Hogan vs. Covington (both DC)

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Hogan vs. Covington (both DC)

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

I'm torn between regulatory and litigation. I think regulatory work might suit my preferences and personality better--more regular hours, more policy-oriented, more, smaller matters to juggle at once, etc. However, I don't have a particular industry that I have a background in, so I know there's a good chance I won't actually like the work once I'm doing it. Litigation, on the other, I know I enjoy, though of course has some obvious downsides.

So, obviously, I want a place where I can explore both, which is how I've narrowed my choices to Hogan and Covington. I'm definitely leaning Covington. I felt like I clicked with the partners better at Covington and the associates better at Hogan, but overall it was pretty much a wash. They seem like very similar firms, with Covington a clear, but small step above. I also really like that Covington lets you continue to split your time between lit and regulatory for a while even after you start as an associate.

My concern, though, is that if I ended up in Covington lit I might get stuck doing a lot of insurance recovery, or even IP, neither of which sounds like something I want to do (though, hey, I've never done that kind of work). How worried should I be about this? How bad would it be if that's what happened?

I'm very grateful to have these options, and anything that anyone has to add would be much appreciated (especially re: quality of life, exits, etc. if you've actually worked at one of these firms).

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Re: Hogan vs. Covington (both DC)

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 16, 2013 10:50 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm torn between regulatory and litigation. I think regulatory work might suit my preferences and personality better--more regular hours, more policy-oriented, more, smaller matters to juggle at once, etc. However, I don't have a particular industry that I have a background in, so I know there's a good chance I won't actually like the work once I'm doing it. Litigation, on the other, I know I enjoy, though of course has some obvious downsides.

So, obviously, I want a place where I can explore both, which is how I've narrowed my choices to Hogan and Covington. I'm definitely leaning Covington. I felt like I clicked with the partners better at Covington and the associates better at Hogan, but overall it was pretty much a wash. They seem like very similar firms, with Covington a clear, but small step above. I also really like that Covington lets you continue to split your time between lit and regulatory for a while even after you start as an associate.

My concern, though, is that if I ended up in Covington lit I might get stuck doing a lot of insurance recovery, or even IP, neither of which sounds like something I want to do (though, hey, I've never done that kind of work). How worried should I be about this? How bad would it be if that's what happened?

I'm very grateful to have these options, and anything that anyone has to add would be much appreciated (especially re: quality of life, exits, etc. if you've actually worked at one of these firms).

Both great options. Go with whichever you liked better. Better yet, figure out what regulatory group appeals to you and go back for a second visit with just those people. Some of the reg groups are really small so if you have a preference, you want to know you like the personalities. Covington is getting new offices if you need a tie breaker.

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Re: Hogan vs. Covington (both DC)

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 16, 2013 11:15 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I'm torn between regulatory and litigation. I think regulatory work might suit my preferences and personality better--more regular hours, more policy-oriented, more, smaller matters to juggle at once, etc. However, I don't have a particular industry that I have a background in, so I know there's a good chance I won't actually like the work once I'm doing it. Litigation, on the other, I know I enjoy, though of course has some obvious downsides.

So, obviously, I want a place where I can explore both, which is how I've narrowed my choices to Hogan and Covington. I'm definitely leaning Covington. I felt like I clicked with the partners better at Covington and the associates better at Hogan, but overall it was pretty much a wash. They seem like very similar firms, with Covington a clear, but small step above. I also really like that Covington lets you continue to split your time between lit and regulatory for a while even after you start as an associate.

My concern, though, is that if I ended up in Covington lit I might get stuck doing a lot of insurance recovery, or even IP, neither of which sounds like something I want to do (though, hey, I've never done that kind of work). How worried should I be about this? How bad would it be if that's what happened?

I'm very grateful to have these options, and anything that anyone has to add would be much appreciated (especially re: quality of life, exits, etc. if you've actually worked at one of these firms).

Both great options. Go with whichever you liked better. Better yet, figure out what regulatory group appeals to you and go back for a second visit with just those people. Some of the reg groups are really small so if you have a preference, you want to know you like the personalities. Covington is getting new offices if you need a tie breaker.

That's a good point on the second looks, though the reg area I'm most interested in is pretty big at both places.
As for the office, heh, yeah, especially since the Cov offices already seemed better than the Hogan ones. But do you know where the new Covington office is going to be? I quite like the location both the firms are at now, because you can live on almost any metro line.

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Re: Hogan vs. Covington (both DC)

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 16, 2013 11:28 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I'm torn between regulatory and litigation. I think regulatory work might suit my preferences and personality better--more regular hours, more policy-oriented, more, smaller matters to juggle at once, etc. However, I don't have a particular industry that I have a background in, so I know there's a good chance I won't actually like the work once I'm doing it. Litigation, on the other, I know I enjoy, though of course has some obvious downsides.

So, obviously, I want a place where I can explore both, which is how I've narrowed my choices to Hogan and Covington. I'm definitely leaning Covington. I felt like I clicked with the partners better at Covington and the associates better at Hogan, but overall it was pretty much a wash. They seem like very similar firms, with Covington a clear, but small step above. I also really like that Covington lets you continue to split your time between lit and regulatory for a while even after you start as an associate.

My concern, though, is that if I ended up in Covington lit I might get stuck doing a lot of insurance recovery, or even IP, neither of which sounds like something I want to do (though, hey, I've never done that kind of work). How worried should I be about this? How bad would it be if that's what happened?

I'm very grateful to have these options, and anything that anyone has to add would be much appreciated (especially re: quality of life, exits, etc. if you've actually worked at one of these firms).

Both great options. Go with whichever you liked better. Better yet, figure out what regulatory group appeals to you and go back for a second visit with just those people. Some of the reg groups are really small so if you have a preference, you want to know you like the personalities. Covington is getting new offices if you need a tie breaker.

That's a good point on the second looks, though the reg area I'm most interested in is pretty big at both places.
As for the office, heh, yeah, especially since the Cov offices already seemed better than the Hogan ones. But do you know where the new Covington office is going to be? I quite like the location both the firms are at now, because you can live on almost any metro line.

http://www.citycenterdc.com/

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Re: Hogan vs. Covington (both DC)

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 17, 2013 12:00 am

Anonymous User wrote:My concern, though, is that if I ended up in Covington lit I might get stuck doing a lot of insurance recovery, or even IP, neither of which sounds like something I want to do (though, hey, I've never done that kind of work). How worried should I be about this? How bad would it be if that's what happened?

This shouldn't be much of a concern. The assigning system is flexible enough that you won't get stuck doing work you dislike for long (although you may be asked to work on a project or two that you aren't particularly interested in during your first year or two). And the D.C. office gets a pretty diverse range of litigation work (from general commercial to white collar to antitrust) that you should be able to pick and choose somewhat.

Plus, insurance policyholder work is actually pretty interesting (albeit very document intensive)-- it's the closest to plaintiff's work that you'll get at most biglaw firms. And there are a lot of folks who specialize in IP, so it's unlikely you'll get stuck there if you don't want to.

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Re: Hogan vs. Covington (both DC)

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 17, 2013 7:42 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:My concern, though, is that if I ended up in Covington lit I might get stuck doing a lot of insurance recovery, or even IP, neither of which sounds like something I want to do (though, hey, I've never done that kind of work). How worried should I be about this? How bad would it be if that's what happened?

This shouldn't be much of a concern. The assigning system is flexible enough that you won't get stuck doing work you dislike for long (although you may be asked to work on a project or two that you aren't particularly interested in during your first year or two). And the D.C. office gets a pretty diverse range of litigation work (from general commercial to white collar to antitrust) that you should be able to pick and choose somewhat.

Plus, insurance policyholder work is actually pretty interesting (albeit very document intensive)-- it's the closest to plaintiff's work that you'll get at most biglaw firms. And there are a lot of folks who specialize in IP, so it's unlikely you'll get stuck there if you don't want to.

Thanks!

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Re: Hogan vs. Covington (both DC)

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Tue Sep 17, 2013 11:36 am

If I were more or less torn between these two, I would go Covington, personally. Their office seems diverse enough to me that I wouldn't worry about getting pigeonholed, no more than at any firm, at least. And don't they have a pretty large regulatory practice anyway? Any reason you don't think you'd be able to get into reg work at Covington? I just don't see a why you'd turn down the firm that's generally considered the superior place absent a compelling reason.

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Re: Hogan vs. Covington (both DC)

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 17, 2013 11:42 am

dixiecupdrinking wrote:If I were more or less torn between these two, I would go Covington, personally. Their office seems diverse enough to me that I wouldn't worry about getting pigeonholed, no more than at any firm, at least. And don't they have a pretty large regulatory practice anyway? Any reason you don't think you'd be able to get into reg work at Covington? I just don't see a why you'd turn down the firm that's generally considered the superior place absent a compelling reason.

Oh, there's no issue getting into a reg practice if I like it; I've just learned not to trust that I know what I'll like until I have more experience with it.

Otherwise, yeah, this is pretty much what I'm thinking at this point. I've just heard rumors (mostly on TLS to be fair, though elsewhere as well) that Covington's lit practice is pretty narrow and can be boring/frustrating if you get stuck on the wrong things. I suspect that's overblown, and I'll end up picking Covington, I just wanted to see if anyone else had some more knowledge about it.

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Re: Hogan vs. Covington (both DC)

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 17, 2013 12:35 pm

(full disclosure: Covington SA)

To be fair, Covington's litigation practice doesn't do a lot of securities work, which is the bread and butter of many large New York litigation departments and even some D.C. firms (whether you think this is a good or bad thing is up to you). But they do have an excellent white collar practice, a very good antitrust practice, the best insurance policyholder practice in the country, and a very robust general commercial practice, especially within their core client industries (tech and life sciences).

It's fair to say that the litigation practice at Covington is clearly a step down from Williams & Connolly (which dominates D.C. litigation) and maybe even from the Gibson Dunn/Wilmer tier. But I (in my obviously biased) opinion would put it on par with Hogan, and I don't think the quality or type of litigation you'd practice at Hogan is meaningfully different. For instance, I think the two firms overlap in a lot of the types of litigation that they focus on (the D.C. standards-- white collar, antitrust, etc) and the types of clients they work for (pharma/healthcare, telecom, other heavily regulated industries). The one difference is that Covington also does insurance policyholder work and IP work (which you correctly noted), but that's in addition to (and not in lieu of) the other litigation work that it excels in, discussed above. (And that's not to mention the regulatory work, where Covington has a more significant edge.)

They're both great firms, though, and at this point you're picking nits.

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Re: Hogan vs. Covington (both DC)

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Tue Sep 17, 2013 12:39 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
dixiecupdrinking wrote:If I were more or less torn between these two, I would go Covington, personally. Their office seems diverse enough to me that I wouldn't worry about getting pigeonholed, no more than at any firm, at least. And don't they have a pretty large regulatory practice anyway? Any reason you don't think you'd be able to get into reg work at Covington? I just don't see a why you'd turn down the firm that's generally considered the superior place absent a compelling reason.

Oh, there's no issue getting into a reg practice if I like it; I've just learned not to trust that I know what I'll like until I have more experience with it.

Otherwise, yeah, this is pretty much what I'm thinking at this point. I've just heard rumors (mostly on TLS to be fair, though elsewhere as well) that Covington's lit practice is pretty narrow and can be boring/frustrating if you get stuck on the wrong things. I suspect that's overblown, and I'll end up picking Covington, I just wanted to see if anyone else had some more knowledge about it.

I see. I thought you were weighing Hogan for reg work versus Cov for lit.

Covington does have a lot of insurance and IP lit work, but they also have a good deal of white collar work and other kinds of cases. I have heard the same rep regarding the narrow litigation practice but I don't see how it's that different from most firms. They have insurance work, somewhere else you might have a ton of securities work, etc.

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Re: Hogan vs. Covington (both DC)

Postby Law Sauce » Tue Sep 17, 2013 1:27 pm

I think that the culture of these two firms are generally thought to be very different, at least for the summer program. I had several friends at both firms this past summer, the Hogan people all loved it, but both the Covington people I know said that their experience was just so-so (not a super social firm). It seems like Hogan was much more of a friendly, social place whereas Covington seemed to them to be a bit more stuffy.

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Re: Hogan vs. Covington (both DC)

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 17, 2013 9:20 pm

The culture at both these firms are very different. Don't get me wrong - both are great firms and you have great choices but I think you do more research into the culture of both, to see which one you would like.

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Re: Hogan vs. Covington (both DC)

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 18, 2013 4:08 am

Law Sauce wrote:I think that the culture of these two firms are generally thought to be very different, at least for the summer program. I had several friends at both firms this past summer, the Hogan people all loved it, but both the Covington people I know said that their experience was just so-so (not a super social firm). It seems like Hogan was much more of a friendly, social place whereas Covington seemed to them to be a bit more stuffy.
I summered at Cov this past summer. Very smart, school-, and grade-conscious folks. Very good for pro-bono. Cordial but reserved, stuffy. I really liked only 3 partners (whom I will keep in touch with) out of dozens I met.

Mentoring is poor. My partner mentor was away the whole time, while my associate mentor was usually on vacation. They do hire the highest-GPA students and their expectation clearly was "no hand-holding, mentoring, or chatting."

Instructions were not very clear and feedback was weak per summer project, but a lot of feedback was secretly given to the summer chairs; I learned this at my exit interview. A lot of judgement "tests" were set up for SAs just to test us. At least one SA I know received a no offer because of this. On at least two assignments, I was told, "We don't need this work. It is just to evaluate you."

I did meet 2 unhappy 1st year associates and 1 5th year who are interviewing elsewhere. There appeared to be a culture of fear, and associates were not treated as grownups. I can't do my best work that way for 8 years. This may be my own feelings and not true--maybe all biglaw is like this. Just what I and one other SA I am close to felt. I interviewed with other firms at OCI again as a 3L and will be going elsewhere in DC.

I interviewed with Hogan and LOVED them. They were kidding each other at the screener and at the callbacks too. In London, they are called "lovely Lovells."

Interestingly, folks had told me that the people at a firm really matter and I never believed it! But it does. Putting my Cov experience aside, this was a valuable general lesson that I learnt. It is really true. OP: Select on basis of the people. It is VERY important to your own success.

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Re: Hogan vs. Covington (both DC)

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 18, 2013 10:28 am

Thanks very much to everyone who has commented so far. It's been really helpful.The last couple do give me pause--and if I'm honest with myself, I did pick up that difference in vibe, and preferred Hogan.

I have more research to do on my own, obviously, but here are a couple of other considerations, if anyone has thoughts about them:

--Hogan has shown negative or flat growth the last two years, while Covington has shown really good growth.

--Hogan's reputation seems to have dropped since the merger, and I really don't understand why. Does anyone have an explanation?

--Hogan seems to consistently give 100% offers, while Covington (as anon above hinted at) seems to usually no-offer one or two out of their class. (Please correct me if I'm wrong here, as I can't find historic offer rates. In both cases it's based on last year and one other year of data I found by googling.)

--Hogan is Chambers band 2 lit and Covington is band 3. (Similarly, Hogan is comparable or better in the reg areas I'm most interested in.) Does this seem accurate? Does it matter?

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Re: Hogan vs. Covington (both DC)

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 18, 2013 10:46 am

OP, if I were you, I'd try to do a second visit to both Hogan and Covington. I did a second visit to Cov last year and they were very accommodating. I summered at Cov and enjoyed it but I could easily see it not being for everyone - I got the feeling the people at Cov skewed a little older, many associates were married/had kids and as a result, this wasn't a place where you're going to be out late at night with your co-workers. I know Hogan had at least a few summer events that went late into the night.

Just to give you another viewpoint, I thought my partner and associate mentors were very good and I received candid feedback on all my assignments after I turned them in. If you have any specific questions about Cov, I'd be happy to answer them.

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Re: Hogan vs. Covington (both DC)

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 18, 2013 11:20 am

Anonymous User wrote:OP, if I were you, I'd try to do a second visit to both Hogan and Covington.
I cannot stress this enough. (I'm the poster who was negative on Cov a few posts above.) Above all, please do not choose on basis of Vault or chambers rankings, which I did. Better to be happy and successful at a Hogan than unhappy, unsuccessful, and have to lateral from a Cravath.

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Re: Hogan vs. Covington (both DC)

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 18, 2013 11:34 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:OP, if I were you, I'd try to do a second visit to both Hogan and Covington.
I cannot stress this enough. (I'm the poster who was negative on Cov a few posts above.) Above all, please do not choose on basis of Vault or chambers rankings, which I did. Better to be happy and successful at a Hogan than unhappy, unsuccessful, and have to lateral from a Cravath.

Yeah, I've been avoiding going to back to DC because I feel like I've barely seen my wife for the last 3+ months (summer job and OCI), but it's clear I've just got to suck it up and go back. Thanks again, everyone.

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Re: Hogan vs. Covington (both DC)

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 18, 2013 11:44 am

Anonymous User wrote:--Hogan is Chambers band 2 lit and Covington is band 3. (Similarly, Hogan is comparable or better in the reg areas I'm most interested in.) Does this seem accurate? Does it matter?


Chambers bands are virtually irrelevant for summer associates and junior associates. This is especially true in litigation. I know my firm (a DC firm not one of these two) has practitioners listed in "white collar" who are not really white collar lawyers, has "general litigation" partners listed who are really IP people, and ignores some of our highest-grossing and most specialized senior experts. And in my field there is a firm that I would recommend as the first call if someone asked me for a recommendation other than us. I just checked and they are Band 3. Go figure.

Even if the "bands" aren't totally meaningless, Band 2 vs. Band 3 means that both firms are going to be in the same beauty contests for largely the same work, and it could easily be the case that a Band 3 firm in a particular field has more up-and-coming lawyers and work in a field whereas the Band 2 is resting on the laurels of a couple of senior practitioners. (Not to mention differences in the marketing departments which drum up the praise.) Bottom line -- you would be insane to pick a firm solely because it is Band 2 whereas the other firm you are considering is Band 3.

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Re: Hogan vs. Covington (both DC)

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 18, 2013 11:50 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:--Hogan is Chambers band 2 lit and Covington is band 3. (Similarly, Hogan is comparable or better in the reg areas I'm most interested in.) Does this seem accurate? Does it matter?


Chambers bands are virtually irrelevant for summer associates and junior associates. This is especially true in litigation. I know my firm (a DC firm not one of these two) has practitioners listed in "white collar" who are not really white collar lawyers, has "general litigation" partners listed who are really IP people, and ignores some of our highest-grossing and most specialized senior experts. And in my field there is a firm that I would recommend as the first call if someone asked me for a recommendation other than us. I just checked and they are Band 3. Go figure.

Even if the "bands" aren't totally meaningless, Band 2 vs. Band 3 means that both firms are going to be in the same beauty contests for largely the same work, and it could easily be the case that a Band 3 firm in a particular field has more up-and-coming lawyers and work in a field whereas the Band 2 is resting on the laurels of a couple of senior practitioners. (Not to mention differences in the marketing departments which drum up the praise.) Bottom line -- you would be insane to pick a firm solely because it is Band 2 whereas the other firm you are considering is Band 3.

What I figured. Thanks. I wasn't really considering picking one because of that, but more wondering if those rankings indicated the difference in quality/prestige/exit options, etc. between the two firms isn't as big as conventional wisdom would have it. It's just strange that the general consensus that Covington is the clearly superior shop isn't, for the most part, backed up by the Chambers rankings, where the two firms seem more or less equivalent across the board, or at least in the areas that matter to me.




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