I've been lurking the last few days just to see how people responded to a recent callback dinner I went to . . . but I can't let this crap hang out there.
Let's start with the usual disclaimers. I'm an associate at S&C, and I love my job and feel very lucky to be here. I'm not particularly hooked up with recruiting, and I'm not shilling because I couldn't really care less, from a selfish point of view, if 2Ls come here. I just hate, HATE to see folks make the same mistakes some of my friends did, and go to a place like Latham for the culture and end up being a credit/high-yield monkey, working as hard as I do and getting half as much out of it. Don't make that mistake please.
(a) I have no hours-based billing pressure. My first year, things were slow (it was the crisis) and I billed, gosh, couldn't have been more than 1800 hours. Not a word. It is strictly a project-based workload. Work fast and efficiently, and you'll work less than half the folks you know at other firms. Waste time, and it will suck. But it is up to you, not the clock, to determine when you leave. This alone justifies going to S&C (or the one or two peer firms with a similar setup) over places lower down the food chain.
(b) It's the fairest place I've ever been. There aren't just gay partners or female partners; there are powerful, deeply respected gay and female partners. There is a difference between substantive diversity (which S&C has loads of) and window dressing. S&C takes the meritocracy seriously; all that matters is if you have chops, not what you do in your private life. (Relatedly, there are more folks here with interesting side interests and personal lives than anywhere else I've worked.)
(c) There is real effort put into training you. You're not pigeon-holed into a practice area. You're constantly pushed, assigned to new matters in areas you've never done before. People monitor your experience and you receive assignments to plug holes in your knowledge.
(d) As a result, you LEARN here, constantly, and you become a damn good lawyer. You'll have 90% of the credit knowledge as your friend doing ONLY credit at Simpson; you'll have 90% of the high yield knowledge as your friend doing ONLY high yield work at Cahill; oh, and you'll ALSO know how to do registered offerings and you'll have worked on a projects deal, etc.
(e) Then why is there this pervasive myth that working at S&C is miserable? There must be a grain of truth to that, no? I think there is. Generally, the partners here love the work. Honest to goodness love it, like coming to the office is the best part of their day. At some point, for a lot of people who work here, the light comes on and you start to love it too. If you do, it's basically heaven - they pay you so much money, and you'd do it for free. If it doesn't come on, I think it starts to get hard and tiresome - you're working with people who love the job and if they see you doing it reluctantly, you sort of don't fit in.
(f) I didn't realize I'd love it when I was recruiting, and I don't think many of my peers did, either. You go and you're doing what everyone else is doing, bitching at parties about how much being an associate sucks, and then all of a sudden you sort of realize that it doesn't suck at all.
(g) With the exception of lender-side credit work, for which I understand DPW and Simpson are clearly better, we're at or near the top of every other transactional practice area I'm aware of. Don't sleep on our leveraged finance and bankruptcy groups; they are growing extremely rapidly and getting very high level work. IMO, I'd rather be at S&C for those areas than a cog in the wheel of the Latham/Cahill high yield or Kirkland/Weil bankruptcy factories. Chambers tends to measure practice group size as much as work quality, so from the perspective of an incoming associate Chambers tends to overrate places with well-oiled practice group machines that may operate with lots of leverage.
Anonymous User wrote:
You're confusing capital markets (securities) with banking/finance (credit agreements, bank/lev loans, etc)--S&C, for purposes of this conversation, is a laggard with no real footprint in that area. And they are Band 4. Same for bankruptcy, where S&C has historically been a non-player.
So the notion that S&C "dominates all other corporate areas" is beyond far-fetched. They have clear strengths and weaknesses, just like the rest of their peers.