Best firm to be an associate in restructuring

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kau11

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Re: Best firm to be an associate in restructuring

Postby kau11 » Thu Apr 20, 2017 10:21 am

Perhaps this should be in its own thread, but does anyone have any idea how business development works in restructuring? I think it would be straightforward on the creditor side, but would be interested to hear how it works for debtor/committee work.

I would think that for most large businesses sliding into bankruptcy, the legal work is almost always bet-the-business type work. It seems like firm reputation and referrals would play a disproportionate role in securing a debtor client.
I don't view restructuring as the type of practice where institutional clients will necessarily stick with their typical firm if insolvency issues arise. I don't think this would be true on the creditor side. Committee work is an entirely different beast.

I would be interested to hear some perspectives on this aspect of restructuring.

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Re: Best firm to be an associate in restructuring

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 20, 2017 10:33 am

kau11 wrote:Perhaps this should be in its own thread, but does anyone have any idea how business development works in restructuring? I think it would be straightforward on the creditor side, but would be interested to hear how it works for debtor/committee work.

I would think that for most large businesses sliding into bankruptcy, the legal work is almost always bet-the-business type work. It seems like firm reputation and referrals would play a disproportionate role in securing a debtor client.
I don't view restructuring as the type of practice where institutional clients will necessarily stick with their typical firm if insolvency issues arise. I don't think this would be true on the creditor side. Committee work is an entirely different beast.

I would be interested to hear some perspectives on this aspect of restructuring.


Depends on the work. Partners do biz development just like any other group, and it obviously helps to have brand recognition behind you. For most of the top firms, a lot of the work comes from referrals from other groups, like corp/PE. Referrals also come in from the financial/restructuring advisors.

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Re: Best firm to be an associate in restructuring

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 20, 2017 1:20 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
kau11 wrote:Perhaps this should be in its own thread, but does anyone have any idea how business development works in restructuring? I think it would be straightforward on the creditor side, but would be interested to hear how it works for debtor/committee work.

I would think that for most large businesses sliding into bankruptcy, the legal work is almost always bet-the-business type work. It seems like firm reputation and referrals would play a disproportionate role in securing a debtor client.
I don't view restructuring as the type of practice where institutional clients will necessarily stick with their typical firm if insolvency issues arise. I don't think this would be true on the creditor side. Committee work is an entirely different beast.

I would be interested to hear some perspectives on this aspect of restructuring.


Depends on the work. Partners do biz development just like any other group, and it obviously helps to have brand recognition behind you. For most of the top firms, a lot of the work comes from referrals from other groups, like corp/PE. Referrals also come in from the financial/restructuring advisors.


A large portion of the business development comes in the form of referrals from other restructuring advisors; however, it's not true that institutional clients don't stick with the big debtor side firms. For instance, Westinghouse was a long time client of Weil's, as was Lehman, G.M., etc... KE also gets a lot of work from its institutional PE clients like Sun Capital (which has a really uncanny ability to bankrupt just about everything it touches).

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Re: Best firm to be an associate in restructuring

Postby kau11 » Thu Apr 20, 2017 1:34 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
kau11 wrote:Perhaps this should be in its own thread, but does anyone have any idea how business development works in restructuring? I think it would be straightforward on the creditor side, but would be interested to hear how it works for debtor/committee work.

I would think that for most large businesses sliding into bankruptcy, the legal work is almost always bet-the-business type work. It seems like firm reputation and referrals would play a disproportionate role in securing a debtor client.
I don't view restructuring as the type of practice where institutional clients will necessarily stick with their typical firm if insolvency issues arise. I don't think this would be true on the creditor side. Committee work is an entirely different beast.

I would be interested to hear some perspectives on this aspect of restructuring.


Depends on the work. Partners do biz development just like any other group, and it obviously helps to have brand recognition behind you. For most of the top firms, a lot of the work comes from referrals from other groups, like corp/PE. Referrals also come in from the financial/restructuring advisors.


A large portion of the business development comes in the form of referrals from other restructuring advisors; however, it's not true that institutional clients don't stick with the big debtor side firms. For instance, Westinghouse was a long time client of Weil's, as was Lehman, G.M., etc... KE also gets a lot of work from its institutional PE clients like Sun Capital (which has a really uncanny ability to bankrupt just about everything it touches).

That's interesting. I would not have thought that to be the case. I assumed Westinghouse would have used the large firms out of Pittsburgh. Reed Smith or K&L Gates. The Westinghouse filing was actually what initiated my question in the first place. I knew they were Pittsburgh-based but had hired Weil. Knowing that they had been a long-time client adds some clarity to that situation. I assumed they had shopped around for a top bankruptcy group.

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Re: Best firm to be an associate in restructuring

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 20, 2017 1:43 pm

kau11 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
kau11 wrote:Perhaps this should be in its own thread, but does anyone have any idea how business development works in restructuring? I think it would be straightforward on the creditor side, but would be interested to hear how it works for debtor/committee work.

I would think that for most large businesses sliding into bankruptcy, the legal work is almost always bet-the-business type work. It seems like firm reputation and referrals would play a disproportionate role in securing a debtor client.
I don't view restructuring as the type of practice where institutional clients will necessarily stick with their typical firm if insolvency issues arise. I don't think this would be true on the creditor side. Committee work is an entirely different beast.

I would be interested to hear some perspectives on this aspect of restructuring.


Depends on the work. Partners do biz development just like any other group, and it obviously helps to have brand recognition behind you. For most of the top firms, a lot of the work comes from referrals from other groups, like corp/PE. Referrals also come in from the financial/restructuring advisors.


A large portion of the business development comes in the form of referrals from other restructuring advisors; however, it's not true that institutional clients don't stick with the big debtor side firms. For instance, Westinghouse was a long time client of Weil's, as was Lehman, G.M., etc... KE also gets a lot of work from its institutional PE clients like Sun Capital (which has a really uncanny ability to bankrupt just about everything it touches).

That's interesting. I would not have thought that to be the case. I assumed Westinghouse would have used the large firms out of Pittsburgh. Reed Smith or K&L Gates. The Westinghouse filing was actually what initiated my question in the first place. I knew they were Pittsburgh-based but had hired Weil. Knowing that they had been a long-time client adds some clarity to that situation. I assumed they had shopped around for a top bankruptcy group.


Those firms don't have the capability to manage a Westinghouse level chapter 11, the prior relationship was helpful I'm sure, but Weil wouldn't have been in the running if they weren't already the best.

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Re: Best firm to be an associate in restructuring

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 20, 2017 1:49 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
kau11 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
kau11 wrote:Perhaps this should be in its own thread, but does anyone have any idea how business development works in restructuring? I think it would be straightforward on the creditor side, but would be interested to hear how it works for debtor/committee work.

I would think that for most large businesses sliding into bankruptcy, the legal work is almost always bet-the-business type work. It seems like firm reputation and referrals would play a disproportionate role in securing a debtor client.
I don't view restructuring as the type of practice where institutional clients will necessarily stick with their typical firm if insolvency issues arise. I don't think this would be true on the creditor side. Committee work is an entirely different beast.

I would be interested to hear some perspectives on this aspect of restructuring.


Depends on the work. Partners do biz development just like any other group, and it obviously helps to have brand recognition behind you. For most of the top firms, a lot of the work comes from referrals from other groups, like corp/PE. Referrals also come in from the financial/restructuring advisors.


A large portion of the business development comes in the form of referrals from other restructuring advisors; however, it's not true that institutional clients don't stick with the big debtor side firms. For instance, Westinghouse was a long time client of Weil's, as was Lehman, G.M., etc... KE also gets a lot of work from its institutional PE clients like Sun Capital (which has a really uncanny ability to bankrupt just about everything it touches).

That's interesting. I would not have thought that to be the case. I assumed Westinghouse would have used the large firms out of Pittsburgh. Reed Smith or K&L Gates. The Westinghouse filing was actually what initiated my question in the first place. I knew they were Pittsburgh-based but had hired Weil. Knowing that they had been a long-time client adds some clarity to that situation. I assumed they had shopped around for a top bankruptcy group.


Those firms don't have the capability to manage a Westinghouse level chapter 11, the prior relationship was helpful I'm sure, but Weil wouldn't have been in the running if they weren't already the best.


I was referring to the relationship with Weil. I assumed that Westinghouse would not have had a prior relationship with a NY based firm since their corporate hq is out of Pittsburgh. There are relatively few firms that have the capability to manage the big ch. 11s, regardless, so Weil makes sense either way.

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Re: Best firm to be an associate in restructuring

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 20, 2017 2:03 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
kau11 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
kau11 wrote:Perhaps this should be in its own thread, but does anyone have any idea how business development works in restructuring? I think it would be straightforward on the creditor side, but would be interested to hear how it works for debtor/committee work.

I would think that for most large businesses sliding into bankruptcy, the legal work is almost always bet-the-business type work. It seems like firm reputation and referrals would play a disproportionate role in securing a debtor client.
I don't view restructuring as the type of practice where institutional clients will necessarily stick with their typical firm if insolvency issues arise. I don't think this would be true on the creditor side. Committee work is an entirely different beast.

I would be interested to hear some perspectives on this aspect of restructuring.


Depends on the work. Partners do biz development just like any other group, and it obviously helps to have brand recognition behind you. For most of the top firms, a lot of the work comes from referrals from other groups, like corp/PE. Referrals also come in from the financial/restructuring advisors.


A large portion of the business development comes in the form of referrals from other restructuring advisors; however, it's not true that institutional clients don't stick with the big debtor side firms. For instance, Westinghouse was a long time client of Weil's, as was Lehman, G.M., etc... KE also gets a lot of work from its institutional PE clients like Sun Capital (which has a really uncanny ability to bankrupt just about everything it touches).

That's interesting. I would not have thought that to be the case. I assumed Westinghouse would have used the large firms out of Pittsburgh. Reed Smith or K&L Gates. The Westinghouse filing was actually what initiated my question in the first place. I knew they were Pittsburgh-based but had hired Weil. Knowing that they had been a long-time client adds some clarity to that situation. I assumed they had shopped around for a top bankruptcy group.


Those firms don't have the capability to manage a Westinghouse level chapter 11, the prior relationship was helpful I'm sure, but Weil wouldn't have been in the running if they weren't already the best.


I was referring to the relationship with Weil. I assumed that Westinghouse would not have had a prior relationship with a NY based firm since their corporate hq is out of Pittsburgh. There are relatively few firms that have the capability to manage the big ch. 11s, regardless, so Weil makes sense either way.


Right, I only meant to say that the relationship was likely helpful to differentiate them from the other few firms that can do big debtor side chapter 11s, but wouldn't be so significant a factor in other scenarios.

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Re: Best firm to be an associate in restructuring

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 20, 2017 9:51 pm

For committee work, you need to know the in house counsel (or their external counterparts) for companies with significant claims in the bankruptcy (which makes them likely to get selected for the committee). Then, after the formation meeting, you get that person to push for your firm getting a slot to pitch when counsel is interviewed. Cooley has this down to a science.

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Re: Best firm to be an associate in restructuring

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Nov 22, 2018 9:43 pm

So would you (anyone here) choose Kirkland or Weil all things being equal (interest in restructuring, debtor side, etc.)?

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Re: Best firm to be an associate in restructuring

Postby jarofsoup » Thu Nov 22, 2018 11:17 pm

[quote="Anonymous User"]So would you (anyone here) choose Kirkland or Weil all things being equal (interest in restructuring, debtor side, etc.)?[/quot

I am not sure I would want to work at either groups. I know that Weil is a rough group. Not that the cultures at these firms are any easier, but Skadden, Akin and Proskuer also have significant practices. The later two are more UCC focused.

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Re: Best firm to be an associate in restructuring

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Nov 23, 2018 10:23 am

jarofsoup wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:So would you (anyone here) choose Kirkland or Weil all things being equal (interest in restructuring, debtor side, etc.)?[/quot

I am not sure I would want to work at either groups. I know that Weil is a rough group. Not that the cultures at these firms are any easier, but Skadden, Akin and Proskuer also have significant practices. The later two are more UCC focused.


If you’re interested in restructuring, the best options are Weil and Kirkland (they’re different but similar enough) and then everyone else. It’s true that these two are primarily debtor focused (though both not exclusively so, Weil in particular) but there’s a substantial fall off in market share and work (quality and quantity) after these two. Cooley has picked up a few committee roles recently, Akin has as well, I haven’t seen Proskauer or Skadden in anything in quite some time. Basically, if you want to get the most experience and best training (and work the hardest) go to Weil or Kirkland, at least for a little while and you can lateral pretty much anywhere. This of course is not factoring in lifestyle as a primary motivating factor, if it is, stay far away from restructuring.

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Re: Best firm to be an associate in restructuring

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Nov 23, 2018 10:45 am

restructuring midlevel currently at V10. Previously at another band 1 practice but not Weil/Kirkland. I think better to be a junior somewhere else but the stronger midlevels/seniors (i.e., tasked with real workstreams) at those shops do have a certain mastery over the bankruptcy code and the process that's hard to get anywhere else by virtue of Kirkland/Weil being so debtor heavy. The juniors over there seemed to be silo'd to certain documents/workstreams. Especially at Kirkland. Lost count of the times I've called a Kirkland associate only to be told "i'm not working on that [document/motion], couldn't tell you anything about it." But that's just their business model. Only way to churn out so many debtors at once. Truly a machine. Weil seems to do a better job at plugging their juniors into the broader deal/case (although that means their hours are worse).

I prefer creditor work but you just don't get the start-to-finish survey of bankruptcy law/procedure that you get on a debtor deal. That said, I'm not sure how useful or relevant that experience is unless you're really pursuing partnership given how niche the field is. Yes people have re-tooled into investment banking or something similar, but none of those options offer meaningfully better hours. Hours on debtor matters are SO bad. Just be sure this is something you want to do for the medium-term (at least 4-6 years). I kind of regret not doing something more generalist because there aren't 9-5 exit options readily available. Restructuring can be fun (certainly more fun than other corporate groups) but it's not THAT fun. Many of my friends in securities/M&A have already left or are on the way, so jealous. But finance has it worse than anyone IMO, so avoid that one at all costs.

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Re: Best firm to be an associate in restructuring

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Nov 23, 2018 11:03 am

jarofsoup wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:So would you (anyone here) choose Kirkland or Weil all things being equal (interest in restructuring, debtor side, etc.)?[/quot

I am not sure I would want to work at either groups. I know that Weil is a rough group. Not that the cultures at these firms are any easier, but Skadden, Akin and Proskuer also have significant practices. The later two are more UCC focused.



Thank you, just a follow up, when you say "Weil is a rough group," do you mean the culture as well or just life as a junior in restructuring generally and maybe on debtor-side work?

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Re: Best firm to be an associate in restructuring

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Nov 23, 2018 11:05 am

Anonymous User wrote:
jarofsoup wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:So would you (anyone here) choose Kirkland or Weil all things being equal (interest in restructuring, debtor side, etc.)?[/quot

I am not sure I would want to work at either groups. I know that Weil is a rough group. Not that the cultures at these firms are any easier, but Skadden, Akin and Proskuer also have significant practices. The later two are more UCC focused.


If you’re interested in restructuring, the best options are Weil and Kirkland (they’re different but similar enough) and then everyone else. It’s true that these two are primarily debtor focused (though both not exclusively so, Weil in particular) but there’s a substantial fall off in market share and work (quality and quantity) after these two. Cooley has picked up a few committee roles recently, Akin has as well, I haven’t seen Proskauer or Skadden in anything in quite some time. Basically, if you want to get the most experience and best training (and work the hardest) go to Weil or Kirkland, at least for a little while and you can lateral pretty much anywhere. This of course is not factoring in lifestyle as a primary motivating factor, if it is, stay far away from restructuring.


I appreciate you taking the time to explain in depth. Lifestyle its not a factor for me. But narrowing it down to Weil or Kirkland as you mentioned, is there a benefit of going to one or the other or does it just come down to personal fit?

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Re: Best firm to be an associate in restructuring

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Nov 23, 2018 11:10 am

Anonymous User wrote:restructuring midlevel currently at V10. Previously at another band 1 practice but not Weil/Kirkland. I think better to be a junior somewhere else but the stronger midlevels/seniors (i.e., tasked with real workstreams) at those shops do have a certain mastery over the bankruptcy code and the process that's hard to get anywhere else by virtue of Kirkland/Weil being so debtor heavy. The juniors over there seemed to be silo'd to certain documents/workstreams. Especially at Kirkland. Lost count of the times I've called a Kirkland associate only to be told "i'm not working on that [document/motion], couldn't tell you anything about it." But that's just their business model. Only way to churn out so many debtors at once. Truly a machine. Weil seems to do a better job at plugging their juniors into the broader deal/case (although that means their hours are worse).

I prefer creditor work but you just don't get the start-to-finish survey of bankruptcy law/procedure that you get on a debtor deal. That said, I'm not sure how useful or relevant that experience is unless you're really pursuing partnership given how niche the field is. Yes people have re-tooled into investment banking or something similar, but none of those options offer meaningfully better hours. Hours on debtor matters are SO bad. Just be sure this is something you want to do for the medium-term (at least 4-6 years). I kind of regret not doing something more generalist because there aren't 9-5 exit options readily available. Restructuring can be fun (certainly more fun than other corporate groups) but it's not THAT fun. Many of my friends in securities/M&A have already left or are on the way, so jealous. But finance has it worse than anyone IMO, so avoid that one at all costs.


Perfect, great to hear from someone who has worked in the field, thanks! I don't mind the hours at all...at least not now haha.

Can you explain a bit more about the difference between Kirkland silo-ing its juniors to certain tasks, i.e., a tax and/or utility motions on first days, vs. Weil's plugging in juniors into the "broader deal/case" approach? I'm wondering what that means in the latter instance and why hours are worse? Appreciate your response.

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Re: Best firm to be an associate in restructuring

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Nov 23, 2018 11:38 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:restructuring midlevel currently at V10. Previously at another band 1 practice but not Weil/Kirkland. I think better to be a junior somewhere else but the stronger midlevels/seniors (i.e., tasked with real workstreams) at those shops do have a certain mastery over the bankruptcy code and the process that's hard to get anywhere else by virtue of Kirkland/Weil being so debtor heavy. The juniors over there seemed to be silo'd to certain documents/workstreams. Especially at Kirkland. Lost count of the times I've called a Kirkland associate only to be told "i'm not working on that [document/motion], couldn't tell you anything about it." But that's just their business model. Only way to churn out so many debtors at once. Truly a machine. Weil seems to do a better job at plugging their juniors into the broader deal/case (although that means their hours are worse).

I prefer creditor work but you just don't get the start-to-finish survey of bankruptcy law/procedure that you get on a debtor deal. That said, I'm not sure how useful or relevant that experience is unless you're really pursuing partnership given how niche the field is. Yes people have re-tooled into investment banking or something similar, but none of those options offer meaningfully better hours. Hours on debtor matters are SO bad. Just be sure this is something you want to do for the medium-term (at least 4-6 years). I kind of regret not doing something more generalist because there aren't 9-5 exit options readily available. Restructuring can be fun (certainly more fun than other corporate groups) but it's not THAT fun. Many of my friends in securities/M&A have already left or are on the way, so jealous. But finance has it worse than anyone IMO, so avoid that one at all costs.


Perfect, great to hear from someone who has worked in the field, thanks! I don't mind the hours at all...at least not now haha.

Can you explain a bit more about the difference between Kirkland silo-ing its juniors to certain tasks, i.e., a tax and/or utility motions on first days, vs. Weil's plugging in juniors into the "broader deal/case" approach? I'm wondering what that means in the latter instance and why hours are worse? Appreciate your response.



I am also in the industry. I think what the above says about Weil is probably true of the better performing associates. You can get stuck doing claims work and only claims work at either firm.

Weil the hours are brutal and the personalities are very difficult. I am not going to name partners, but there are yellers and the personalities cause attrition. I dont think Kirkland is better. Debtor practices are known for yellers.

If you really want to be a bankruptcy attorney. Choose Weil over Kirkland. Weil is the gold standard. All the legends are from there. Stay for 3 to 5 years and then consider lateraling.

Akin is UCC in Sears. Skadden represented Toshiba in Westinghouse. Skadden has an epic practice as well.

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Re: Best firm to be an associate in restructuring

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Nov 23, 2018 11:39 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:restructuring midlevel currently at V10. Previously at another band 1 practice but not Weil/Kirkland. I think better to be a junior somewhere else but the stronger midlevels/seniors (i.e., tasked with real workstreams) at those shops do have a certain mastery over the bankruptcy code and the process that's hard to get anywhere else by virtue of Kirkland/Weil being so debtor heavy. The juniors over there seemed to be silo'd to certain documents/workstreams. Especially at Kirkland. Lost count of the times I've called a Kirkland associate only to be told "i'm not working on that [document/motion], couldn't tell you anything about it." But that's just their business model. Only way to churn out so many debtors at once. Truly a machine. Weil seems to do a better job at plugging their juniors into the broader deal/case (although that means their hours are worse).

I prefer creditor work but you just don't get the start-to-finish survey of bankruptcy law/procedure that you get on a debtor deal. That said, I'm not sure how useful or relevant that experience is unless you're really pursuing partnership given how niche the field is. Yes people have re-tooled into investment banking or something similar, but none of those options offer meaningfully better hours. Hours on debtor matters are SO bad. Just be sure this is something you want to do for the medium-term (at least 4-6 years). I kind of regret not doing something more generalist because there aren't 9-5 exit options readily available. Restructuring can be fun (certainly more fun than other corporate groups) but it's not THAT fun. Many of my friends in securities/M&A have already left or are on the way, so jealous. But finance has it worse than anyone IMO, so avoid that one at all costs.


Perfect, great to hear from someone who has worked in the field, thanks! I don't mind the hours at all...at least not now haha.

Can you explain a bit more about the difference between Kirkland silo-ing its juniors to certain tasks, i.e., a tax and/or utility motions on first days, vs. Weil's plugging in juniors into the "broader deal/case" approach? I'm wondering what that means in the latter instance and why hours are worse? Appreciate your response.



I am also in the industry. I think what the above says about Weil is probably true of the better performing associates. You can get stuck doing claims work and only claims work at either firm.

Weil the hours are brutal and the personalities are very difficult. I am not going to name partners, but there are yellers and the personalities cause attrition. I dont think Kirkland is better. Debtor practices are known for yellers.

If you really want to be a bankruptcy attorney. Choose Weil over Kirkland. Weil is the gold standard. All the legends are from there. Stay for 3 to 5 years and then consider lateraling.

Akin is UCC in Sears. Skadden represented Toshiba in Westinghouse. Skadden has an epic practice as well.

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Re: Best firm to be an associate in restructuring

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Nov 23, 2018 12:30 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
jarofsoup wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:So would you (anyone here) choose Kirkland or Weil all things being equal (interest in restructuring, debtor side, etc.)?[/quot

I am not sure I would want to work at either groups. I know that Weil is a rough group. Not that the cultures at these firms are any easier, but Skadden, Akin and Proskuer also have significant practices. The later two are more UCC focused.


If you’re interested in restructuring, the best options are Weil and Kirkland (they’re different but similar enough) and then everyone else. It’s true that these two are primarily debtor focused (though both not exclusively so, Weil in particular) but there’s a substantial fall off in market share and work (quality and quantity) after these two. Cooley has picked up a few committee roles recently, Akin has as well, I haven’t seen Proskauer or Skadden in anything in quite some time. Basically, if you want to get the most experience and best training (and work the hardest) go to Weil or Kirkland, at least for a little while and you can lateral pretty much anywhere. This of course is not factoring in lifestyle as a primary motivating factor, if it is, stay far away from restructuring.


Just following up on this for context, I’m the quoted poster and a mid level at Weil.

A question was raised about what it means to be siloed into a workstream. Here’s an example: When a company files for chapter 11, a suite of “first day motions” are filed which seek authority to e.g., pay employees, pay vendors, pay utilities, etc. Each of these motions requires pre-filing diligence, drafting the motion, dealing with post-filing issues after the motion is approved, etc. Typically, as a junior associate, and particularly in large cases, you’ll get a motion and are expected to be responsible for everything related to it. So if you’re siloed onto the vendor workstream, you may not know what’s happening with the DIP or employees or whatever.

My own personal belief is that there’s no substitute for the substantive legal knowledge and just case experience you get from doing a few debtor side in court matters. The big cases like Sears are exciting, but working on smaller matters with leaner staffing you’re more likely to assume more of a general role which is much better. In any case, I totally get why some people prefer out of court work and creditor side more, but I think you’re better off transitioning to that after doing a couple debtor matters.

Also, I personally think the people in Weil’s group are about as good as you’re going to get in big law. I’ve never had a partner scream at me, I can think of one who I’ve heard plays favorites and can be a jerk, but he’s 1/14 partners or w/e.

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Re: Best firm to be an associate in restructuring

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Nov 23, 2018 12:43 pm

I am an associate at Weil but am not in the restructuring group. Something that I did not fully appreciate until actually joining the firm is how much restructuring work can feed the other practice group. If a deal needs to get done, restructuring loops in a corporate team. Need new financing, loop in the finance group. Adversarial hearing, loop in litigation. As mentioned by other posters, the work is still fast paced with tight deadlines (and frankly, on the deal side, it is a bit of a shoot from the hip sort of thing), so practically speaking, it is not that hard to get staffed on these deals if you raise your hand (to be honest, most associates I know prefer to avoid the high-profile restructuring work because it is noticeably more intense than even our typical deals).

All that to say that if you are interested in restructuring but not sure if you want to do it 100%, it might not be a bad idea to, for example, join the private equity group of a Weil/Kirkland and volunteer for one or two restructuring matters to see how you like it. And I bet if you want to do it full-time and the firm needs more bodies in the group, then they would consider transitioning you to that group.

But to be perfectly honest, I am not too sure what the restructuring associates actually do. I know they are on a lot of calls, travel quiet a bit, obviously know the bankruptcy code pretty well but when it comes to actually putting together a deal or arguing an adversarial hearing, they always loop in one of the other practice groups. Seems to me like they mostly plan the structure, run process, handle procedural things specific to bankruptcy, and basically quarterback the other groups. At Weil, it is very clear that they bill more hours than the other groups - I think their average was over 500 hours more than rest of the corporate group last year, but the saving grace is that it seems like a portion of that time is spent travelling or on call, which is arguably an easier billable hour.

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Re: Best firm to be an associate in restructuring

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Nov 23, 2018 12:56 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:restructuring midlevel currently at V10. Previously at another band 1 practice but not Weil/Kirkland. I think better to be a junior somewhere else but the stronger midlevels/seniors (i.e., tasked with real workstreams) at those shops do have a certain mastery over the bankruptcy code and the process that's hard to get anywhere else by virtue of Kirkland/Weil being so debtor heavy. The juniors over there seemed to be silo'd to certain documents/workstreams. Especially at Kirkland. Lost count of the times I've called a Kirkland associate only to be told "i'm not working on that [document/motion], couldn't tell you anything about it." But that's just their business model. Only way to churn out so many debtors at once. Truly a machine. Weil seems to do a better job at plugging their juniors into the broader deal/case (although that means their hours are worse).

I prefer creditor work but you just don't get the start-to-finish survey of bankruptcy law/procedure that you get on a debtor deal. That said, I'm not sure how useful or relevant that experience is unless you're really pursuing partnership given how niche the field is. Yes people have re-tooled into investment banking or something similar, but none of those options offer meaningfully better hours. Hours on debtor matters are SO bad. Just be sure this is something you want to do for the medium-term (at least 4-6 years). I kind of regret not doing something more generalist because there aren't 9-5 exit options readily available. Restructuring can be fun (certainly more fun than other corporate groups) but it's not THAT fun. Many of my friends in securities/M&A have already left or are on the way, so jealous. But finance has it worse than anyone IMO, so avoid that one at all costs.


Perfect, great to hear from someone who has worked in the field, thanks! I don't mind the hours at all...at least not now haha.

Can you explain a bit more about the difference between Kirkland silo-ing its juniors to certain tasks, i.e., a tax and/or utility motions on first days, vs. Weil's plugging in juniors into the "broader deal/case" approach? I'm wondering what that means in the latter instance and why hours are worse? Appreciate your response.


i think it's just a consequence of the firms' respective deal flows and business models. Kirkland has many more deals going on at once so it requires an assembly line type of efficiency. Discrete teams that are responsible for specific workstreams. It's the only way the machine can sustain the high volume. In my experience Weil has fewer matters but they're often mega-cases (e.g., Sears, Takata, Lehman, Westinghouse, etc...). So it's a different kind of grind. A Kirkland junior may be on 3-5 cases at once but only seeing a smaller piece of each case. A Weil junior may only be on 1-2 but more fully immersed. The hours are a different kind of bad. Obviously I'm painting broad strokes here and i'm sure the reverse could be true in some situations. I'm just talking based on my experience of having worked across both Weil/Kirkland many times.

ETA: Weil has sent first years (including law clerks) get on the phone with me and attempt to negotiate more ancillary documents. Obviously they struggle and it always requires a follow-up call so they can get internal clearance on certain issues, but it's telling that they're given the chance to do that. I've also seen Weil put second-years in front of judges to present uncontested motions. Open question whether that's helpful or desirable, but i've never seen Kirkland do something like that. Always feels like there's a small platoon of midlevels (reporting to 1-2 seniors) overseeing a much larger army of silent juniors.


Anonymous User wrote:
I am also in the industry. I think what the above says about Weil is probably true of the better performing associates. You can get stuck doing claims work and only claims work at either firm.

Weil the hours are brutal and the personalities are very difficult. I am not going to name partners, but there are yellers and the personalities cause attrition. I dont think Kirkland is better. Debtor practices are known for yellers.

If you really want to be a bankruptcy attorney. Choose Weil over Kirkland. Weil is the gold standard. All the legends are from there. Stay for 3 to 5 years and then consider lateraling.

Akin is UCC in Sears. Skadden represented Toshiba in Westinghouse. Skadden has an epic practice as well.

I'm not sure I would say Skadden has an epic practice anymore. They're good but they're not one of the major players the same way they used to be. I agree that Weil has the more storied practice but it's hard to deny Kirkland's dominance in the space now, at least in terms of business development. I think both have incredibly strong practices but i think the odds of something "going wrong" are much higher at Kirkland based on having friends and colleagues at both shops. Kirkland's model means that the downsides of "not getting noticed" are a lot worse. The training/trajectory/development at Weil appears to be more predictable and uniform. Sounds all over the place at Kirkland depending on who likes you, which cases you're on, etc... But the amplified upsides and downsides mirror the Kirkland experience in general so not really surprising.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Fri Nov 23, 2018 1:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Best firm to be an associate in restructuring

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Nov 23, 2018 1:08 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I am an associate at Weil but am not in the restructuring group. Something that I did not fully appreciate until actually joining the firm is how much restructuring work can feed the other practice group. If a deal needs to get done, restructuring loops in a corporate team. Need new financing, loop in the finance group. Adversarial hearing, loop in litigation. As mentioned by other posters, the work is still fast paced with tight deadlines (and frankly, on the deal side, it is a bit of a shoot from the hip sort of thing), so practically speaking, it is not that hard to get staffed on these deals if you raise your hand (to be honest, most associates I know prefer to avoid the high-profile restructuring work because it is noticeably more intense than even our typical deals).

All that to say that if you are interested in restructuring but not sure if you want to do it 100%, it might not be a bad idea to, for example, join the private equity group of a Weil/Kirkland and volunteer for one or two restructuring matters to see how you like it. And I bet if you want to do it full-time and the firm needs more bodies in the group, then they would consider transitioning you to that group.

But to be perfectly honest, I am not too sure what the restructuring associates actually do. I know they are on a lot of calls, travel quiet a bit, obviously know the bankruptcy code pretty well but when it comes to actually putting together a deal or arguing an adversarial hearing, they always loop in one of the other practice groups. Seems to me like they mostly plan the structure, run process, handle procedural things specific to bankruptcy, and basically quarterback the other groups. At Weil, it is very clear that they bill more hours than the other groups - I think their average was over 500 hours more than rest of the corporate group last year, but the saving grace is that it seems like a portion of that time is spent travelling or on call, which is arguably an easier billable hour.


It’s a good point, and if you look at Weil’s insane growth in profits over the last two years, it’s largely a consequence of our restructuring practice going crazy with Takata, Westinghouse, SEG, Claire’s, Sears, etc. As for what we do, everything that happens in a chapter 11 needs to be approved by the bankruptcy court. The financing, asset sales, etc. all need to be understood by the bankruptcy team, described in a motion, and presented to and approved by the court, often in a contested scenario. Adversary proceedings often involve us working closely with lit if we don’t handle it ourselves. There’s also various purely bankruptcy type stuff like claims, solicitation, etc.

I’ve never seen someone switch to bankruptcy in my time here, though we have had bankruptcy people switch to PE. The learning curve is very steep and I’m not sure it would be feasible. That said, we always are looking for people and if you really want to I’m sure you could switch (though likely at the cost of class years).

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Re: Best firm to be an associate in restructuring

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Nov 23, 2018 3:46 pm

[vine][/vine]
Hutz_and_Goodman wrote:3500 is crazy and imo not sustainable.


Yeah it's just not worth it. Rather work 1200 hours less at a less "prestigious" firm. Best years of your life are being spent on bullshit, not worth it.

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Re: Best firm to be an associate in restructuring

Postby Npret » Fri Nov 23, 2018 3:58 pm

Someone up thread said they don’t care about long hours.
Before you commit to this ask yourself:
Do you need regular sleep?
Can you turn out flawless work quickly under pressure with short notice?
Do you have a relationship with someone who will care about you constantly being unavailable?
Will your friends and family care if you continually cancel plans?
Do you have hobbies that are meaningful to you?
Do you want to have control over your life and time?

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Re: Best firm to be an associate in restructuring

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Nov 23, 2018 5:16 pm

I’m going to one of these firms this summer to do restructuring and am also considering going into real estate. Does anyone know if (1) real estate involves less work (I’m almost certain it does) (2) whether real estate or bankruptcy has better exit ops (do real estate attorneys go in-house for companies?) (3) can I go to a different practice group like Corp or PE relatively easy from one of these other groups if I end up not liking it? (4) bankruptcy is getting hotter while real estate is slowing down. I don’t know how much to factor this on as I have heard different philosophies on when the best time to enter an area is. The real estate group told me they do a lot of the real estate aspects of bankruptcy deals during a downturn, so maybe I would be insulated from a lay-off?

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Re: Best firm to be an associate in restructuring

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Nov 23, 2018 7:44 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I’m going to one of these firms this summer to do restructuring and am also considering going into real estate. Does anyone know if (1) real estate involves less work (I’m almost certain it does) (2) whether real estate or bankruptcy has better exit ops (do real estate attorneys go in-house for companies?) (3) can I go to a different practice group like Corp or PE relatively easy from one of these other groups if I end up not liking it? (4) bankruptcy is getting hotter while real estate is slowing down. I don’t know how much to factor this on as I have heard different philosophies on when the best time to enter an area is. The real estate group told me they do a lot of the real estate aspects of bankruptcy deals during a downturn, so maybe I would be insulated from a lay-off?


1) Real estate is substantially less work at Weil (bankruptcy averaged about 2400 billable hours last year across the group, corporate as a whole was under 1800 and real estate is at the low end of corporate).

2) Exit options out of bankruptcy are not going to be your traditional in house type roles generally, options are smaller firms, finance roles at banks, funds, etc. That said, we’ve had several associates go in house at large PE funds recently.

3) In theory, yes you can do this, but you really need to make that determination early on before you get too specialized.

4) The bankruptcy market is not hot as a whole right now, it’s just that Weil and KE have a significant market share and are busy while many other firms aren’t. Bankruptcy will only get busier, but real estate should be fine regardless as bankruptcy spins off a ton of work to other groups and will get them by as with the last recession.

Regardless of the above, you should spend time in both groups and determine what you enjoy doing more. These are useful considerations, but they’re not substitutes for figuring out what you’re going to actually enjoy (or at least not hate) doing on a day to day basis.



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