NYC Lit Boutiques

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NYC Lit Boutiques

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Dec 11, 2016 2:36 pm

Recently started at a big law firm, leaving in 2018 for a clerkship. Already looking ahead to where I can go that will be a little smaller and provide for more substantive responsibility without taking too much of a pay hit. Need to be in NY for personal reasons, so places like KVN/Kellogg etc are out.

I have tried to search the forums for a good list of firms I should be thinking about. Open to plaintiff's work, but the apparent paycut makes most less attractive. Here's what I've got so far:

-Susman
-Boies
-Mololamken
-Morvillo
-Kobre and Kim (Maybe?)
-Zuckerman
-Levine Lee
-Reid Collins
-Shapiro Arato
-Holwell Shuster
-Emery Celli
-Friedman Kaplan

Some of this I know a lot about (Susman/Boies), but for most of them I have pretty limited knowledge about what its like to work there or salaries. Looking for anyone who can chime in with additional information or add other names to the list.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Sat Dec 17, 2016 11:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: NYC Lit Boutiques

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Dec 11, 2016 3:21 pm

Curious what people have to say. You might add Emery Celli to your list: http://www.ecbalaw.com/ Seems to attract high-level associates and their mix of work is interesting. Wish I could tell you more.

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Re: NYC Lit Boutiques

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Dec 11, 2016 3:39 pm

How many of those firms pay at least market?

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Re: NYC Lit Boutiques

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Dec 11, 2016 3:53 pm

Anonymous User wrote:How many of those firms pay at least market?


OP here, here is my understanding of salaries:

-Susman - (Market/above Market)
-Boies (market/above market)
-Mololamken (market "compensation is competitive with large firms")
-Morvillo (probably market/above market, looks like it was 174k before NY went to 180)
-Kobre and Kim (probably market/above market)
-Zuckerman (probably market/above market)
-Levine Lee (no idea)
-Reid Collins (no idea)
-Shapiro Arato (no idea)
-Holwell Shuster (market: http://abovethelaw.com/2016/06/hot-litigation-firm-matches-cravath-salary-scale-are-boutiques-the-big-salary-bump-winners/
-Emery Celli (no idea-quick look at associate bios makes me think market or above market)

I am guessing they all pay market clerkship bonuses, but that's just me guessing. Any insights on that front are welcome.

Apologies for continually editing the post with updates. I did find this in another thread about comp at Lieff:

I interviewed at Lieff Cabraser. They told me first years make 100k, and the salary increments go up $5k a year until fifth year. Max bonus for year 1-5 was 25k. In year 6, your salary is 160 if you are promoted to non-equity partner (which they indicated was a high-probability thing), and your bonus is between 60 and 100k. Three years after that, you’re up for equity partner. That’s very difficult to get. If you get it, you buy an island.


Curious is this is/remains true, and whether we can shed any light on comp at Plaintiff's shops that I left off the original list. The capped bonus for five years seems harsh, but maybe with class credit to skip part of the ladder not a complete dealbreaker. Not completely opposed to some kind of paycut if my odds of being given the opportunity to run a case or go to court go up dramatically, AND there's theoretically a potential financial upside. With that in mind, here's some of the places on my radar to varying degrees that I welcome others to add to or comment on:

-Lieff Cabraser
-Robbins Geller
-Hagens Berman
-Cohen Milstein
-Seeger Weiss
-Motley Rice
-Labaton
-Bernstein Litowitz

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Re: NYC Lit Boutiques

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Dec 11, 2016 4:52 pm

Take a look at Friedman Kaplan. I interviewed there as a potential biglaw lateral. NIce folks, interesting work, believe comp is competitive although probably a bit below market.

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Re: NYC Lit Boutiques

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Dec 12, 2016 2:36 pm

How hard is it to enter these lit boutiques straight from law school?

What's the best way to get into these kind of firms? Law school -> biglaw -> lit boutique? Law school -> Clerkship -> lit boutique? or Law school -> Big law -> Clerkship -> lit boutique?

Very interested in this.

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Re: NYC Lit Boutiques

Postby quiver » Tue Dec 13, 2016 12:11 am

Anonymous User wrote:How hard is it to enter these lit boutiques straight from law school?
Very.

What's the best way to get into these kind of firms? Law school -> biglaw -> lit boutique? Law school -> Clerkship -> lit boutique? or Law school -> Big law -> Clerkship -> lit boutique?

Very interested in this.
The latter is probably most common now. But biglaw-->lit boutique; clerkship-->biglaw-->lit boutique; and clerkship-->lit boutique are all fairly common. Whatever the order, a mix of biglaw and clerkship(s) will make you the strongest candidate.

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Re: NYC Lit Boutiques

Postby Rlabo » Tue Dec 13, 2016 12:59 am

I summered at one of the above plaintiffs firms and am a first year at another if you have any questions

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Re: NYC Lit Boutiques

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Dec 13, 2016 2:22 am

Rlabo wrote:I summered at one of the above plaintiffs firms and am a first year at another if you have any questions


Can you comment on the relative accuracy of the quoted posts re comp at Lieff? Not asking for lieff specific info, just trying to gauge if that's representative. A hard cap at 150 for a fifth year doesn't sound right to me but maybe partners don't feel the need to spread the wealth when they land a big verdict.

My searches of the forums also indicate long odds on partnership at these places. Do you have an idea of your target career trajectory? I am guessing you don't get pushed out like in big law, and a relatively chill job pulling six figures is legit, but I'm wondering if people typically view it as a long term home or a way station.

Also, can you comment on what sort of work you're doing as a first year?

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Re: NYC Lit Boutiques

Postby Rlabo » Tue Dec 13, 2016 3:31 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Rlabo wrote:I summered at one of the above plaintiffs firms and am a first year at another if you have any questions


Can you comment on the relative accuracy of the quoted posts re comp at Lieff? Not asking for lieff specific info, just trying to gauge if that's representative. A hard cap at 150 for a fifth year doesn't sound right to me but maybe partners don't feel the need to spread the wealth when they land a big verdict.

My searches of the forums also indicate long odds on partnership at these places. Do you have an idea of your target career trajectory? I am guessing you don't get pushed out like in big law, and a relatively chill job pulling six figures is legit, but I'm wondering if people typically view it as a long term home or a way station.

Also, can you comment on what sort of work you're doing as a first year?


Hard to comment on comp as unlike in defense it's much more of a black box. As a summer I made 1.8K/week (extrapolates to around 100K). My current salary is 125K a year + bonus (7.5k)/benefits. I imagine the fact that it's more black box means there's more room for someone to both negotiate up or get low balled.

The firm I'm currently at is on the smaller side and partner heavy, but many if not all of the partners started as associates, so at least with my firm there's more of an organic growth and an expectation of long gevity The firm has made several partners in the last few years and one this coming year. I would think the goal is to stay or potentially lateral to a similar firm that you thought had better opportunities. Much less lateral movement though than on defense.

Thus far I've been involved in doc review, legal research, drafting motions, drafting pleadings, drafting briefs, general case strategy, and new case evaluation. I work on cases in the securities, antitrust, consumer protection, and data privacy fields. There's a ton of work but you can tell it's not work for work's sake. A team could be as large as 3 partners and two associates or as small as me and a partner. We often have co-counsel as well, depending on the matter.

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Re: NYC Lit Boutiques

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Dec 13, 2016 10:56 am

quiver wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:How hard is it to enter these lit boutiques straight from law school?
Very.

What's the best way to get into these kind of firms? Law school -> biglaw -> lit boutique? Law school -> Clerkship -> lit boutique? or Law school -> Big law -> Clerkship -> lit boutique?

Very interested in this.
The latter is probably most common now. But biglaw-->lit boutique; clerkship-->biglaw-->lit boutique; and clerkship-->lit boutique are all fairly common. Whatever the order, a mix of biglaw and clerkship(s) will make you the strongest candidate.


Is it hard to get a clerkship after biglaw? It would be a bit difficult to get the recommendations from your professors years after you graduated, right?

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Re: NYC Lit Boutiques

Postby FascinatedWanderer » Tue Dec 13, 2016 12:18 pm

If you apply for clerkships during 3L you'll spend a couple of years in biglaw before your clerkship starts.

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Re: NYC Lit Boutiques

Postby umichman » Tue Dec 13, 2016 12:40 pm

Ive been told that after a year or two in big law you are more competitive for certain judges while im sure there are others that you will be less competitive for

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Re: NYC Lit Boutiques

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Dec 13, 2016 12:52 pm

I think it's odd to include Boies in this listing.

HSG seems to be actively taking steps to grow. Probably a good opportunity there.

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quiver

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Re: NYC Lit Boutiques

Postby quiver » Tue Dec 13, 2016 2:32 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
quiver wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:How hard is it to enter these lit boutiques straight from law school?
Very.

What's the best way to get into these kind of firms? Law school -> biglaw -> lit boutique? Law school -> Clerkship -> lit boutique? or Law school -> Big law -> Clerkship -> lit boutique?

Very interested in this.
The latter is probably most common now. But biglaw-->lit boutique; clerkship-->biglaw-->lit boutique; and clerkship-->lit boutique are all fairly common. Whatever the order, a mix of biglaw and clerkship(s) will make you the strongest candidate.


Is it hard to get a clerkship after biglaw? It would be a bit difficult to get the recommendations from your professors years after you graduated, right?
This is the short answer:
FascinatedWanderer wrote:If you apply for clerkships during 3L you'll spend a couple of years in biglaw before your clerkship starts.


An increasing number of judges are hiring further in advance (2, 3+ years out) to get people who will have experience by the time they start their clerkship. So you can secure a clerkship as a 2L or 3L that will not start until you've been in biglaw for some time. Also, you can get a clerkship later in the process as a first or second year associate and use a senior associate/partner as a recommender. That's not uncommon nowadays.

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Re: NYC Lit Boutiques

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Dec 13, 2016 9:05 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I think it's odd to include Boies in this listing.

HSG seems to be actively taking steps to grow. Probably a good opportunity there.


OP here. I included Boies because they do a mix of defense/contingecy work, and I know people there who are getting the kinds of opportunities I'm not, to be frank, and there's also the potential to make more money. So it's something that I'm giving serious consideration. Definitely different than the others though, so its a fair criticism.

Appreciate the info on HSG.

Keep it coming people.

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Re: NYC Lit Boutiques

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Dec 13, 2016 10:03 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I think it's odd to include Boies in this listing.

HSG seems to be actively taking steps to grow. Probably a good opportunity there.


OP here. I included Boies because they do a mix of defense/contingecy work, and I know people there who are getting the kinds of opportunities I'm not, to be frank, and there's also the potential to make more money. So it's something that I'm giving serious consideration. Definitely different than the others though, so its a fair criticism.

Appreciate the info on HSG.

Keep it coming people.


Others may disagree (rightfully) but I would also take a look at some of the small satellite offices biglaw firms: if cases are centrally staffed there's less upside (it's just biglaw) but others operate more like captured boutiques. Would probably have a much worse chance at making partner, but if you want lean staffing/lots of experience, not a bad route.

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Re: NYC Lit Boutiques

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Dec 17, 2016 5:25 pm

Levine Lee, Reid Collins, and Shapiro Arato seem to be far less well-known than the others on your list, and don't appear on the vault boutique rankings. How did you come about these firms? Wondering whether they would share the same kind of prestige/exit opps as the others on your list.

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Re: NYC Lit Boutiques

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Dec 17, 2016 5:54 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Levine Lee, Reid Collins, and Shapiro Arato seem to be far less well-known than the others on your list, and don't appear on the vault boutique rankings. How did you come about these firms? Wondering whether they would share the same kind of prestige/exit opps as the others on your list.


.....vault boutique rankings are near meaningless

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Re: NYC Lit Boutiques

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Dec 17, 2016 5:55 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Levine Lee, Reid Collins, and Shapiro Arato seem to be far less well-known than the others on your list, and don't appear on the vault boutique rankings. How did you come about these firms? Wondering whether they would share the same kind of prestige/exit opps as the others on your list.


searching the forums here, random googling. i cant remember where they came from in particular, could have been on benchmark litigation, i know some came from there. Would love for someone to chime in with info, these are definitely the three on the list that I think are the biggest mystery.

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Re: NYC Lit Boutiques

Postby hangold » Sat Dec 17, 2016 9:10 pm

It's impossible to measure something so amorphous as prestige, but Shapiro Arato is extremely well-respected among the attorneys I know. If you look through the bios on their website, one could surmise that it shares the same level of "prestige" as the other boutiques on this list.

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Re: NYC Lit Boutiques

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Dec 17, 2016 11:37 pm

hangold wrote:It's impossible to measure something so amorphous as prestige, but Shapiro Arato is extremely well-respected among the attorneys I know. If you look through the bios on their website, one could surmise that it shares the same level of "prestige" as the other boutiques on this list.


Yeah they seem pretty legit- Shapiro has been involved in some pretty big cases re insider trading and I'm sure others besides that. assume comp is competitive.

One thing I am curious about is whether the hours at any of these places are as bad as big law. I assume any of these places will work you hard, but I do wonder if it's any less all-consuming.

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Re: NYC Lit Boutiques

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Dec 20, 2016 4:49 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:How many of those firms pay at least market?


-Emery Celli (no idea-quick look at associate bios makes me think market or above market)



I'm not at ECBA but interviewed there for SA; summered at similar Section 1983-focused plaintiff's firm in NY; and now work at third plaintiff's firm in NY that hires from the same pool of people. I don't know ECBA comp details, but I would be surprised if comp there were as high as market. At many of these plaintiff's firms that do civil rights work and consider themselves to "private public interest firms," lawyers are going to these places as a higher-paying alternative to the ACLU/fed gov, not because it necessarily pays anywhere near market.

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Re: NYC Lit Boutiques

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Dec 20, 2016 7:26 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:How many of those firms pay at least market?


-Emery Celli (no idea-quick look at associate bios makes me think market or above market)



I'm not at ECBA but interviewed there for SA; summered at similar Section 1983-focused plaintiff's firm in NY; and now work at third plaintiff's firm in NY that hires from the same pool of people. I don't know ECBA comp details, but I would be surprised if comp there were as high as market. At many of these plaintiff's firms that do civil rights work and consider themselves to "private public interest firms," lawyers are going to these places as a higher-paying alternative to the ACLU/fed gov, not because it necessarily pays anywhere near market.


The website makes it seem like Emery has a broader practice than say, Loevy and Loevy in Chicago (who are making a fortune suing Chicago cops, and god bless them for it). Didn't realize the focus was quite so heavy on civil rights litigation. Thanks for the data point.

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Re: NYC Lit Boutiques

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Dec 20, 2016 9:27 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:How many of those firms pay at least market?


-Emery Celli (no idea-quick look at associate bios makes me think market or above market)



I'm not at ECBA but interviewed there for SA; summered at similar Section 1983-focused plaintiff's firm in NY; and now work at third plaintiff's firm in NY that hires from the same pool of people. I don't know ECBA comp details, but I would be surprised if comp there were as high as market. At many of these plaintiff's firms that do civil rights work and consider themselves to "private public interest firms," lawyers are going to these places as a higher-paying alternative to the ACLU/fed gov, not because it necessarily pays anywhere near market.


The website makes it seem like Emery has a broader practice than say, Loevy and Loevy in Chicago (who are making a fortune suing Chicago cops, and god bless them for it). Didn't realize the focus was quite so heavy on civil rights litigation. Thanks for the data point.


They certainly do, but I think it's still like 50% civil rights, and my point is just that the relevant comparison point for associate comp is more other elite civil rights firms than to "market" salaries. On this note, I can confirm that when I interviewed for SA at ECBA, pay was the same as at other top civil rights and employment boutiques in NY and at half of what Cohen Milstein paid summers. I think it's fair to say that Cohen associates are near if not top of market for plaintiff's work but still below most market biglaw firms, unless you're part of a practice group that has a very good year. Obviously SA comp doesn't necessarily track associate comp 100%, but there's another data point for you.

Edit: and would love for anyone with more knowledge than me to give us more of a sense of what they pay



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