DPW NY vs. STB NY

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DPW NY or STB NY

DPW NY
11
42%
STB NY
15
58%
 
Total votes: 26

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DPW NY vs. STB NY

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 31, 2016 11:43 pm

By now I have narrowed down my options to these two, and I think that's because they are freakishly similar. Same prestige, same corporate practices, even on the same street across each other. One associate from one of the firms actually said to me, "yeah, you can't go wrong by choosing [the other firm]."

I know that DPW is stronger in cap mkt, and STB in PE. I'm generally interested in M&A, but I eliminated the other M&A powerhouses because I really liked the people in DPW and STB more than in any other firm. For me that matters more than a few spots on the Vault ranking.

I know this is really a happy problem to have, but I do want to have as much advice as I can get on this. Also don't lose hope! I struck out on all my cbs the first whole week before they finally started to turn into yeses. You never know what's going to happen next.

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Re: DPW NY vs. STB NY

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 01, 2016 7:33 am

I'm also considering both, but for litigation. According to my DPW corporate friends - one of the biggest concerns at DPW corporate seemed to be the relative difficulty of getting your top-choice rotations, at least compared to at STB. E.g. someone got their 7th ranked choice. They felt there was politicking necessary to get into the group you ultimately wanted, but didn't elaborate. I don't know much more, but seems like something to probe at second looks. This was coming from friends who weren't in "sell" mode with me.

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deepseapartners

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Re: DPW NY vs. STB NY

Postby deepseapartners » Thu Sep 01, 2016 8:08 am

Just a general observation, but for my class it seemed like people who were generally more corporate-focused chose STB over DPW, and litigation-focused people chose DPW over STB. I have no personal experience with either firm, but maybe there's some wisdom of the crowd here.

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Re: DPW NY vs. STB NY

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 01, 2016 8:26 am

Isn't STB more known for PE M&A and DPW for public company M&A (dovetails with their capital market strength)? To the extent that distinction matters, might be a way to decide.

For what it's worth, I've done a couple deal across from DPW (albeit not their NYC office) and found them pleasant and reasonable to work with, which is more than you can say for a lot of firms you see on the other side. Haven't worked across from STB so can't make any comparison there.

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Re: DPW NY vs. STB NY

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 01, 2016 8:45 am

Anonymous User wrote:I'm also considering both, but for litigation. According to my DPW corporate friends - one of the biggest concerns at DPW corporate seemed to be the relative difficulty of getting your top-choice rotations, at least compared to at STB. E.g. someone got their 7th ranked choice. They felt there was politicking necessary to get into the group you ultimately wanted, but didn't elaborate. I don't know much more, but seems like something to probe at second looks. This was coming from friends who weren't in "sell" mode with me.


Could you explain your decision making / variables that are influencing you on the litigation side?

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Re: DPW NY vs. STB NY

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 01, 2016 12:48 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I'm also considering both, but for litigation. According to my DPW corporate friends - one of the biggest concerns at DPW corporate seemed to be the relative difficulty of getting your top-choice rotations, at least compared to at STB. E.g. someone got their 7th ranked choice. They felt there was politicking necessary to get into the group you ultimately wanted, but didn't elaborate. I don't know much more, but seems like something to probe at second looks. This was coming from friends who weren't in "sell" mode with me.


Could you explain your decision making / variables that are influencing you on the litigation side?


Sure - but I wasn't doing a direct comparison of STB and DPW. For me, the big question is, do I want to go to a litigation powerhouse (PW, GDC), or a formidable litigation department in a corporate-driven firm (STB, S&C)? DPW is in between those categories - its litigation is a famous DOJ and regulators revolving door, but is smaller than corporate. Having worked in litigation before law school and at a top AUSA this summer, I knew DPW had a sterling reputation among litigators.

But I'm not going to DPW due to fit, and am only considering the other four firms. I've now done all my interviews, second looks, several meals and receptions at both STB and DPW. Despite DPW's and STB's similar reputations as nice, pleasant, and polite, I actually thought their feel - at least, in litigation - was noticeably different. STB is warmer, whereas DPW is more introvertedly professional and quietly intense. STB seemed to have more socially intuitive people, and DPW more polite rationalists, a bit more socially awkward. Another difference was DPW's intensity. They struck me as A+ students with their eyes on the prize, whereas STB struck me more as mature professionals who had gotten A+s and are trying to balance excellence and family. For litigation, many people purposefully go to DPW to gun for AUSA. But they are all nice, polite gunners. Almost everyone at STB volunteered information about their partner or kids, whereas the DPW people were more private. A DPW associate told me a hilarious story about how someone on his team got transferred to DC after the team partner found out that person's fiancée lived in DC - but the associate had just been too shy to raise it with the firm.

In addition to fit, I didn't like how huge litigation is, and hierarchical their teams are as a result. A lot of layering between juniors and partners, and clearly defined junior roles. I don't think the hierarchy is oppressive or sweat-shoppy, but it is formal and respected - perhaps a reflection of the culture and people. By comparison, STB's litigation is notably smaller, its teams are lean, and first-year responsibilities seemed more fluid and substantive than at DPW, based on surveying many first-years on their casework.

Finally, informal training and mentorship matter to me a lot - and I thought the "fit" between me and partners was better at STB than DPW. STB partners were SO nice, ones that'd I feel comfortable openly talking about my weaknesses with or having a brief eviscerated by. The DPW partners were also nice, but more in manner and not in a way that made me feel like I could trust or be at ease with them. A stereotyped way to describe this is: imagine if your bosses were former prosecutors and law and order (not the TV show) types, and they chose the polite formality at DPW to settle down in. You wouldn't want to show them your weaknesses. Finally, I also noted more awkwardness between DPW associates and partners, whereas STB partners seemed like pals with associates.

DPW is awesome, just not for me.

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Re: DPW NY vs. STB NY

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 01, 2016 1:44 pm

For transactional practice, I think it's a very tough call to say which of these firms is superior. These are two of the best firms to be at in the city, both for quality of work and culture. At the same time, I think if you have something more than a remote inkling about what you want to do, or you have any experience with acquisitions or corporate finance, there are ways to make the right decision. As someone alluded to upthread, the distinctions between STB and DPW/S&C in terms of corporate strengths are real and readily apparent: DPW is the choice for finance/banking/capital markets/financial institutions representation, and STB is the choice for PE/private M&A/real estate/hedge fund. Someone told me that if you're at DPW you're working for Morgan Stanley and at STB you're working for KKR, and thats not entirely false. DPW has the strongest niche finance practices in new york: hence why their smaller groups are so popular, and not easy to get into. However, that doesn't do much for someone who just wants to work deals and doesn't care yet about the nuances of their character. Someone better versed in these nuances could speak up and explain them if you were interested.

Now at the risk of sounding like I'm contradicting myself, putting all that aside, both firms are pretty strong across the board. It's not like STB doesn't have IPOs and massive financings and DPW doesn't do great private equity work. What distinguishes firms like DPW/STB/S&C/Cravath from the rest of the new york market is in part the breadth of their corporate strengths and their institutional clientele that will always be there (creating remarkable financial security for the law firms).

Congrats on your top options.



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