NY Firms

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NY Firms

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 27, 2016 6:20 pm

I hear that Cravath in NY really prides its associates on being generalists. How is that advantageous? Aren't more prestigious firms supposed to offer better training? Generalist work sounds like the opposite of that.

Also, just curious about shared office space. Is that common in NY?


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Re: NY Firms

Postby SowhatsNU » Wed Jul 27, 2016 6:56 pm

Cravath's jam is that since they have these intense 12-18 month rotations, eventually their associates (who have done enough rotations) are VERY good in a bunch of different areas so they can handle almost anything. They're also thrown into the fire (nobody really holds your hand, if you need help you need to find it on your own) which really helps you learn how to problem solve in a hurry.

As for shared office space- NY rent is very expensive, so yea juniors typically share at least for the first year or two

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Re: NY Firms

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 27, 2016 7:07 pm

Oh, okay, interesting. So do you think this rotational program is truly helpful for moving in-house as well, or do those opportunities come more because of Cravath's name? Is it in fact helpful to be a generalist when you may not have as much exposure to higher level work as a result? Or is that not an issue?

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Re: NY Firms

Postby 2014 » Wed Jul 27, 2016 7:15 pm

Functionally all NY firms have shared offices as first years and usually second years - from there it varies. They are all private offices though, no major NY firm has moved to a "bullpen" setup.

There is no clear answer as to generalist vs specialized, there's a good argument to be made that generalists are well-rounded and being well-rounded makes you a better lawyer who is better able to service all of the needs of a given client and better equipped to exit somewhere and handle the variety of tasks you will get (especially in-house, where everyone has to be generalists to a certain extent). There's an equally good argument that specializing lets you become an expert faster, leading to better experience earlier, and is a skill demanded by clients since lawyers in-house are more generalist and specifically retain outside counsel for their specific expertise.

I would not characterize Cravath as true generalists - everyone at Cravath is in a group, though their rotation system leads to most corporate associates walking out having done 2-3 groups. When you are in a group you are specialized in that group though - it's not like Cravath M&A associates are dabbling in Banking, Credit, Capital Markets, Funds, etc. Many (most?) of the big NY firms have some type of rotation system also - so Cravath isn't unique in that regard, they are unique in that associates never "settle" into a group. S&C is a better example of a true generalist firm because juniors are just classified as "Corporate" meaning you could concurrently be staffed on an IPO, Merger and a financing which is moreso what I'd call "generalist" experience.

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