Jones Day v. Paul Hastings v. Goodwin v. Shearman v. Milbank (All NYC)

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Which would you choose?

Jones Day
8
20%
Paul Hastings
2
5%
Goodwin
4
10%
Shearman & Sterling
14
35%
Milbank
12
30%
 
Total votes: 40

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Jones Day v. Paul Hastings v. Goodwin v. Shearman v. Milbank (All NYC)

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 25, 2016 11:01 am

I have been really fortunate to receive offers from all 5, but choosing is turning out to be a rather difficult decision. There are many things I like about each firm and I enjoyed meeting everyone I spoke with. I am interested in transactional work. I don't have a preference geographically. Midtown v. Downtown - it's all the same to me.

Jones Day: I felt comfortable at all the firms but I felt the most comfortable here along with Milbank. I am aware that JD is strong in practice areas across the transactional spectrum (Band 5 of Corporate/M&A Elite http://www.chambersandpartners.com/12806/1437/editorial/5/1). The people were incredibly welcoming and pleasant to be around. Exit options are not an issue. Facetime policy is supposed to be lenient (but does this affect juniors at all?). The new offices are pretty fantastic. The one downer for me is that compensation apparently is much lower in the aggregate than everywhere else listed. Even top performers likely make less than market when bonuses are factored in (?).

Paul Hastings: Solid and seems to be growing. People I met were nice. Offices are new BUT open layout isn't really my cup of tea. Also, the interior offices, which I assume is where juniors end up after graduating from the open floor plan, are completely see through and not sound proof. I could hear whole telephone conversations as if there wasn't even a wall when I was walking around during my callback. I am not trying to hide in my office or whatever but I get the feeling that having the feeling of someone looking over your shoulder constantly can be kind of meh. There seems to be a focus on life science transactions for m&a (?).

Goodwin: The NY Times building is awesome. The people I met were are all really chill and great people to be around. The firm is solid and appears to be growing as well. Has expertise in a really interesting space - not many do tech work, particularly out in the East Coast. I feel like I would have to be more alpha here though. Fake it til you make it? The breadth of work might also not be as wide compared to the other firms.

Shearman & Sterling: They've been slipping during the past decade but have moreorless stabilized in recent years. Old school prestige. I liked the people I spoke with. IIRC, TLS users who have worked there have actually enjoyed working there and did not lack exit options, so the whole "being in decline" thing might be a bit overblown/not to the point that it matters drastically for an associate. Still really strong in a wide range of transactional practice groups (Band 4 of Corporate/M&A Elite). Office infrastructure is outdated.

Milbank: The people here seem genuinely nice and I would love working with them. They will be moving to Hudson Yards by the time I start as a real associate and the new office space is going to be amazing. Rotation system they're implementing will make it different from the other firms listed. I actually would not mind that, even if it means starting over again every 6 months or so. As an aside, some guy has been necroing a ton of threads talking about how great Milbank is compared to other firms, haha. The responses to that person however indicate that unless you want to do project finance, the other groups may not be as strong? I know Milbank is a well-respected firm but do they not carry the same weight as the others in terms of exit options? I am not focused on lateralling and would want to stay at a firm for my career if I can, but if the reality is that I will leave at some point, would it be better to go with another firm listed?

If anyone has any further insight, I would very much appreciate it. Thanks!

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Re: Jones Day v. Paul Hastings v. Goodwin v. Shearman v. Milbank (All NYC)

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 25, 2016 11:50 am

Used to work at JD, though on the litigation side. The people there really are great, but your experience will largely come down to the particular group and "bubble" you end up in. Get set up with the right partners and establish the right pipelines of work and your experience will be excellent. But if you end up with a bit of a mismatch, it can be a really bad experience (though this would be the case anywhere).

Its the kind of firm where you really need to "drink the kool aid" a bit for it to be a positive experience. They have these various quirks that you need to be comfortable with and embrace. At the time I left, the morale was a bit low because people were getting frustrated with the compensation thing. Don't let them jerk you around and say things like "bonuses are worked into salary." That was BS, but most found it out too late. They typically give a slightly above-market salary, but with no bonus component. So yes, you get underpaid compared to the market (unless you are the superstar performer). Whether that tradeoff is worth it depends on how happy you are in your group and with the work you are doing. But don't go in expecting to make the market rate of salary+bonus.

That being said, its a great firm with a great name. Everyone knows it, and having the resume line was very helpful during my lateral search. I loved the people there and still think highly of the firm. I just wish they would be more transparent when it comes to issues of compensation. That was by far the most frustrating aspect of working there.

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Re: Jones Day v. Paul Hastings v. Goodwin v. Shearman v. Milbank (All NYC)

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 27, 2016 8:59 am

[OP]:
Thanks to the above, this is really helpful. Anyone else want to chime in about why they voted the way they did? Thanks!

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Re: Jones Day v. Paul Hastings v. Goodwin v. Shearman v. Milbank (All NYC)

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 27, 2016 10:03 am

im in a similar position as you OP with offers at some of these firms you have.

i would rule out paul hasTTTings. look up the previous year's data and do some search on TLS. paul hastings routinely DOES NOT make 100% offers to their summer class. it's nothing insane like 50% or whatever, but even 80% or 90% offer rate is something to be concerned about. especially when you have firms that make 100% offers as options.

goodwin i wouldn't personally take it b/c it's a satellite office, but i can see how people wouldn't mind that. i just wanted to be at the HQ/center of power for any firm. didnt wanna be at a satellite. the office does some PE/tech stuff, but like you said it's a pretty narrow breadth of practice. the office is nice i guess. but i know a guy who worked there for about 2 years and left. ny office i's a bit bro-y.

jones day... im sure some jones day associate will chime in but the general consensus by attorneys on TLS is that jones day under compensates its associates. some get paid above market, some get paid market, and some get paid below market. black box compensation wouldnt be something that i want when i have lockstep bonus firms as options. but i can see other intangibles of the firm outweighing the compensation issue to make JD a good choice for you. i personally wouldnt take it. it's also way too big and i didnt wanna be at a McFirm. don't know much about culture, but i got the vibe from my CB that it's pretty low-key. but as with any firm YMMV depending on your practice area/partner you work for etc.

(pre-emptive shearman is a TTT in decline!). their PPP is almost a full million behind, say, milbank. PPP isn't the best metric for firm's health and it can be manipulated but even accounting for that that's a huge gap. i personally didnt enjoy my CB there. all the interviewees looked depressed and/or tired as fuck. i guess it's a good problem to have in a way? but all the firms you have here are busy, and i didnt notice any depressed/tired interviewers at the other firms. but it still does good international work and still gets band 4 elite at m&a and good band rankings in cap markets.

milbank is probably the best firm you have in terms of health and stability. i liked the people i met and like you said the new office is gonna be great. it's not a firm with a gazillion practice areas. it's a firm that's really really good in a few areas and just okay at others. project finance/restructuring (creditor side)/litigation/latam investment/banking and finance are its best ranked areas and they are really good at them. but if you want something like m&a, probably not the best place compared to shearman or JD. the new rotation system they are implementing is great in one hand but that's like 12 months you're spending away from a practice area that you really want. i guess it helps people who have no idea wtf they want but hurts people who have clearer goals in terms of practice area interest. culturally, it's probably a more low-key culture than the other firms you have here. but IME transactional groups at ANY firm tend to be more fratty/bro-y.

im actually leaning towards another firm not listed here, but among your choices id probably go milbank. unless i had a strong in m&a or other transactional practice that milbank doesnt really excel at. id personally be at a firm that's really really good in a few areas (and is financially stable) as opposed to being mediocre in a variety of areas. things you have to consider are your practice area interest/firm stability/culture. hope this helps.

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Re: Jones Day v. Paul Hastings v. Goodwin v. Shearman v. Milbank (All NYC)

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 27, 2016 10:09 am

A partner told me that if you come in knowing what you want to do, you don't have to do the rotation system (I'm set on restructuring). He said it in passing so I'm going to reconfirm, but wanted to throw it out there for people who don't want to rotate.

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Re: Jones Day v. Paul Hastings v. Goodwin v. Shearman v. Milbank (All NYC)

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 27, 2016 6:01 pm

Also looking at offers from Shearman and Milbank. I also thought the Shearman attorneys seemed pretty stressed and tired, especially compared to Milbank. But I wouldn't go so far as to say depressed. The litigators I talked to seemed really interested and invested in their cases and seemed to like the work.

Would agree that Milbank's strengths are much narrower, but the firm manages to stay in remarkable financial health. Shearman's a much more "international" firm, so not sure how much that plays into things for you.

Also Milbank offers pet insurance which doesn't apply to me but I still find really amusing. So there's that.

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Re: Jones Day v. Paul Hastings v. Goodwin v. Shearman v. Milbank (All NYC)

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 30, 2016 12:43 pm

Anonymous User wrote:(pre-emptive shearman is a TTT in decline!). their PPP is almost a full million behind, say, milbank.


this doesn't mean shit if you know how partner compensation is specifically doled out at either firm, particularly w/r/t lateral hires

Anonymous User wrote:PPP isn't the best metric for firm's health and it can be manipulated but even accounting for that that's a huge gap.


If you're implying Shearman is struggling, that's, uh, not the case?

Anonymous User wrote:i personally didnt enjoy my CB there. all the interviewees looked depressed and/or tired as fuck.


I am sorry that the 4 people you met of a firm of 850 attorneys were tired

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Re: Jones Day v. Paul Hastings v. Goodwin v. Shearman v. Milbank (All NYC)

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 30, 2016 12:58 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:(pre-emptive shearman is a TTT in decline!). their PPP is almost a full million behind, say, milbank.


this doesn't mean shit if you know how partner compensation is specifically doled out at either firm, particularly w/r/t lateral hires

Anonymous User wrote:PPP isn't the best metric for firm's health and it can be manipulated but even accounting for that that's a huge gap.


If you're implying Shearman is struggling, that's, uh, not the case?

Anonymous User wrote:i personally didnt enjoy my CB there. all the interviewees looked depressed and/or tired as fuck.


I am sorry that the 4 people you met of a firm of 850 attorneys were tired


Care to elaborate on the bolded? Are you talking about Milbank having non-equity partners? I know firms sometimes use that particular status to game their PPP.

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Re: Jones Day v. Paul Hastings v. Goodwin v. Shearman v. Milbank (All NYC)

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 30, 2016 2:15 pm

I have friends at all of these firms but Paul Hastings so here are my two cents, based purely on how I have seen my friends coping with their first couple of years of Biglaw:

Jones Day: DON'T DO IT! From what I can tell, the below market comp has a real impact on people's attitudes. My friends there are super down on the firm. You might as well go somewhere else and get paid market.

Goodwin: Seems fine as far as big law goes. The tech practice in NYC is pretty small though, so if that's what you are interested in you would probably have to hustle.

Shearman: From what I can tell, Shearman doesn't seem too bad, though their reputation has definitely slipped in recent years. Their offices are shitty.

Milbank: This is what I think I would go with. Pretty good name recognition and the people seem friendlier and nicer than your average firm. Downside is that they are a little stingy when it comes to reimbursing meals & car rides home.

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Re: Jones Day v. Paul Hastings v. Goodwin v. Shearman v. Milbank (All NYC)

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 30, 2016 2:29 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Jones Day: DON'T DO IT! From what I can tell, the below market comp has a real impact on people's attitudes. My friends there are super down on the firm. You might as well go somewhere else and get paid market.


Did my 1L summer at JD. Although I can't speak to the culture/attitude thing post finding out about it, I can say that you WILL make LESS than market--and I'd imagine people are pissed finding this out as a second year associate when they realize they are getting fucked over by the compensation committee. This seems pointless for your case, OP, considering your other great options and having no overwhelming reason to go there.

Until JD fixes this idiosyncratic model, I can't imagine they will remain competitive for the best candidates (minus them straight bribing SCOTUS clerks with huge bonuses). Many people at my YHS know about it and are not going to accept their offer simply for the compensation shortfall, even though they liked the people they met, etc. It's sad because the work/clients are otherwise pretty good from what I could tell...



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