NYC vs. DC culture

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NYC vs. DC culture

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Apr 10, 2017 1:25 pm

What are the difference between law culture in NYC and DC? I'm a 2L and will be splitting my summer between two firms, one in NYC and one in DC. Just wanted to know what you guys think/know based on experience about how the two cities differ in terms of law (biglaw) culture. Both firms I'm summering at are about the same in terms of Vault rankings (V20-40), not that I personally think that makes a big difference.

Thanks!!

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Re: NYC vs. DC culture

Postby jimmythecatdied6 » Mon Apr 10, 2017 3:26 pm

Generally speaking, the hours tend to be worse in NYC.

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Mr. Blackacre

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Re: NYC vs. DC culture

Postby Mr. Blackacre » Mon Apr 10, 2017 3:35 pm

Independently of the actual billable requirement, an important difference for me when choosing was that DC firms generally seemed to be more flexible about facetime. At least from what I've understood, it's fine if you do your hours from home after 6 and you don't have to stay in the office until 10. But then again I haven't started yet. And I know better than to assume my floor being empty at 5:30 every day during the summer means that's business as usual the rest of the year.

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Re: NYC vs. DC culture

Postby jimmythecatdied6 » Mon Apr 10, 2017 3:38 pm

^ - also true at my firm. It's likely a product of having more associates with families, though I am not sure if this is something that is true across the board in DC.

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Re: NYC vs. DC culture

Postby Bilb0Baggins » Mon Apr 10, 2017 4:08 pm

2L here so others with real experience can confirm, but friends I've spoken with say DC firms generally require men to wear suits every day, whereas business casual is often acceptable in NYC. Of course, this is not a hard rule (e.g. at Cravath you'll wear a suit every day) but I mostly interviewed in NYC and IIRC almost every firm allowed business casual.

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Re: NYC vs. DC culture

Postby Mr. Blackacre » Mon Apr 10, 2017 4:11 pm

Bilb0Baggins wrote:2L here so others with real experience can confirm, but friends I've spoken with say DC firms generally require men to wear suits every day, whereas business casual is often acceptable in NYC. Of course, this is not a hard rule (e.g. at Cravath you'll wear a suit every day) but I mostly interviewed in NYC and IIRC almost every firm allowed business casual.


For what it's worth, none of the DC firms I interviewed with had a business formal policy. The firm I went to is business casual. On the other hand, the one firm I had a callback with in NYC required people to wear suits :lol:

As far as I know, of major offices in DC, only Gibson and Jones Day have a business formal requirement. So, uhm, :?:

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Re: NYC vs. DC culture

Postby Bilb0Baggins » Mon Apr 10, 2017 4:21 pm

Mr. Blackacre wrote:
Bilb0Baggins wrote:2L here so others with real experience can confirm, but friends I've spoken with say DC firms generally require men to wear suits every day, whereas business casual is often acceptable in NYC. Of course, this is not a hard rule (e.g. at Cravath you'll wear a suit every day) but I mostly interviewed in NYC and IIRC almost every firm allowed business casual.


For what it's worth, none of the DC firms I interviewed with had a business formal policy. The firm I went to is business casual. On the other hand, the one firm I had a callback with in NYC required people to wear suits :lol:

As far as I know, of major offices in DC, only Gibson and Jones Day have a business formal requirement. So, uhm, :?:


Now that you mention it, the friend who told me this works at Gibson so maybe he's just projecting. Do you know what government employers in DC (e.g. DOJ) typically require as far as dress goes?

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Re: NYC vs. DC culture

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Apr 10, 2017 4:28 pm

Bilb0Baggins wrote:
Mr. Blackacre wrote:
Bilb0Baggins wrote:2L here so others with real experience can confirm, but friends I've spoken with say DC firms generally require men to wear suits every day, whereas business casual is often acceptable in NYC. Of course, this is not a hard rule (e.g. at Cravath you'll wear a suit every day) but I mostly interviewed in NYC and IIRC almost every firm allowed business casual.


For what it's worth, none of the DC firms I interviewed with had a business formal policy. The firm I went to is business casual. On the other hand, the one firm I had a callback with in NYC required people to wear suits :lol:

As far as I know, of major offices in DC, only Gibson and Jones Day have a business formal requirement. So, uhm, :?:


Now that you mention it, the friend who told me this works at Gibson so maybe he's just projecting. Do you know what government employers in DC (e.g. DOJ) typically require as far as dress goes?


Suit and tie everyday. If you're on the hill, business casual when out of session.

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Re: NYC vs. DC culture

Postby rpupkin » Mon Apr 10, 2017 4:31 pm

I think NYC and DC are pretty similar when it comes to formal vs. casual attire. But to the extent there's any discernible difference, I've noticed more suits-per-lawyer in NYC big law offices.

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Re: NYC vs. DC culture

Postby DCESQ » Mon Apr 10, 2017 4:59 pm

Suit and tie everyday. If you're on the hill, business casual when out of session.[/quote]

I think it depends on the DOJ section. I interned in CRM and no one wore a suit or tie unless they were going to trial. I know people who worked in the civil right division and they didn't wear a suit and tie either.

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Re: NYC vs. DC culture

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Apr 10, 2017 5:14 pm

I work at a firm with offices in both NY and DC, and I work with attorneys in both offices. IME, DC is actually more intense. This is in part because the particular group is super busy so the hours difference is less than it might be generally. But the attorneys in DC from the partner level down tend to be a notch or two more intense, which has a ripple effect.

In short, if you are a brilliant gunner who wants to do everything perfectly but wants to bill 2000-2200 a year, go to DC. If you are not a genius but are fine billing 2400-2500, go to NY.

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Re: NYC vs. DC culture

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Apr 10, 2017 9:37 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I work at a firm with offices in both NY and DC, and I work with attorneys in both offices. IME, DC is actually more intense. This is in part because the particular group is super busy so the hours difference is less than it might be generally. But the attorneys in DC from the partner level down tend to be a notch or two more intense, which has a ripple effect.

In short, if you are a brilliant gunner who wants to do everything perfectly but wants to bill 2000-2200 a year, go to DC. If you are not a genius but are fine billing 2400-2500, go to NY.


OP here...

Interesting! Do you think there is any particular reason this is so?

Also, what about differences in firm politics/interactions? From my limited exposure it seemed to me that NYC firms just want kids who are smart enough to do the work and can pump out the churn-and-burn hours, while firms in DC were looking for more social intelligence and being suave in your interactions. You think there is any potential truth to this?

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Re: NYC vs. DC culture

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Apr 10, 2017 10:04 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I work at a firm with offices in both NY and DC, and I work with attorneys in both offices. IME, DC is actually more intense. This is in part because the particular group is super busy so the hours difference is less than it might be generally. But the attorneys in DC from the partner level down tend to be a notch or two more intense, which has a ripple effect.

In short, if you are a brilliant gunner who wants to do everything perfectly but wants to bill 2000-2200 a year, go to DC. If you are not a genius but are fine billing 2400-2500, go to NY.


OP here...

Interesting! Do you think there is any particular reason this is so?

Also, what about differences in firm politics/interactions? From my limited exposure it seemed to me that NYC firms just want kids who are smart enough to do the work and can pump out the churn-and-burn hours, while firms in DC were looking for more social intelligence and being suave in your interactions. You think there is any potential truth to this?


Not the poster above, but I agree with their statement. First, as mentioned NY firms just bill more generally. Also, DC firms are not as profitable as NY firms, but the people that end up in DC were often the folks at the top of their class and are perfectionists. There is a reason DC is probably the most grade/prestige conscious city.

And I have met very few "suave" dc associates. I think because classes are smaller in DC, there is maybe more of an emphasis on fit, but plenty of weirdos in DC big law.

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Re: NYC vs. DC culture

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Apr 10, 2017 11:43 pm

DCESQ wrote:Suit and tie everyday. If you're on the hill, business casual when out of session.


I think it depends on the DOJ section. I interned in CRM and no one wore a suit or tie unless they were going to trial. I know people who worked in the civil right division and they didn't wear a suit and tie either.[/quote]

I did a summer in a building with several divisions of DOJ (though not Main Justice) and saw very very few suits. Also, Hill dress code depends in part on (1) your boss and your LD/staff director and (2) House vs. Senate, the latter being somewhat more formal.

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Re: NYC vs. DC culture

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Apr 11, 2017 9:46 am

Anonymous User wrote:In short, if you are a brilliant gunner who wants to do everything perfectly but wants to bill 2000-2200 a year, go to DC. If you are not a genius but are fine billing 2400-2500, go to NY.


This is perfect. 7 years at a firm with big DC and NY offices and having worked with people in both offices, and I think this is spot on.

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Re: NYC vs. DC culture

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Apr 22, 2017 1:04 am

what about the whole money vs. power thing?

Are DC lawyers more powerful than NYC lawyers? Are NYC lawyers generally richer than DC lawyers?

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Re: NYC vs. DC culture

Postby cheaptilts » Sat Apr 22, 2017 1:22 am

Anonymous User wrote:what about the whole money vs. power thing?

Are DC lawyers more powerful than NYC lawyers? Are NYC lawyers generally richer than DC lawyers?

Why would this matter to you at all? I don't understand this thread: you're lucky enough to be spending a summer in both DC and NYC. Can't you figure out the culture yourself?

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Re: NYC vs. DC culture

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Apr 22, 2017 2:06 am

cheaptilts wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:what about the whole money vs. power thing?

Are DC lawyers more powerful than NYC lawyers? Are NYC lawyers generally richer than DC lawyers?

Why would this matter to you at all? I don't understand this thread: you're lucky enough to be spending a summer in both DC and NYC. Can't you figure out the culture yourself?


Idk maybe because spending 6 weeks somewhere isn't exactly enough to figure out the inner workings of how these two different cities operate. Obviously DC and NYC are two of the biggest business/legal/political centers of the universe and each city has its own particular culture and way of going about things. Instead of trying to completely reinvent the wheel, I'm simply asking if people on this board can chip in and help a brother out with some information that could potentially help my make one of the most important decisions of my life... basically what I've worked my entire life to get to. Obviously my experience will be a very big factor, but perhaps there are factors to consider that a lowly summer will not be exposed to, that perhaps people on this forum have been exposed to and wouldn't mind sharing. Thats all.

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Re: NYC vs. DC culture

Postby cheaptilts » Sat Apr 22, 2017 2:22 am

Anonymous User wrote:
cheaptilts wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:what about the whole money vs. power thing?

Are DC lawyers more powerful than NYC lawyers? Are NYC lawyers generally richer than DC lawyers?

Why would this matter to you at all? I don't understand this thread: you're lucky enough to be spending a summer in both DC and NYC. Can't you figure out the culture yourself?


Idk maybe because spending 6 weeks somewhere isn't exactly enough to figure out the inner workings of how these two different cities operate. Obviously DC and NYC are two of the biggest business/legal/political centers of the universe and each city has its own particular culture and way of going about things. Instead of trying to completely reinvent the wheel, I'm simply asking if people on this board can chip in and help a brother out with some information that could potentially help my make one of the most important decisions of my life... basically what I've worked my entire life to get to. Obviously my experience will be a very big factor, but perhaps there are factors to consider that a lowly summer will not be exposed to, that perhaps people on this forum have been exposed to and wouldn't mind sharing. Thats all.

And the relative power and pocketbooks of lawyers in DC and NYC help...how?

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Re: NYC vs. DC culture

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Apr 22, 2017 3:03 am

cheaptilts wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
cheaptilts wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:what about the whole money vs. power thing?

Are DC lawyers more powerful than NYC lawyers? Are NYC lawyers generally richer than DC lawyers?

Why would this matter to you at all? I don't understand this thread: you're lucky enough to be spending a summer in both DC and NYC. Can't you figure out the culture yourself?


Idk maybe because spending 6 weeks somewhere isn't exactly enough to figure out the inner workings of how these two different cities operate. Obviously DC and NYC are two of the biggest business/legal/political centers of the universe and each city has its own particular culture and way of going about things. Instead of trying to completely reinvent the wheel, I'm simply asking if people on this board can chip in and help a brother out with some information that could potentially help my make one of the most important decisions of my life... basically what I've worked my entire life to get to. Obviously my experience will be a very big factor, but perhaps there are factors to consider that a lowly summer will not be exposed to, that perhaps people on this forum have been exposed to and wouldn't mind sharing. Thats all.

And the relative power and pocketbooks of lawyers in DC and NYC help...how?


How the firms operate at the end of the day. The personality types that jr. associates will have to deal with when working with partners and higher-ups. How you will be expected to act and work. How exactly you'll need to mold yourself to the culture if you wanna stick around long-term and maybe go for partnerships. Maybe not of the utmost of importance at this point, but still relevant.

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Re: NYC vs. DC culture

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Sat Apr 22, 2017 9:08 am

Anonymous User wrote:what about the whole money vs. power thing?

Are DC lawyers more powerful than NYC lawyers? Are NYC lawyers generally richer than DC lawyers?

Well, the vast majority of lawyers in both cities are neither powerful nor rich. But the top 1 percent of lawyers are richer in NYC than in DC. Almost none of them in either city are what I would consider "powerful." Even if you make millions practicing law, it's still a service industry. You work for the powerful people, not the other way around. Once you've listened to a top partner assure some 30-something in house counsel they don't mind being put on hold for ten minutes while he takes a call from someone more important, you'll see why your question feels a bit off base.

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Re: NYC vs. DC culture

Postby jbagelboy » Sat Apr 22, 2017 11:45 am

dixiecupdrinking wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:what about the whole money vs. power thing?

Are DC lawyers more powerful than NYC lawyers? Are NYC lawyers generally richer than DC lawyers?

Well, the vast majority of lawyers in both cities are neither powerful nor rich. But the top 1 percent of lawyers are richer in NYC than in DC. Almost none of them in either city are what I would consider "powerful." Even if you make millions practicing law, it's still a service industry. You work for the powerful people, not the other way around. Once you've listened to a top partner assure some 30-something in house counsel they don't mind being put on hold for ten minutes while he takes a call from someone more important, you'll see why your question feels a bit off base.


the extreme deference the most senior biglaw partners give to basically anyone outside the firm--whether it be the research assistants to their expert witnesses, the court reporter, some low-level client employee, some junior banker working on the deal, a very junior in-house counsel--is always astounding to me. Especially when contrasted with the treatment (I.e., shitting upon) those same partners give to their own (often much better educated) associates.

There are a handful of "powerful" or important practicing lawyers. David Boies is important. Eric Holder is important. Don Verrilli is important. Ted Olson is important. H. Rodgin Cohen is important. But they are the exception that proves the rule that most lawyers are not individually 'powerful' or important at all. Then there are the lawyers that have entered politics or industry or the judiciary, who have varying degrees of actual power but are not really lawyers anymore.

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Re: NYC vs. DC culture

Postby Mr. Blackacre » Sat Apr 22, 2017 12:17 pm

jbagelboy wrote:
dixiecupdrinking wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:what about the whole money vs. power thing?

Are DC lawyers more powerful than NYC lawyers? Are NYC lawyers generally richer than DC lawyers?

Well, the vast majority of lawyers in both cities are neither powerful nor rich. But the top 1 percent of lawyers are richer in NYC than in DC. Almost none of them in either city are what I would consider "powerful." Even if you make millions practicing law, it's still a service industry. You work for the powerful people, not the other way around. Once you've listened to a top partner assure some 30-something in house counsel they don't mind being put on hold for ten minutes while he takes a call from someone more important, you'll see why your question feels a bit off base.


the extreme deference the most senior biglaw partners give to basically anyone outside the firm--whether it be the research assistants to their expert witnesses, the court reporter, some low-level client employee, some junior banker working on the deal, a very junior in-house counsel--is always astounding to me. Especially when contrasted with the treatment (I.e., shitting upon) those same partners give to their own (often much better educated) associates.

There are a handful of "powerful" or important practicing lawyers. David Boies is important. Eric Holder is important. Don Verrilli is important. Ted Olson is important. H. Rodgin Cohen is important. But they are the exception that proves the rule that most lawyers are not individually 'powerful' or important at all. Then there are the lawyers that have entered politics or industry or the judiciary, who have varying degrees of actual power but are not really lawyers anymore.


I can think of a bunch more, mostly in D.C., and mostly the appellate type. People like Paul Clement, Seth Waxman, etc. Add in all the politicians. To the extent one is concerned about such a ridiculous thing as "power," D.C. probably does beat NYC, in the same way that NYC beats D.C. for money. Obviously with the already mentioned caveat that only the 0.001% of lawyers are by any measure powerful, or rich by New York standards.

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Re: NYC vs. DC culture

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Sat Apr 22, 2017 4:50 pm

It might be splitting hairs, but I'd consider those lawyers more "influential" than powerful. People listen to them and give weight to what they have to say, but they still lack the direct authority to make almost anything happen. When Holder was AG, he was powerful. In private practice, he's influential, but he can't snap his fingers and make a case go away.



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