Freshfields vs. Traditional NYC Firms

(On Campus Interviews, Summer Associate positions, Firm Reviews, Tips, ...)
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are revealing sensitive employment related information about a firm, job, etc. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned.
Anonymous User
Posts: 316128
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Freshfields vs. Traditional NYC Firms

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 13, 2016 6:11 pm

So I've got some conflicted feelings about some firms I'm looking at, and I was hoping to use TLS as a bit of a sounding board to see if I'm going completely nuts (I'm not expecting a definite answer here because there isn't one.)

Interests: Broadly litigation (~95% sure I don't want to do transactional, and that's being generous) and specifically have some both pre-law school and law school experience in white collar/gov't investigations work. Haven't done anything with FCPA but am very interested in it and taking some course work next year to explore this interest a little.

Future: I'm still at a point where I think planning something 5-7 years down the road sounds a bit insane. That being said, I think I have the same rough goals as basically everyone who wants litigation from a top law school in NY (Aiii clerkship -> Firm for a bit -> SDNY/EDNY/SEC -> lord knows)


So here's the issue (And yes I'm fully aware that this next bit sounds a bit dickish, sorry in advance): I've got a series of callbacks over the next few weeks with both Freshfields and the usual NYC large firms with good lit. (DPW/PW/Skadden/Deb./etc.) and given the previous CB -> offer rates from my school at these firms I'm fairly confident that I'll end up having a decision between FF and at least one of those other firms. In terms of figuring out where I want to be for those other firms I think its just going to come down to culture/feel (and I already have a bit of an idea of which ones I'd like more.) However when it comes to FF I'm a bit stuck.

I really, really liked my experience with them so far (I had an extended interaction with a number of partners/associates post screener, so this is based on more than a brief interview.) I'm a fan of the international bent, I like the idea that their NYC office is growing and seems to be making a bit of a name for itself since '09 and they seem like a strong firm in the areas I'm interested in. Plus the organization of the Dispute Resolution group (i.e. lit. branch) seems really interesting and it would give me a chance to do some international arbitration work, which is something I've never really done, but sounds intriguing.

However there seems to be a few big cons:

- Name recognition: people seem to either not know what FF is or think its little more than a brit. outpost
- Potentially unstable future: Brexit + Deutschebank issues (DB is a major client)
- Lack of US gov't connections: Those future jobs that I think I want down the line seem heavily reliant on who you know, and the other NYC firms seem to feed into them pretty heavily (not saying that any of them would come close to assuring me that type of job down the road, but there would definitely at least be firm alumni who I could contact in the offices.) I just don't think that FF has this right now, and even if they preform really well in the next 4-5 years, I don't think its going to develop much.

I know that at best choosing FF would be a bit of a gamble but I want to see:

1) Would I just flat out be nuts to choose FF over the other firms. I try really hard not to be blinded by the prestige shit, but I'm a law student, I can only ignore the gnawing draw to a limited extent.

2) Are there any major flaws in my above reasoning or things I should definitely know about FF. I'm having issues finding some basic information that would really help (for example, NALP doesn't list the # of partners/associates in the DR unit, so I can't really figure out what their leverage is.)

Thanks for the help everyone

Anonymous User
Posts: 316128
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Freshfields vs. Traditional NYC Firms

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 13, 2016 6:54 pm

Flat out nuts. Prestige isn't everything, but at some point it outweighs other factors.

Everyone who looks at your resume and transcript will assume you had some sort of psychiatric issue during OCI.

Anonymous User
Posts: 316128
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Freshfields vs. Traditional NYC Firms

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 13, 2016 8:10 pm

For what it's worth, I know at least one associate who lateraled from DPW-lit to Freshfields-disputes, so that could be a possibility if you're interested in keeping your options open.

RaceJudicata

Gold
Posts: 1687
Joined: Mon Jun 22, 2015 2:51 pm

Re: Freshfields vs. Traditional NYC Firms

Postby RaceJudicata » Sat Aug 13, 2016 8:20 pm

Wait... So you don't have an offer at any of these firms? Don't put the cart before the horse.

Anonymous User
Posts: 316128
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Freshfields vs. Traditional NYC Firms

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 13, 2016 8:45 pm

OP:

Thanks for the help guys (though I'd love to hear from other people as well, especially if they have some more detailed thoughts.)

RE: Putting the cart before the horse. I've talked to some other people who had similar thoughts regarding this question, so I figured if things pan out poorly for me and I land in the small % who don't end up converting CBs to offers at these firms, then this could at the very least be a useful resources for others, especially since I didn't see any past threads touching on this. I am not assuming offers at any of these firms, but I don't think it hurts to discuss.

dixiecupdrinking

Gold
Posts: 3440
Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2008 2:39 pm

Re: Freshfields vs. Traditional NYC Firms

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Sat Aug 13, 2016 9:21 pm

There is nothing you can do at FF that you can't do at any of those other firms. It's not more "international" in any sense that will be meaningful for an associate. It is a good firm but significantly less well regarded than the others you mentioned. I suppose there might be specific narrow practices that FF excels at, but I don't know what they are, and you don't know if you want to do them.

User avatar
cookiejar1

Silver
Posts: 855
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2011 2:07 am

Re: Freshfields vs. Traditional NYC Firms

Postby cookiejar1 » Sat Aug 13, 2016 9:36 pm

I mean, even Debevoise's international arbitration practice is ranked higher according to Chambers & Partners (http://www.chambersandpartners.com/1278 ... torial/5/1).

FF is a good firm, sure, but I would be hesitant to recommend the firm to any of my lit-minded colleagues, especially if they were interested in obtaining a clerkship 3-5 years out. FF won't give you the types of connections as the DPW's / P, W's of the world will.

User avatar
jbagelboy

Diamond
Posts: 10256
Joined: Thu Nov 29, 2012 7:57 pm

Re: Freshfields vs. Traditional NYC Firms

Postby jbagelboy » Sat Aug 13, 2016 9:56 pm

I think it would be an objectively better career move given your goals to start at Davis Polk or Paul Weiss in litigation. Judges and the local US Attorney's offices have deep connections with these firms, alums from these firms are plentiful throughout the federal judiciary and AUSA class, and associates trade between the firm SDNY/EDNY pretty regularly. The same cannot quite be said of Freshfields.

This isn't to say picking Freshfields will doom your career or that its necessarily a bad move. But it definitely appeals to a different type of ambition or interest.

Also, this is premature.

Anonymous User
Posts: 316128
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Freshfields vs. Traditional NYC Firms

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 23, 2016 12:51 pm

OP:

Wanted to do a quick bump now that I've got the offers in hand. (At least one firm mentioned by jbagel above and FF)

Honestly probably going to take FF given how I felt during the CBs, but figured I'd check with TLS one last time just in case anyone was holding back advice given that I didn't yet have offers yet when this was first posted.

Thanks for the helps all!

User avatar
cookiejar1

Silver
Posts: 855
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2011 2:07 am

Re: Freshfields vs. Traditional NYC Firms

Postby cookiejar1 » Tue Aug 23, 2016 2:20 pm

For someone who wants to do litigation or maybe even FCPA / gov't investigation, choosing FF over a traditional white-shoe NYC shop with a broad litigation practice is nuts in my opinion. With that being said, I'm not a litigator so I'll let others chime in here.

It's important to realize that some firms are just plain better at selling themselves than others and that the people you meet may not really be representative of the firm as a whole. Exercise careful judgment here - once the recruiting ends and you're nothing more than any other commoditized junior associate make sure you're at the right place for your future and immediate career goals.

itbdvorm

Gold
Posts: 1710
Joined: Tue Aug 17, 2010 9:09 am

Re: Freshfields vs. Traditional NYC Firms

Postby itbdvorm » Tue Aug 23, 2016 3:09 pm

cookiejar1 wrote:For someone who wants to do litigation or maybe even FCPA / gov't investigation, choosing FF over a traditional white-shoe NYC shop with a broad litigation practice is nuts in my opinion. With that being said, I'm not a litigator so I'll let others chime in here.

It's important to realize that some firms are just plain better at selling themselves than others and that the people you meet may not really be representative of the firm as a whole. Exercise careful judgment here - once the recruiting ends and you're nothing more than any other commoditized junior associate make sure you're at the right place for your future and immediate career goals.


Also not a litigator...but seconded.

Freshfields seemingly has a few folks making a strong sales pitch this season (I've actually heard something along these lines from someone corporate-leaning). And they're a totally fine alternative for folks without better alternatives. If you told me you were deciding between Freshfields and Quinn, or Freshfields and the other FF, for example, I could see it. And if you said "I want to do international arbitration, that has been my life's dream (and I actually understand what it means as opposed to other clueless folks who think it means "saving the world")", that makes some sense. But general / white collar litigation? Silly.

Also, am I wrong or did some of their senior US folks leave recently?

dixiecupdrinking

Gold
Posts: 3440
Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2008 2:39 pm

Re: Freshfields vs. Traditional NYC Firms

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Tue Aug 23, 2016 5:41 pm

Look, I do a lot of the kind of work you've said you're interested in. It would unequivocally be a bad career move to go to Freshfields over DPW or PW. Within certain narrow bands, it's totally defensible to choose one place over another based on fit, culture, etc., but these firms are not in the same band.

Will going to Freshfields doom you to a life of poverty? Of course not. It's a good option most people would be fortunate to have. But given your choices, if you are trying to get good litigation and white collar experience and make good connections of the sort that might allow you to go to a competitive government job, you will pretty clearly be making it harder for yourself.



Return to “Legal Employment�

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.