Deciding between Ropes & Wilmer (Boston)

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Deciding between Ropes & Wilmer (Boston)

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 21, 2016 9:57 am

I'm in the lucky position of deciding between Ropes & Gray and WilmerHale, both in Boston (for a summer spot). I am having a hard time deciding between the two, and I was hoping you all might be willing to help. I'm interested in litigation, if that helps. I liked both of my CBs, but for different reasons. If anyone has any experience with either firm, I'd love to hear it!

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Re: Deciding between Ropes & Wilmer (Boston)

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 21, 2016 11:14 am

In the exact same boat - would appreciate any insight!

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Re: Deciding between Ropes & Wilmer (Boston)

Postby NoBladesNoBows » Sun Aug 21, 2016 11:54 am

A little more info would be helpful. Planning to stay in Boston long-term? What did you like/dislike about the CBs? What kind of litigation (if you know) are you interested in?

Pretty hard to answer just Ropes or Wilmer in a vacuum.

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Re: Deciding between Ropes & Wilmer (Boston)

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 21, 2016 1:30 pm

Wilmer is great for litigation, Ropes not so much. Ropes is corporate at heart. Also, Ropes has more of a sweatshop history from what I've heard. Not to say you won't be working hard at neither, but Ropes has massive summer classes and after 3 years there's only like 4 associates left from their 40 person class. Might be something to think about. What I can't tell you is if they left for good exit options that Ropes helped give or of they left because of the culture.

If you want a portable, prestigious firm with both corporate and litigation, I'd do Ropes. But Wilmer's corporate practice is not doing as well, so if you're all in for litigation I'd do Wilmer.


Both are great firms. Congrats!

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Re: Deciding between Ropes & Wilmer (Boston)

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 21, 2016 3:46 pm

NoBladesNoBows wrote:A little more info would be helpful. Planning to stay in Boston long-term? What did you like/dislike about the CBs? What kind of litigation (if you know) are you interested in?

Pretty hard to answer just Ropes or Wilmer in a vacuum.


OP here. Plan for now is Boston long term, but who knows what could happen over the years?

Have a growing interest in false claims, govt ivestigstions, healthcare fraud.

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Re: Deciding between Ropes & Wilmer (Boston)

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 21, 2016 5:54 pm

It looks like Wilmer is the way to go.

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Re: Deciding between Ropes & Wilmer (Boston)

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 26, 2016 8:02 am

Bump because got an offer from Foley Hoag. Would it be nuts to choose them over Wilmer & Ropes?

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Re: Deciding between Ropes & Wilmer (Boston)

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 26, 2016 7:16 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Bump because got an offer from Foley Hoag. Would it be nuts to choose them over Wilmer & Ropes?


It seems like plenty of people at Foley turned down Ropes. Not sure about Wilmer, but I also didn't talk to many litigators.

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Re: Deciding between Ropes & Wilmer (Boston)

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 26, 2016 7:32 pm

Wilmer, even after your Foley Hoag offer.

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Re: Deciding between Ropes & Wilmer (Boston)

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 26, 2016 7:44 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Wilmer, even after your Foley Hoag offer.


Could you elaborate?

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Re: Deciding between Ropes & Wilmer (Boston)

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 30, 2016 6:36 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Bump because got an offer from Foley Hoag. Would it be nuts to choose them over Wilmer & Ropes?


If you're interested in government investigations, it might not be so nuts. Again depends on what you're looking for long term and culturally. If you wan to grind it out for a few years and use the firm as a lily pad for something else, then take the Foley offer out of the equation. But plenty of people choose Foley Hoag over Ropes or Wilmer because there's a greater likelihood you'll be able to survive long term and live a more normal life. Foley also has a lot of connections in local government and federal and state prosecutors's offices.

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Re: Deciding between Ropes & Wilmer (Boston)

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 01, 2016 10:51 am

Anonymous User wrote:Wilmer is great for litigation, Ropes not so much. Ropes is corporate at heart. Also, Ropes has more of a sweatshop history from what I've heard. Not to say you won't be working hard at neither, but Ropes has massive summer classes and after 3 years there's only like 4 associates left from their 40 person class. Might be something to think about. What I can't tell you is if they left for good exit options that Ropes helped give or of they left because of the culture.

If you want a portable, prestigious firm with both corporate and litigation, I'd do Ropes. But Wilmer's corporate practice is not doing as well, so if you're all in for litigation I'd do Wilmer.


Both are great firms. Congrats!


I'm not so sure about much of the above, other than that corporate runs the show at Ropes, just like litigation calls the shots at Wilmer. But pretty much every litigator at Ropes chose it over Wilmer, and vice versa for Wilmer corporate folks. I don't think it translates into lower quality work (Ropes argued Obergefell and gets plenty of lit crossover work from its big corporate clients- Pfizer, J&J, Bain, TPG, etc.), but it may translate into a different culture within the firm. Pretty hard to say whether you personally prefer being in an office full of litigators or more of a small firm within a large firm. The statement about comparative attrition at Ropes is silly: they both have the largest summer classes in Boston with similar leverage ratios and similar exit opportunities for associates. As quoted anon notes, when people leave either Wilmer or Ropes , they're not homeless living with the shame of not being able o 'hack it' at a firm, but on to pretty cool in-house jobs at clients or other places. Lots of people realize they don't want to make partner, odds are that will probably include you. Also, the only major Boston-based firm I've heard referred to as a "sweatshop" is Goodwin; Ropes has a lower billables requirement (1900) than Wilmer (2000), and usually ranks pretty highly in touchy-feely "best firms to work for" rankings. Not to mention Ropes led the Boston market in matching Cravath.

I like Foley, everyone I've meet there is really nice and they do good work, but they're definitely a step below the Boston Big 2/3 as far as prestige, especially outside of Boston, and that's reflected financially in a PPP figure about half that of the Big 2/3 firms (I know you're not coming in as a partner, but PPP flows into so many fringe QOL things like bonuses, taxi or dinner reimbursement policies, etc.). I don't agree with the statement that many people at Foley would have chosen it over Wilmer or Ropes (the people from my school who went Foley largely didn't get CBs at Ropes or Wilmer, and a scan through comparative associate profiles shows a lot more honors/law review at higher ranked schools for Ropes/Wilmer than Foley, fwiw), but I'm willing to be proven wrong with data. Foley's definitely MUCH smaller than either two, so that should be something to consider, whether pro or con.

All that said, I don't think you have a wrong decision between the three. I would probably just ignore the rankings and all that noise, and talk to as many people as you can, take after-offer visits, and really try to get a sense of how people at the firm handle things that matter to you, whether it's taking time off, flexible work arrangements, client exposure, firm-sponsored social events, whatever it is that you think is a priority to YOU.



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