Would I be insane to choose Gibson (LA) over Irell (LA)?

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Would I be insane to choose Gibson (LA) over Irell (LA)?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 16, 2013 12:34 am

Quick background: offers from both. Munger did not come to my school.

I am good with being in LA. There's always the possibility of wanting to be somewhere else, but not in the near future. Knowing I want to be in LA, conventional TLS wisdom seems to be Irell, no question. And during my CB, I loved it. I get the sense it is a place where you get incredible early responsibility, and nobody bothers you assuming the work is good. The bonuses are top notch.

But I also loved my CB at GDC. And my concern is that I'm not interested in IP. I got the sense that everyone at Irell was downplaying how much IP work there is, and heard from former associates that's in the range of half to three-quarters. I want to do commercial lit and maybe white collar. I'd be happy to try IP, but don't want that to be my career, or get stuck on a big IP case from the beginning and never get to do anything different.

So long story short, I'm thinking of taking GDC over Irell in order to have the opportunity to work on other things. I also felt Gibson was a bit more sociable, but hard to tell from a CB. Would I be insane to do so?

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Re: Would I be insane to choose Gibson (LA) over Irell (LA)?

Postby OneMoreLawHopeful » Mon Sep 16, 2013 12:56 am

This doesn't strike me as insane at all, especially if you have no interest in IP. Irell is mostly known for IP (though Chambers USA claims their bankruptcy practice is also good, but that doesn't seem like an interest of yours), you have no interest in IP. By contrast, GDC is a prestigious firm, with a strong business outlook, where you really enjoyed your callback.

Tbh, I don't even understand why you're still thinking about Irell.

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Re: Would I be insane to choose Gibson (LA) over Irell (LA)?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 16, 2013 1:03 am

Not insane at all. These are peer firms in LA. I know people who chose Gibson LA over Irell because of practice area and culture. I chose Irell over Gibson because I thought the culture at Irell was much better for me, not because Irell is more prestigious or the obvious choice.

With regards to your concerns, the #2 revenue producing partner at Irell does white collar so the idea that you're forced to do IP work if you don't want to is incorrect from what I've heard from people at Irell and who have left Irell. I thought Irell was more sociable than Gibson but you're right, the same person could reach a different conclusion about that depending on the day that you go to your callback.

That said, don't overthink it. If your gut tells you Gibson, go with Gibson.

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Re: Would I be insane to choose Gibson (LA) over Irell (LA)?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 16, 2013 1:54 am

Anonymous User wrote:Not insane at all. These are peer firms in LA. I know people who chose Gibson LA over Irell because of practice area and culture. I chose Irell over Gibson because I thought the culture at Irell was much better for me, not because Irell is more prestigious or the obvious choice.

With regards to your concerns, the #2 revenue producing partner at Irell does white collar so the idea that you're forced to do IP work if you don't want to is incorrect from what I've heard from people at Irell and who have left Irell. I thought Irell was more sociable than Gibson but you're right, the same person could reach a different conclusion about that depending on the day that you go to your callback.

That said, don't overthink it. If your gut tells you Gibson, go with Gibson.


The problem is that my gut tells me GDC because I'm under the impression that it will be significantly easier to get non-IP work there. If that is not the case (as your response implies), then I'm sort of lost. I'm hesitant to go somewhere because the people I met were a little more sociable, because that's a tiny slice of the firm. Irell gives the early responsibility I want with excellent money. I just need to be sure it is the work I want.

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Re: Would I be insane to choose Gibson (LA) over Irell (LA)?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 16, 2013 2:02 am

Anonymous User wrote:conventional TLS wisdom seems to be Irell, no question.

No. If anything, Gibson has the reputational edge, both on TLS and in LA.
Anonymous User wrote:The bonuses are top notch.

You'll work longer hours though.
Anonymous User wrote:I'm not interested in IP. . . . I want to do commercial lit and maybe white collar.

This is really the only reason you need not to pick Irell. Especially as a young associate, you won't avoid IP.
Anonymous User wrote:I also felt Gibson was a bit more sociable.

This is true by ordinary person standards. You can't walk around Bunker Hill without seeing Gibson associates at happy hour. However, I've met several Irell associates and summers capable of nerding-out sociably.

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Re: Would I be insane to choose Gibson (LA) over Irell (LA)?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 16, 2013 8:55 am

Anonymous User wrote:The problem is that my gut tells me GDC because I'm under the impression that it will be significantly easier to get non-IP work there. If that is not the case (as your response implies), then I'm sort of lost. I'm hesitant to go somewhere because the people I met were a little more sociable, because that's a tiny slice of the firm. Irell gives the early responsibility I want with excellent money. I just need to be sure it is the work I want.

As someone else who chose Irell, I don't think choosing GDC over Irell is insane at all.

As for work, about half of the firm's work is IP litigation which means that about half of it isn't. Because it's free market, I think it's possible that you can avoid it for the most part if you want to do other stuff. Though I've heard that if an IP case blows up they might pull a bunch of people on to it at least temporarily. If I were you I'd reach out to Irell and have them either fly you back or put you in touch with some junior attorneys there (2nd/3rd years or so) and ask them about it. It's a legitimate concern and something I think you can get the best feel for by asking people who have had to get work there (which likely includes people who didn't want to do IP lit either).

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Re: Would I be insane to choose Gibson (LA) over Irell (LA)?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 16, 2013 10:27 am

Anonymous User wrote:The problem is that my gut tells me GDC because I'm under the impression that it will be significantly easier to get non-IP work there. If that is not the case (as your response implies), then I'm sort of lost. I'm hesitant to go somewhere because the people I met were a little more sociable, because that's a tiny slice of the firm. Irell gives the early responsibility I want with excellent money. I just need to be sure it is the work I want.


There are many associates who go from Irell to the USAO office or to non-IP firms. If their work was so heavily IP, those wouldn't really be common options for associates. Unless you have a huge aversion to doing any IP at all, I don't think this is a huge problem. There are definitely associates that I spoke with who have never worked on an IP assignment. Maybe it was luck but I think it shows that you can avoid if you really need to.

Will it be significantly easier to get non-IP work at Gibson? Maybe, but again, unless you just hate IP to the extent that you don't even want 5% of your work to be IP, I don't think this should be an issue. Also, would you rather work on small teams at Irell with a lot of early responsibility or, as Gibson told me, work on cross-office work 90% of the time on big teams where the level of responsibility you get will definitely be lower?

Choose Gibson for the culture. Don't choose it because you think you'll be pidgeonholed into IP at Irell; that's just not the case.

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Re: Would I be insane to choose Gibson (LA) over Irell (LA)?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 16, 2013 10:35 am

Anonymous User wrote:No. If anything, Gibson has the reputational edge, both on TLS and in LA.


Depends on practice area and location. Don't decide based on this.

Anonymous User wrote:You'll work longer hours though.


Gibson has a target of about 1,950 hours. Irell has a target of 2,000 hours. Associates average 2,100 hours at irell and if they're on pace for significantly more, a partner sits down with them and makes sure everything is okay.

In addition, at Irell, you can do those hours largely wherever you want. The face time talking point is largely real. If you don't have work or are in a down period, go on vacation or stay at home. There are associates who took more than 6 weeks of vacation in a given year because some of their months were so busy that they had reached their hours goal. No one at Irell cared.

Anonymous User wrote:This is true by ordinary person standards. You can't walk around Bunker Hill without seeing Gibson associates at happy hour. However, I've met several Irell associates and summers capable of nerding-out sociably.


There are sociable people and nerding out people at both firms. If you haven't gone on a dinner with Irell associates, do it. I had a lot of fun and we're barely talked about Irell.

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Re: Would I be insane to choose Gibson (LA) over Irell (LA)?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 16, 2013 11:16 am

Anonymous User wrote:There are many associates who go from Irell to the USAO office or to non-IP firms. If their work was so heavily IP, those wouldn't really be common options for associates.

(speaking from having talked to a bunch of AUSAs about hiring, if others think I'm wrong feel free to correct)

Whether or not Irell does a ton of IP, you can still go from IP lit to USAO, especially early in your career. It of course depends on the hiring practices of a given office or US Attorney heading that office, but at least some offices care a lot about trial work and don't particularly care whether it is in IP lit. Heck, there is a decent chance that IP associates get more trial experience than WC associates since WC clients have an additional incentive to avoid indictment and avoid trial.

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Re: Would I be insane to choose Gibson (LA) over Irell (LA)?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 16, 2013 12:27 pm

Don't discount the value of geography in your decision. If you know you want to live on the Westside the commute to Irell will be much easier. If you're a Downtown/Silver Lake/Pasadena kind of person, then Gibson will be better. Those (unbillable) hours in the car add up.

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Re: Would I be insane to choose Gibson (LA) over Irell (LA)?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 17, 2013 5:36 pm

Anon 2 wrote:
I wrote:(Re: Bonuses) You'll work longer hours though.
Gibson has a target of about 1,950 hours. Irell has a target of 2,000 hours. Associates average 2,100 hours at irell.

Targets are nice, but actual billables matter most. Curious where you get your 2,100 avg from? The Irell junior associates I've met echo 2,2-2,3ish, and none are partnership gunners. In any case, even if the difference is as great as 250hr/yr, that's only 5 extra hr/wk at Irell, which I concede may be insubstantial to most people and well worth the bonus. For a lazier person like me, even slightly longer hours matter.
Anon 2 wrote:
I wrote:(Re: Sociability) This is true by ordinary person standards. You can't walk around Bunker Hill without seeing Gibson associates at happy hour. However, I've met several Irell associates and summers capable of nerding-out sociably.
There are sociable people and nerding out people at both firms. If you haven't gone on a dinner with Irell associates, do it. I had a lot of fun and we're barely talked about Irell.

Agree, & I have; free dinner is almost always fun. Whether or not Irell associates discuss Irell, I've found they're most interested in jurisprudence/philosophy/political theory etc. At my firm (take a wild guess) people talk (or gossip) about sex/drugs/alcohol. The avg Gibson associate's interests fall somewhere in-between, imo, which is why I believe Gibson is socially preferable to the ordinary person.




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