Question about Simpson Thatcher

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Question about Simpson Thatcher

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Nov 04, 2013 11:16 am

Why is that a significantly smaller percentage of Simpson Thatcher lawyers are from YLS and HYS compared to its peers?

Percentage of YLS grads at Simpson Thatcher is 2.6%, which is lower than the corresponding percentages at Sullivan (5.6%), Cravath (4.8%), and Davis Polk (4.9%).

Percentage of HYS grads at Simpson Thatcher is 12%, which is lower than the corresponding percentages at Sullivan (24%), Cravath (21%), and Davis Polk (24%).

Most metrics indicate that Simpson Thacher is a peer of Wachtell, Sullivan, Cravath, Davis Polk, etc. in most practice areas while having a significant edge in private equity. What am I missing? What about Simpson Thatcher turns off HYS students?

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hoos89
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Re: Question about Simpson Thatcher

Postby hoos89 » Mon Nov 04, 2013 11:47 am

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Last edited by hoos89 on Sun Apr 12, 2015 12:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

WhirledWorld
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Re: Question about Simpson Thatcher

Postby WhirledWorld » Mon Nov 04, 2013 11:57 am

I think your math is off.

Davis Polk has 130 HLS attorneys out of 778 attorneys (numbers are from DPW's website's search function). That's 16.7%.

I also don't know anyone who thinks STB is a peer of Wachtell/Cravath/S&C/Skadden. It's more like they're the best firm in one specific area (private equity M&A), but the rest of the practice areas, while still highly regarded, aren't among the tippy-top firms.

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thesealocust
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Re: Question about Simpson Thatcher

Postby thesealocust » Mon Nov 04, 2013 11:58 am

I think there's a slightly misguided belief amongst law students that STB is just a hair outside of the circle of the most elite firms. It might be totally irrational, but I know an awful lot of people who just didn't pay them much attention. My hypothesis is that it's a failure of branding on some level - STB's peer firms make it much easier to articulate "Why Name & Ampersand" in your mind while they all look extremely fungible to shit-for-brains 2Ls.

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Re: Question about Simpson Thatcher

Postby thesealocust » Mon Nov 04, 2013 11:59 am

WhirledWorld wrote:I also don't know anyone who thinks STB is a peer of Wachtell/Cravath/S&C/Skadden. It's more like they're the best firm in one specific area (private equity M&A), but the rest of the practice areas, while still highly regarded, aren't among the tippy-top firms.


Their capital markets practice is up there. Off the top of my head I know they did the Facebook IPO (hold your comments please) and I'm pretty sure I saw their name on Apple's "largest in history" bond offering earlier this year.

I have a vague memory their litigation department is sometimes ranked just a hair below the other big NYC firms, but I don't pay much attention to litigation.
Last edited by thesealocust on Mon Nov 04, 2013 12:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Old Gregg
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Re: Question about Simpson Thatcher

Postby Old Gregg » Mon Nov 04, 2013 12:00 pm

Most metrics indicate that Simpson Thacher is a peer of Wachtell, Sullivan, Cravath, Davis Polk, etc. in most practice areas while having a significant edge in private equity. What am I missing? What about Simpson Thatcher turns off HYS students?


Who cares? You think a bunch of law students who gleaned some amazing insights from 1 30 minute screening interview and a callback interview with five attorneys that you can't glean if you get a callback?

All it really comes down to is perception. Law schools tend to have their quirks and favorite firms. Who gives a shit? It's your decision. Don't let them make it for you.

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Re: Question about Simpson Thatcher

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 05, 2013 1:00 am

WhirledWorld wrote:I think your math is off.

Davis Polk has 130 HLS attorneys out of 778 attorneys (numbers are from DPW's website's search function). That's 16.7%.

I also don't know anyone who thinks STB is a peer of Wachtell/Cravath/S&C/Skadden. It's more like they're the best firm in one specific area (private equity M&A), but the rest of the practice areas, while still highly regarded, aren't among the tippy-top firms.

That's a good point. Nobody thinks of STB as a top-tier firm. Unless, of course, you're considering what these idiots think:

http://www.chambersandpartners.com/12788/113/Editorial/5/1
http://www.chambersandpartners.com/12788/354/Editorial/5/1
http://www.chambersandpartners.com/12788/6/Editorial/5/1
http://www.chambersandpartners.com/12788/803/Editorial/5/1
http://www.chambersandpartners.com/12788/775/Editorial/5/1
http://www.chambersandpartners.com/12788/680/Editorial/5/1

Those are what I suspect most people would consider the major corporate and litigation practice areas in NYC, although fund formation may be a little less of a "primary" group for the typical NYC firm. Take that for what you will.

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Re: Question about Simpson Thatcher

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Tue Nov 05, 2013 9:32 am

uh oh, 3L with STB offer mad

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Re: Question about Simpson Thatcher

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 05, 2013 10:18 am

WhirledWorld wrote:I also don't know anyone who thinks STB is a peer of Wachtell/Cravath/S&C/Skadden. It's more like they're the best firm in one specific area (private equity M&A), but the rest of the practice areas, while still highly regarded, aren't among the tippy-top firms.


I accepted an offer at Skadden a few months ago; in one of my interviews, a Skadden partner actually named STB as "one of our peer firms."

Maybe STB does have a branding issue with law students (it's true that I wasn't especially interested), but they do good work and the knowledgeable people at other good firms know it.

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Re: Question about Simpson Thatcher

Postby kwais » Tue Nov 05, 2013 10:21 am

WhirledWorld wrote:I think your math is off.

Davis Polk has 130 HLS attorneys out of 778 attorneys (numbers are from DPW's website's search function). That's 16.7%.

I also don't know anyone who thinks STB is a peer of Wachtell/Cravath/S&C/Skadden. It's more like they're the best firm in one specific area (private equity M&A), but the rest of the practice areas, while still highly regarded, aren't among the tippy-top firms.


OP cited HYS, you cited HLS.

Also, pure conjecture, but if, for whatever reason, the very top students at HYS interested in biglaw go to Wachtell/Cravath/SullCrom and DC, then perhaps it's in the best interest of STB to recruit more evenly from the top students at the next 10 or so schools, instead of picking up the dregs (exaggerated for comedic effect) of HYS.

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Re: Question about Simpson Thatcher

Postby Old Gregg » Tue Nov 05, 2013 11:31 am

Anonymous User wrote:
WhirledWorld wrote:I also don't know anyone who thinks STB is a peer of Wachtell/Cravath/S&C/Skadden. It's more like they're the best firm in one specific area (private equity M&A), but the rest of the practice areas, while still highly regarded, aren't among the tippy-top firms.


I accepted an offer at Skadden a few months ago; in one of my interviews, a Skadden partner actually named STB as "one of our peer firms."

Maybe STB does have a branding issue with law students (it's true that I wasn't especially interested), but they do good work and the knowledgeable people at other good firms know it.


It doesn't have a branding issue. STB is doing their thing and making a ton of money at the same time. I'm sure the partners aren't losing sleep at night at the perception, if there is one at all, that STB is cream of the crop but not quite cream of the crop among a group of approximately 1,000 law students.

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Re: Question about Simpson Thatcher

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 05, 2013 12:31 pm

First, as a general point, not sure how relevant the question is given that the middle of the road students at H and S are arguably indistinguishable from same group at CCNMVP (maybe not true for Y, but these people aren't exactly filling up the ranks of biglaw). I know, law preftige, blah blah blah, but LOL @ thinking middle 300 kids at H are distinguishable from similar group at CCNMVP (and yes, I don't go to HYS, come at me bro).

As to the question, I really liked STB. Was deciding among them, Cravath, DPW, and SullCrom. Want to do corporate and felt kind of stupid not picking STB given how good their practice has been over the last 2 years. Ultimately, the reason I didn't pick them is because, relative to other options, people from my school going there seemed to be a little weirder* and not quite as bright.



*This is excluding SullCrom which has weirder people from my school than other top firms.

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Re: Question about Simpson Thatcher

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 05, 2013 12:39 pm

Anonymous User wrote:First, as a general point, not sure how relevant the question is given that the middle of the road students at H and S are arguably indistinguishable from same group at CCNMVP (maybe not true for Y, but these people aren't exactly filling up the ranks of biglaw). I know, law preftige, blah blah blah, but LOL @ thinking middle 300 kids at H are distinguishable from similar group at CCNMVP (and yes, I don't go to HYS, come at me bro).

As to the question, I really liked STB. Was deciding among them, Cravath, DPW, and SullCrom. Want to do corporate and felt kind of stupid not picking STB given how good their practice has been over the last 2 years. Ultimately, the reason I didn't pick them is because, relative to other options, people from my school going there seemed to be a little weirder* and not quite as bright.



*This is excluding SullCrom which has weirder people from my school than other top firms.


STB having "weird" people isn't all that explanatory. I heard that Cleary, Debevoise (and in some years Wachtell) tend to attract the weirdest people. Though I guess all this differs based on each school and is relative, since someone who goes to Skadden probably would think those who go to Cleary/DPW are weird, and vice versa.

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Re: Question about Simpson Thatcher

Postby Old Gregg » Tue Nov 05, 2013 12:59 pm

Want to do corporate and felt kind of stupid not picking STB given how good their practice has been over the last 2 years.


You should feel stupid for feeling stupid about that. STB's corporate practice is, and has been, amazing. The groups among these firms are virtually indistinguishable. Unless you were in business or finance prior to law school, the idea that Wachtell specializes in target-representation in M&A, or that S&C, Cravath and Skadden dominate public company M&A, or that DPW is the king of capital markets, or that STB is a dominant force in private equity, means nothing to you. Again, unless you did business or finance, odds are you won't know what a deal even is as you enter your 2L year.

And the problem is that, even if you did do finance or business prior to law school, drawing such hard line categorical distinctions as to what I did above can be misleading. DPW is the king of capital markets... but STB did the Facebook IPO. S&C, Cravath, Skadden and Wachtell are public company M&A behemoths, but DPW handled the Heinz deal ($30b).

The decision among these firms is best based on your gut when you visit. If you are lusting after Wachtell, don't pretend you have some spurious fascination with the poison pill (unless you actually do), admit you're lusting after that massive bonus.

And even if you have a pretty good idea as to what you want to do (i.e., you REALLY, REALLY want to do deals for Blackstone), interests change very quickly when you're in the weeds.

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Re: Question about Simpson Thatcher

Postby purpletiger » Tue Nov 05, 2013 7:31 pm

I think it comes largely down to perceived preftige being different than actual preftige. Law students look at the Vault rankings and, while knowing that the rankings measure nothing other than preftige, take them as actually reporting actual preftige. It's only later that one realizes, for example, that Skadden NY is much less selective than the other V5 in NY, that Weil might be a little overrated, and STB competes on an equal footing with WLRK, Cravath, S&C and DPW in corporate law.

Also, as a sidenote, any insight why WLRK, Cravath and S&C aren't ranked for fund formation at all? (http://www.chambersandpartners.com/1278 ... torial/5/1) Something they just don't do? Also why WLRK and S&C are "bad" at "Banking & Finance"? (http://www.chambersandpartners.com/1278 ... torial/5/1)

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Re: Question about Simpson Thatcher

Postby thesealocust » Tue Nov 05, 2013 7:42 pm

Because chambers & partners comes much closer to reflecting what the firms actually do and where they actually have a presence?

These aren't all super generalist firms despite their size and prominence - S&C really isn't that heavily involved in banking/lending, Cravath really doesn't do fund formation, etc. There are plenty of other examples - derivatives work, real estate, private equity type M&A, white collar litigation vs. securities litigation vs. general corporate litigation, and more - where you see some big name firms are great in the area and other big name firms don't have a presence at all.

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Re: Question about Simpson Thatcher

Postby Old Gregg » Tue Nov 05, 2013 8:09 pm

purpletiger wrote:I think it comes largely down to perceived preftige being different than actual preftige. Law students look at the Vault rankings and, while knowing that the rankings measure nothing other than preftige, take them as actually reporting actual preftige. It's only later that one realizes, for example, that Skadden NY is much less selective than the other V5 in NY, that Weil might be a little overrated, and STB competes on an equal footing with WLRK, Cravath, S&C and DPW in corporate law.

Also, as a sidenote, any insight why WLRK, Cravath and S&C aren't ranked for fund formation at all? (http://www.chambersandpartners.com/1278 ... torial/5/1) Something they just don't do? Also why WLRK and S&C are "bad" at "Banking & Finance"? (http://www.chambersandpartners.com/1278 ... torial/5/1)


A firm that doesn't do PE (or at least doesn't have a dedicated practice to it) is unlikely to do funds work either.

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Re: Question about Simpson Thatcher

Postby KaNa1986 » Sun Nov 10, 2013 8:10 pm

zweitbester wrote:
purpletiger wrote:I think it comes largely down to perceived preftige being different than actual preftige. Law students look at the Vault rankings and, while knowing that the rankings measure nothing other than preftige, take them as actually reporting actual preftige. It's only later that one realizes, for example, that Skadden NY is much less selective than the other V5 in NY, that Weil might be a little overrated, and STB competes on an equal footing with WLRK, Cravath, S&C and DPW in corporate law.

Also, as a sidenote, any insight why WLRK, Cravath and S&C aren't ranked for fund formation at all? (http://www.chambersandpartners.com/1278 ... torial/5/1) Something they just don't do? Also why WLRK and S&C are "bad" at "Banking & Finance"? (http://www.chambersandpartners.com/1278 ... torial/5/1)


A firm that doesn't do PE (or at least doesn't have a dedicated practice to it) is unlikely to do funds work either.


Why don't the V5's have large PE practices? How did Simpson become so good at PE?

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Re: Question about Simpson Thatcher

Postby kwais » Mon Nov 11, 2013 9:57 am

I'm sure it's more complicated that this, but they got down with KKR from the very beginning. Because KKR largely invented much of the PE industry, Simpson was the first to develop a skill set, so other PE shops, like Blackstone, looked to Simpson when they opened up.

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Re: Question about Simpson Thatcher

Postby KaNa1986 » Mon Nov 11, 2013 10:14 am

kwais wrote:I'm sure it's more complicated that this, but they got down with KKR from the very beginning. Because KKR largely invented much of the PE industry, Simpson was the first to develop a skill set, so other PE shops, like Blackstone, looked to Simpson when they opened up.


Did Simpson land KKR, etc. when PE first started in the 1980s because firms like Sullivan, Cravath, etc. didn't really go out and get clients and simply waited for the best work to come to them from their institutional ties? Didn't Simpson still had to compete with Skadden, Wachtell, etc.?

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Re: Question about Simpson Thatcher

Postby kwais » Mon Nov 11, 2013 10:21 am

KaNa1986 wrote:
kwais wrote:I'm sure it's more complicated that this, but they got down with KKR from the very beginning. Because KKR largely invented much of the PE industry, Simpson was the first to develop a skill set, so other PE shops, like Blackstone, looked to Simpson when they opened up.


Did Simpson land KKR, etc. when PE first started in the 1980s because firms like Sullivan, Cravath, etc. didn't really go out and get clients and simply waited for the best work to come to them from their institutional ties? Didn't Simpson still had to compete with Skadden, Wachtell, etc.?


It could be that when KKR got started, in the 70's, there would not have been much competition to represent them. What they were doing was untested. In that way, Simpson made a bet and won.

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Re: Question about Simpson Thatcher

Postby Old Gregg » Mon Nov 11, 2013 11:08 am

Simpson was the first to develop a skill set, so other PE shops, like Blackstone, looked to Simpson when they opened up.


Not quite. They don't call Jack Levin the father of private equity law for nothing.

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Re: Question about Simpson Thatcher

Postby kwais » Mon Nov 11, 2013 1:18 pm

zweitbester wrote:
Simpson was the first to develop a skill set, so other PE shops, like Blackstone, looked to Simpson when they opened up.


Not quite. They don't call Jack Levin the father of private equity law for nothing.


ok. fair to say first on a larger scale?

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Re: Question about Simpson Thatcher

Postby WhirledWorld » Mon Nov 11, 2013 2:50 pm

Why don't the V5's have large PE practices? How did Simpson become so good at PE?


I had always heard that the White Shoe firms declined representing PE firms because their ties at public companies were adverse to the funds launching hostile takeovers of public companies.

That said, Skadden does a good amount of PE M&A work, though it's not on the K&E/STB level. Of course, Skadden wasn't conflicted out of PE work like Cravath/S&C were.

FWIW, I actually asked some Cravath folks this while on a callback--their answer was that PE is too focused on short-term gains and not on client service or creating long-term value. Which sounded to me like the ol' management v. shareholder/Marty Lipton v. Lucian Bebchuk argument.

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Re: Question about Simpson Thatcher

Postby Old Gregg » Mon Nov 11, 2013 3:51 pm

kwais wrote:
zweitbester wrote:
Simpson was the first to develop a skill set, so other PE shops, like Blackstone, looked to Simpson when they opened up.


Not quite. They don't call Jack Levin the father of private equity law for nothing.


ok. fair to say first on a larger scale?


I don't think so. Don't know enough to make a conclusive statement about that.




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