Qualitative difference in large non-vault ranked firm vs ranked?

(On Campus Interviews, Summer Associate positions, Firm Reviews, Tips, ...)
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are revealing sensitive employment related information about a firm, job, etc. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned.
Offline

New
Posts: 21
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2016 3:37 pm

Qualitative difference in large non-vault ranked firm vs ranked?

Postby Offline » Sun Oct 23, 2016 11:37 pm

Brand new junior associate here. I am at one of those fake big firms in a major city that provides full service but gets paid by insurance carriers, so the salary is like 90K. Everyone at my firm went to TTT school, including partners. Only a handful of us went to T25 and above.

Are lawyers at larger vault ranked firms more skilled? Are the cases they work on better/more interesting/more sophisticated than what I do? I just billed 60 hour this past week and I'm really starting to wonder how better things are at other larger firms. To make things worse, my partner is a grade A asshole and all the associates left. I mean all 5 who were working for him. I am one of the five who was recently hired as replacement. If I have to work this much for a shitty boss, might as well get paid double, not that it's up to me.

Just wondering how greener things are on the other side.

User avatar
trebekismyhero

Silver
Posts: 810
Joined: Fri May 22, 2015 5:26 pm

Re: Qualitative difference in large non-vault ranked firm vs ranked?

Postby trebekismyhero » Mon Oct 24, 2016 12:08 am

Main difference is the $ and the type of clients that you are working for. The associates and partners at most vault big law firms are t14 grads or top students at t1 schools. I don't think this means they're better lawyers though. And one other difference is that at most firms you wouldn't work for just one partner like you seem to describe. I mean big law has a whole lot of issues that have been covered in many other threads, but these are the main differences from what you described at your firm.

User avatar
ArtistOfManliness

Silver
Posts: 590
Joined: Tue Aug 06, 2013 10:56 pm

Re: Qualitative difference in large non-vault ranked firm vs ranked?

Postby ArtistOfManliness » Mon Oct 24, 2016 12:32 am

Substantial difference in the quality of briefs and oral argument—especially when you get to V15+litigation boutiques. It is truly shocking how bad some briefs are that come out of even the large, non-ranked, law firms.

Blackfish

New
Posts: 99
Joined: Wed Dec 25, 2013 9:58 am

Re: Qualitative difference in large non-vault ranked firm vs ranked?

Postby Blackfish » Mon Oct 24, 2016 1:11 am

ArtistOfManliness wrote:Substantial difference in the quality of briefs and oral argument—especially when you get to V15+litigation boutiques. It is truly shocking how bad some briefs are that come out of even the large, non-ranked, law firms.


damn what about v22? TTT?

User avatar
ArtistOfManliness

Silver
Posts: 590
Joined: Tue Aug 06, 2013 10:56 pm

Re: Qualitative difference in large non-vault ranked firm vs ranked?

Postby ArtistOfManliness » Mon Oct 24, 2016 1:14 am

Blackfish wrote:
ArtistOfManliness wrote:Substantial difference in the quality of briefs and oral argument—especially when you get to V15+litigation boutiques. It is truly shocking how bad some briefs are that come out of even the large, non-ranked, law firms.


damn what about v22? TTT?


sucks to suck

User avatar
nealric

Moderator
Posts: 2930
Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2009 9:53 am

Re: Qualitative difference in large non-vault ranked firm vs ranked?

Postby nealric » Mon Oct 24, 2016 10:15 am

Biglaw firms (I use biglaw to mean a market-paying national or international firm and not a larger regional firm) are more likely to get larger, more specialized, or more complex cases. Most companies (mine included) have informal tiers of issues. If we are facing a potential $100 million loss on a very complicated case, it's going to a very high end firm. If we are facing a $100k slip and fall claim, we are going with someone much cheaper. There's lots of variation within that range.

What that means to you: The biglaw firm is going to try to finely polish every draft of everything that gets sent out. While that can help from a training standpoint, it also means a junior associate is unlikely to make any substantive decisions or even do much drafting. Juniors are used to hunt down small issues that a small firm wouldn't even have time to consider and help manage large discovery projects smaller firms aren't even equipped to take on. Smaller firms don't have the staffing or budget to work cases like that.

I don't think it makes sense to say the biglaw firm is always better or worse. Depends on the type of practice you are looking for, and the interpersonal factors that often have little to do with the type of firm and are more just culture and fit issues.

User avatar
jbagelboy

Diamond
Posts: 10281
Joined: Thu Nov 29, 2012 7:57 pm

Re: Qualitative difference in large non-vault ranked firm vs ranked?

Postby jbagelboy » Mon Oct 24, 2016 2:44 pm

Sorry to say for you, the grass probably is greener at a market paying vault firm. The quality is probably a little higher, attrition is bad but not quite as bad, and most importantly, you are getting paid double with standard incremental yearly increases for performing similar tasks.

If you had the opportunity to interview with a major market paying firm, you should probably take the opportunity; a smaller firm that pays the same but has better hours and more interesting work would also be a good option.

Offline

New
Posts: 21
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2016 3:37 pm

Re: Qualitative difference in large non-vault ranked firm vs ranked?

Postby Offline » Wed Oct 26, 2016 1:32 am

considering I'm new at my firm, is it even worth throwing out resume? How would firms look at my 1 month stint? The only outcome I can imagine is, "this guy is trying to flip after a month. red flag!"

tyroneslothrop1

Bronze
Posts: 287
Joined: Fri Apr 01, 2016 3:48 pm

Re: Qualitative difference in large non-vault ranked firm vs ranked?

Postby tyroneslothrop1 » Wed Oct 26, 2016 2:08 am

Just apply. They may think "this guy works at a shitty firm, no wonder he wants to interview." Generally, speaking 3-5 years in is the lateral sweet spot but there is absolutely no harm in exploring your options now.

ballouttacontrol

Silver
Posts: 677
Joined: Tue Sep 15, 2015 9:00 pm

Re: Qualitative difference in large non-vault ranked firm vs ranked?

Postby ballouttacontrol » Wed Oct 26, 2016 3:07 am

There's zero harm in trying to jump, but, IMHO, if you didn't have the credentials to get BigLaw during law school, I don't see much of a chance BigLaw would hire someone with minimal experience from a firm as you describe.

And depending on the market and practice area, biglaw might not be something you will ever have a shot at if you didn't have the creds in the first place. Once you actually have something to offer to a biglaw firm like $1M+ in business, you might as well just stay at whatever shitty firm, because they will let you keep a way higher %age of your generated revenue than biglaw will (b/c biglaw overhead is retarded)

If OTOH you have biglaw credentials, T14 school etc, but chose your firm because you mistakenly thought it would have a better QoL or something, I think you probably could network your way into biglaw

all that said, zero harm in discretely applying wherever you want, other than the time/effort of job hunting

s1m4

Bronze
Posts: 219
Joined: Tue Jan 12, 2010 10:04 pm

Re: Qualitative difference in large non-vault ranked firm vs ranked?

Postby s1m4 » Wed Oct 26, 2016 2:39 pm

ballouttacontrol wrote:
And depending on the market and practice area, biglaw might not be something you will ever have a shot at if you didn't have the creds in the first place. Once you actually have something to offer to a biglaw firm like $1M+ in business, you might as well just stay at whatever shitty firm, because they will let you keep a way higher %age of your generated revenue than biglaw will (b/c biglaw overhead is retarded)

I


Is this seriously true for any vault 100 firm (http://www.vault.com/company-rankings/l ... t-law-100/)?

Hypothetically, if you are below median @ T14 /T30/T50, gain good real estate / corporate / tax experience at a small boutique firm with partners who worked at big-law, are you really shut out from all vault 100 firms until you are a partner-lateral level?

h2go

Bronze
Posts: 168
Joined: Sat May 30, 2015 8:38 pm

Re: Qualitative difference in large non-vault ranked firm vs ranked?

Postby h2go » Wed Oct 26, 2016 2:45 pm

s1m4 wrote:
ballouttacontrol wrote:
And depending on the market and practice area, biglaw might not be something you will ever have a shot at if you didn't have the creds in the first place. Once you actually have something to offer to a biglaw firm like $1M+ in business, you might as well just stay at whatever shitty firm, because they will let you keep a way higher %age of your generated revenue than biglaw will (b/c biglaw overhead is retarded)

I


Is this seriously true for any vault 100 firm (http://www.vault.com/company-rankings/l ... t-law-100/)?

Hypothetically, if you are below median @ T14 /T30/T50, gain good real estate / corporate / tax experience at a small boutique firm with partners who worked at big-law, are you really shut out from all vault 100 firms until you are a partner-lateral level?


No, lower ranked V100 firms definitely hire lateral associates from boutiques/midsized firms.

ballouttacontrol

Silver
Posts: 677
Joined: Tue Sep 15, 2015 9:00 pm

Re: Qualitative difference in large non-vault ranked firm vs ranked?

Postby ballouttacontrol » Wed Oct 26, 2016 3:01 pm

h2go wrote:
s1m4 wrote:
ballouttacontrol wrote:
And depending on the market and practice area, biglaw might not be something you will ever have a shot at if you didn't have the creds in the first place. Once you actually have something to offer to a biglaw firm like $1M+ in business, you might as well just stay at whatever shitty firm, because they will let you keep a way higher %age of your generated revenue than biglaw will (b/c biglaw overhead is retarded)

I


Is this seriously true for any vault 100 firm (http://www.vault.com/company-rankings/l ... t-law-100/)?

Hypothetically, if you are below median @ T14 /T30/T50, gain good real estate / corporate / tax experience at a small boutique firm with partners who worked at big-law, are you really shut out from all vault 100 firms until you are a partner-lateral level?


No, lower ranked V100 firms definitely hire lateral associates from boutiques/midsized firms.


it doesn't sound to me like OP is at a "small boutique firm with partners who worked at big-law". Sounds like he is at a firm with partners working under insurance coverage. These firms tend to be full of TTT grads and are known for churning and burning associates much much worse than biglaw does. Though having no personal experience, i've heard you can get good experience at these firms b/c clients don't really give a shit and budgets are tighter so partner hours are lower, and wtv else, but it's still not necessarily the kind of experience BigLaw values

See my second statement w/r/t to choosing a smaller firm for reasons e.g., QoL. If you could have gotten BigLaw but chose not to, these kind of candidates manage to later break into biglaw all the time

Anonymous User
Posts: 327288
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Qualitative difference in large non-vault ranked firm vs ranked?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 26, 2016 3:29 pm

ballouttacontrol wrote:
h2go wrote:
s1m4 wrote:
ballouttacontrol wrote:
And depending on the market and practice area, biglaw might not be something you will ever have a shot at if you didn't have the creds in the first place. Once you actually have something to offer to a biglaw firm like $1M+ in business, you might as well just stay at whatever shitty firm, because they will let you keep a way higher %age of your generated revenue than biglaw will (b/c biglaw overhead is retarded)

I


Is this seriously true for any vault 100 firm (http://www.vault.com/company-rankings/l ... t-law-100/)?

Hypothetically, if you are below median @ T14 /T30/T50, gain good real estate / corporate / tax experience at a small boutique firm with partners who worked at big-law, are you really shut out from all vault 100 firms until you are a partner-lateral level?


No, lower ranked V100 firms definitely hire lateral associates from boutiques/midsized firms.


it doesn't sound to me like OP is at a "small boutique firm with partners who worked at big-law". Sounds like he is at a firm with partners working under insurance coverage. These firms tend to be full of TTT grads and are known for churning and burning associates much much worse than biglaw does. Though having no personal experience, i've heard you can get good experience at these firms b/c clients don't really give a shit and budgets are tighter so partner hours are lower, and wtv else, but it's still not necessarily the kind of experience BigLaw values

See my second statement w/r/t to choosing a smaller firm for reasons e.g., QoL. If you could have gotten BigLaw but chose not to, these kind of candidates manage to later break into biglaw all the time


Thanks for you reply. TBH I'm more asking for myself, as someone who is below median @ T14 /T30/T50, gained good real estate / corporate / tax experience at a small boutique firm with partners who worked at big-law, and is now looking at lateral opportunities 8)

Offline

New
Posts: 21
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2016 3:37 pm

Re: Qualitative difference in large non-vault ranked firm vs ranked?

Postby Offline » Thu Oct 27, 2016 1:48 am

ballouttacontrol wrote:
h2go wrote:
s1m4 wrote:
ballouttacontrol wrote:
And depending on the market and practice area, biglaw might not be something you will ever have a shot at if you didn't have the creds in the first place. Once you actually have something to offer to a biglaw firm like $1M+ in business, you might as well just stay at whatever shitty firm, because they will let you keep a way higher %age of your generated revenue than biglaw will (b/c biglaw overhead is retarded)

I


Is this seriously true for any vault 100 firm (http://www.vault.com/company-rankings/l ... t-law-100/)?

Hypothetically, if you are below median @ T14 /T30/T50, gain good real estate / corporate / tax experience at a small boutique firm with partners who worked at big-law, are you really shut out from all vault 100 firms until you are a partner-lateral level?


No, lower ranked V100 firms definitely hire lateral associates from boutiques/midsized firms.


it doesn't sound to me like OP is at a "small boutique firm with partners who worked at big-law". Sounds like he is at a firm with partners working under insurance coverage. These firms tend to be full of TTT grads and are known for churning and burning associates much much worse than biglaw does. Though having no personal experience, i've heard you can get good experience at these firms b/c clients don't really give a shit and budgets are tighter so partner hours are lower, and wtv else, but it's still not necessarily the kind of experience BigLaw values

See my second statement w/r/t to choosing a smaller firm for reasons e.g., QoL. If you could have gotten BigLaw but chose not to, these kind of candidates manage to later break into biglaw all the time


Dude are you a genie? holy crap yes. I didn't really know how to accurately describe my firm's business model but all our clients are really insurance carriers. I don't know about other partners (well I've heard some wonderful ones) but my partner is a grade A asshole who doesn't give a shit about making junior associates pull all-nighter on the weekends and then get another big assignment with a deadline due in two days. We associates stick together in solidarity because of the asshole partner.

It's not that I'm a slacker or not as smart. I just don't know how much longer I can take under these working conditions. It's one thing to be pushed to work hard while getting good support and guidance. It's another to just be thrown work with a few sample works to learn from and go unsupervised and later get scorned, insulted, and condescended to. I get that the partner is super busy but he also goes home at 3PM - 5PM etc. I think the workload can be manageable if you have even a friendly and courteous partner. Walking on eggshells around the partner is not. It's totally unnecessary stress.

I'm a T25-30 grad with median GPA and strong softs. I'm not delusional and I know I'm not a top pick for biglaw, but even if I were one, my concern was how an applicant who is trying to jump ship after a month looks like to other potential employers. It seems that the general consensus is employers won't care.



Return to “Legal Employment?

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.