

Postby thesealocust » Fri Sep 13, 2013 1:49 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm interested in this thread/question as well, so thank you everyone for the good discussion so far. Can anyone opine on how OP's questions relate to Cravath (relative to SandC and DPW)?


:lol: Well... kind of the same analysis? Cravath is also an amazing firm with broad practices. The "Cravath System" is different again from what DPW and S&C do with junior attorneys. Rumors of hours that are not just bad but more consistently bad than even the other hard-charging NYC firms, but who knows.

Between these firms, (and a few others) you're looking at the group which splits up all of the best corporate legal work in the world, so it should really come more down to which one's culture/clients/systems appeal to you more.

Anonymous User wrote:I got that number from my friend who is an associate there (so not chambers but actually getting the accurate raw data).


The number is BS, at least globally and/or for NYC. I suppose it's possible that it happened in one of their smaller offices.

Also possible the math is just botched - I could easily see them hiring 120 people and losing 60 over the course of the year, but the 60 they lost wouldn't all be first years.

General attrition rates at major NYC law firms don't see significant declines until after at least the first year at the firm.

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Re: S&C Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 13, 2013 2:15 pm

i interviewed at cravath, and the associates were sort of happy to brag about how hard and long they worked, which was weird. granted, this was something i noticed about a lot of the v10 firms in new york. the thing about cravath is that besides the exit options (which is itself some murky business, and overrated ite), there is nothing to justify the hours. other places like boies, and quinn at least pay you more.

what's depressing is when you interview at firms way down the ladder (v100), and you end up meeting laterals from the v10. you start to wonder what the point is...

you should also note that the cravath rotations are approximately 18 months each (i may be wrong on this). if you don't plan on sticking around for long, you should take that into consideration.

i'd personally choose cravath over sullcrom.

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Re: S&C Questions

Postby legends159 » Fri Sep 13, 2013 2:45 pm

Anonymous User wrote:the thing about cravath is that besides the exit options (which is itself some murky business, and overrated ite), there is nothing to justify the hours. other places like boies, and quinn at least pay you more.

what's depressing is when you interview at firms way down the ladder (v100), and you end up meeting laterals from the v10. you start to wonder what the point is...


As someone who works at a V5 I completely agree with your sentiments. I don't think I have better exit ops than my friends at V20 or V100 firms. Maybe I will someday down the line when I am more senior, but we all get the same recruiting calls right now. Only law students really care about vault rankings. Choose a firm based on what your interests are and where you think you'll be happiest.

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Re: S&C Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 13, 2013 3:00 pm

People on TLS like to bash Cravath/S&C because these firms have high RPL and PPP while dominating in every area (unlike WLRK), even compared with Skadden/DPW. If I worked at another V10, I would like to think that the RPL and PPP at those firms are (20-30%) higher than ones at my firm not because the lawyers are smarter/more talented/more sought after, but because they work harder/more (to get work and to do work). If they don't work harder/more, I would think that those associates have bad personalities/are anti-social. I would be tempted to infer that those places have bad culture.

The truth is, there are great people at all these firms. There are mean people at all these firms. What you perceive the balance to be at each firm depends on your personality. If you want to work at a firm that dominates securities, M&A, capital markets, and essentially all other corporate areas and don't mind the straight talk, go to S&C. If you like the rotation system, go to Cravath. If you prefer the one-year rotation and a "nice"/"passive aggressive workplace", go to DPW. If you want PE, go to STB. Not sure who goes to Skadden/Cleary/Weil/Kirkland/Latham based on non-fit reasons when they have these other options.

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Re: S&C Questions

Postby IAFG » Fri Sep 13, 2013 3:11 pm

Anonymous User wrote:People on TLS like to bash Cravath/S&C because these firms have high RPL and PPP while dominating in every area (unlike WLRK), even compared with Skadden/DPW. If I worked at another V10, I would like to think that the RPL and PPP at those firms are (20-30%) higher than ones at my firm not because the lawyers are smarter/more talented/more sought after, but because they work harder/more (to get work and to do work). If they don't work harder/more, I would think that those associates have bad personalities/are anti-social. I would be tempted to infer that those places have bad culture.

The truth is, there are great people at all these firms. There are mean people at all these firms. What you perceive the balance to be at each firm depends on your personality. If you want to work at a firm that dominates securities, M&A, capital markets, and essentially all other corporate areas and don't mind the straight talk, go to S&C. If you like the rotation system, go to Cravath. If you prefer the one-year rotation and a "nice"/"passive aggressive workplace", go to DPW. If you want PE, go to STB. Not sure who goes to Skadden/Cleary/Weil/Kirkland/Latham based on non-fit reasons when they have these other options.

TL;DR y'all jus jelly

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Re: S&C Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 13, 2013 3:16 pm

OP-

C.O.N.F.U.S.I.N.G.

I tend to think that some of the S&C hate stems from jealousy but every other opinion (and this isn't shades of gray) are diametrically opposed to each other. Is this all hearsay?

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Re: S&C Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 13, 2013 3:27 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP-

C.O.N.F.U.S.I.N.G.

I tend to think that some of the S&C hate stems from jealousy but every other opinion (and this isn't shades of gray) are diametrically opposed to each other. Is this all hearsay?


There are two sides to each story. S&C has high attrition, no doubt about that. But, so does Cravath/Skadden/etc. Some associates left those places because they had enough, but many others because the exit opportunities at S&C/Cravath/etc. are phenomenal, perhaps even compared to other V5/V10 firms. Back in the mid-2000s for a time, S&C's M&A was essentially WLRK M&A on steroids.

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Re: S&C Questions

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 13, 2013 3:27 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP-

C.O.N.F.U.S.I.N.G.

I tend to think that some of the S&C hate stems from jealousy but every other opinion (and this isn't shades of gray) are diametrically opposed to each other. Is this all hearsay?


As somebody who had offers from Cravath, Sullivan & Cromwell, Skadden and Davis Polk I can tell you flat out that nobody needs to shit on any firm in that group out of "jealousy." I know many S&C detractors who either work there or had offers there.

Every year vast swaths of people get offers at all or most of them, scratch our chins, shrug our shoulders, and follow our gut. It's best to think of them as peer firms, because they are peer firms. You'll make the same salary and work long hours at any of them, and if you disregard any signals you get there (or elsewhere) about the kind of environment you'll be in plus your own response to that environment, you may be in for a (very) bad time.




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