How bad is Skadden?

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Anonymous User
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How bad is Skadden?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 14, 2013 1:19 am

In similar vein to other such threads: how bad will my life be if I go to Skadden (NY)? I want to do corp.

I've heard about their reputation, but during interviews and second visits and talking to people, I really really genuinely liked the people. Are there any associates/summers here who can vouch for the culture there in an anonymous internet forum? I'm sure the people I met were somewhat biased since they were trying to sell me on the firm.

FYI, choosing between similar firms: Sullivan & Cromwell and Davis Polk.


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Re: How bad is Skadden?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 14, 2013 2:45 am

It is as bad as they say, but Sullivan and Cromwell is no picnic either. If those are the firms you are into, maybe you'll enjoy being worked to death (possibly literally). There is a personality type that feels macho about how many hours they bill and how miserable it was getting them, and if that's you, have fun.

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Re: How bad is Skadden?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 14, 2013 8:57 am

Anonymous User wrote:It is as bad as they say, but Sullivan and Cromwell is no picnic either. If those are the firms you are into, maybe you'll enjoy being worked to death (possibly literally). There is a personality type that feels macho about how many hours they bill and how miserable it was getting them, and if that's you, have fun.


This is not true. The amount of false information on TLS is ridiculous. You will be working the same amount of hours at all these places (Skadden, S&C, DPW). The differences in hours are among groups, not among firms. These firms provide the highest quality of legal service, that means getting deliverables to clients by the preset deadlines. The true differences among these firms includes 2/3 rotations at Skadden/DPW v. generalist approach at S&C, hyperspecialization at Skadden (less substantive experience) v. lean-staffing model at S&C, straight talk at S&C v. passive aggressive/nice at DPW, strict no-face-time at S&C v. face-time at DPW. Even some of these differences depends on the specific groups.

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Re: How bad is Skadden?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 14, 2013 9:27 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:It is as bad as they say, but Sullivan and Cromwell is no picnic either. If those are the firms you are into, maybe you'll enjoy being worked to death (possibly literally). There is a personality type that feels macho about how many hours they bill and how miserable it was getting them, and if that's you, have fun.


This is not true. The amount of false information on TLS is ridiculous. You will be working the same amount of hours at all these places (Skadden, S&C, DPW). The differences in hours are among groups, not among firms. These firms provide the highest quality of legal service, that means getting deliverables to clients by the preset deadlines. The true differences among these firms includes 2/3 rotations at Skadden/DPW v. generalist approach at S&C, hyperspecialization at Skadden (less substantive experience) v. lean-staffing model at S&C, straight talk at S&C v. passive aggressive/nice at DPW, strict no-face-time at S&C v. face-time at DPW. Even some of these differences depends on the specific groups.


Talk about S&C trolling... did you really say that "hyperspecialization at Skadden" means "(less substantive experience)." It's actually just the opposite. When you are a generalist you are doing lots of stuff but you have no idea how anything really works.

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Re: How bad is Skadden?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 14, 2013 9:32 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:It is as bad as they say, but Sullivan and Cromwell is no picnic either. If those are the firms you are into, maybe you'll enjoy being worked to death (possibly literally). There is a personality type that feels macho about how many hours they bill and how miserable it was getting them, and if that's you, have fun.


This is not true. The amount of false information on TLS is ridiculous. You will be working the same amount of hours at all these places (Skadden, S&C, DPW). The differences in hours are among groups, not among firms. These firms provide the highest quality of legal service, that means getting deliverables to clients by the preset deadlines. The true differences among these firms includes 2/3 rotations at Skadden/DPW v. generalist approach at S&C, hyperspecialization at Skadden (less substantive experience) v. lean-staffing model at S&C, straight talk at S&C v. passive aggressive/nice at DPW, strict no-face-time at S&C v. face-time at DPW. Even some of these differences depends on the specific groups.


Talk about S&C trolling... did you really say that "hyperspecialization at Skadden" means "(less substantive experience)." It's actually just the opposite. When you are a generalist you are doing lots of stuff but you have no idea how anything really works.


Think what you will. I'm sure this depends on the specific associate and specific partners. However, during callbacks, I asked about substantive work at each firm (i.e. which firm's associates have you seen working mostly with more senior associates across the table/at other firms), Wachtell, S&C, and Cravath are the only three names that came up, and they came up consistently. Skadden often came up as a counterexample.

legends159
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Re: How bad is Skadden?

Postby legends159 » Sat Sep 14, 2013 10:02 am

lol at hearing names dropped at callbacks and drawing a conclusion from them. There are people on TLS who actually work at these places and I can tell you peer firms all work across from each other. And gasp places like the firms you mentioned also work with V100 firms because guess what the firms do not dictate their counterparties.

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Re: How bad is Skadden?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 14, 2013 10:11 am

Midlevel associates at Cravath are consistently working with partners at other firms. Midlevel associates at Skadden are mostly working with other midlevel associates at other firms.

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Re: How bad is Skadden?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 14, 2013 10:19 am

Anonymous User wrote:strict no-face-time at S&C v. face-time at DPW.


I work at DPW, and this is BS. I've never heard anybody complain about facetime 'requirements' and I (and my senior associates) routinely leave when our work is done without checking in with others and/or accomplish tasks remotely.

As to OP's question, I would lump all three firmly together in the same category for hours/quality of life. Differences are likely a consequence of which group and partners/senior associates you work for.

All of the firms have different reputations about personalities and the like, but that will mostly boil down to how you reacted to them and not any objective truth.

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Re: How bad is Skadden?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 14, 2013 10:41 am

(not OP) I did a second look at Skadden and specifically asked junior/mid-level associates about hours. Unless they put in a ton of pro bono, they all said they hit just around 1800 and felt no pressure to do more. That doesn't seem so bad. Were they straight-up lying to me? Or do I just not understand how many hours you actually have to work to bill around 1800?

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Re: How bad is Skadden?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 14, 2013 10:51 am

Anonymous User wrote:
All of the firms have different reputations about personalities and the like, but that will mostly boil down to how you reacted to them and not any objective truth.


I think this is the most credited answer to OP's question. Each of the firms has a "TLS" reputation, but I wouldn't place too much on that. For example, people call Skadden fratty, but when I interviewed there I interviewed with a good mix of personalities. Also, I wouldn't assume that the people you interview with are representative of the firm in general. It is hard for 4-6 people to represent the 400-700 people in that office.

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Re: How bad is Skadden?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 14, 2013 10:54 am

Anonymous User wrote:(not OP) I did a second look at Skadden and specifically asked junior/mid-level associates about hours. Unless they put in a ton of pro bono, they all said they hit just around 1800 and felt no pressure to do more. That doesn't seem so bad. Were they straight-up lying to me? Or do I just not understand how many hours you actually have to work to bill around 1800?


I'd saying lying or a really weird sample. People do sometimes say that at the big places like Skadden you can kind of coast along through the cracks like that, but based on the experiences of friends I have at all of the V15ish firms in NYC, it takes getting lucky or actively maneuvering around work to avoid billing far in excess of 2,000 hours. These firms make their profit by (a) being incredibly responsive/not getting in the way of a deal's deadline and (b) maintaining a staffing level such that being overwhelmed is par for the course.

Favorite quote ever was Vault from somebody at Skadden: "The firm grinds associates into a fine, self-important powder" (NB: you could easily apply that to most "elite" biglaw firms)

See here for something ever so slightly more scientific: http://www.averyindex.com/shortest_hour_law_firms5.php

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Re: How bad is Skadden?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 14, 2013 11:20 am

anyone have insight into Skadden Palo Alto? I assume it can't be as bad as NYC, but is it comparable?

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Old Gregg
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Re: How bad is Skadden?

Postby Old Gregg » Sat Sep 14, 2013 11:41 am

Anonymous User wrote:Midlevel associates at Cravath are consistently working with partners at other firms. Midlevel associates at Skadden are mostly working with other midlevel associates at other firms.


LOL

AspiringAcademic
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Re: How bad is Skadden?

Postby AspiringAcademic » Sat Sep 14, 2013 1:46 pm

Anonymous User wrote:See here for something ever so slightly more scientific: http://www.averyindex.com/shortest_hour_law_firms5.php

Useful little link, thank you.

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FlightoftheEarls
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Re: How bad is Skadden?

Postby FlightoftheEarls » Sat Sep 14, 2013 2:03 pm

AspiringAcademic wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:See here for something ever so slightly more scientific: http://www.averyindex.com/shortest_hour_law_firms5.php

Useful little link, thank you.

That link is dated from 2013 as if it's recent information, but it looks to be really sketchy. It lists Thacher Profitt, which collapsed in 2009. It also lists Dewey Ballantine, which is prior to the LeBoeuf Lamb merger in 2007. This data is shit - who knows when it's actually from.

Anonymous User wrote:This is not true. The amount of false information on TLS is ridiculous. You will be working the same amount of hours at all these places (Skadden, S&C, DPW). The differences in hours are among groups, not among firms. These firms provide the highest quality of legal service, that means getting deliverables to clients by the preset deadlines.

This is accurate and an important point for students to keep in mind when trying to decide between firms.

Anonymous User wrote:The true differences among these firms includes 2/3 rotations at Skadden/DPW v. generalist approach at S&C, hyperspecialization at Skadden (less substantive experience) v. lean-staffing model at S&C, straight talk at S&C v. passive aggressive/nice at DPW, strict no-face-time at S&C v. face-time at DPW. Even some of these differences depends on the specific groups.

And this is some of the most absurd S&C trolling I've ever read.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: How bad is Skadden?

Postby Tiago Splitter » Sat Sep 14, 2013 2:07 pm

FlightoftheEarls wrote:
AspiringAcademic wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:See here for something ever so slightly more scientific: http://www.averyindex.com/shortest_hour_law_firms5.php

Useful little link, thank you.

That link is dated from 2013 as if it's recent information, but it looks to be really sketchy. It lists Thacher Profitt, which collapsed in 2009. It also lists Dewey Ballantine, which is prior to the LeBoeuf Lamb merger in 2007. This data is shit - who knows when it's actually from.

It's from 2005. Does that automatically mean it's shit? Have things really changed that much?

FlightoftheEarls wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:This is not true. The amount of false information on TLS is ridiculous. You will be working the same amount of hours at all these places (Skadden, S&C, DPW). The differences in hours are among groups, not among firms. These firms provide the highest quality of legal service, that means getting deliverables to clients by the preset deadlines.

This is accurate and an important point for students to keep in mind when trying to decide between firms.

What about if you drop below this top tier?

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AntipodeanPhil
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Re: How bad is Skadden?

Postby AntipodeanPhil » Sat Sep 14, 2013 2:08 pm

AspiringAcademic wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:See here for something ever so slightly more scientific: http://www.averyindex.com/shortest_hour_law_firms5.php

Useful little link, thank you.

Also, isn't Skadden benefited in things like this by the fact that it has many more associates outside of NY - who presumably work lighter hours?

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FlightoftheEarls
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Re: How bad is Skadden?

Postby FlightoftheEarls » Sat Sep 14, 2013 2:14 pm

Tiago Splitter wrote:
FlightoftheEarls wrote:
AspiringAcademic wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:See here for something ever so slightly more scientific: http://www.averyindex.com/shortest_hour_law_firms5.php

Useful little link, thank you.

That link is dated from 2013 as if it's recent information, but it looks to be really sketchy. It lists Thacher Profitt, which collapsed in 2009. It also lists Dewey Ballantine, which is prior to the LeBoeuf Lamb merger in 2007. This data is shit - who knows when it's actually from.

It's from 2005. Does that automatically mean it's shit? Have things really changed that much?

Not automatically because certain things hold true - WLRK and CSM are always going to have really brutal hours, and pretty much any top-tier firm is going to demand the same when they're busy (which, for top-tier firms, is still much more often than not). But for students choosing between Jones Day or Milbank or other quality-but-not-quite-elite firms like that, any little variations from 2005 are rather unlikely to be helpful for today's OCI'ers.

Tiago Splitter wrote:
FlightoftheEarls wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:This is not true. The amount of false information on TLS is ridiculous. You will be working the same amount of hours at all these places (Skadden, S&C, DPW). The differences in hours are among groups, not among firms. These firms provide the highest quality of legal service, that means getting deliverables to clients by the preset deadlines.

This is accurate and an important point for students to keep in mind when trying to decide between firms.

What about if you drop below this top tier?

Still generally holds true, perhaps even moreso. Some of the more elite NYC firms are likely to have top-flight corporate and litigation practices, meaning there will almost always be at least some level of activity. That may not be quite as true when you go further down the tiers, but this is largely just speculation on my part.

legends159
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Re: How bad is Skadden?

Postby legends159 » Sat Sep 14, 2013 2:53 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Midlevel associates at Cravath are consistently working with partners at other firms. Midlevel associates at Skadden are mostly working with other midlevel associates at other firms.


LMFAO at the idea of partners working on the other side of associates meaning anything.

Just because the partner sent out a draft doesn't mean s/he drafted it or even looked at it for more than 20 minutes. And just because a partner gets on a phone call doesn't mean s/he isn't on 3 other phone calls at the same time and having the associate run the conversation.

And even if the statement is true, what is it supposed to prove? That Cravath midlevels are just as good as partners at other firms? And so what if that's true - will that affect your life as a junior associate at Cravath as opposed to Skadden? Can those Cravath midlevels walk into another firm and simply become a partner? Will that midlevel make any more money than the midlevel at Skadden?

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Re: How bad is Skadden?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 14, 2013 2:55 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:strict no-face-time at S&C v. face-time at DPW.


I work at DPW, and this is BS. I've never heard anybody complain about facetime 'requirements' and I (and my senior associates) routinely leave when our work is done without checking in with others and/or accomplish tasks remotely.

As to OP's question, I would lump all three firmly together in the same category for hours/quality of life. Differences are likely a consequence of which group and partners/senior associates you work for.

All of the firms have different reputations about personalities and the like, but that will mostly boil down to how you reacted to them and not any objective truth.


Also work at DPW - wtf is this facetime bull shit. The NYC office has over 500 attorneys - no one has time to check in on anyone else. You do your shit and then go home. Rinse and repeat daily. Doubtful any large NYC firm has facetime requirements. Maybe Cravath with the partner rotation system and WLRK b/c it's so small. But those two firms are also much smaller than its peers.




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