Best Litigation Firm in New York

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unicorntamer666

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Best Litigation Firm in New York

Postby unicorntamer666 » Sat Aug 06, 2016 10:20 pm

There have been a few topics on this in past years but figured it might be worth *relitigating* if you will.

Currently have offers from Cravath, PW, Skadden, and DPW. Interviews coming up with Wachtell, Gibson, Susman, Boies and Lieff Cabraser.

Other than prestige and training, the two most important qualities to me are (1) relatively informal, non-stuffy workplace environment (people tell jokes, feel free to act like themselves, etc.) and (2) ideally a minimal amount of morally objectionable work (hard to satisfy this criterion in NYC biglaw, which for the most part seems to be a supporting industry for banks).

Longterm goal is partnership at a plaintiff-side firm.

Based on triangulating chambers, vault, attorney anecdotes, etc. I've gathered that Wachtell, Cravath, and Paul Weiss may be considered the best lit groups in NY (at least among conventional big firms). But I've also gathered that the differences between these places may be pretty negligible.

Re: fit and lifestyle, PW seems possibly a bit more tolerable than Cravath. Yet Cravath retains some odd, dark allure for reasons that are hard to articulate. Skadden seems like the most sociable bunch of people, but also seems substantially less selective.

So, what's the best lit firm in NY? Are there any places I'm overlooking?

Thanks in advance for any opinions!

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Lincoln

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Re: Best Litigation Firm in New York

Postby Lincoln » Sun Aug 07, 2016 12:07 am

I work at one of the firms you are considering. These are all good firms, but there are differences that are material. I think you'll find, as you look more closely, that there are differences in the type of work you are more likely to see and in how it is assigned to associates. For example, if you want to do internal investigations, PW is probably a better bet than Wachtell, even though, you know, Wachtell is Wachtell. If you want a window, well, don't go to PW.

Feel free to PM if you have specific questions.

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Re: Best Litigation Firm in New York

Postby RaceJudicata » Sun Aug 07, 2016 6:52 am

unicorntamer666 wrote:There have been a few topics on this in past years but figured it might be worth *relitigating* if you will.

Currently have offers from Cravath, PW, Skadden, and DPW. Interviews coming up with Wachtell, Gibson, Susman, Boies and Lieff Cabraser.

Other than prestige and training, the two most important qualities to me are (1) relatively informal, non-stuffy workplace environment (people tell jokes, feel free to act like themselves, etc.) and (2) ideally a minimal amount of morally objectionable work (hard to satisfy this criterion in NYC biglaw, which for the most part seems to be a supporting industry for banks).

Longterm goal is partnership at a plaintiff-side firm.

Based on triangulating chambers, vault, attorney anecdotes, etc. I've gathered that Wachtell, Cravath, and Paul Weiss may be considered the best lit groups in NY (at least among conventional big firms). But I've also gathered that the differences between these places may be pretty negligible.

Re: fit and lifestyle, PW seems possibly a bit more tolerable than Cravath. Yet Cravath retains some odd, dark allure for reasons that are hard to articulate. Skadden seems like the most sociable bunch of people, but also seems substantially less selective.

So, what's the best lit firm in NY? Are there any places I'm overlooking?

Thanks in advance for any opinions!


I think you'll fit in just fine at any of these firms.

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Re: Best Litigation Firm in New York

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 07, 2016 8:08 am

I'll just speak to Wachtell. First, Wachtell provides very little formal training to associates. They have monthly lunches where a partner will come in and share war stories and in there, they'll throw in some advice about how to do X, but it is nothing like the formal training that an associate would receive at Kirkland & Ellis, for example. Second, while Wachtell's litigation group is insanely well-credentialed - it's nearly impossible to become a lit associate there - they are still a litigation group in a firm with a particular expertise on corporate work (deal work in particular), so it has a step-child feel for lack of a better term. Sure, you feel loved, but you wonder. Third, the hours at Wachtell in the litigation group are significant -- people work very very hard at WLRK. Fourth, there's nothing "informal" about WLRK. You wear suits everyday. Associates aren't running through the hallway talking to each other and socializing. They are working. There is a close working relationship between partners and associates and partners treat associates like true working partners, but that comes with a lot of responsibility and pressure. Partners expect a lot out of associates and when associates fall short, partners will definitely be direct about it. Fifth, WLRK is pretty selective about the litigation matters it handles. It's a relatively small group, so you won't see massive litigation that you would see at other shops.

If you wan to be a partner at a plaintiff-side firm, go to Susman, obviously - - but Susman won't give you a position unless you've clerked.

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Re: Best Litigation Firm in New York

Postby PeanutsNJam » Sun Aug 07, 2016 9:47 am

I find it hard to believe cravath's lit is superior to Susman, Boise, and Gibson. If you want casual I think wachtell and cravath are very formal.

I think Susman suits your needs best.

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Re: Best Litigation Firm in New York

Postby SLS_AMG » Sun Aug 07, 2016 10:16 am

PeanutsNJam wrote:I find it hard to believe cravath's lit is superior to Susman, Boise, and Gibson. If you want casual I think wachtell and cravath are very formal.

I think Susman suits your needs best.


It isn't. The tippy-top NY corporate firms are all pretty similar in terms of lit quality overall.

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Re: Best Litigation Firm in New York

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Sun Aug 07, 2016 10:40 am

These are all excellent firms and I don't think having one over the other on your resume will matter all that much, so I wouldn't worry too much about which is "The Best." Focus on which is the best for you, subjectively. Cravath does have a certain cachet but it is also exactly what you seem not to want culturally and in terms of work substance.

However, if you want to be a plaintiff side lawyer, it seems to me you should be gunning for Lieff Cabraser, or Susman or Boies, to a lesser extent.

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Re: Best Litigation Firm in New York

Postby unicorntamer666 » Sun Aug 07, 2016 12:49 pm

Lincoln wrote:I work at one of the firms you are considering. These are all good firms, but there are differences that are material. I think you'll find, as you look more closely, that there are differences in the type of work you are more likely to see and in how it is assigned to associates. For example, if you want to do internal investigations, PW is probably a better bet than Wachtell, even though, you know, Wachtell is Wachtell. If you want a window, well, don't go to PW.

Feel free to PM if you have specific questions.


Thanks! I probably don't want to do internal investigations. Should I want to do internal investigations? I was a bit put off by how much of the work at some of the top firms including PW seemed to be in that area, or bankruptcy, or securities. To the extent it's possible to be a generalist at any of these place that's probably what I'd prefer. I'd mostly like to get (1) trial experience and/or (2) just do a lot of research and writing (briefing, appeals, etc.). One of my biggest concerns about going to any of these firms, particularly the larger ones, is that judging from conversations with associates the work their junior lawyers do is often surprisingly narrowly specialized - both in terms of the industry served and the types of tasks performed.

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Re: Best Litigation Firm in New York

Postby unicorntamer666 » Sun Aug 07, 2016 12:50 pm

PeanutsNJam wrote:I find it hard to believe cravath's lit is superior to Susman, Boise, and Gibson. If you want casual I think wachtell and cravath are very formal.

I think Susman suits your needs best.


Thanks. You're probably right. Time to get that Supreme Court clerkship :/

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Re: Best Litigation Firm in New York

Postby PeanutsNJam » Sun Aug 07, 2016 1:17 pm

If you're getting interviews at all these places, your credentials should be sufficient for a very competitive CoA judge

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Re: Best Litigation Firm in New York

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 07, 2016 1:51 pm

PeanutsNJam wrote:If you're getting interviews at all these places, your credentials should be sufficient for a very competitive CoA judge


This is false.

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Re: Best Litigation Firm in New York

Postby Traynor Brah » Sun Aug 07, 2016 2:02 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
PeanutsNJam wrote:If you're getting interviews at all these places, your credentials should be sufficient for a very competitive CoA judge


This is false.

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Re: Best Litigation Firm in New York

Postby PeanutsNJam » Sun Aug 07, 2016 2:16 pm

I said that because I have competitive grades for CoA clerkships (not tough ones like 2d or DC though) and I couldn't get Wachtell or Susman interviews in my wildest dreams. Could be because I'm non-T14 though, maybe those firms dip low for HYS idk.

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Re: Best Litigation Firm in New York

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 07, 2016 2:58 pm

1) Susman Godfrey probably prefers district court clerkships to CoA clerkships.
2) For a "very competitive' CoA clerkship (CADC or CA2/9 in desirable cities) you need to be top 10% at HYS and top 5% or better at CCN at a minimum. No firm except for maybe Kellogg is that picky.
3) The overlap between what say, Wachtell, looks for and what a CoA judge looks for is far from perfect. I have a friend who got a killer clerkship who didn't even get a callback at Wachtell.
4) If you have grades that are competitive for a CoA clerkship, that means you have a CoA clerkship. Until then you don't.

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Re: Best Litigation Firm in New York

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Sun Aug 07, 2016 6:15 pm

unicorntamer666 wrote:
Lincoln wrote:I work at one of the firms you are considering. These are all good firms, but there are differences that are material. I think you'll find, as you look more closely, that there are differences in the type of work you are more likely to see and in how it is assigned to associates. For example, if you want to do internal investigations, PW is probably a better bet than Wachtell, even though, you know, Wachtell is Wachtell. If you want a window, well, don't go to PW.

Feel free to PM if you have specific questions.


Thanks! I probably don't want to do internal investigations. Should I want to do internal investigations? I was a bit put off by how much of the work at some of the top firms including PW seemed to be in that area, or bankruptcy, or securities. To the extent it's possible to be a generalist at any of these place that's probably what I'd prefer. I'd mostly like to get (1) trial experience and/or (2) just do a lot of research and writing (briefing, appeals, etc.). One of my biggest concerns about going to any of these firms, particularly the larger ones, is that judging from conversations with associates the work their junior lawyers do is often surprisingly narrowly specialized - both in terms of the industry served and the types of tasks performed.

I really think you should avoid PW, Skadden, DPW, and probably Gibson, if you want to avoid being at the bottom of a big pyramid, or working just for banks, or doing investigations. You might like Cravath ok substantively, I have always had the sense the rotation system gives associates more responsibility and wider exposure, but it doesn't sound like a great cultural fit. Also, Gibson is fairly (politically) conservative, which also might not be a great fit for you, reading between the lines. Wachtell lit is an odd beast. I've only personally seen them in M&A-related shareholder litigation, which sounds like it is not what you want to do, but they must do more than that (I guess?). The money would be hard to turn down, but I think you will work substantially harder for it, too.

I'm basically repeating myself and what others are saying, but you really sound like a Susman/Boies/Lieff type. Boies is probably the easiest offer to get out of those three, so if I were you I'd be targeting that.

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Re: Best Litigation Firm in New York

Postby Desert Fox » Sun Aug 07, 2016 6:29 pm

Lincoln wrote:I work at one of the firms you are considering. These are all good firms, but there are differences that are material. I think you'll find, as you look more closely, that there are differences in the type of work you are more likely to see and in how it is assigned to associates. For example, if you want to do internal investigations, PW is probably a better bet than Wachtell, even though, you know, Wachtell is Wachtell. If you want a window, well, don't go to PW.

Feel free to PM if you have specific questions.


But why would anyone want to do investigations.
Last edited by Desert Fox on Sat Jan 27, 2018 2:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Best Litigation Firm in New York

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 07, 2016 6:37 pm

dixiecupdrinking wrote:
unicorntamer666 wrote:
Lincoln wrote:I work at one of the firms you are considering. These are all good firms, but there are differences that are material. I think you'll find, as you look more closely, that there are differences in the type of work you are more likely to see and in how it is assigned to associates. For example, if you want to do internal investigations, PW is probably a better bet than Wachtell, even though, you know, Wachtell is Wachtell. If you want a window, well, don't go to PW.

Feel free to PM if you have specific questions.


Thanks! I probably don't want to do internal investigations. Should I want to do internal investigations? I was a bit put off by how much of the work at some of the top firms including PW seemed to be in that area, or bankruptcy, or securities. To the extent it's possible to be a generalist at any of these place that's probably what I'd prefer. I'd mostly like to get (1) trial experience and/or (2) just do a lot of research and writing (briefing, appeals, etc.). One of my biggest concerns about going to any of these firms, particularly the larger ones, is that judging from conversations with associates the work their junior lawyers do is often surprisingly narrowly specialized - both in terms of the industry served and the types of tasks performed.

I really think you should avoid PW, Skadden, DPW, and probably Gibson, if you want to avoid being at the bottom of a big pyramid, or working just for banks, or doing investigations. You might like Cravath ok substantively, I have always had the sense the rotation system gives associates more responsibility and wider exposure, but it doesn't sound like a great cultural fit. Also, Gibson is fairly (politically) conservative, which also might not be a great fit for you, reading between the lines. Wachtell lit is an odd beast. I've only personally seen them in M&A-related shareholder litigation, which sounds like it is not what you want to do, but they must do more than that (I guess?). The money would be hard to turn down, but I think you will work substantially harder for it, too.

I'm basically repeating myself and what others are saying, but you really sound like a Susman/Boies/Lieff type. Boies is probably the easiest offer to get out of those three, so if I were you I'd be targeting that.


M&A deal lit is a ridiculously small part of WLRK's lit practice. Many of WLRK's associates have never even worked on deal litigation.

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Re: Best Litigation Firm in New York

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 07, 2016 6:49 pm

Desert Fox wrote:
Lincoln wrote:I work at one of the firms you are considering. These are all good firms, but there are differences that are material. I think you'll find, as you look more closely, that there are differences in the type of work you are more likely to see and in how it is assigned to associates. For example, if you want to do internal investigations, PW is probably a better bet than Wachtell, even though, you know, Wachtell is Wachtell. If you want a window, well, don't go to PW.

Feel free to PM if you have specific questions.


But why would anyone want to do investigations.


First, investigations are a great way to build skills for government jobs like the SEC or the U.S. Attorney's Office. Many of the internal investigations are conducted as a way to show the government that the company is cooperating so that it can get a DPA or NPA. Many of these investigations include multiple presentations in front of the the U.S. Attorney's Office, allowing you to build relationships with those offices, if you ever want to be a prosecutor. Second, investigations are good ways for associates to meet clients, do witness interviews, and learn specific industries. These skills can be leveraged in other types of litigation.

The bad part of investigations is often the doc review and the fact that many times there's not likely to be any formal court involvement (so no motions to dismiss, etc). You'll also never make partner doing investigations unless you're returning from the government so its best to make this a small part of your practice.

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Re: Best Litigation Firm in New York

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 07, 2016 7:04 pm

PeanutsNJam wrote:I said that because I have competitive grades for CoA clerkships (not tough ones like 2d or DC though) and I couldn't get Wachtell or Susman interviews in my wildest dreams. Could be because I'm non-T14 though, maybe those firms dip low for HYS idk.


Wachtell is a grade snob, and, in general, won't hire from anywhere lower ranked than Chicago (some exceptions). Susman will not hire you unless you already have a clerkship lined up. In NYC, many of the associates also worked at another firm before joining Susman.

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Re: Best Litigation Firm in New York

Postby runinthefront » Sun Aug 07, 2016 7:10 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
PeanutsNJam wrote:I said that because I have competitive grades for CoA clerkships (not tough ones like 2d or DC though) and I couldn't get Wachtell or Susman interviews in my wildest dreams. Could be because I'm non-T14 though, maybe those firms dip low for HYS idk.

Wachtell is a grade snob, and, in general, won't hire from anywhere lower ranked than Chicago (some exceptions). Susman will not hire you unless you already have a clerkship lined up. In NYC, many of the associates also worked at another firm before joining Susman.


This is laughably untrue.
Last edited by runinthefront on Sat Jan 27, 2018 12:10 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Best Litigation Firm in New York

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 07, 2016 7:16 pm

runinthefront wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
PeanutsNJam wrote:I said that because I have competitive grades for CoA clerkships (not tough ones like 2d or DC though) and I couldn't get Wachtell or Susman interviews in my wildest dreams. Could be because I'm non-T14 though, maybe those firms dip low for HYS idk.

Wachtell is a grade snob, and, in general, won't hire from anywhere lower ranked than Chicago (some exceptions). Susman will not hire you unless you already have a clerkship lined up. In NYC, many of the associates also worked at another firm before joining Susman.


This is laughably untrue.


Which part?

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Re: Best Litigation Firm in New York

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 07, 2016 7:16 pm

runinthefront wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
PeanutsNJam wrote:I said that because I have competitive grades for CoA clerkships (not tough ones like 2d or DC though) and I couldn't get Wachtell or Susman interviews in my wildest dreams. Could be because I'm non-T14 though, maybe those firms dip low for HYS idk.

Wachtell is a grade snob, and, in general, won't hire from anywhere lower ranked than Chicago (some exceptions). Susman will not hire you unless you already have a clerkship lined up. In NYC, many of the associates also worked at another firm before joining Susman.


This is laughably untrue.


Which part? Edited: sorry. wasn't familiar with the new US news rankings; WLRK will recruit from NYU (I thought it was ranked higher), but its recruiting is basically HYSCCN and that's it. That's where, in my experience, the overwhelming number of WLRK hires come from.

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Re: Best Litigation Firm in New York

Postby runinthefront » Sun Aug 07, 2016 7:25 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
runinthefront wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
PeanutsNJam wrote:I said that because I have competitive grades for CoA clerkships (not tough ones like 2d or DC though) and I couldn't get Wachtell or Susman interviews in my wildest dreams. Could be because I'm non-T14 though, maybe those firms dip low for HYS idk.

Wachtell is a grade snob, and, in general, won't hire from anywhere lower ranked than Chicago (some exceptions). Susman will not hire you unless you already have a clerkship lined up. In NYC, many of the associates also worked at another firm before joining Susman.


This is laughably untrue.


Which part? Edited: sorry. wasn't familiar with the new US news rankings; WLRK will recruit from NYU (I thought it was ranked higher), but its recruiting is basically HYSCCN and that's it. That's where, in my experience, the overwhelming number of WLRK hires come from.

Your post is still wrong, even with the edit. The claim that Wachtell doesn't dip below HYS (or even CCN, for that matter) is just untrue. They recruit/offer students from virtually all of the T14 each year. You just need tippy-top grades (like top 5%ish) at some of the lower T14 to even have a shot at a CB. But they've offered at my lower t14 for atleast the past three years straight. They just don't attend OCI.

This is also a p bad post considering OP is not at HYSCCNP.

You're generally right about Susman, though.
Last edited by runinthefront on Sat Jan 27, 2018 12:10 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Best Litigation Firm in New York

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 07, 2016 7:35 pm

runinthefront wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
runinthefront wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
PeanutsNJam wrote:I said that because I have competitive grades for CoA clerkships (not tough ones like 2d or DC though) and I couldn't get Wachtell or Susman interviews in my wildest dreams. Could be because I'm non-T14 though, maybe those firms dip low for HYS idk.

Wachtell is a grade snob, and, in general, won't hire from anywhere lower ranked than Chicago (some exceptions). Susman will not hire you unless you already have a clerkship lined up. In NYC, many of the associates also worked at another firm before joining Susman.


This is laughably untrue.


Which part? Edited: sorry. wasn't familiar with the new US news rankings; WLRK will recruit from NYU (I thought it was ranked higher), but its recruiting is basically HYSCCN and that's it. That's where, in my experience, the overwhelming number of WLRK hires come from.

Your post is still wrong, even with the edit. The claim that Wachtell doesn't dip below HYS (or even CCN, for that matter) is just untrue. They recruit/offer students from virtually all of the T14 each year. You just need tippy-top grades (like top 5%ish) at some of the lower T14 to even have a shot at a CB. But they've offered at my lower T14 for atleast the past three years straight.

The poster is generally right about Susman, though.


Ok. If you say so.

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Re: Best Litigation Firm in New York

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 07, 2016 9:22 pm

I can confirm that WLRK hires below HYSCCN. They definitely hire from Penn every year, and they do OCI at Berkeley every year and generally offer a couple students.



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