How Bad Is Cravath?

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Monochromatic Oeuvre
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Re: How Bad Is Cravath?

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Fri Sep 04, 2015 12:46 pm

thesealocust wrote:[insert rant about how subway finally fazed out $5 footlongs even for ham subs: here]


I distinctly remember a thread a year or so ago where I was talking about inflation eating away the real value of salaries and you saying inflation wouldn't register for you until Subway phased out the five-dollar footlong.

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thesealocust
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Re: How Bad Is Cravath?

Postby thesealocust » Fri Sep 04, 2015 12:51 pm

;-;

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jrf12886
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Re: How Bad Is Cravath?

Postby jrf12886 » Fri Sep 04, 2015 12:59 pm

Winter is Coming wrote:Skadden is less selective grade-wise, but they are really looking for a certain type of person (so in that sense it may be more selective with intangibles). Tons of people with great grades don't get callbacks and they'll invite median people back to the office. It's like the reverse S&C.


This.

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Re: How Bad Is Cravath?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 04, 2015 1:08 pm

Anonymous User wrote:^^^I felt the same way. I keep hoping I'll find another firm that I click with the people as much as I did at cravath. But as someone who hates having to seek out work and is really introverted and would prefer to have someone else just run my life, I don't know if that is going to happen...


Having experienced both Cravath and a free market firm, I will never underestimate how great it is to not have to seek out work. At Cravath, when you don't have work, well... you just don't, and you relax. At a free market firm, if you're a paranoid person a million things run through your mind. "How come everyone else has work? Do they not like me? Did my last assignment suck? Should I be hustling more?" Then you hustle more and people are like, "we have nothing now, but we'll keep you in mind" and they actually do, and then five huge assignments drop on your desk simultaneously and you get three hours of sleep per night for a week. :lol:

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Re: How Bad Is Cravath?

Postby Hutz_and_Goodman » Fri Sep 04, 2015 1:12 pm

I interviewed with Cravath but did not get an offer. I liked the partner I interviewed with okay, but honestly the vibe of the office was extremely off-putting to me in a way that was very different from any other firm where I interviewed and made me extremely afraid of working there. It is received wisdom on TLS that many big law partners are intense type A personalities and some have significant personality disorders. The feeling of the Cravath office was very disconcerting, and although it is anecdotal I was not shocked to later learn that there have been a number of depraved Cravath scandals, from an associate who paid an impoverished mother for the opportunity to have sex with her two underage daughters (http://www.nysun.com/new-york/fugitive- ... rape/28483) to a partner who carried on a double life before ultimately being murdered by a gay prostitute in a Bronx hotel (http://www.nytimes.com/1992/11/12/nyreg ... bronx.html). I'm not saying that people should not choose Cravath (if I had gotten an offer i might have, even given the bad feeling, because of the prestige), but it seems like the question of "how bad is Cravath?" is at least partly a question about what type of people go there.

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Re: How Bad Is Cravath?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 04, 2015 1:45 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I might be a little crazy, but why don't people ever consider just going to a well-regarded and financially stable firm like a Milbank or Wilkie? I'm not saying that there aren't people that work crazy hours at these firms as well, but from my experiences, it's not nearly as expected of you as these other "top" firms, such as Cravath. I assume it's because while everyone working at these types of firms is still smart enough to do any type of legal work, they just aren't the uber-gunners that are infatuated with prestige.

The jobs literally pay the same amount of $$$, and most good exit options are based more on the type of work you've done and your ability to have positive client interactions while doing that work. (And there are more people that have clerked on the Supreme Court than have been F100 GC's, and it's probably easier to become a V5 partner than a F500 GC, so please leave those scenarios out.)

Idk if that's an entirely accurate way of looking at it. It's not just the number of hours, prestige for the sake of prestige or the money. A firm like Cravath gives you the some of the best work experience, training and exit options such as in-house or lateraling -- I would say that there is some difference between Cravath and Milbank (which is a great firm on its own right) when it comes to those things. Of course your individual work ability and interactions matter a lot, but the name and reputation of the firm does help. It's just easier for Cravath associates to lateral in as partners to other firms, for example.
jrf12886 wrote:
Winter is Coming wrote:Skadden is less selective grade-wise, but they are really looking for a certain type of person (so in that sense it may be more selective with intangibles). Tons of people with great grades don't get callbacks and they'll invite median people back to the office. It's like the reverse S&C.

This.

I thought Skadden had the same median GPA as Davis Polk and Simpson, quite a bit higher than Weil and lower than S&C and Cravath at Cornell? That would be pretty close to what I saw on the latest data from my CCN. Anyway, I'd agree that Skadden is more "fit conscious" and less strict with grade cutoffs as result but the grade selectivity doesn't seem to be different from its peers either apart from S&C and Cravath.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Fri Sep 04, 2015 4:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: How Bad Is Cravath?

Postby moonman157 » Fri Sep 04, 2015 2:02 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I might be a little crazy, but why don't people ever consider just going to a well-regarded and financially stable firm like a Milbank or Wilkie? I'm not saying that there aren't people that work crazy hours at these firms as well, but from my experiences, it's not nearly as expected of you as these other "top" firms, such as Cravath. I assume it's because while everyone working at these types of firms is still smart enough to do any type of legal work, they just aren't the uber-gunners that are infatuated with prestige.

The jobs literally pay the same amount of $$$, and most good exit options are based more on the type of work you've done and your ability to have positive client interactions while doing that work. (And there are more people that have clerked on the Supreme Court than have been F100 GC's, and it's probably easier to become a V5 partner than a F500 GC, so please leave those scenarios out.)


I imagine it's a lot like people who choose, say, Columbia over UVA or Penn (aside for more individual reasons like location or significant others). Lot of people turn down great T14 schools with $$ to attend a higher ranked school with less scholarship money. Part of it is for prestige, part of it is for marginally better job prospects. A lot of UVA/Duke kids will end up at the same firms as the Columbia kids, just in the way that a lot of Cravath associates will end up at the same jobs as people working at other, lower ranks V50 firms. But there's no way for someone to know how their situation will turn out, so they play it a bit safer and go somewhere that will more likely lead to their ideal outcome, even if both paths could have gotten them there. And, as others have mentioned, there may be specific firm practices that appeal to someone (although Cravath is hardly the only firm that assigns you work. But their partnership rotation system is a bit more unique, if nothing else than for its length). But yeah, I do think prestige is a factor too, because law students, and the industry in general, is obsessed with it (hence the Vault Rankings).

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Re: How Bad Is Cravath?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 05, 2015 5:24 am

I feel like no one is actually answering the question, so I will try.

I worked at CSM in corporate as a paralegal (or legal assistant, as they call them). First, CSM only puts "normal" CSM people in front of you for interviews. They save their more special folks for when you've already signed on the dotted line.

CSM expects you to leave no work on the table for the next day. Nearly everything/every turn of the main operative agreements is promised to the client by the next day, latest. So that leads to you working a lot overnight, often, in my experience. This was true when I worked in capt mkts group and also true when I worked in M&A. My all-time record was 54 hours for a high yield closing. I worked on an M&A deal where we had shifts of paralegals, and I did the 5pm-8am shift (but was paid 24/7 due to CSM's overnight legal assistant payout policy). My office was right next door to the corporate paralegal manager's office, and she could blatantly see that we had a nap area in a corner of our shared office, and didn't care, because she knew how often we were at work until 4am. I also worked on some corporate scandals/securities matters where we were working round the clock at a client's HQ in midtown, until all the restatements were done. This went on for weeks. I even signed a deal (same one we'd been working on overnight for months), had CSM put me in a black car, and then raced home to grab all my worldly possessions and catch a flight and move halfway around the world for CSM. That's how they roll.

I have also worked at firms where there is a free market system, and I concur that just having a lot of work and doing it is preferable to the paranoia/hustle of trying to find work, especially in slower times. It causes a lot of unnecessary anxiety to have to hustle, get tortured with too much and still be wondering if/when you have enough.

The partners at CSM in corporate have been great to me, even years after I left. In that sense, you go through the trenches together and then CSM takes care of its own (making phone calls for you, soft intros for later jobs, etc.) I have been to Thanksgiving at corporate partners' houses (sometimes after I worked earlier in the day LOL!) and people were really great to me. My dad's not famous or anything--they weren't being kind for nefarious reasons. They were actually kind.

Having worked at CSM really, really opens a lot of doors later. I can't comment if it'd be more or less than say, if I had worked at STB or whatnot. But I can say that I have another V5 firm on my resume, and no one ever says, "Oh wow, [other firm name]!" They always say, "Oh wow, Cravath!" (Also very telling if they cannot pronounce Cravath, but I digress.)

If you genuinely liked the people you met, bearing in mind that they don't bust out the crazies, I'd go there. Also, I would note that CSM has revised its up-or out policy to keep more senior associates around now, and that's really helped the culture (from what I heard from friends) because there actually is a way to stay at CSM if you are a hardworking normal person--you aren't forced out. CSM keeps some of the normals now, even if they never make partner.

I will also say that I moved to CA markets after my time in NY and London, and CSM is even more well-respected in CA because it's this special unicorn that doesn't need/have offices in CA. Kinda like how Stanford gets more respect on the East Coast than the West Coast--it's more special.

Hope this helps.

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Re: How Bad Is Cravath?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 05, 2015 8:29 am

So much misinformation on TLS.

Yes, Cravath has many type A personalities.

No, it's not only for people who want prestige.

Yes, there's a preference for lower deal leverage as some have alluded to, which creates more work (and hours), BUT also better training and experience. I'm confused by the people who argue that there's more hours, but equal exit opportunities. What do you think the associates are doing while they work more hours? They're gaining more experience, which means more ways to sell themselves for new jobs. It's quite common for first year associates to have their own securities and financing deals by the end of their first rotation. Less common in M&A, but there are superstars who do also. It creates more stress (a downside) but better lawyers (upside). It's not sustainable for MOST, hence the high attrition, but it does make you better, faster.

Yes, it's not for people who know that they want to specialize. You're forced to rotate.

Who cares about grade selectivity. If you're picking a firm because of that, then you're pretty insecure, and have your priorities mixed up.

No, it's not a one size fits all firm.

Yes, its summer associates work harder relative to other summer programs. Cravath wants to give its summers a real taste of what it's like to work there, before they commit their immediate futures to the firm.

Don't go to Cravath if you want to do IPOs or PE. It doesn't do much of that. Public M&A though? I'd argue no firm has done better than Cravath this year, Wachtell included.

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Re: How Bad Is Cravath?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 05, 2015 9:51 am

Anonymous User wrote:So much misinformation on TLS.

Yes, Cravath has many type A personalities.

No, it's not only for people who want prestige.

Yes, there's a preference for lower deal leverage as some have alluded to, which creates more work (and hours), BUT also better training and experience. I'm confused by the people who argue that there's more hours, but equal exit opportunities. What do you think the associates are doing while they work more hours? They're gaining more experience, which means more ways to sell themselves for new jobs. It's quite common for first year associates to have their own securities and financing deals by the end of their first rotation. Less common in M&A, but there are superstars who do also. It creates more stress (a downside) but better lawyers (upside). It's not sustainable for MOST, hence the high attrition, but it does make you better, faster.

Yes, it's not for people who know that they want to specialize. You're forced to rotate.

Who cares about grade selectivity. If you're picking a firm because of that, then you're pretty insecure, and have your priorities mixed up.

No, it's not a one size fits all firm.

Yes, its summer associates work harder relative to other summer programs. Cravath wants to give its summers a real taste of what it's like to work there, before they commit their immediate futures to the firm.

Don't go to Cravath if you want to do IPOs or PE. It doesn't do much of that. Public M&A though? I'd argue no firm has done better than Cravath this year, Wachtell included.


I was a summer at Cravath. I agree with all of this. Though there are some IPOs, it's just not a focus. I worked on two separate ones my summer, one for the underwriters (far more common for Cravath) and one for the company. It was just me and a first year, and when the first year went on a vacation halfway through I was the one preparing the next draft of the amended S-1.

I chose the firm because I genuinedly do think that at the end of the day, you do get great experience. To illustrate this, there are usually never more than two associates per deal, the only exception perhaps being an M&A megadeal, which'll have multiple partners on it, too. The firm has every incentive to make sure you can perform, because they can't sub you out for anybody else and you'll be in that group no matter what until the end of your rotation. It wasn't surprising to see first years in the group doing some interesting, high-level things, but more of a norm. Having said that, sure, if you do nothing but a niche field for 7 years, yes, I do think that you'll know things a Cravath associate won't. But for early experience, and for getting brought up to speed fast, I think Cravath can hold its own. And if you decide you truly love one of your rotations, you can always head somewhere else and do that full time.

Yeah, they don't pretend to be a lifestyle place. But I don't think there are any real lifestyle firms period given this sort of corporate work, and especially not any that'll train you like this. If the rotation system isn't your thing, I get that and you shouldn't come. But if rotations are something you do buy into, then the firm does offer some real benefits.

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Re: How Bad Is Cravath?

Postby Wol » Sat Sep 05, 2015 10:02 am

Anonymous User wrote:Public M&A though? I'd argue no firm has done better than Cravath this year, Wachtell included.


Any advice on how to judge this from the outside? I've looked at league tables, but are they not a good source to use?

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Re: How Bad Is Cravath?

Postby tripu11 » Sat Sep 05, 2015 10:05 am

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Last edited by tripu11 on Wed Jan 06, 2016 11:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

DJ JD
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Re: How Bad Is Cravath?

Postby DJ JD » Sat Sep 05, 2015 11:42 am

Am I the only one who thinks this whole "Is [firm name] more intense than the rest of the V[#]?" thing stupid if you're looking at NYC and/or transactional? I would think either working in NYC or doing transactional anything (except maybe funds/tax/ERISA/etc.) could both guarantee you terrible hours...

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Re: How Bad Is Cravath?

Postby RedGiant » Sat Sep 05, 2015 1:34 pm

Wol wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Public M&A though? I'd argue no firm has done better than Cravath this year, Wachtell included.


Any advice on how to judge this from the outside? I've looked at league tables, but are they not a good source to use?


Seriously--it really doesn't matter. League Tables are helpful, but there's a lot of unannounced or no dollar amount given M&A that makes the league tables somewhat suspect.

As long as you _know_ that M&A is a focus at the firm you're going to, there will be deals. I really, really wouldn't base your decision on the fact that Firm X did []BN in announced deals and Firm Y did [higher]BN in announced M&A.

Most large deals are announced on the firms' websites. Take a look at the deals each firm says they did in the past year and see if that's something you'd want to do.

From personal experience, bigger does not always equal better in M&A. Private M&A deals can be more complicated (a lot more disclosure and reps) than public M&A. However, your public deals will likely be WSJ headlines. Either type has the potential to rule your life, and regardless, you will be damn happy when your deal closes and you never have to haggle with the other side again [well, until you are across from them again!].

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Re: How Bad Is Cravath?

Postby nycbiglaw1137 » Sun Sep 06, 2015 5:38 am

Lol wut.

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Re: How Bad Is Cravath?

Postby Old Gregg » Sun Sep 06, 2015 6:28 am

A lot of unannounced (and confidential) deals are self reported by law firms to companies that publish league tables, and even those that have confidentiality clauses. I think it's therefore unwise to doubt their veracity, especially when it comes down to nailing broad strokes.

As to Cravath associates billing more and, therefore, learning more, such reasoning is fallacious. In any year, your first hour billed is distinct in quality and learning value from your 3000th. If you really think you've gained something from doing your third and entirely superfluous cross reference check of a merger agreement during that hour that's above and beyond what, say, Cleary associate's 2600th hour, you're an idiot. You're an even bigger idiot if you think those 400 hours per year make a difference in lateral recruiting. If anything, self boasting about hours is a bad look in interviews, and the inability to verify makes it easy to fudge or outright lie.

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Re: How Bad Is Cravath?

Postby SLS_AMG » Sun Sep 06, 2015 11:17 am

I like how this thread has gone from everyone shitting on CSM based on old stereotypes to CSM associates and summers reassuring themselves that they made the right choice when CSM is really just another V5 with a unique rotation system and no advantage over its peer firms in terms of compensation or exit opportunities.

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Re: How Bad Is Cravath?

Postby 7 hours of freshness » Sun Sep 06, 2015 11:55 am

SLS_AMG wrote:I like how this thread has gone from everyone shitting on CSM based on old stereotypes to CSM associates and summers reassuring themselves that they made the right choice when CSM is really just another V5 with a unique rotation system and no advantage over its peer firms in terms of compensation or exit opportunities.


Your post could be viewed similarly. One could say that you're reassuring yourself that you are not losing out by not being at Cravath. (Point being that statements like yours really add nothing to the conversation).

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Re: How Bad Is Cravath?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 06, 2015 4:46 pm

7 hours of freshness wrote:
SLS_AMG wrote:I like how this thread has gone from everyone shitting on CSM based on old stereotypes to CSM associates and summers reassuring themselves that they made the right choice when CSM is really just another V5 with a unique rotation system and no advantage over its peer firms in terms of compensation or exit opportunities.


Your post could be viewed similarly. One could say that you're reassuring yourself that you are not losing out by not being at Cravath. (Point being that statements like yours really add nothing to the conversation).


Nah. It's worth pointing out that just because it's wrong to shit on Cravath or any other V5 as that different from other firms, it's equally wrong to play it up as though it offers something substantively unique in terms of opportunities over peer firms. Many of the posts overcompensate one way or the other.

Lots of us had offers at CSM and chose peer firms. Lots of others accepted offers at CSM over peer firms. How bad is Cravath? "Not really worse than other top ny firms, not really better." The decision hinges on a number of factors.

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Re: How Bad Is Cravath?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 06, 2015 5:13 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Lots of us had offers at CSM and chose peer firms. Lots of others accepted offers at CSM over peer firms. How bad is Cravath? "Not really worse than other top ny firms, not really better." The decision hinges on a number of factors.


Yes. This is all that needs to be said.

I picked CSM because I liked it better than any of the other firms I had offers at. That's as good of a reason as any. Maybe pick CSM if you are in love with doing public M&A (But even then, you'll do other stuff because of the rotations). Do I think it's any better than DPW or STB - No.




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