Best firm for employment law

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Anonymous User
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Best firm for employment law

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 17, 2015 4:04 pm

I'm dead set on employment law, and curious how different firms' practices are perceived. For example, Morgan Lewis, Proskauer Rose, Jones Day, and Paul Hastings are among the best firms with large and prominent L&E practices. Of course, there are a number of more niche, second-tier firms that focus exclusively on L&E such as Littler Mendelson & Jackson Lewis. On the other end of the spectrum are the very prestigious firms that just happen to have small L&E practices, such as Weil, where L&E is very much a supporting group, and by no means a focus.

Curious to what extent the objective "Vault prestige" should play into choosing a firm specifically for a practice like L&E. I'm inclined to firms like Morgan Lewis or Proskauer over firms that may have more "prestige" but place less focus on L&E. And I'm certainly open to the second-tier, niche-type L&E firms, but not sure how they are perceived.

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Re: Best firm for employment law

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 17, 2015 6:23 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm dead set on employment law, and curious how different firms' practices are perceived. For example, Morgan Lewis, Proskauer Rose, Jones Day, and Paul Hastings are among the best firms with large and prominent L&E practices. Of course, there are a number of more niche, second-tier firms that focus exclusively on L&E such as Littler Mendelson & Jackson Lewis. On the other end of the spectrum are the very prestigious firms that just happen to have small L&E practices, such as Weil, where L&E is very much a supporting group, and by no means a focus.

Curious to what extent the objective "Vault prestige" should play into choosing a firm specifically for a practice like L&E. I'm inclined to firms like Morgan Lewis or Proskauer over firms that may have more "prestige" but place less focus on L&E. And I'm certainly open to the second-tier, niche-type L&E firms, but not sure how they are perceived.


I'm a current clerk and will be joining the L&E group of a full-service firm not mentioned here. Your priorities in choosing a firm will depend on where you want to practice and what kind of employment practice you want to have. For instance, some of the firms you mentioned, such as Proskauer or PH, might not have a presence in your target city, unless we're talking about NYC, DC, Chicago, or LA. Other firms like Jones Day will sometimes only have 1 or 2 employment lawyers in a given office. If you are concerned about being in an outpost and dependent on a single partner for work, that might not be the best place for you.

Other firms will only do certain kinds of employment work. For instance, Gibson Dunn is well-respected in the employment law space, but they mainly do high stakes class action work because they charge such high rates. If you want a diverse practice, a firm like Gibson Dunn probably isn't for you because you'll be more of a class actions lawyer than a well-rounded employment lawyer.

I think it would be natural to want to go to the firms like Morgan Lewis or Proskauer because they are well-known and have more diverse practices than firms like Gibson Dunn. I'm going to a firm where the L&E group is smaller, but growing and well-respected in the city. I really like the group because it is tight-knit and because there are a lot of opportunities for growth. The partners seem to take an active interest in developing the associates, particularly because the group hires few new associates. It's a group with lower leverage, but always busy. Thus, while it's true that I have yet to have the experience in my group as a full-time associate, I think there is something to be said for some of the lesser known L&E groups.

mr.hands
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Re: Best firm for employment law

Postby mr.hands » Tue Feb 17, 2015 7:33 pm

Labor and Employment is a different beast from other practices (in terms of staffing, PPP, compensation, etc.). I wouldn't focus on Vault rankings or other metrics because those don't really measure L&E strength.

Proskauer and Morgan Lewis are solid but Littler and Ogletree are just as strong (or stronger) in terms of employment work. I think Ogletree represents more of the V50 than any other firm.

Ultimately, Littler and Ogletree are pretty similar from what i've heard. Basically, Ogletree is Littler on the east coast and vice versa. (I've heard bad things about Jackson Lewis from multiple/powerful people in the industry)

Your best bet is to ask attorneys who practice employment law.

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Re: Best firm for employment law

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 17, 2015 8:04 pm

Thanks for the input. I am definitely looking into firms like Littler and Ogletree as possibilities. Right now, I have some traction with a secondary office of one of the bigger firms with strong L&E practices (i.e. Morgan Lewis, Proskauer, Paul Hastings, Jones Day). Was told the hours are pretty similar to the bigger city offices, and that pay isn't as high. However, I think the resume line would be invaluable in starting off my L&E career, even from a secondary office.

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Teoeo
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Re: Best firm for employment law

Postby Teoeo » Tue Feb 17, 2015 8:17 pm

Edit: Didn't read carefully.

I wouldn't look down on Littler Mendelson or Jackson Lewis - they both have very good reputations in the field.
Last edited by Teoeo on Tue Feb 17, 2015 8:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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LeDique
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Re: Best firm for employment law

Postby LeDique » Tue Feb 17, 2015 8:19 pm

OP what is your goal? This thread is currently just bare prestige whoring.

Teoeo wrote:No discussion of Littler Mendelson, Jackson Lewis or Ogletree? Those are the biggest three employment-only firms in the country (in that order). Of the three, I have heard that Jackson Lewis is the best place to work (they also seem to have the best lawyers in my experience dealing with the three).

I think you should try re-reading the thread.

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Teoeo
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Re: Best firm for employment law

Postby Teoeo » Tue Feb 17, 2015 8:20 pm

LeDique wrote:OP what is your goal? This thread is currently just bare prestige whoring.

Teoeo wrote:No discussion of Littler Mendelson, Jackson Lewis or Ogletree? Those are the biggest three employment-only firms in the country (in that order). Of the three, I have heard that Jackson Lewis is the best place to work (they also seem to have the best lawyers in my experience dealing with the three).

I think you should try re-reading the thread.


I did, thank you.

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Re: Best firm for employment law

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 17, 2015 8:28 pm

LeDique wrote:OP what is your goal? This thread is currently just bare prestige whoring.

Teoeo wrote:No discussion of Littler Mendelson, Jackson Lewis or Ogletree? Those are the biggest three employment-only firms in the country (in that order). Of the three, I have heard that Jackson Lewis is the best place to work (they also seem to have the best lawyers in my experience dealing with the three).

I think you should try re-reading the thread.


I suspect Teoeo was referencing the fact that I did not mention the L&E boutiques in my response to the OP. That was because I'm not as familiar with the boutiques, other that the fact that they have the most Fortune 500 clients of any firm. I figured someone else could speak more intelligently about those firms.

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Re: Best firm for employment law

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 17, 2015 9:08 pm

LeDique wrote:OP what is your goal? This thread is currently just bare prestige whoring.

Teoeo wrote:No discussion of Littler Mendelson, Jackson Lewis or Ogletree? Those are the biggest three employment-only firms in the country (in that order). Of the three, I have heard that Jackson Lewis is the best place to work (they also seem to have the best lawyers in my experience dealing with the three).

I think you should try re-reading the thread.


Well, the reason I made the thread is to try and find out the extent to which "prestige whoring" makes sense in L&E, or whether "less prestigious" firms in an objective sense may be the best choices for an area like L&E. For the same reason I'd consider a Proskauer or Morgan Lewis over Weil or Gibson, I would absolutely consider a Littler/Ogletree, etc. over other firms since it seems like it would set me up for a great career in L&E.

As for long term goals, I'm still pretty open. I see myself either going in house (L&E seemed like the perfect area to facilitate an eventual in house move), or perhaps working for a smaller L&E firm.

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Teoeo
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Re: Best firm for employment law

Postby Teoeo » Tue Feb 17, 2015 11:43 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
LeDique wrote:OP what is your goal? This thread is currently just bare prestige whoring.

Teoeo wrote:No discussion of Littler Mendelson, Jackson Lewis or Ogletree? Those are the biggest three employment-only firms in the country (in that order). Of the three, I have heard that Jackson Lewis is the best place to work (they also seem to have the best lawyers in my experience dealing with the three).

I think you should try re-reading the thread.


Well, the reason I made the thread is to try and find out the extent to which "prestige whoring" makes sense in L&E, or whether "less prestigious" firms in an objective sense may be the best choices for an area like L&E. For the same reason I'd consider a Proskauer or Morgan Lewis over Weil or Gibson, I would absolutely consider a Littler/Ogletree, etc. over other firms since it seems like it would set me up for a great career in L&E.

As for long term goals, I'm still pretty open. I see myself either going in house (L&E seemed like the perfect area to facilitate an eventual in house move), or perhaps working for a smaller L&E firm.


If you are 100 percent set on L&E then you are perfectly safe with any of Littler / Ogletree / Jackson Lewis. The question then becomes what your other goals are re. (1) salary, (2) work/life balance, (3) geography, etc. I would also suspect (and this might be totally wrong) that it would be easier to build the type of relationships you would need for an in-house move at a employment-law only firm since you have long-term close relationships with employers that you would probably not have at a firm like Jones Day. More specifically, if Target were your client at Jackson Lewis, then you would likely handle a constant stream of cases for them related to collective bargaining negotiations, arbitrations, NLRB/DOL/EEOC hearings, etc.

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Re: Best firm for employment law

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 18, 2015 8:52 am

Teoeo wrote:If you are 100 percent set on L&E then you are perfectly safe with any of Littler / Ogletree / Jackson Lewis. The question then becomes what your other goals are re. (1) salary, (2) work/life balance, (3) geography, etc. I would also suspect (and this might be totally wrong) that it would be easier to build the type of relationships you would need for an in-house move at a employment-law only firm since you have long-term close relationships with employers that you would probably not have at a firm like Jones Day. More specifically, if Target were your client at Jackson Lewis, then you would likely handle a constant stream of cases for them related to collective bargaining negotiations, arbitrations, NLRB/DOL/EEOC hearings, etc.


The only thing I would add is that the L&E boutiques typically have small or virtually non-existent summer programs. If you're a law student, it is absolutely worth applying, but you might end up working at a full-service firm and lateraling down the road.

BeenDidThat
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Re: Best firm for employment law

Postby BeenDidThat » Wed Feb 18, 2015 9:00 am

You need to say the city you're looking at to get a meaningful response. L&E is much more locale dependent than some other practices.

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Re: Best firm for employment law

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 18, 2015 10:00 am

I'm a junior L&E associate in a small group at a large full-service firm. The main benefit to this is that cases tend to be staffed very leanly with only a partner and one or two associates. Which means that as a very junior lawyer I have already been responsible for drafting motions for summary judgment, taking depositions, and second-chairing at trial. Obviously that's a pretty rare opportunity in biglaw.

On the other hand, I will say that the rest of the firm definitely sees the L&E practice as a support or side service group, which is frustrating and probably not a great sign for partnership prospects. I've absolutely entertained the idea of switching to a firm like Littler or Seyfarth or Ogletree, where L&E is the focus rather than an afterthought. Those firms may not be ranked as highly on Vault, but at least in the L&E world they have a good reputation. TLS can get a bit snobby about rankings, but if you know you're interested in L&E and have a shot at an L&E-focused firm I would strongly consider that option.

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kennethellenparcell
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Re: Best firm for employment law

Postby kennethellenparcell » Wed Feb 18, 2015 10:07 am

You should add seyfarth Shaw to your list. Also, I had been told that if you can, you should go to a top tier firm as you may have more opportunities to go to a better in house gig. I don't know how true this is but I do know that depending on the tier, the firms will charge different rates. For example, firms like Littler charge lower rates so they can take on more EEOC charges and single plaintiff matters. Whereas firms that charge very high rates like Paul Hastings are more likely to take on class action work. I was also told that you should not go to a firm where L&E is not a money earning practice. otherwise you kind of get put on the back burner. If you have any other questions, feel free to PM me. I know a fair amount about the sf and Chicago L&E markets and can maybe help you there. I don't know much about boutique firms though.

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Re: Best firm for employment law

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 18, 2015 10:21 am

L&e is too big of a category to pick a firm based on. Ulp arbitration is vastly different than trade secret work which is different from discrimination/harassment suits which is different from class action work. Figure out what you like the best then start reading the l&e blogs/reports (I.e anything by law360 or bna) and you'll start to see how firms seem to specialize.

Littler seems to do everything and they also seem to lose a lot for what that's worth. I think ogleetree is representing ups at scotus but could be wrong. Seyfarth gets the cooler technology side employment stuff. Fisher & Phillips is well rounded but seems to clean up with labor more so than employment.

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Re: Best firm for employment law

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 20, 2015 2:07 am

Littler also has a reputation for being a little bit evil. (Several plaintiff-side/union-side firms refer to them as "Hitler Mendelson")




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