Boom/Bust Risk of Start-up Law Firms? Cooley Fenwick, etc

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sonyvaio18
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Boom/Bust Risk of Start-up Law Firms? Cooley Fenwick, etc

Postby sonyvaio18 » Thu Jan 15, 2015 11:09 pm

I read somewhere that firms like Cooley, Gunderson, Fenwick are more susceptible to boom/bust cycles. I want to practice in the emerging companies field, but am worried about possible busts and possible layoffs. Does anyone know more about these risks and potential ways to mitigate?

Anonymous User
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Re: Boom/Bust Risk of Start-up Law Firms? Cooley Fenwick, etc

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 15, 2015 11:12 pm

If you're going to work in Emerging Companies, it's just a risk of the job that the tech "bubble", if it is indeed a bubble, may burst and result in mass layoffs. WSGR has mitigated the problem by mainly serving former start-ups that are now large and established companies. I don't think the others have much of a back-up plan. This is basically what happened to Brobeck, though Brobeck took much larger risks in the late 90s than any of the SV firms take these days (mainly, accepting equity in lieu of cash from clients). Given that they all (except Brobeck) survived the dotcom bust, I think they'd survive another tech bust, but with significant downsizing.

You're probably less at risk if you're practicing Emerging Companies work somewhere other than Silicon Valley, e.g., in the New York office of those firms, as the froth is the frothiest in the Valley.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Thu Jan 15, 2015 11:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

jarofsoup
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Re: Boom/Bust Risk of Start-up Law Firms? Cooley Fenwick, etc

Postby jarofsoup » Thu Jan 15, 2015 11:20 pm

sonyvaio18 wrote:I read somewhere that firms like Cooley, Gunderson, Fenwick are more susceptible to boom/bust cycles. I want to practice in the emerging companies field, but am worried about possible busts and possible layoffs. Does anyone know more about these risks and potential ways to mitigate?


Pray that you get a good 3 to 5 years in before a bust. All practices and firms can fall victim to market forces. The smaller big law (~500 attorneys) firms are having a harder time right now and it seems like the more stable firms are ones that have an international capacity. Supposedly this partially drives the merger activity with bigger law firms.

sonyvaio18
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Re: Boom/Bust Risk of Start-up Law Firms? Cooley Fenwick, etc

Postby sonyvaio18 » Sun Jan 18, 2015 1:17 am

thanks all

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Re: Boom/Bust Risk of Start-up Law Firms? Cooley Fenwick, etc

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 08, 2015 1:35 am

bump

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Re: Boom/Bust Risk of Start-up Law Firms? Cooley Fenwick, etc

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 08, 2015 3:14 am

4th year corporate cooley SF associate here. it is def worth thinking about. but if you want to do emerging companies work, it comes with the territory. and right now, things are BOOMING. how much longer can go on? a couple more years? will there be a crash when it ends? who knows. but the cycle will always repeat.

the good news is that these firms were killed in 2000 and have all learned a lesson from that. I think they are much more conservative than they were then and are aware of the risks of overexpansion.

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RedGiant
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Re: Boom/Bust Risk of Start-up Law Firms? Cooley Fenwick, etc

Postby RedGiant » Sat Aug 08, 2015 3:28 am

I was a paralegal at Latham SV in 2009. It was not pretty. See e.g., "Lathamizing."

I heard that WSGR's summer class (firmwide) was 55. That's twice the size it was a few years ago. I also know that everyone is working very hard on the corporate side in the Valley. Right now, they need all those people. WSGR last did layoffs in 2010 too.

There's real risk. The flipside is that if you ride the wave, you're going to work hard and get great experience. Just like a stock market bubble, it's hard to call a tech sector bubble and get out before the dumb money comes in. So you'd have to be really prescient to sit back and think, "Yep, this is the end."

I'd mitigate the risk by going to one of those firms and then picking a group that has a solid stable of company rep work as well as startup work. There are down rounds when times are bad, and lots of option repricing and lots of winding up companies. (Most shutting-down startups just close their doors, as they don't have many creditors, so it's not like a big BK practice or anything). None of that work is fun, but it's something.

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Re: Boom/Bust Risk of Start-up Law Firms? Cooley Fenwick, etc

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 13, 2016 11:43 pm

just a quick bump




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