How Bad Is Cravath?

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Anonymous User
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How Bad Is Cravath?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 13, 2013 11:32 pm

How awful will my life be if I go to Cravath?

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bk1
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Re: How Bad Is Cravath?

Postby bk1 » Fri Sep 13, 2013 11:36 pm

It depends. What are you comparing it to? Working at some other NYC biglaw firm? Working in biglaw somewhere else? Working in some other legal position? Working as a janitor?

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Re: How Bad Is Cravath?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 13, 2013 11:39 pm

bk1 wrote:It depends. What are you comparing it to? Working at some other NYC biglaw firm? Working in biglaw somewhere else? Working in some other legal position? Working as a janitor?


Comparing to a few of the "nicer gentler" NY firms, have some top DC firms.

Jimbo_Jones
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Re: How Bad Is Cravath?

Postby Jimbo_Jones » Fri Sep 13, 2013 11:39 pm

Better than being unemployed

v20lawyer
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Re: How Bad Is Cravath?

Postby v20lawyer » Fri Sep 13, 2013 11:55 pm

When you're talking major biglaw firms the difference in quality of life is on the margins. It's tough. Honestly, it's probably worth taking Cravath and at least putting in a few years. If you're still happy there, great, you're happy at Cravath. If you're not happy, you're lateraling from Cravath, which isn't a bad position to be in.

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Re: How Bad Is Cravath?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 14, 2013 12:43 pm

The rumor is you work WLRK hour (http://www.averyindex.com/shortest_hour_law_firms5.php) while being paid the same as associates at most other NYC full-service firms. Cravath is a market leader in bonus, but it's often trumped by S&C (raised 1st year salary to $145k in 2006, paid spring bonuses) and STB (raised 1st year salary to $160k in 2007). Not sure how accurate all this is.

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Re: How Bad Is Cravath?

Postby thesealocust » Sat Sep 14, 2013 12:50 pm

The difference between CSM and other major firms in NYC is the near certainty you'll be working crazy hours instead of it just being very likely.

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Re: How Bad Is Cravath?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 14, 2013 2:26 pm

I have heard it stated that the difference between WLRK/CSM and other firms is that there is a higher percentage of excellent and highly driven lawyers. At any of these firms, if you are good at your job, the reward will be even more work given to you. At any big law firm, one can therefore expect to work the same crazy hours if you are very good at what you do, but (whether due to self-selection or better recruiting) there is a lower percentage of people who are either bad associates or slackers at WLRK/CSM.

At least that's how the theory goes; I cannot vouch first hand for its accuracy, but it seems plausible.

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Re: How Bad Is Cravath?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 14, 2013 2:35 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I have heard it stated that the difference between WLRK/CSM and other firms is that there is a higher percentage of excellent and highly driven lawyers. At any of these firms, if you are good at your job, the reward will be even more work given to you. At any big law firm, one can therefore expect to work the same crazy hours if you are very good at what you do, but (whether due to self-selection or better recruiting) there is a lower percentage of people who are either bad associates or slackers at WLRK/CSM.

At least that's how the theory goes; I cannot vouch first hand for its accuracy, but it seems plausible.


Which is fine and dandy until you realize that gunning for partners' attention and the best work (to distinguish one's self) at these firms is made all the harder because everyone is willing to work so much harder on average. Cravath doesn't make any more partners than other V10 firms, but their associates are gunning all the harder for that minuscule chance -- or being simply plain irrational, unless they honestly think exiting out of Cravath gives them a leg-up in exit options vis-a-vis another V5 or V10 firm at a non-client firm (we all know that client firms are more likely to hire associates from the firm that advises them).
Last edited by Anonymous User on Sat Sep 14, 2013 2:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

2013applicant
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Re: How Bad Is Cravath?

Postby 2013applicant » Sat Sep 14, 2013 2:35 pm

Anonymous User wrote:The rumor is you work WLRK hour (http://www.averyindex.com/shortest_hour_law_firms5.php) while being paid the same as associates at most other NYC full-service firms. Cravath is a market leader in bonus, but it's often trumped by S&C (raised 1st year salary to $145k in 2006, paid spring bonuses) and STB (raised 1st year salary to $160k in 2007). Not sure how accurate all this is.


lolwat? They set the baseline minimum for firms to not get criticized, but they definitely don't lead the market anymore.

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Re: How Bad Is Cravath?

Postby Old Gregg » Sat Sep 14, 2013 3:46 pm

2013applicant wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:The rumor is you work WLRK hour (http://www.averyindex.com/shortest_hour_law_firms5.php) while being paid the same as associates at most other NYC full-service firms. Cravath is a market leader in bonus, but it's often trumped by S&C (raised 1st year salary to $145k in 2006, paid spring bonuses) and STB (raised 1st year salary to $160k in 2007). Not sure how accurate all this is.


lolwat? They set the baseline minimum for firms to not get criticized, but they definitely don't lead the market anymore.


I think "market leader" in this context implies that once it is a leading indicator of the market for bonuses (i.e., it sets the market for bonuses, and others follow). This is in contrast to "market beating."

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Re: How Bad Is Cravath?

Postby thesealocust » Sat Sep 14, 2013 3:51 pm

QE, Boies, Kirkland and Wachtell can all lay claim to market beating (and S&C to a lesser extent with the occasional spring bonus). CSM, S&C, Skadden and STB have all at some point in my memory been first movers and/or market setters for bonuses / compensation. Everyone else is pretty much a follower or pays below market, right?

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Re: How Bad Is Cravath?

Postby KidStuddi » Sat Sep 14, 2013 4:01 pm

thesealocust wrote:QE, Boies, Kirkland and Wachtell can all lay claim to market beating (and S&C to a lesser extent with the occasional spring bonus). CSM, S&C, Skadden and STB have all at some point in my memory been first movers and/or market setters for bonuses / compensation. Everyone else is pretty much a follower or pays below market, right?


There are boutiques with more opaque compensation that I'm sure can outpace the lockstep scale of most BigLaw.
But as for publicly disclosed compensation (or firms too big to keep their salaries / bonus payouts secret), I think you've summed it up pretty well. I'd also add Patton Boggs has a reputation for above market bonuses, but they haven't been doing so hot lately.

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Re: How Bad Is Cravath?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 14, 2013 4:07 pm

Cravath litigation associate here. Yes it's busy, and the hours can be crazy. The hours may be slightly worse than at other firms, but I don't think the hours are really that different from our peer firms.

The rotation system, however, does make a difference, and it was one reason I chose Cravath. You don't have to look for work or manage your workflow to the same extent as in a "free market" system. On the other hand, you cannot turn down work because you're busy—there is a limited number of associates on each team, so chances are you are the only associate at your level of seniority. When your partner is busy (which is most of the time), you are swamped. On the other hand, when things slow down (say, because a case settles), you can relax and there is no pressure to go out and bill more hours. Also, compared to friends' stories at other firms, the small team environment means that people really cover for each other if one person has a personal engagement. Also, unlike at a free-market system, where the partner or more senior associate can just decide you suck and not give you more work, your team is stuck with you for two-ish years, so they have every incentive to help you improve. Perhaps as a result, training tends to be much more informal, and we have fewer formal training sessions. This can be bad, too, if you end up working for a shitty partner, but you have some say in where you go and to whom you rotate. For my personality, the benefits vastly outweigh the downsides

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Re: How Bad Is Cravath?

Postby Old Gregg » Sat Sep 14, 2013 4:33 pm

KidStuddi wrote:
thesealocust wrote:QE, Boies, Kirkland and Wachtell can all lay claim to market beating (and S&C to a lesser extent with the occasional spring bonus). CSM, S&C, Skadden and STB have all at some point in my memory been first movers and/or market setters for bonuses / compensation. Everyone else is pretty much a follower or pays below market, right?


There are boutiques with more opaque compensation that I'm sure can outpace the lockstep scale of most BigLaw.
But as for publicly disclosed compensation (or firms too big to keep their salaries / bonus payouts secret), I think you've summed it up pretty well. I'd also add Patton Boggs has a reputation for above market bonuses, but they haven't been doing so hot lately.


Irell beats market as well. They used to beat by a lot, but it's declined every year. Same with Quinn and K&E. Gone are the good ol' days when you could expect 3x-4x of the market (so back in those days, you'd have made around $100k as a bonus for your first year, instead of the standard $35k (I think that was market back then).... sigh.

I'm not going to complain, but when people wonder about the decline of the legal industry and how come there is still so much hiring at the top and not as many layoffs, a big chunk of money saved by firms is the steep decline in total compensation for associates.

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Re: How Bad Is Cravath?

Postby thesealocust » Sat Sep 14, 2013 4:50 pm

Fresh Prince wrote:I'm not going to complain, but when people wonder about the decline of the legal industry and how come there is still so much hiring at the top and not as many layoffs, a big chunk of money saved by firms is the steep decline in total compensation for associates.


1st year salary is obviously still generous objectively, but it's telling that it hasn't budged since I took the LSAT. Of course, I think $5 footlongs at subway were a thing then and are now a thing again (WHILE SUPPLIES LAST THIS SEPTEMBER YOU HEARD IT HERE FIRST) so inflation bla bla bla.

...maybe end of QE = NY TO 190?

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Re: How Bad Is Cravath?

Postby Old Gregg » Sat Sep 14, 2013 5:01 pm

thesealocust wrote:
Fresh Prince wrote:I'm not going to complain, but when people wonder about the decline of the legal industry and how come there is still so much hiring at the top and not as many layoffs, a big chunk of money saved by firms is the steep decline in total compensation for associates.


1st year salary is obviously still generous objectively, but it's telling that it hasn't budged since I took the LSAT. Of course, I think $5 footlongs at subway were a thing then and are now a thing again (WHILE SUPPLIES LAST THIS SEPTEMBER YOU HEARD IT HERE FIRST) so inflation bla bla bla.

...maybe end of QE = NY TO 190?


Long way to go. Next salary push will probably be after we are pushed out of biglaw, unfortunately.

Talk of systemic changes in biglaw being permanent IMO is BS. Look at any industry publication about this after a recession and you'll see the same talk (it's really quite remarkable, you could redate the 90s articles on firms in that time period and they would still be pretty good for today), and a reversion to decadence.

I think we will see some genuine movement back up if and when unemployment reaches around 5% in real terms.

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Re: How Bad Is Cravath?

Postby thesealocust » Sat Sep 14, 2013 5:05 pm

Fresh Prince wrote:Next salary push will probably be after we are pushed out of biglaw, unfortunately


But I want more money for no reason :(

I remember reading about people who would do an SA only to learn their firm had boosted 1st year salaries between the end of the SA and they're start date. A raise... before they started... and 35K market 1st year bonuses?

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Re: How Bad Is Cravath?

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Sun Sep 15, 2013 2:45 pm

thesealocust wrote:
Fresh Prince wrote:Next salary push will probably be after we are pushed out of biglaw, unfortunately


But I want more money for no reason :(

I remember reading about people who would do an SA only to learn their firm had boosted 1st year salaries between the end of the SA and they're start date. A raise... before they started... and 35K market 1st year bonuses?

And lower tuition by $10-15k a year... and federal loans at 2-3%.... :cry:

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Re: How Bad Is Cravath?

Postby Old Gregg » Sun Sep 15, 2013 2:51 pm

dixiecupdrinking wrote:
thesealocust wrote:
Fresh Prince wrote:Next salary push will probably be after we are pushed out of biglaw, unfortunately


But I want more money for no reason :(

I remember reading about people who would do an SA only to learn their firm had boosted 1st year salaries between the end of the SA and they're start date. A raise... before they started... and 35K market 1st year bonuses?

And lower tuition by $10-15k a year... and federal loans at 2-3%.... :cry:


Agreed... but PAYE is truly a boon for students entering these programs today. The biggest problem with PAYE is that it creates a market distortion and lets education prices continue to skyrocket--it really doesn't solve the core American problem. The other issue is that people opposed to "socialism" (or, to put it in a less inflammatory way, subsidized higher education), don't realize that PAYE is really just one step removed from that. It's a 10% tax on people who want to go to school... education in many European countries costs a whole lot less because that tax is diffused through its application to everyone. People don't realize that we can make the cost of education a whole lot less to any one person by spreading it out over many people.

My friend was thinking of getting a German LLM and looked up prices at one of the "top universities" (though I've heard basically any German program is considered "top"), and it was going to cost him 315 EUR per year. Truly a wonder for them, and an embarrassment for us.

Anyways, I'm veering off track from whether Cravath sux. Continue.

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Re: How Bad Is Cravath?

Postby clone22 » Sun Sep 15, 2013 3:27 pm

If the summer program is anything to go by, Cravath just means a lot more work. A classmate of mine regularly worked 70-80 hour weeks at Cravath as a summer. That means 10-10 monday-friday, and come in to work saturdays and sundays. This summer, I rarely worked north of 50 hours (V 15). Most associates that I've talked to at my firm say they're happy billing about 2000 a year and calling it a day. Of course there were the exceptions gunning for 3000+.

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Re: How Bad Is Cravath?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 15, 2013 3:46 pm

clone22 wrote:If the summer program is anything to go by, Cravath just means a lot more work. A classmate of mine regularly worked 70-80 hour weeks at Cravath as a summer. That means 10-10 monday-friday, and come in to work saturdays and sundays. This summer, I rarely worked north of 50 hours (V 15). Most associates that I've talked to at my firm say they're happy billing about 2000 a year and calling it a day. Of course there were the exceptions gunning for 3000+.


This is probably true but I think using hours is probably not the best way to decide depending on what other firms you are considering. I interviewed at practically all of the v20s and most of the attorneys mentioned that they worked similar hours as the people at Cravath/S&C/Quinn. People run from Cravath because the summer is intense, but that's how your life is really going to be when you join a firm (especially during busy periods). There will be days when you will working from 10-10 at most firms. The hours that summers at Cravath work depend on the partner they are assigned to and the deal/case. Many friends at Cravath reported working different hours. This is the reality of big law.

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Re: How Bad Is Cravath?

Postby quakeroats » Sun Sep 15, 2013 4:32 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Cravath litigation associate here. Yes it's busy, and the hours can be crazy. The hours may be slightly worse than at other firms, but I don't think the hours are really that different from our peer firms.

The rotation system, however, does make a difference, and it was one reason I chose Cravath. You don't have to look for work or manage your workflow to the same extent as in a "free market" system. On the other hand, you cannot turn down work because you're busy—there is a limited number of associates on each team, so chances are you are the only associate at your level of seniority. When your partner is busy (which is most of the time), you are swamped. On the other hand, when things slow down (say, because a case settles), you can relax and there is no pressure to go out and bill more hours. Also, compared to friends' stories at other firms, the small team environment means that people really cover for each other if one person has a personal engagement. Also, unlike at a free-market system, where the partner or more senior associate can just decide you suck and not give you more work, your team is stuck with you for two-ish years, so they have every incentive to help you improve. Perhaps as a result, training tends to be much more informal, and we have fewer formal training sessions. This can be bad, too, if you end up working for a shitty partner, but you have some say in where you go and to whom you rotate. For my personality, the benefits vastly outweigh the downsides


These are a few of the reasons it's probably best not to work for Cravath.

1. Cravath shields you from much of the real work of a big firm lawyer. While just having someone drop stuff in your lap appeals to a certain type of person--the kind that did very well in law school--you should resist it. Managing workflow and dealing with people who hate you are at the top of the list of what's important career-wise--well above whatever law you actually practice.

2. Even if you think point 1 is bullshit, once you're assigned to a partner at Cravath, there's not really a way out like there would be at any other firm. That is, the passive, law-centric experience you signed up for stands a reasonable chance of not working well for the first few years (e.g., the amount of time most people will spend at a big law firm).

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Re: How Bad Is Cravath?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 20, 2013 7:52 am

No one should go to Cravath for corporate if they have other non-Skadden V5 options because of Cravath's hours and rotation system. If you want M&A, go to WLRK. If you want M&A/cap market/securities regulation, go to S&C. If you want a "nice"/"passive aggressive" work environment, go to Davis Polk.

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Re: How Bad Is Cravath?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 20, 2013 8:00 am

A lot of things stated here are ridiculous, and as always, people without an understanding of Cravath are quick to launch criticisms at the firm

1) Other than some old AmLaw midlevel survey, there is no indication that hours are necessarily worse at Cravath than other top NY firms. Like someone said, if you are staffed on a deal at any top firm, you will be working whatever hours are necessary to get it done. In actually a positive for Cravath, you don't need to worry about your hours since work is all assigned to you, so if you are done early, you are done early.

2) People on here are almost always wrong about the rotation system. In corporate, you are not assigned to 1 partner. You are assigned to a team that can have 4 or 5 partners... basically the amount of partners you could plausibly be working for over that stretch of time at a different firm.

Decision should come down to whether or not you like the people and rotation system. Telling someone to pick S&C or DPW is ridiculous unless you know his/ her personality.




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