Thoughts on Wachtell

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Thoughts on Wachtell

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 02, 2016 1:10 pm

I was wondering if anyone here has turned down a Wachtell offer for a different NY firm or a different city? The money is obviously enticing, especially if you have debt, but it's a major lifestyle sacrifice. For anyone who who chose to turn it down, do you regret not going with the money/prestige? Would you recommend a person who values work/life balance to just gut it out for a year or two? I know this partly depends on the person but just curious to hear other thoughts.

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Wild Card

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Re: Thoughts on Wachtell

Postby Wild Card » Fri Sep 02, 2016 1:18 pm

You'll be making a "major lifestyle sacrifice" at whatever other firm you're considering. Work-life balance is a lie.

This thread is undoubtedly a thinly-veiled effort to brag about your Wachtell offer.

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Re: Thoughts on Wachtell

Postby LaLiLuLeLo » Fri Sep 02, 2016 1:22 pm

I knew a woman who was close with a professor, a former Watchell partner. He stuck his neck out for her and got her an interview which became an offer. However, she really screwed him and turned it down for god knows what reason. Watchell!

Now she's stuck doing insurance defense, her fiancé just left her according to Facebook, and I think her dog has kidney failure.

See what happens when you turn down Watchell?

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Re: Thoughts on Wachtell

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 02, 2016 1:24 pm

People turn down Wachtell every year. I did, and I know of at least 4-6 other students (at the firm I ended up at or at other firms) who did so, too. Wachtell is a fantastic firm, but you have to be into the type of work they do. Only you're capable of making that decision, so this thread is weird/pointless. Are you into the work? Then go. If you're not, then go somewhere else. Lifestyle firms are non-existent

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Re: Thoughts on Wachtell

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 02, 2016 1:28 pm

Wild Card wrote:You'll be making a "major lifestyle sacrifice" at whatever other firm you're considering. Work-life balance is a lie.

This thread is undoubtedly a thinly-veiled effort to brag about your Wachtell offer.


I gotta admit this made me laugh. Why would I post anonymously on an online forum to brag about a Wachtell offer? You don't know who I am. That just doesn't make any sense. The fact that you can't imagine a world where anyone would pose this question for any other reason but to brag is bizarre to me.

That said I appreciate the rest of your post. I've heard the "work-life balance is a lie" line before, but I've also heard the opposite. That's partially why I asked this question - to see if anyone chose work-life balance (relatively speaking, of course) and wasn't totally disappointed with their choice.

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Re: Thoughts on Wachtell

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 02, 2016 1:30 pm

Anonymous User wrote:People turn down Wachtell every year. I did, and I know of at least 4-6 other students (at the firm I ended up at or at other firms) who did so, too. Wachtell is a fantastic firm, but you have to be into the type of work they do. Only you're capable of making that decision, so this thread is weird/pointless. Are you into the work? Then go. If you're not, then go somewhere else. Lifestyle firms are non-existent


Honestly, I'm not sure what I'm into biglaw-wise. I don't have a lot of biglaw experience. I'm actually surprised when people say they know for sure. I guess I've heard horror stories about Wachtell that I haven't heard about other places, that's why I ask. But I get your point.

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Re: Thoughts on Wachtell

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 02, 2016 1:42 pm

What else are you thinking about choosing? That makes a big difference, I think.

I would not turn down Wachtell for Cravath but I might for DPW or another firm that seems like you might have a reasonable chance of sticking it out there long-term. The whole "do two years of hell and then bail to a "lesser" firm" plan seems really unpleasant to me compared to just doing 6 years at a firm that's not as insane. Of course, I don't know if Wachtell would be "hell" for you or not. That's up to you, and your realistic assessment of your own ability to work those kinds of hours.

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Re: Thoughts on Wachtell

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 02, 2016 1:50 pm

You won't get a great work/life balance doing M&A at any top firm in NY. At Wachtell, you'll get the best deals, lots of responsibility and generally work with smart folks, many (not all) of whom are quite nice. You'll also probably lose 10-15 hrs a week of free time, and have fewer slow cycles to catch up on sleep, friends, etc. You'll get a lot more money. Today, the extra money and prestige seems important. Once you start working, you'll realize that the extra time may be worth more.

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Re: Thoughts on Wachtell

Postby rwe13 » Fri Sep 02, 2016 1:51 pm

I would take the extra money, especially considering how short most big law careers are and how bad the hours are in NY big law

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Re: Thoughts on Wachtell

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 02, 2016 1:58 pm

Anonymous User wrote:What else are you thinking about choosing? That makes a big difference, I think.

I would not turn down Wachtell for Cravath but I might for DPW or another firm that seems like you might have a reasonable chance of sticking it out there long-term. The whole "do two years of hell and then bail to a "lesser" firm" plan seems really unpleasant to me compared to just doing 6 years at a firm that's not as insane. Of course, I don't know if Wachtell would be "hell" for you or not. That's up to you, and your realistic assessment of your own ability to work those kinds of hours.


Yeah I don't want to name firms specifically but some associates I've talked to really played up the fact that they had a great work-life balance and only billed 1800-1900 a year. Some of these firms were in the south btw. Now I'm not averse in any way to working hard or grinding late nights. But balance is something I consider and I've always questioned the "two years in hell idea." I know that in the end it's a personal choice but I'm sure that other people have been in similar if not identical positions, or just generally have accumulated insight with experience, and I'd love to take in some of that hindsight.

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Re: Thoughts on Wachtell

Postby jbagelboy » Fri Sep 02, 2016 2:01 pm

as for generic ny firms, someone my year went to davis polk over wachtell; someone the year before went to cravath; I think someone the year after went to s&c. so it happens, but its the definite minority of cases. generally they had idiosyncratic reasons, but not totally crazy.

of course people go to w&c and munger and kellog huber over wachtell each year, but that's a little different.

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Re: Thoughts on Wachtell

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 02, 2016 2:10 pm

Regarding hours, don't expect a phenomenal QOL at any NY biglaw firm, unless you are in a smaller / niche practice group. Lit and M&A especially will by their nature blow in and monopolize your life (think months of late nights, weekends, and even all-nighters). Wachtell and Cravath are likely the worst, but the nature of the practice groups will lead to rough schedules throughout the V100. The difference I've seen is the V10 have you insanely busy sometimes and just very busy others, whereas the rest of the V100 have you insanely busy sometimes and dead the rest.

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Re: Thoughts on Wachtell

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 02, 2016 2:26 pm

I don't think it makes sense to say that every NY firm is the same. From all the information we have, Wachtell has notably higher hours (along with Cravath) than the vast majority of NY firms, even "V10" or whatever. That doesn't mean that everyone at Wachtell will work more than everyone at, say, STB. It does mean that overall your chances of billing an insane amount of hours seems to go up substantially if you work at Wachtell or Cravath than if you work at another firm. It seems smart to take that into consideration when you're deciding between firms, instead of just throwing up your hands and saying "well every NY firm sucks!" That's both true and irrelevant to the comparative suckiness of Wachtell.

OP, we really can't advise you without having a decent idea of what you're choosing between.

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Re: Thoughts on Wachtell

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 04, 2016 9:03 am

I was an associate at WLRK. I can tell you that you'll be working at least 2600 in litigation and probably around 2800 in Corp depending on deal flow. It is not unusual for corporate folks to log 3000 hours. Nonetheless, I loved working there and most of my colleagues enjoyed working there.

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Re: Thoughts on Wachtell

Postby cjw564 » Sun Sep 04, 2016 9:22 am

Last year, every CLS kid who got wlrk offer ended at wachtell. 9/10 HLS kids who got the nod went with wachtell. The one HLS kid who gave up the wlrk offer can work at wachtell anytime she wants because her family is royalty in the American legal world. Think about why wachtell is such a common choice among tippy top students at top schools - do you think there is something special about you compared to most CLS/HLS students who got the wlrk offer. OP, you can only go wrong by doing something that is outside the norm.

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Re: Thoughts on Wachtell

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 04, 2016 9:49 am

The reason it's obvious this is a brag post is that u cant honestly believe it's so RARE to turn down wachtell. They're a firm, that's all. I turned them own as do many people every year (and, incidentally, I'm including here people who accepted summer positions but who voluntarily don't return after graduation).

Give us a break.

To answer your question, though, no I don't regret turning it down.

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Re: Thoughts on Wachtell

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 04, 2016 10:34 am

People here are really over blowing the "you won't have a work life balance anywhere" trope. As an associate a non Wachtell major NY firm with friends at all the other major NY firms, Wachtell included, the Wachtell folks appear to work meaningfully more. All firms are going to involve long days, weeks or months but at Wachtell you can expect to not have any sort of meaningful life outside of work, which is not the case at the others. It's the trade you make, and one some people are totally willing to since Wachtell does great work and gives associates a ton of experience.

There's no firm in the city that has consistently good hours or totally free weekends but once you've started working you realize that the difference between SOME free evenings/weekends and NONE cannot be trivialized to "oh it's an extra 15 billables nbd".

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Re: Thoughts on Wachtell

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 04, 2016 10:58 am

cjw564 wrote:Last year, every CLS kid who got wlrk offer ended at wachtell. 9/10 HLS kids who got the nod went with wachtell. The one HLS kid who gave up the wlrk offer can work at wachtell anytime she wants because her family is royalty in the American legal world. Think about why wachtell is such a common choice among tippy top students at top schools - do you think there is something special about you compared to most CLS/HLS students who got the wlrk offer. OP, you can only go wrong by doing something that is outside the norm.


This post is retarded or possibly just misguided. As a former HYS law review editor, I can vouch that most of the "tippy top" law students have no interest in corporate or corporate-related work, and by extension have no interest in a WLRK offer. (I'm not ruling out that ambitions of "tippy top" students at a CLS-level school might be lower.)

I'm fairly confident that WLRK is the best launching pad for a NY-based corporate law career, but if the firm is one of your options the relevant decision set is less CSM/S&C/DPW, and more W&C/OLC/elite boutique, etc. What do you want to do in life? (Secondary question: where do you want to be?) Good luck with your choice.

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Re: Thoughts on Wachtell

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 04, 2016 11:48 am

Somewhat anecdotal, but I know of someone who turned down Wachtell for a non-cravath V5. It's true that the hours are going to be insane no matter where you go, but Wachtell does somehow ask even more out of its associates. Part of it is self-selection; you have to be an insane workaholic to even want that lifestyle. Big difference between a firm where associates average 2200-2500 hours to Wachtell where billing 3000+ hours is the norm.

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Re: Thoughts on Wachtell

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 04, 2016 5:53 pm

Anonymous User wrote: As a former HYS law review editor, I can vouch that most of the "tippy top" law students have no interest in corporate or corporate-related work, and by extension have no interest in a WLRK offer. (I'm not ruling out that ambitions of "tippy top" students at a CLS-level school might be lower.)


...That's the most pompous gag-inducing sentence I have ever read on this sub.

"CLS-level school?" You honestly think that the ambitions of top students at the second best law school differ significantly from those at the fourth best law school?

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Re: Thoughts on Wachtell

Postby jbagelboy » Sun Sep 04, 2016 5:57 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote: As a former HYS law review editor, I can vouch that most of the "tippy top" law students have no interest in corporate or corporate-related work, and by extension have no interest in a WLRK offer. (I'm not ruling out that ambitions of "tippy top" students at a CLS-level school might be lower.)


...That's the most pompous gag-inducing sentence I have ever read on this sub.

"CLS-level school?" You honestly think that the ambitions of top students at the second best law school differ significantly from those at the fourth best law school?


Christ that was quite a post wasn't it

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Re: Thoughts on Wachtell

Postby jbagelboy » Sun Sep 04, 2016 6:01 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
cjw564 wrote:Last year, every CLS kid who got wlrk offer ended at wachtell. 9/10 HLS kids who got the nod went with wachtell. The one HLS kid who gave up the wlrk offer can work at wachtell anytime she wants because her family is royalty in the American legal world. Think about why wachtell is such a common choice among tippy top students at top schools - do you think there is something special about you compared to most CLS/HLS students who got the wlrk offer. OP, you can only go wrong by doing something that is outside the norm.


This post is retarded or possibly just misguided. As a former HYS law review editor, I can vouch that most of the "tippy top" law students have no interest in corporate or corporate-related work, and by extension have no interest in a WLRK offer. (I'm not ruling out that ambitions of "tippy top" students at a CLS-level school might be lower.)

I'm fairly confident that WLRK is the best launching pad for a NY-based corporate law career, but if the firm is one of your options the relevant decision set is less CSM/S&C/DPW, and more W&C/OLC/elite boutique, etc. What do you want to do in life? (Secondary question: where do you want to be?) Good luck with your choice.


Wachtell has a pretty reputable m&a litigation group, easily in the w&c/munger/susman mold of expertise.

I can vouch that "tippy top" CLS students pursue and achieve the same ambitions as many tippy top students at other top schools. Harvard and Columbia tend to have slightly more corporate-interested students than Yale and Chicago, but that's not really the point.

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Re: Thoughts on Wachtell

Postby 20181989 » Mon Sep 05, 2016 1:17 am

OP, I turned down Wachtell. Feel free to pm.

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Re: Thoughts on Wachtell

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 05, 2016 9:35 am

jbagelboy wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
cjw564 wrote:Last year, every CLS kid who got wlrk offer ended at wachtell. 9/10 HLS kids who got the nod went with wachtell. The one HLS kid who gave up the wlrk offer can work at wachtell anytime she wants because her family is royalty in the American legal world. Think about why wachtell is such a common choice among tippy top students at top schools - do you think there is something special about you compared to most CLS/HLS students who got the wlrk offer. OP, you can only go wrong by doing something that is outside the norm.


This post is retarded or possibly just misguided. As a former HYS law review editor, I can vouch that most of the "tippy top" law students have no interest in corporate or corporate-related work, and by extension have no interest in a WLRK offer. (I'm not ruling out that ambitions of "tippy top" students at a CLS-level school might be lower.)

I'm fairly confident that WLRK is the best launching pad for a NY-based corporate law career, but if the firm is one of your options the relevant decision set is less CSM/S&C/DPW, and more W&C/OLC/elite boutique, etc. What do you want to do in life? (Secondary question: where do you want to be?) Good luck with your choice.


Wachtell has a pretty reputable m&a litigation group, easily in the w&c/munger/susman mold of expertise.

I can vouch that "tippy top" CLS students pursue and achieve the same ambitions as many tippy top students at other top schools. Harvard and Columbia tend to have slightly more corporate-interested students than Yale and Chicago, but that's not really the point.


WLRK's M&A litigation case load is a relatively small part of the lit practice. Most lit associates don't do deal litigation at WLRK. They have a broad litigation practice at WLRK with emphasis on securities litigation.

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Re: Thoughts on Wachtell

Postby hdunlop » Mon Sep 05, 2016 10:54 am

cjw564 wrote:OP, you can only go wrong by doing something that is outside the norm.

Everything depressing about the legal field in a sentence.



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