DPW (NYC) litigation

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DPW (NYC) litigation

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 27, 2016 7:31 pm

Copycat-ing the DPW corporate thread, but pros/cons of DPW litigation? Disabuse me of any of the following, if you think I've got it wrong:

Pros: more varied types of cases than the financial sector litigation that dominates at peer firms (S&C, CSM), strong ties to gov't for exit opportunities (former DPW associates everywhere in EDNY/SDNY)

Cons: among peer firms, worse litigation associate:partner ratio (5.5:1; raw numbers: 210:38), teams seem very hierarchical, people were nice but a little stiff/standoffish/too polite?

Three questions: (1) career prospects/advancement for litigation associates? (2) experience of being one among so many associates, even slightly more than at peer firms? (3) what is this "passive aggressive" critique about?

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Re: DPW (NYC) litigation

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 27, 2016 8:16 pm

I worked at dpw in lit and also experienced a peer firm. I think davis polk is one of the better places to do litigation in NY, but that's a weaker endorsement than it sounds.


Pros: more varied types of cases than the financial sector litigation that dominates at peer firms (S&C, CSM)


no. you're at a similar disadvantage as peers at S&C and CSM. your work will be largely financial institution driven, meaning securities. you have an outside chance at white collar investigations and antitrust. if you don't want do securities litigation, don't work for one of those three firms.

strong ties to gov't for exit opportunities (former DPW associates everywhere in EDNY/SDNY)

yes, very much so. that's why you go to one of these firms. davis polk is all over the federal judiciary and us attorneys' offices in new york. you don't have to worry about exit options in lit coming from dpw -- if you put in the work, someone can find you a clerkship or an AUSA position within three years if you express interest. Connect with folks like greg andres, neil macbride and avi gesser, among others.

Cons: among peer firms, worse litigation associate:partner ratio (5.5:1; raw numbers: 210:38), teams seem very hierarchical, people were nice but a little stiff/standoffish/too polite?


where did you get those numbers? they are inaccurate. your associate:partner ratio is not worse than peer firms. by peer firms I am talking principally about paul weiss, cravath, s&c, debevoise, and simpson. work is relatively interchangeable between these firms in litigation.

Teams are hierarchical, but not much moreso than elsewhere in white shoe new york. Leverage depends on the case. If you are on a major account--like something for jp morgan or morgan stanley in rmbs--the team can be huge, with one or two partners at the head, a very senior associate leading weekly meetings, midlevels leading projects within the team and 1st-2nd yrs doing "doc review plus", which basically amounts to varying degrees of depo prep and priv logs; if you are on a smaller matter, it could be just you and the partner or you (as a junior), a 4th year, and the partner. Investigations tend to be more leanly staffed than securities.

As for culture, really, IME working with dpw and another v5, dpw may be mildly more effete, but its not standoffish. Passive aggressive is a common moniker but really its just that you will be extended certain basic courtesies that an s&c associate in a similar position might not be; it doesn't change the amount of work you will have to do. I think davis polk has the reputation for being "nice"; compared to the shit I've heard of at e.g. Kirkland, sure, but at the end of the day when you are asked to essentially spend an additional couple nights in the office that week because opposing counsel noticed an additional three redundant depositions, does it matter that much? I've never slogged through the long haul--I think people at DPW ultimately appreciated the fact that they received a semblance of positive feedback and their vacations were respected--but I saw tough times all around.

I know it's cliché, but if you are choosing between dpw and its true peers, I would go where you feel comfortable and feel like you would get along with people. There's negligible difference in the work and no difference in prestige or opportunities. I happened to like the office, system, and people at davis polk better than at csm and s&c (note: if you are considering cravath, the rotation system is the most important factor vis a vis similar firms--if this is the type of mentorship you thrive on, it can be very positive, if its not, avoid it), but each choice is valid. Don't think between these firms you are finding an objectively "right" place to litigate. These are all, at the end of the day, corporate-focused firms--great places to start your career, but not likely to be where you end up long term.

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Re: DPW (NYC) litigation

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 27, 2016 8:36 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I worked at dpw in lit and also experienced a peer firm. I think davis polk is one of the better places to do litigation in NY, but that's a weaker endorsement than it sounds.


Pros: more varied types of cases than the financial sector litigation that dominates at peer firms (S&C, CSM)


no. you're at a similar disadvantage as peers at S&C and CSM. your work will be largely financial institution driven, meaning securities. you have an outside chance at white collar investigations and antitrust. if you don't want do securities litigation, don't work for one of those three firms.

strong ties to gov't for exit opportunities (former DPW associates everywhere in EDNY/SDNY)

yes, very much so. that's why you go to one of these firms. davis polk is all over the federal judiciary and us attorneys' offices in new york. you don't have to worry about exit options in lit coming from dpw -- if you put in the work, someone can find you a clerkship or an AUSA position within three years if you express interest. Connect with folks like greg andres, neil macbride and avi gesser, among others.

Cons: among peer firms, worse litigation associate:partner ratio (5.5:1; raw numbers: 210:38), teams seem very hierarchical, people were nice but a little stiff/standoffish/too polite?


where did you get those numbers? they are inaccurate. your associate:partner ratio is not worse than peer firms. by peer firms I am talking principally about paul weiss, cravath, s&c, debevoise, and simpson. work is relatively interchangeable between these firms in litigation.

Teams are hierarchical, but not much moreso than elsewhere in white shoe new york. Leverage depends on the case. If you are on a major account--like something for jp morgan or morgan stanley in rmbs--the team can be huge, with one or two partners at the head, a very senior associate leading weekly meetings, midlevels leading projects within the team and 1st-2nd yrs doing "doc review plus", which basically amounts to varying degrees of depo prep and priv logs; if you are on a smaller matter, it could be just you and the partner or you (as a junior), a 4th year, and the partner. Investigations tend to be more leanly staffed than securities.

As for culture, really, IME working with dpw and another v5, dpw may be mildly more effete, but its not standoffish. Passive aggressive is a common moniker but really its just that you will be extended certain basic courtesies that an s&c associate in a similar position might not be; it doesn't change the amount of work you will have to do. I think davis polk has the reputation for being "nice"; compared to the shit I've heard of at e.g. Kirkland, sure, but at the end of the day when you are asked to essentially spend an additional couple nights in the office that week because opposing counsel noticed an additional three redundant depositions, does it matter that much? I've never slogged through the long haul--I think people at DPW ultimately appreciated the fact that they received a semblance of positive feedback and their vacations were respected--but I saw tough times all around.

I know it's cliché, but if you are choosing between dpw and its true peers, I would go where you feel comfortable and feel like you would get along with people. There's negligible difference in the work and no difference in prestige or opportunities. I happened to like the office, system, and people at davis polk better than at csm and s&c (note: if you are considering cravath, the rotation system is the most important factor vis a vis similar firms--if this is the type of mentorship you thrive on, it can be very positive, if its not, avoid it), but each choice is valid. Don't think between these firms you are finding an objectively "right" place to litigate. These are all, at the end of the day, corporate-focused firms--great places to start your career, but not likely to be where you end up long term.


Not OP but wow! Thank you. This is extremely helpful.

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Re: DPW (NYC) litigation

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 27, 2016 8:43 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I worked at dpw in lit and also experienced a peer firm. I think davis polk is one of the better places to do litigation in NY, but that's a weaker endorsement than it sounds.


Pros: more varied types of cases than the financial sector litigation that dominates at peer firms (S&C, CSM)


no. you're at a similar disadvantage as peers at S&C and CSM. your work will be largely financial institution driven, meaning securities. you have an outside chance at white collar investigations and antitrust. if you don't want do securities litigation, don't work for one of those three firms.

strong ties to gov't for exit opportunities (former DPW associates everywhere in EDNY/SDNY)

yes, very much so. that's why you go to one of these firms. davis polk is all over the federal judiciary and us attorneys' offices in new york. you don't have to worry about exit options in lit coming from dpw -- if you put in the work, someone can find you a clerkship or an AUSA position within three years if you express interest. Connect with folks like greg andres, neil macbride and avi gesser, among others.

Cons: among peer firms, worse litigation associate:partner ratio (5.5:1; raw numbers: 210:38), teams seem very hierarchical, people were nice but a little stiff/standoffish/too polite?


where did you get those numbers? they are inaccurate. your associate:partner ratio is not worse than peer firms. by peer firms I am talking principally about paul weiss, cravath, s&c, debevoise, and simpson. work is relatively interchangeable between these firms in litigation.

Teams are hierarchical, but not much moreso than elsewhere in white shoe new york. Leverage depends on the case. If you are on a major account--like something for jp morgan or morgan stanley in rmbs--the team can be huge, with one or two partners at the head, a very senior associate leading weekly meetings, midlevels leading projects within the team and 1st-2nd yrs doing "doc review plus", which basically amounts to varying degrees of depo prep and priv logs; if you are on a smaller matter, it could be just you and the partner or you (as a junior), a 4th year, and the partner. Investigations tend to be more leanly staffed than securities.

As for culture, really, IME working with dpw and another v5, dpw may be mildly more effete, but its not standoffish. Passive aggressive is a common moniker but really its just that you will be extended certain basic courtesies that an s&c associate in a similar position might not be; it doesn't change the amount of work you will have to do. I think davis polk has the reputation for being "nice"; compared to the shit I've heard of at e.g. Kirkland, sure, but at the end of the day when you are asked to essentially spend an additional couple nights in the office that week because opposing counsel noticed an additional three redundant depositions, does it matter that much? I've never slogged through the long haul--I think people at DPW ultimately appreciated the fact that they received a semblance of positive feedback and their vacations were respected--but I saw tough times all around.

I know it's cliché, but if you are choosing between dpw and its true peers, I would go where you feel comfortable and feel like you would get along with people. There's negligible difference in the work and no difference in prestige or opportunities. I happened to like the office, system, and people at davis polk better than at csm and s&c (note: if you are considering cravath, the rotation system is the most important factor vis a vis similar firms--if this is the type of mentorship you thrive on, it can be very positive, if its not, avoid it), but each choice is valid. Don't think between these firms you are finding an objectively "right" place to litigate. These are all, at the end of the day, corporate-focused firms--great places to start your career, but not likely to be where you end up long term.


OP here - thank you so much! Very helpful.

I got the numbers from DPW's NALP, but realized just now it's a multioffice sheet. They don't have a NY-only sheet. http://www.nalpdirectory.com/content/Or ... t_6959.pdf

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Re: DPW (NYC) litigation

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 27, 2016 8:58 pm

Above poster convinced me that DPW/PW/CSM/S&C/STB litigation should come down most to fit (and for CSM, the rotation).

What about those firms vs. a litigation-intensive place (like GDC NY) for casework type/exit opps/culture?

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Re: DPW (NYC) litigation

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 27, 2016 11:22 pm

Was also wondering about how these firms compare to GDC NY? Also, how do these firms compare in terms of exit ops to main justice?

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Re: DPW (NYC) litigation

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 29, 2016 1:21 pm

bump

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Re: DPW (NYC) litigation

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 01, 2016 6:33 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I worked at dpw in lit and also experienced a peer firm. I think davis polk is one of the better places to do litigation in NY, but that's a weaker endorsement than it sounds.


Pros: more varied types of cases than the financial sector litigation that dominates at peer firms (S&C, CSM)


no. you're at a similar disadvantage as peers at S&C and CSM. your work will be largely financial institution driven, meaning securities. you have an outside chance at white collar investigations and antitrust. if you don't want do securities litigation, don't work for one of those three firms.

strong ties to gov't for exit opportunities (former DPW associates everywhere in EDNY/SDNY)

yes, very much so. that's why you go to one of these firms. davis polk is all over the federal judiciary and us attorneys' offices in new york. you don't have to worry about exit options in lit coming from dpw -- if you put in the work, someone can find you a clerkship or an AUSA position within three years if you express interest. Connect with folks like greg andres, neil macbride and avi gesser, among others.

Cons: among peer firms, worse litigation associate:partner ratio (5.5:1; raw numbers: 210:38), teams seem very hierarchical, people were nice but a little stiff/standoffish/too polite?


where did you get those numbers? they are inaccurate. your associate:partner ratio is not worse than peer firms. by peer firms I am talking principally about paul weiss, cravath, s&c, debevoise, and simpson. work is relatively interchangeable between these firms in litigation.

Teams are hierarchical, but not much moreso than elsewhere in white shoe new york. Leverage depends on the case. If you are on a major account--like something for jp morgan or morgan stanley in rmbs--the team can be huge, with one or two partners at the head, a very senior associate leading weekly meetings, midlevels leading projects within the team and 1st-2nd yrs doing "doc review plus", which basically amounts to varying degrees of depo prep and priv logs; if you are on a smaller matter, it could be just you and the partner or you (as a junior), a 4th year, and the partner. Investigations tend to be more leanly staffed than securities.

As for culture, really, IME working with dpw and another v5, dpw may be mildly more effete, but its not standoffish. Passive aggressive is a common moniker but really its just that you will be extended certain basic courtesies that an s&c associate in a similar position might not be; it doesn't change the amount of work you will have to do. I think davis polk has the reputation for being "nice"; compared to the shit I've heard of at e.g. Kirkland, sure, but at the end of the day when you are asked to essentially spend an additional couple nights in the office that week because opposing counsel noticed an additional three redundant depositions, does it matter that much? I've never slogged through the long haul--I think people at DPW ultimately appreciated the fact that they received a semblance of positive feedback and their vacations were respected--but I saw tough times all around.

I know it's cliché, but if you are choosing between dpw and its true peers, I would go where you feel comfortable and feel like you would get along with people. There's negligible difference in the work and no difference in prestige or opportunities. I happened to like the office, system, and people at davis polk better than at csm and s&c (note: if you are considering cravath, the rotation system is the most important factor vis a vis similar firms--if this is the type of mentorship you thrive on, it can be very positive, if its not, avoid it), but each choice is valid. Don't think between these firms you are finding an objectively "right" place to litigate. These are all, at the end of the day, corporate-focused firms--great places to start your career, but not likely to be where you end up long term.


Not sure how long ago you left DPW but currently there is a ton of white collar and investigation work across the department. Also, lthough there is a fair amount of securities work, it definitely doesn't seem to be the majority of what people are working on (bankruptcy, M&A lit, legal or other professional services malpractice, basic complex commercial disputes, etc. are examples of very busy areas that come to mind, putting aside the investigation work). I also think you presented the most extreme example of hierarchical cases. In my experience, and in the experience of others I know, it depends on a ton of factors. Larger cases are not necessarily run as silos as you describe.

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Re: DPW (NYC) litigation

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 01, 2016 6:43 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I worked at dpw in lit and also experienced a peer firm. I think davis polk is one of the better places to do litigation in NY, but that's a weaker endorsement than it sounds.


Pros: more varied types of cases than the financial sector litigation that dominates at peer firms (S&C, CSM)


no. you're at a similar disadvantage as peers at S&C and CSM. your work will be largely financial institution driven, meaning securities. you have an outside chance at white collar investigations and antitrust. if you don't want do securities litigation, don't work for one of those three firms.

strong ties to gov't for exit opportunities (former DPW associates everywhere in EDNY/SDNY)

yes, very much so. that's why you go to one of these firms. davis polk is all over the federal judiciary and us attorneys' offices in new york. you don't have to worry about exit options in lit coming from dpw -- if you put in the work, someone can find you a clerkship or an AUSA position within three years if you express interest. Connect with folks like greg andres, neil macbride and avi gesser, among others.

Cons: among peer firms, worse litigation associate:partner ratio (5.5:1; raw numbers: 210:38), teams seem very hierarchical, people were nice but a little stiff/standoffish/too polite?


where did you get those numbers? they are inaccurate. your associate:partner ratio is not worse than peer firms. by peer firms I am talking principally about paul weiss, cravath, s&c, debevoise, and simpson. work is relatively interchangeable between these firms in litigation.

Teams are hierarchical, but not much moreso than elsewhere in white shoe new york. Leverage depends on the case. If you are on a major account--like something for jp morgan or morgan stanley in rmbs--the team can be huge, with one or two partners at the head, a very senior associate leading weekly meetings, midlevels leading projects within the team and 1st-2nd yrs doing "doc review plus", which basically amounts to varying degrees of depo prep and priv logs; if you are on a smaller matter, it could be just you and the partner or you (as a junior), a 4th year, and the partner. Investigations tend to be more leanly staffed than securities.

As for culture, really, IME working with dpw and another v5, dpw may be mildly more effete, but its not standoffish. Passive aggressive is a common moniker but really its just that you will be extended certain basic courtesies that an s&c associate in a similar position might not be; it doesn't change the amount of work you will have to do. I think davis polk has the reputation for being "nice"; compared to the shit I've heard of at e.g. Kirkland, sure, but at the end of the day when you are asked to essentially spend an additional couple nights in the office that week because opposing counsel noticed an additional three redundant depositions, does it matter that much? I've never slogged through the long haul--I think people at DPW ultimately appreciated the fact that they received a semblance of positive feedback and their vacations were respected--but I saw tough times all around.

I know it's cliché, but if you are choosing between dpw and its true peers, I would go where you feel comfortable and feel like you would get along with people. There's negligible difference in the work and no difference in prestige or opportunities. I happened to like the office, system, and people at davis polk better than at csm and s&c (note: if you are considering cravath, the rotation system is the most important factor vis a vis similar firms--if this is the type of mentorship you thrive on, it can be very positive, if its not, avoid it), but each choice is valid. Don't think between these firms you are finding an objectively "right" place to litigate. These are all, at the end of the day, corporate-focused firms--great places to start your career, but not likely to be where you end up long term.


Not sure how long ago you left DPW but currently there is a ton of white collar and investigation work across the department. Also, lthough there is a fair amount of securities work, it definitely doesn't seem to be the majority of what people are working on (bankruptcy, M&A lit, legal or other professional services malpractice, basic complex commercial disputes, etc. are examples of very busy areas that come to mind, putting aside the investigation work). I also think you presented the most extreme example of hierarchical cases. In my experience, and in the experience of others I know, it depends on a ton of factors. Larger cases are not necessarily run as silos as you describe.


I worked on both securities and white collar matters, and the investigations seemed to always be more flexible and less hierarchical than the big securities litigations. Don't get me wrong, there was always a ton of white collar work--especially with the addition of macbride, mcinerney and greg andres--and a decent amount of antitrust and m&a lit, but nearly everyone seemed to have worked on one of the big rmbs cases at some point or another. Throughout the time I was there, securities cases were the largest billing matters in the department (and even sometimes at the entire firm), and the cases got up to 15+ associates.

You seem to have a lot more experience so I'm glad there are other voices. For whatever perceived flaws there were at DPW, they are shared or even worse at peers.

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Re: DPW (NYC) litigation

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 01, 2016 6:53 pm

I'm deciding between DPW and a lit boutique that has many fewer associates per partner (don't want to say which one because they don't have many offers open and I don't want to out myself). The main difference that I saw between the two was that at DPW there's not a way for juniors to consistently be involved in the strategic aspects of litigation practice. The juniors I spoke to at the boutique didn't determine strategy immediately, of course, but they were considered a natural part of meetings about strategy and felt like their suggestions were taken seriously. They were often told what was wrong with a certain suggestion, but it was done in a "we're training you" way and not a "STFU noob" way.

The two juniors I spoke with at DPW looked at me like I had two heads when I asked them about their involvement in strategy and higher-level planning. Maybe they don't use the same terminology, maybe they had not yet worked on matters where my question would have made sense, but it seemed like a significant difference in the types of training I could expect at the two different firms.

How much you care about this really depends on your goals, but the ability to experience and be involved in strategic decision-making is a huge plus for me, and ultimately why I'm 90% leaning towards the boutique.

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Re: DPW (NYC) litigation

Postby quiver » Fri Sep 02, 2016 11:17 am

Anonymous User wrote:I'm deciding between DPW and a lit boutique that has many fewer associates per partner (don't want to say which one because they don't have many offers open and I don't want to out myself). The main difference that I saw between the two was that at DPW there's not a way for juniors to consistently be involved in the strategic aspects of litigation practice. The juniors I spoke to at the boutique didn't determine strategy immediately, of course, but they were considered a natural part of meetings about strategy and felt like their suggestions were taken seriously. They were often told what was wrong with a certain suggestion, but it was done in a "we're training you" way and not a "STFU noob" way.

The two juniors I spoke with at DPW looked at me like I had two heads when I asked them about their involvement in strategy and higher-level planning. Maybe they don't use the same terminology, maybe they had not yet worked on matters where my question would have made sense, but it seemed like a significant difference in the types of training I could expect at the two different firms.

How much you care about this really depends on your goals, but the ability to experience and be involved in strategic decision-making is a huge plus for me, and ultimately why I'm 90% leaning towards the boutique.
Go to the lit boutique.



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