rpupkin wrote:I am a west-coast litigator who knows nothing about Cadwalader, but I'll say this: be very wary of making career choices based on TLS anecdotes. The culture within a firm can vary. It may be that Cadwalader's reputation is due to a couple of conspicuously horrible practice groups, but that its capital market group has great partners who work well with associates. (I'm certainly not saying that's the case; I'm just suggesting you remain open to the possibility.) The individual partners and senior associates you end up working with are WAY more important the overall "culture" of a big law firm.
I'm at Cadwalader, so I'm clearly biased, but I would reiterate this sentiment. My suspicion is that users who simply post "don't go to Cadwalader" regurgitate what they perceive to be a conventional wisdom passed down from an online game of telephone. TLS is an almost comically scatterbrained source of anecdotes about "culture." I'm happy, and I don't see much evidence for this thread's crankiness and cynicism. I enjoy the workplace, and I think most of my class who actually like the practice of law in the first place are also fine. As with any firm, it depends on who you work with, and I like my superiors. But I don't get the impression that a devil lurks behind every other corner of the building.
With regard to that user who posted Mike Gambro's profile: I don't do cap markets work, but if you're evaluating the practice I suggest that you have to think a bit more broadly. Sure, the firm's most niche expertise is building bonds with an emphasis on mortgage-backed securities and CLOs (hence some, uh, kerfuffles around the financial crisis caused by mortgage-backed securities). So sure, CWT has more partners who specialize in CMBS work than many firms, and they're a wildly profitable gang of lawyers. But Financial Services also has partners who build mutual funds and hedge funds, Cap Markets securitizes a lot of other kinds of instruments, and altogether the firm's Wall Street exposure is pretty broad once you finish looking through its book of business with i-banks.
In the end, as much as you think you have no SF/NY preference, your firm choice is fairly inseparable from the city choice. If you like tech work in the Bay, go to Cooley. If you like Wall Street finance in New York, go to Cad. They're just so so different, with quite divergent long-term trajectories, that I think you'll have to develop a gut preference between them. Good luck and congrats.