Bay Area Firm Culture

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Bay Area Firm Culture

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 12, 2016 10:14 pm

Anyone know about the culture at the following firms:

Skadden (Palo Alto)
Simpson Thatcher (Palo Alto)
Reed Smith (SF)
Pillsbury (SF)
Gibson Dunn (SF)
Cooley (SF)

I've heard Cooley and Gibson have amazing cultures, haven't heard much about the rest, but liked everyone I met from each of these firms.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Sat Aug 13, 2016 12:16 am, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous User
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Re: Bay Area Firm Culture

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 12, 2016 10:20 pm

Did you have a CB at Skadden PA? Just wondering because if you did, heard anything about an offer yet?

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Re: Bay Area Firm Culture

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 12, 2016 10:31 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Did you have a CB at Skadden PA? Just wondering because if you did, heard anything about an offer yet?


Just CB, no offer or ding yet.

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Re: Bay Area Firm Culture

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 12, 2016 10:36 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Did you have a CB at Skadden PA? Just wondering because if you did, heard anything about an offer yet?


Just CB, no offer or ding yet.


Can I ask when you did your CB, had mine almost two weeks ago.

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Re: Bay Area Firm Culture

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 12, 2016 10:39 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Did you have a CB at Skadden PA? Just wondering because if you did, heard anything about an offer yet?


Just CB, no offer or ding yet.


Can I ask when you did your CB, had mine almost two weeks ago.


Haven't done it yet.

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Re: Bay Area Firm Culture

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 13, 2016 11:42 am

Beware Reed Smith. While a nice, friendly culture, they had layoffs in January and lots of attorneys have been leaving since then. Also, SF office has $180k starting salary, but starting 3rd year they become way under market with salary compression which they fail to mention to new hires.

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Re: Bay Area Firm Culture

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 14, 2016 2:05 pm

any other insights? particularly about Gibson, Cooley, or MoFo SF

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Re: Bay Area Firm Culture

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 14, 2016 5:06 pm

Also curious about Kirkland SF and fenwick SV culture for corporate

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Re: Bay Area Firm Culture

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 14, 2016 6:13 pm

What are good questions to ask during second looks to get a feel for firm culture?

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Re: Bay Area Firm Culture

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 14, 2016 7:48 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Also curious about Kirkland SF and fenwick SV culture for corporate

Avoid Kirkland. I hear universally terrible things about the culture there--although it may work for a very specific type of person (or if you're hellbent on doing PE work in SF). If you don't mind living in SV, Fenwick would be a much better choice in terms of firm culture.

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Re: Bay Area Firm Culture

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 14, 2016 8:14 pm

Can anyone speak to the culture at White & Case or S&C SV? both pretty small offices.

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Re: Bay Area Firm Culture

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 14, 2016 8:25 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Also curious about Kirkland SF and fenwick SV culture for corporate

Avoid Kirkland. I hear universally terrible things about the culture there--although it may work for a very specific type of person (or if you're hellbent on doing PE work in SF). If you don't mind living in SV, Fenwick would be a much better choice in terms of firm culture.


Everyone seems to say this...strikes me as odd an entire office could be uniformly unpleasant, though.

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Re: Bay Area Firm Culture

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 14, 2016 8:26 pm

Sorry could you expand on the bad things you've heard about Kirkland? Just pretty surprised by that everyone I met seemed pretty nice

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Re: Bay Area Firm Culture

Postby Mr. Fancy » Sun Aug 14, 2016 8:31 pm

KE SF, like all KE offices and other firms that focus on PE work, is a grind house. A specific type of person chooses/"thrives" in that environment.

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Re: Bay Area Firm Culture

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 14, 2016 11:31 pm

Mr. Fancy wrote:KE SF, like all KE offices and other firms that focus on PE work, is a grind house. A specific type of person chooses/"thrives" in that environment.


The things that have been said about KE SF have been more than that, though. There are a ton of "grind houses" in BigLaw. I have never seen a firm treated with the "stay away" label the way KE SF is on here.

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Re: Bay Area Firm Culture

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 14, 2016 11:42 pm

I haven't heard anything bad about them before do you mind saying what else you've heard other than it being a grind house?

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Re: Bay Area Firm Culture

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 14, 2016 11:49 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I haven't heard anything bad about them before do you mind saying what else you've heard other than it being a grind house?


If you do a search on here you will see the opinion is overwhelmingly negative - all I can speak to is what I have seen on TLS

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Re: Bay Area Firm Culture

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 15, 2016 1:19 am

I have a bunch of friends in lit at Gibson SF. They're all surprisingly happy. Work hard, of course, but it seems like a legitimately good place to work.

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Re: Bay Area Firm Culture

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 15, 2016 1:26 am

Not to hijack this thread, but I also am interested in the Bay Area (from there, went to college there, etc.). So I've been looking at some firms in the area, but it's just hard to gauge the reputation of the offices. I don't think the firms correlate with the Vault ranking that can serve as a very, very generic guideline like for NY offices. For instance, the fact that Fenwick or Cooley is ranked lower than say, White & Case or Latham doesn't mean all that much. Any thoughts on this? What's a good place to start?

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Re: Bay Area Firm Culture

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 15, 2016 1:43 am

Anonymous User wrote:Can anyone speak to the culture at White & Case or S&C SV? both pretty small offices.

I have a friend who works in W&C. A couple of observations.

1.They don't have a lot of work right now. This means that they are not making hours. However...
2. They are also expected to do a lot of bullshit nonbillable work - ie client development. There is a cap on how much client dev can be billed. This friend is forced to do a shitload of work and is not getting credit for it.
3. They seem to have more of a free market system in SV. You need to be good at saying no. My friend is not and as a result she gets stuck with all this bullshit client dev work.
4. They are a tiny office. As a result, you may be forced to do work that does not interest you. My friend is a litigator and so far she has been working mostly in corporate and antitrust.
5. My friend is miserable.

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Re: Bay Area Firm Culture

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 15, 2016 1:52 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Can anyone speak to the culture at White & Case or S&C SV? both pretty small offices.

I have a friend who works in W&C. A couple of observations.

1.They don't have a lot of work right now. This means that they are not making hours. However...
2. They are also expected to do a lot of bullshit nonbillable work - ie client development. There is a cap on how much client dev can be billed. This friend is forced to do a shitload of work and is not getting credit for it.
3. They seem to have more of a free market system in SV. You need to be good at saying no. My friend is not and as a result she gets stuck with all this bullshit client dev work.
4. They are a tiny office. As a result, you may be forced to do work that does not interest you. My friend is a litigator and so far she has been working mostly in corporate and antitrust.
5. My friend is miserable.


This sounds like a nightmare. Would it be safer than to look at local firms like WSGR, Fenwick, Cooley, etc. that have bigger presence in SV instead of transplant offices that may be more 'prestigious'?

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Re: Bay Area Firm Culture

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 15, 2016 2:07 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Can anyone speak to the culture at White & Case or S&C SV? both pretty small offices.

I have a friend who works in W&C. A couple of observations.

1.They don't have a lot of work right now. This means that they are not making hours. However...
2. They are also expected to do a lot of bullshit nonbillable work - ie client development. There is a cap on how much client dev can be billed. This friend is forced to do a shitload of work and is not getting credit for it.
3. They seem to have more of a free market system in SV. You need to be good at saying no. My friend is not and as a result she gets stuck with all this bullshit client dev work.
4. They are a tiny office. As a result, you may be forced to do work that does not interest you. My friend is a litigator and so far she has been working mostly in corporate and antitrust.
5. My friend is miserable.


This sounds like a nightmare. Would it be safer than to look at local firms like WSGR, Fenwick, Cooley, etc. that have bigger presence in SV instead of transplant offices that may be more 'prestigious'?

Yes and no. WSGR has the reputation of being a sweatshop/cut throat due to how they silo their associates. Fenwick is known for working their associates just as hard as everyone else but pays below market bonuses (at least as of 2015). Cooley seemed a bit weird when I interviewed with them (nothing concrete, I just got a weird vibe from everyone). I don't think there's a one size fits all answer to this. In general I would avoid offices with fewer than 50 people though.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Mon Aug 15, 2016 2:10 am, edited 2 times in total.

Anonymous User
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Re: Bay Area Firm Culture

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 15, 2016 2:08 am

...

Anonymous User
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Re: Bay Area Firm Culture

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 15, 2016 5:19 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Can anyone speak to the culture at White & Case or S&C SV? both pretty small offices.

I have a friend who works in W&C. A couple of observations.

1.They don't have a lot of work right now. This means that they are not making hours. However...
2. They are also expected to do a lot of bullshit nonbillable work - ie client development. There is a cap on how much client dev can be billed. This friend is forced to do a shitload of work and is not getting credit for it.
3. They seem to have more of a free market system in SV. You need to be good at saying no. My friend is not and as a result she gets stuck with all this bullshit client dev work.
4. They are a tiny office. As a result, you may be forced to do work that does not interest you. My friend is a litigator and so far she has been working mostly in corporate and antitrust.
5. My friend is miserable.


This sounds like a nightmare. Would it be safer than to look at local firms like WSGR, Fenwick, Cooley, etc. that have bigger presence in SV instead of transplant offices that may be more 'prestigious'?

Yes and no. WSGR has the reputation of being a sweatshop/cut throat due to how they silo their associates. Fenwick is known for working their associates just as hard as everyone else but pays below market bonuses (at least as of 2015). Cooley seemed a bit weird when I interviewed with them (nothing concrete, I just got a weird vibe from everyone). I don't think there's a one size fits all answer to this. In general I would avoid offices with fewer than 50 people though.


Thanks for the great info. I know they're all great firms, but what's the general reputation ranking/tiers? The reason I ask is because I really have no idea how firms are perceived. In NYC, I think it's a little easier to see where the firms stand (i.e. Cravath, Skadden generally have stronger practices than lower-ranked firms). Would it be safe to say WSGR/Fenwick/Cooley are all peers?

Anonymous User
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Re: Bay Area Firm Culture

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 15, 2016 5:19 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Can anyone speak to the culture at White & Case or S&C SV? both pretty small offices.

I have a friend who works in W&C. A couple of observations.

1.They don't have a lot of work right now. This means that they are not making hours. However...
2. They are also expected to do a lot of bullshit nonbillable work - ie client development. There is a cap on how much client dev can be billed. This friend is forced to do a shitload of work and is not getting credit for it.
3. They seem to have more of a free market system in SV. You need to be good at saying no. My friend is not and as a result she gets stuck with all this bullshit client dev work.
4. They are a tiny office. As a result, you may be forced to do work that does not interest you. My friend is a litigator and so far she has been working mostly in corporate and antitrust.
5. My friend is miserable.


This sounds like a nightmare. Would it be safer than to look at local firms like WSGR, Fenwick, Cooley, etc. that have bigger presence in SV instead of transplant offices that may be more 'prestigious'?

Yes and no. WSGR has the reputation of being a sweatshop/cut throat due to how they silo their associates. Fenwick is known for working their associates just as hard as everyone else but pays below market bonuses (at least as of 2015). Cooley seemed a bit weird when I interviewed with them (nothing concrete, I just got a weird vibe from everyone). I don't think there's a one size fits all answer to this. In general I would avoid offices with fewer than 50 people though.


Thanks for the great info. I know they're all great firms, but what's the general reputation ranking/tiers? The reason I ask is because I really have no idea how firms are perceived. In NYC, I think it's a little easier to see where the firms stand (i.e. Cravath, Skadden generally have stronger practices than lower-ranked firms). Would it be safe to say WSGR/Fenwick/Cooley are all peers?



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