Best firm in Michigan

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Whoisthis12

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Best firm in Michigan

Postby Whoisthis12 » Wed Aug 10, 2016 12:41 pm

Hey all,

If your goal is to stay in Michigan, of all the big firms / legal workplaces in Michigan, which would qualify as the best for:

1.) Long term employment
2.) Pay
3.) Advancement (i.e. equity partnership)
4.) Reputation
5.) Long term plans
6.) Transactional work
7.) Litigation work

I am inquiring about the following:

1.) Howard & Howard
2.) Varnum
3.) Jones Day
4.) Clark Hill
5.) Miller Canfield
6.) Honigman
7.) Bodman
8.) Warner Norcross
9.) Foley
10.) Dykema
11.) Butzel
12.) General Counsel for Ford
13.) Dickinson Wright

Any feedback would be very much appreciated.

TY

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Re: Best firm in Michigan

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 11, 2016 12:54 am

Michigan is a really interesting market because you essentially have three types of firms out of the group you mentioned:

1) Traditional big law (high starting salary, low chance at partnership, high profits per partner, most prestigious work)
2) Traditional mid law (lower starting salary, fairly decent shot at partnership, lower profits per partner, less prestigious work)
3) Tweeners (Closer to mid law starting salary, closer to big law chances at partnership, varying level of work prestige)


The piece of advice I wish someone would have told me during OCI and the job hunt would have been to decide which category (1 or 2) was more desirable to me, and to be more critical of and question the desirability of firms in category 3. You can make a lot of money and work on some very cool matters at firms in category one. You might not make it to year 4, but that might not matter depending on your goals. You can build a career at firms in category two, focusing on professional development at the expense of billing a million hours (but you will make less money). In category three, you will bill as many hours as firms in category one and be compensated marginally better than at firms in category two. My opinion is that this is the least desirable group, but if you have a hard floor in terms of salary (aka: wanting six figures), you are looking solely in categories one and three.

There is also a divide by market. There are a lot more firms in category two in GR than there are in Detroit; there are no firms in GR in category one. Here would be my breakdown, omitting firms I don't know a lot about:

Category One: Honigman, Foley, Jones Day, Dykema, Clark Hill
Category Two: Miller Johnson, Smith Haughey, Foster Swift, Rhoades McKee
Category Three: Miller Canfield, Bodman, Warner Norcross, Dickinson Wright


I would avoid: Varnum, Butzel (hiring has seemed pretty slow at both, look at the lack of new associates in Y2-Y5 on their websites)
I know nothing about: Howard & Howard, Pepper Hamilton, Ford, any IP only firms

Also, cultures at these firms are very different. There was at least one firm in each category that I loved in the interviews, and at least one firm in each category that seemed like it would be hell to work at. This is going to be a personal preference, but I think it's a very important consideration if you're picking based on longevity.

Hope this is helpful. Happy to post more opinion matter, but definitely staying anon (I work in this market and never plan on leaving).

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Re: Best firm in Michigan

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 11, 2016 11:19 am

Anonymous User wrote:Michigan is a really interesting market because you essentially have three types of firms out of the group you mentioned:

1) Traditional big law (high starting salary, low chance at partnership, high profits per partner, most prestigious work)
2) Traditional mid law (lower starting salary, fairly decent shot at partnership, lower profits per partner, less prestigious work)
3) Tweeners (Closer to mid law starting salary, closer to big law chances at partnership, varying level of work prestige)


The piece of advice I wish someone would have told me during OCI and the job hunt would have been to decide which category (1 or 2) was more desirable to me, and to be more critical of and question the desirability of firms in category 3. You can make a lot of money and work on some very cool matters at firms in category one. You might not make it to year 4, but that might not matter depending on your goals. You can build a career at firms in category two, focusing on professional development at the expense of billing a million hours (but you will make less money). In category three, you will bill as many hours as firms in category one and be compensated marginally better than at firms in category two. My opinion is that this is the least desirable group, but if you have a hard floor in terms of salary (aka: wanting six figures), you are looking solely in categories one and three.

There is also a divide by market. There are a lot more firms in category two in GR than there are in Detroit; there are no firms in GR in category one. Here would be my breakdown, omitting firms I don't know a lot about:

Category One: Honigman, Foley, Jones Day, Dykema, Clark Hill
Category Two: Miller Johnson, Smith Haughey, Foster Swift, Rhoades McKee
Category Three: Miller Canfield, Bodman, Warner Norcross, Dickinson Wright


I would avoid: Varnum, Butzel (hiring has seemed pretty slow at both, look at the lack of new associates in Y2-Y5 on their websites)
I know nothing about: Howard & Howard, Pepper Hamilton, Ford, any IP only firms

Also, cultures at these firms are very different. There was at least one firm in each category that I loved in the interviews, and at least one firm in each category that seemed like it would be hell to work at. This is going to be a personal preference, but I think it's a very important consideration if you're picking based on longevity.

Hope this is helpful. Happy to post more opinion matter, but definitely staying anon (I work in this market and never plan on leaving).


This is a very interesting post coming from someone in the market. I plan to stay anon as well given some connections and also insights to these firms.

1. I'm not super familiar with Varnum, but why are you saying avoid? I've heard rumors saying the same thing and I'm pretty curious if they match.
2. In terms of category two who's your favorite? I've heard great things about Miller Johnson and I have also seen Foster Swift expanding quite a bit in the last few years.
3. In category 1 who would you want to work for if you want to stay permanently in the market?I've heard its probably Honigman, but I'm not sure.

4. Finally, would you say the billable requirement at a category three firm like (Warner Norcross) in GR is better than an east side based firm like Dickinson or Bodman?

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Re: Best firm in Michigan

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 11, 2016 11:57 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Michigan is a really interesting market because you essentially have three types of firms out of the group you mentioned:

1) Traditional big law (high starting salary, low chance at partnership, high profits per partner, most prestigious work)
2) Traditional mid law (lower starting salary, fairly decent shot at partnership, lower profits per partner, less prestigious work)
3) Tweeners (Closer to mid law starting salary, closer to big law chances at partnership, varying level of work prestige)


The piece of advice I wish someone would have told me during OCI and the job hunt would have been to decide which category (1 or 2) was more desirable to me, and to be more critical of and question the desirability of firms in category 3. You can make a lot of money and work on some very cool matters at firms in category one. You might not make it to year 4, but that might not matter depending on your goals. You can build a career at firms in category two, focusing on professional development at the expense of billing a million hours (but you will make less money). In category three, you will bill as many hours as firms in category one and be compensated marginally better than at firms in category two. My opinion is that this is the least desirable group, but if you have a hard floor in terms of salary (aka: wanting six figures), you are looking solely in categories one and three.

There is also a divide by market. There are a lot more firms in category two in GR than there are in Detroit; there are no firms in GR in category one. Here would be my breakdown, omitting firms I don't know a lot about:

Category One: Honigman, Foley, Jones Day, Dykema, Clark Hill
Category Two: Miller Johnson, Smith Haughey, Foster Swift, Rhoades McKee
Category Three: Miller Canfield, Bodman, Warner Norcross, Dickinson Wright


I would avoid: Varnum, Butzel (hiring has seemed pretty slow at both, look at the lack of new associates in Y2-Y5 on their websites)
I know nothing about: Howard & Howard, Pepper Hamilton, Ford, any IP only firms

Also, cultures at these firms are very different. There was at least one firm in each category that I loved in the interviews, and at least one firm in each category that seemed like it would be hell to work at. This is going to be a personal preference, but I think it's a very important consideration if you're picking based on longevity.

Hope this is helpful. Happy to post more opinion matter, but definitely staying anon (I work in this market and never plan on leaving).


This is a very interesting post coming from someone in the market. I plan to stay anon as well given some connections and also insights to these firms.

1. I'm not super familiar with Varnum, but why are you saying avoid? I've heard rumors saying the same thing and I'm pretty curious if they match.
2. In terms of category two who's your favorite? I've heard great things about Miller Johnson and I have also seen Foster Swift expanding quite a bit in the last few years.
3. In category 1 who would you want to work for if you want to stay permanently in the market?I've heard its probably Honigman, but I'm not sure.

4. Finally, would you say the billable requirement at a category three firm like (Warner Norcross) in GR is better than an east side based firm like Dickinson or Bodman?


1. I have simply never heard someone say something positive of the associate experience at Varnum, while I have heard criticisms. Definitely a chance that this is an echo chamber effect (and thus exaggerated on message boards like these). I've heard people say anything from partner defections to associates being overworked (to add to the lack of hiring cited above).

2. I really liked the people at both Miller Johnson and Foster Swift - also those two pay more than similar firms. However, those two firms couldn't be more different in terms of personality and fit. Both good, but different in very fundamental ways. If you are fortunate enough to interview with both, you'll notice immediately.

3. If you want to be in MI, probably one of the MI based firms (Honigman, Dykema, Clark Hill). I think life at Dykema or Clark Hill is probably a little less intense and a little less lucrative than life at Honigman. But partnership prospects are probably similar (the work required to reach partnership might not be though).

4. I'm honestly not sure if billable requirements differ much across category three firms. People I know at those firms consistently cite feeling overworked, and have estimated hours looking a lot like NYC/Chicago big law. Being that I view these people as fairly similar to myself, I take their opinions at face value.

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Re: Best firm in Michigan

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 11, 2016 4:26 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Michigan is a really interesting market because you essentially have three types of firms out of the group you mentioned:

1) Traditional big law (high starting salary, low chance at partnership, high profits per partner, most prestigious work)
2) Traditional mid law (lower starting salary, fairly decent shot at partnership, lower profits per partner, less prestigious work)
3) Tweeners (Closer to mid law starting salary, closer to big law chances at partnership, varying level of work prestige)


The piece of advice I wish someone would have told me during OCI and the job hunt would have been to decide which category (1 or 2) was more desirable to me, and to be more critical of and question the desirability of firms in category 3. You can make a lot of money and work on some very cool matters at firms in category one. You might not make it to year 4, but that might not matter depending on your goals. You can build a career at firms in category two, focusing on professional development at the expense of billing a million hours (but you will make less money). In category three, you will bill as many hours as firms in category one and be compensated marginally better than at firms in category two. My opinion is that this is the least desirable group, but if you have a hard floor in terms of salary (aka: wanting six figures), you are looking solely in categories one and three.

There is also a divide by market. There are a lot more firms in category two in GR than there are in Detroit; there are no firms in GR in category one. Here would be my breakdown, omitting firms I don't know a lot about:

Category One: Honigman, Foley, Jones Day, Dykema, Clark Hill
Category Two: Miller Johnson, Smith Haughey, Foster Swift, Rhoades McKee
Category Three: Miller Canfield, Bodman, Warner Norcross, Dickinson Wright


I would avoid: Varnum, Butzel (hiring has seemed pretty slow at both, look at the lack of new associates in Y2-Y5 on their websites)
I know nothing about: Howard & Howard, Pepper Hamilton, Ford, any IP only firms

Also, cultures at these firms are very different. There was at least one firm in each category that I loved in the interviews, and at least one firm in each category that seemed like it would be hell to work at. This is going to be a personal preference, but I think it's a very important consideration if you're picking based on longevity.

Hope this is helpful. Happy to post more opinion matter, but definitely staying anon (I work in this market and never plan on leaving).


This is a very interesting post coming from someone in the market. I plan to stay anon as well given some connections and also insights to these firms.

1. I'm not super familiar with Varnum, but why are you saying avoid? I've heard rumors saying the same thing and I'm pretty curious if they match.
2. In terms of category two who's your favorite? I've heard great things about Miller Johnson and I have also seen Foster Swift expanding quite a bit in the last few years.
3. In category 1 who would you want to work for if you want to stay permanently in the market?I've heard its probably Honigman, but I'm not sure.

4. Finally, would you say the billable requirement at a category three firm like (Warner Norcross) in GR is better than an east side based firm like Dickinson or Bodman?


1. I have simply never heard someone say something positive of the associate experience at Varnum, while I have heard criticisms. Definitely a chance that this is an echo chamber effect (and thus exaggerated on message boards like these). I've heard people say anything from partner defections to associates being overworked (to add to the lack of hiring cited above).

2. I really liked the people at both Miller Johnson and Foster Swift - also those two pay more than similar firms. However, those two firms couldn't be more different in terms of personality and fit. Both good, but different in very fundamental ways. If you are fortunate enough to interview with both, you'll notice immediately.

3. If you want to be in MI, probably one of the MI based firms (Honigman, Dykema, Clark Hill). I think life at Dykema or Clark Hill is probably a little less intense and a little less lucrative than life at Honigman. But partnership prospects are probably similar (the work required to reach partnership might not be though).

4. I'm honestly not sure if billable requirements differ much across category three firms. People I know at those firms consistently cite feeling overworked, and have estimated hours looking a lot like NYC/Chicago big law. Being that I view these people as fairly similar to myself, I take their opinions at face value.


Thanks for the answers. A lot of what you're saying is ringing true to me and matching what I have previously heard and experienced. Interesting stuff about the billable reqs, I have to do my own investigations into it.

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Re: Best firm in Michigan

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 12, 2016 12:22 am

This is a good thread. Last MI firm thread I believe is from like 2012 - it'd be nice to get one started again.

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Re: Best firm in Michigan

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 12, 2016 1:33 am

tag

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Re: Best firm in Michigan

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 12, 2016 6:30 am

Why the negativity on Butzel?

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Re: Best firm in Michigan

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 12, 2016 9:24 am

Best firm or type of firm for work/life balance?

Anyone have thoughts on Kerr Russell or Jaffe?

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Re: Best firm in Michigan

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 13, 2016 9:39 am

Same anon as above here.

Anonymous User wrote:Why the negativity on Butzel?


Scan through the distribution of partners to associates on their site. They only have 13 associates in MI for a firm of 137 attorneys. So hiring hasn't exactly been booming.

Anonymous User wrote:Best firm or type of firm for work/life balance?

Anyone have thoughts on Kerr Russell or Jaffe?


I can't say I know anything about Kerr Russell or Jaffe.

As for work life balance, I'd say the four firms in the second category above (Miller Johnson, Smith Haughey, Foster Swift, Rhoades McKee) seem to be the top choices. Again, note the differences in comp between these firms and those at the top of the market. Not sure I know enough about all of the top of the market firms to start making granular distinctions among them in re: work life balance, so I will defer to others who have been in the market longer than I have on that question.

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Re: Best firm in Michigan

Postby PearlPoet » Thu Mar 30, 2017 7:43 pm

Does anyone know anything about Warner's appellate lit practice? It seems like they get great cases, but I saw that John Bursch just left, which will probably hurt that group a lot.

I'm also interested in whether any of the other MI firms have a strong appellate practice. I know JD has the I&A group, but I can't imagine it being easy for a new lawyer to break into that via the Detroit office. And I'm thinking more of a focus on the MI appellate/supreme court with a little 6th/7th circuit work.
Thanks!

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Re: Best firm in Michigan

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 30, 2017 8:41 pm

PearlPoet wrote:Does anyone know anything about Warner's appellate lit practice? It seems like they get great cases, but I saw that John Bursch just left, which will probably hurt that group a lot.

I'm also interested in whether any of the other MI firms have a strong appellate practice. I know JD has the I&A group, but I can't imagine it being easy for a new lawyer to break into that via the Detroit office. And I'm thinking more of a focus on the MI appellate/supreme court with a little 6th/7th circuit work.
Thanks!


I go to a T20 (think wustl/nd/vandy) and am originally from the west side of MI and went to a good undergrad (although not GR/Holland). From people I talked to, I couldn't find anyone at my school/people I know at the U of Michigan that got a callback from Warner. I'm sure it can be done, but their interview process is a little weird (e.g. what's your favorite burger?). I wonder if you need some SUPER good GR ties or know someone to get past this.

I'm not sure who is the appellate lit practice in MI. I aways don't know anyone who went into app. lit in MI. Here's the chambers guide to general lit in MI. It may be useful: http://www.chambersandpartners.com/1272 ... torial/5/1

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Re: Best firm in Michigan

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 30, 2017 9:30 pm

Is anyone familiar with grade requirements for Honigman, Jones Day, or Foley in MI? Background: T-14 below median

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Re: Best firm in Michigan

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 31, 2017 1:37 am

Anonymous User wrote:
PearlPoet wrote:Does anyone know anything about Warner's appellate lit practice? It seems like they get great cases, but I saw that John Bursch just left, which will probably hurt that group a lot.

I'm also interested in whether any of the other MI firms have a strong appellate practice. I know JD has the I&A group, but I can't imagine it being easy for a new lawyer to break into that via the Detroit office. And I'm thinking more of a focus on the MI appellate/supreme court with a little 6th/7th circuit work.
Thanks!


I go to a T20 (think wustl/nd/vandy) and am originally from the west side of MI and went to a good undergrad (although not GR/Holland). From people I talked to, I couldn't find anyone at my school/people I know at the U of Michigan that got a callback from Warner. I'm sure it can be done, but their interview process is a little weird (e.g. what's your favorite burger?). I wonder if you need some SUPER good GR ties or know someone to get past this.

I'm not sure who is the appellate lit practice in MI. I aways don't know anyone who went into app. lit in MI. Here's the chambers guide to general lit in MI. It may be useful: http://www.chambersandpartners.com/1272 ... torial/5/1


I had a CB at Warner with just Michigan ties.

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Re: Best firm in Michigan

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 31, 2017 1:39 am

Anonymous User wrote:Is anyone familiar with grade requirements for Honigman, Jones Day, or Foley in MI? Background: T-14 below median


Depends probably on how far below. If Foley comes to your campus, I'm sure you can get an interview with them. Are you working in Detroit for the summer?

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Re: Best firm in Michigan

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 31, 2017 2:07 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Is anyone familiar with grade requirements for Honigman, Jones Day, or Foley in MI? Background: T-14 below median


Depends probably on how far below. If Foley comes to your campus, I'm sure you can get an interview with them. Are you working in Detroit for the summer?


Unfortunately, I don't think Foley comes to my school for OCI. Yes, I'm planning on working as an unpaid intern for a legal organization this summer in Detroit. Are you familiar with statistics of people who received offers from T-14 schools at these firms?

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Re: Best firm in Michigan

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 31, 2017 3:14 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
PearlPoet wrote:Does anyone know anything about Warner's appellate lit practice? It seems like they get great cases, but I saw that John Bursch just left, which will probably hurt that group a lot.

I'm also interested in whether any of the other MI firms have a strong appellate practice. I know JD has the I&A group, but I can't imagine it being easy for a new lawyer to break into that via the Detroit office. And I'm thinking more of a focus on the MI appellate/supreme court with a little 6th/7th circuit work.
Thanks!


I go to a T20 (think wustl/nd/vandy) and am originally from the west side of MI and went to a good undergrad (although not GR/Holland). From people I talked to, I couldn't find anyone at my school/people I know at the U of Michigan that got a callback from Warner. I'm sure it can be done, but their interview process is a little weird (e.g. what's your favorite burger?). I wonder if you need some SUPER good GR ties or know someone to get past this.

I'm not sure who is the appellate lit practice in MI. I aways don't know anyone who went into app. lit in MI. Here's the chambers guide to general lit in MI. It may be useful: http://www.chambersandpartners.com/1272 ... torial/5/1


I had a CB at Warner with just Michigan ties.


Recently? Are you T14? Not sure it matters anyways, but that goes to show you to take anything with a grain of salt (I'm the T20 guy). Maybe I was just a bad interviewer.... who knows?

I didn't apply to JD in Detroit, but looking at their associates they have superstar qualifications.

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Re: Best firm in Michigan

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 31, 2017 10:37 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Is anyone familiar with grade requirements for Honigman, Jones Day, or Foley in MI? Background: T-14 below median


Depends probably on how far below. If Foley comes to your campus, I'm sure you can get an interview with them. Are you working in Detroit for the summer?


Unfortunately, I don't think Foley comes to my school for OCI. Yes, I'm planning on working as an unpaid intern for a legal organization this summer in Detroit. Are you familiar with statistics of people who received offers from T-14 schools at these firms?


Do pre-oci interviews​ if you can then and network a bunch.

Not sure on grade cut offs for T14s. I know very qualified people from T25s but that's not super helpful.

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Re: Best firm in Michigan

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 31, 2017 11:56 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Is anyone familiar with grade requirements for Honigman, Jones Day, or Foley in MI? Background: T-14 below median


Depends probably on how far below. If Foley comes to your campus, I'm sure you can get an interview with them. Are you working in Detroit for the summer?


Unfortunately, I don't think Foley comes to my school for OCI. Yes, I'm planning on working as an unpaid intern for a legal organization this summer in Detroit. Are you familiar with statistics of people who received offers from T-14 schools at these firms?


Do pre-oci interviews​ if you can then and network a bunch.

Not sure on grade cut offs for T14s. I know very qualified people from T25s but that's not super helpful.


+1 on the pre-OCI interviews. Apply like late June (or maybe even before). Bodman didn't come to my T20's OCI, but interviewed people who came super early.

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Re: Best firm in Michigan

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 31, 2017 3:26 pm

1. I'm not super familiar with Varnum, but why are you saying avoid? I've heard rumors saying the same thing and I'm pretty curious if they match.


Purely Anecdotal on one hand, but when I was going through OCI (2 years ago) a family member, who is not an attorney, but whose company has been sued by people represented by Varnum attorneys (mostly workers comp issues) has said they are unfortunately rumored to overkill clients, never sure if anyone has been in trouble but that was something he mentioned more than once. Also, of all the firms I interviewed with, V5 and otherwise, they're the only firm to ask my why I got a B in Civ-Pro (I'm a transactional atny).

Aside from that, happy to answer questions as well, I currently am a 1st year in an above Tier1, as they've been put, and I like it so far. Not sure how long I'll stay in this career as my background is business/finance/start-ups and that's where my true passion stands. As I said, I like it and so far the work is enjoyable - hours are not bad and I work much less than my chicago/NYC/LA counterparts, but adjusted my income is higher than them, so I'm not complaining. Plus, it's cool to live in Detroit with everything else going on in the City.

I was raised in both GR and Detroit at different periods of my life so I like both cities and may look to go back to GR when I get into my 30s.

Was at a T20, slightly below median grades - interviewed with all T1s plus dykema, Warner, etc.

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Re: Best firm in Michigan

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 31, 2017 5:44 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Is anyone familiar with grade requirements for Honigman, Jones Day, or Foley in MI? Background: T-14 below median


Depends on which T-14, if you have ties, and how far below median. I'd say going to Michigan gives you a huge boost over other lower/comparably ranked T-14s.

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Re: Best firm in Michigan

Postby George Jetson » Fri Mar 31, 2017 5:55 pm


h2go

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Re: Best firm in Michigan

Postby h2go » Fri Mar 31, 2017 6:11 pm

Gunderson has an office in Michigan. Not sure what the size is. I know people in other offices who generally like it.

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Re: Best firm in Michigan

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Apr 03, 2017 9:43 am

h2go wrote:Gunderson has an office in Michigan. Not sure what the size is. I know people in other offices who generally like it.


maybe they have started to grow but when they first opened the office they weren't doing associates. that could have changed by now.

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Re: Best firm in Michigan

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Apr 03, 2017 10:27 am

Can anyone speak to the lateral market as a mid-level/senior associate for the above firms? Currently a transactional associate doing a mix of emerging company and public company/securities work in Silicon Valley. Are there any other firms there doing start up work for the small Ann Arbor scene or do they tend to go with Gunderson and/or work remotely with SV/SF firms?

I lived in Michigan my entire life; attended Michigan undergrad; worked in Ann Arbor for several years after UG. Moved to California for husband's job and law school but am starting to consider the possibility of moving back in a couple of years to be close to family.



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