DPW Associates Taking Q's

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DPW Associates Taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Apr 19, 2017 10:28 pm

This board was really helpful to me as a law student, figured I'd try and pay it forward since things have been slow. Opted to disclose my firm since it was mildly frustrating as a law student to guess how relevant the cultural notes of an anon "V-whatever" associate were to my offers. Unfortunately this means I can't be too specific with personal details since it wouldn't be too hard to identify. There are other threads out there with firm-neutral OP's that can be more open wrt those things.

Happy to PM people upon request to discuss more sensitive issues (with caveat that I may not reach out as quickly as I'd like depending on workflow).

Went to T14. In the NY office. Corporate junior (first or second year). Will try and draw on experiences of friends/classmates in other groups/firms if I can't answer something based on my own personal knowledge.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Fri Apr 21, 2017 12:34 am, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: DPW Corp Junior Taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Apr 19, 2017 10:37 pm

How many hours have you billed?

How are the partners/mid-levels?

Do you really have to keep your door open? Because I would kill myself if I couldn't shut my door.

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Re: DPW Corp Junior Taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Apr 19, 2017 10:53 pm

Anonymous User wrote:How many hours have you billed?

How are the partners/mid-levels?

Do you really have to keep your door open? Because I would kill myself if I couldn't shut my door.


1. Average of 2200-ish so far. Fluctuates between 40-60 to 300-320/month. Friends in other groups even within corporate have had much lower/higher billables.

2. Not really sure how to answer this, can you be more specific? I don't have any complaints about them. Some are easier to work for than others but no one has approached "make me hate my job" level of unpleasantness. Mid-levels are probably the most stressed (but definitely not the busiest).

3. open-door culture is strong here. Everyone's doors are going to be open 90% of the time. But no one is going around checking to see if your door is open. If anything it would just annoy you more to have it shut since--particularly in corporate--people are going to each other's offices constantly to discuss. I'm not sure if this is by design, but we don't have one of those intra-office chat systems (e.g., Microsoft Link) that many other firms have (to illustrate how widespread it is, both CSM and K&E have one). So you need to either call or swing by each other's offices. It's not unusual for someone's door to be closed on every floor because they're on a call or they just want it shut for a personal reason, especially among the more senior associates.

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Re: DPW Corp Junior Taking Q's

Postby dabigchina » Wed Apr 19, 2017 10:55 pm

What firms are easy to work across from? What firms are a pain in the butt?

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Re: DPW Corp Junior Taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Apr 19, 2017 10:59 pm

Thank you for doing this! It is extremely helpful to get an insider's perspective.

I'm sure you had offers at other comparable firms. Are you happy you chose DPW? Is the culture what you expected?

What are exit options from corporate like? How quickly do most associates burn out and leave?

Is partnership impossible?

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Re: DPW Corp Junior Taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Apr 19, 2017 11:05 pm

dabigchina wrote:What firms are easy to work across from? What firms are a pain in the butt?


Can't credibly say that any of the major corporate players (either in NY or another major market) are categorically a pain or pleasure to work across. There's as much variation in personality in those firms as there is in ours, so it'll depend on the deal team. The firms that typically represent PE/Hedge funds (e.g., PW, KE, STB, Ropes, Schulte) are more aggressive because their clients demand it, but i haven't found any of their lawyers to be notably different in temperament/personality than those at our more genteel peers. Kirkland in particular gets a lot of heat on these threads, but they're excellent lawyers and we continuously see them across all the corporate groups. If you polled a random sampling of our corporate juniors for which firm they've worked with the most, Kirkland would be head and shoulders above whoever was #2.

The only time i've had a truly uncomfortable/abrasive exchange with another lawyer was against a WLRK senior, but the rest of that team was very pleasant.

The real pain-in-the-ass firms are the smaller shops in the city or firms in smaller markets that don't have as much institutional experience. So they'll read agreements and provisions from first principle (e.g., argue about the boilerplate language in the back of the agreement that no one ever gives a fuck about) or pick unnecessary fights that more sophisticated firms wouldn't.

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Re: DPW Corp Junior Taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Apr 19, 2017 11:20 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Thank you for doing this! It is extremely helpful to get an insider's perspective.

I'm sure you had offers at other comparable firms. Are you happy you chose DPW? Is the culture what you expected?

What are exit options from corporate like? How quickly do most associates burn out and leave?

Is partnership impossible?

You're very welcome.

I was picking between Skadden, KE (Chicago office), DPW, Cleary and PW (probably would have accepted Debevoise on the spot at the time, but didn't get an offer). No complaints about DPW. I can't imagine BigLaw being better as far as the people (not intended to mean that we have the best people or anything) and work environment. I do wish that our rotation system (the standard fare is two rotations and then you assign) offered more flexibility either by adding additional rotations (maybe three like STB) or having a free market flair to it.


I'm assuming you're asking about non-BigLaw exit options? It's hard to generalize about corporate exit options because of how many sub-groups there are, but they seem to even out as you get more senior. By the time you're a 4th or 5th year it's easier to pitch yourself. For example, there are seniors from real estate that go to in-house positions that I would have assumed were reserved for M&A associates when I was a student. If you actually look at the in-house offerings, they generally don't ask for "3rd year M&A associate from V5 with T14 J.D." It'll be much more general. For example, Amazon sent out a blast a few months ago looking for corporate associates with 4-6 years experience from an AmLaw 100. I can see why it would be easier to pitch yourself for an in-house gig coming from certain groups over others, but it's really more about how you sell yourself and who you know and luck than anything else. If you're interested in jumping to the business-side, then it'll depend on the industry and how your legal expertise fits into that business. It'll be easier to jump to a hedge/credit fund that invests in distressed debt from bankruptcy than it would be to jump to strategy at F100 from capital markets or something.

If you're looking to jump early as a junior then our three larger groups (M&A, Cap markets, Credit) are probably better for that. But it doesn't look like our seniors have trouble finding a landing spot regardless of which group they're in. Most associates are gone by end of year 4. M&A probably has the fewest seniors out of the big groups. Some of the smaller corp groups have worse burnout rates though.

ETA: Forgot to reply to your partnership question. Partnership isn't impossible. There are seniors in the queue who people--based on office gossip-- expect to make partner. I've also seen people leave to become partners at other firms. Recently had a senior leave to a firm in different city as a partner and a counsel move to another major firm in the city as partner. The surprising thing to me was how many people had no interest in making partner at all, and it's not solely because they don't think they can. Many people genuinely don't want that lifestyle even if it was within reach.

ETA 2: Forgot to address culture. The culture is largely as-promised. But I think students--including myself--expect our firm to be some kind of collegial/unicorn utopia (or passive aggressive dystopia depending on your personality). There are a lot of personalities within the firm, not all of whom are gummy bears and rainbows lol. But people generally are very polite. No screamers. Ladies enter and exit elevators/doors first. Criticism is phrased as constructively as possible.

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Re: DPW Corp Junior Taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 20, 2017 12:50 am

Thank you for doing this.

Of people you know in your class, how many didn't get their preferred rotations? If someone came in wanting to rotate through M&A and capital markets, how likely is it that they get shunted into credit? How are rotation decisions made? I assume deciding one first year doesn't get their preferred rotation while another does has a qualitative aspect to it.

Does DPW have a part time program for certain 3Ls near NYC?

Any tips for a summer associate?

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Re: DPW Corp Junior Taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 20, 2017 2:32 am

Anonymous User wrote:Thank you for doing this.

no problem!

Anonymous User wrote:Of people you know in your class, how many didn't get their preferred rotations? If someone came in wanting to rotate through M&A and capital markets, how likely is it that they get shunted into credit? How are rotation decisions made? I assume deciding one first year doesn't get their preferred rotation while another does has a qualitative aspect to it.

I can't provide an actual number, but it's rare for someone to miss their first choice rotation both times.

The market is probably the biggest factor. They're going to send people where they need them. Until recently, everyone who wanted to do capital markets (and even those that didn't want to) had a chance to try it just because of how busy the group was. Nowadays it would be difficult for someone to get both M&A and capital markets since both groups are popular and have slowed down. Credit has gotten very busy as the group has started to build out its sponsor-side practice and borrowers have been taking advantage of the low interest rates. Your guess is as good as mine re where the market will be when you join the firm.

But if we put all that to one side, there is a "gaming" element to the rotations given that some rotations are much more/less popular than others due to perceived sexiness, group size, and exit options.

Capital markets and M&A are consistently more popular than Credit and FIG even though our Credit/FIG practices are stronger than our M&A practice, especially compared to some of our M&A-focused peers like CSM/STB. I'm guessing it's because cap markets is considered the "crown jewel", M&A sounds sexy and intuitive to students, credit literally sounds boring and FIG involves a lot of research and memo-writing, which corporate-minded students usually dislike. Of the smaller groups, IMG (our fund formation group) and real estate are more competitive to get into.

Given all this, you can probably guess how you can try to game the system in the current market climate (i.e., M&A/Capital Markets have slowed down). If you put an unpopular but busy group third and rank popular but slow/small groups first and second, then it's likely that you get choice #3. But the upside is that it's likely that you get your first choice rotation the second time around. If you get your first choice in M&A your first time, you should be prepared to spend the next six months somewhere not-capital markets. Remember that this could change very quickly if the market changes.

I don't wanna speak out of turn and suggest that there are substantive considerations in determining which first-years get placed into a rotation. Truth is i don't know. However, it wouldn't surprise me if being an exceptionally good or bad summer was a tie-breaker consideration. They're human too. That said, it's hard to stand out in either direction. People don't really remember and there aren't a lot of opportunities for summers to stand out on the virtue of their work product.

Notwithstanding the above, if you don't get a chance to work with a group that you really want to try, they will work to accommodate you. There are associates who are permitted to change groups even a year or two after they've assigned to one (either to a different corp group or to litigation). Remember that they've spent a lot of time/money getting you here and training you. No one wants to see you depart for another firm because you couldn't develop your career the way you wanted.

Anonymous User wrote:Does DPW have a part time program for certain 3Ls near NYC?

I know the firm recently started a part-time program for 3L's that attend schools in the city (I did not). I'm not sure how much work they actually do given they can't work full-time. I've never worked with a part-time 3L nor have I seen any of my friends work with one.

Anonymous User wrote:Any tips for a summer associate?

-Get to know the first-years. They're the most likely to be around by the time you arrive after graduation.

-This sounds obvious, but remember that we're just like you. Odds are that we get annoyed by the same things you do. Try not to do those things. And if you do, then don't sweat it. We've all annoyed someone at some point. We forget about the same things you do too.

-Have a list of restaurants ready for lunches/dinners. We're already sick of everything in the area so we defer to you guys lol.

-Relax. We want you to have a good experience and try a varied diet of work. Go to as many summer events as you can, put in sincere effort to the extent your post-lunch food coma will permit and ask questions.

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Re: DPW Corporate Junior Taking Q's

Postby deepseapartners » Thu Apr 20, 2017 8:25 am

Which corporate practice groups have the most longevity?

Which corporate practice groups have the highest satisfaction rate, from what you can see?

What surprised you the most 3 months in that you weren't expecting on day 1?

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Re: DPW Corporate Junior Taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 20, 2017 8:53 am

Can you describe your day to day and what interests you about corporate work

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Re: DPW Corporate Junior Taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 20, 2017 9:00 am

[deleted]

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Re: DPW Corporate Junior Taking Q's

Postby imnottelling » Thu Apr 20, 2017 9:03 am

I'm coming in as a junior associate this fall. I'd love to chat with you personally if you don't mind sending me a PM.

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Re: DPW Corporate Junior Taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 20, 2017 9:38 am

would love to hear any general thoughts you have on the FIG group

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Re: DPW Corporate Junior Taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 20, 2017 10:29 am

Thanks for doing this, OP!

You've already answered a lot of my lingering Qs, but could you speak more to the non-work aspects of being a DPW corp associate? Namely:

(1) how have you dealt with the variability and volume of hours in your practice while trying to maintain something of a work-life balance?
(2) where do you recommend new DPW corp associates live in the city? Given the level of face time and workload you've experienced thus far, how far of a commute will literally make you want to off yourself?
(3) what has your experience been in terms of work on the weekends? Consistent or otherwise?

Anonymous User wrote:would love to hear any general thoughts you have on the FIG group


Would also be interested in this question. They seemed like a very strong group both internally and across peer firms, but curious to know about:

(1) your sense of the people,
(2) how the group differs in terms of practice from peer FIG groups (e.g. heard S&C does more bank M&A, while DPW is more regulatory? true? and if so, what does that mean?),
(3) how the lifestyle differs if at all from the big corp groups,
(4) what kinds of exits have you seen,
(5) and whether FIG is a "safe" practice area in terms of the consistent workflow and political winds.

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Re: DPW Corporate Junior Taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 20, 2017 10:32 am

Have a list of restaurants ready for lunches/dinners. We're already sick of everything in the area so we defer to you guys lol.


As an incoming SA at a peer firm in NY, but not being from NY is there a good list to start/pick from?

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Re: DPW Corporate Junior Taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 20, 2017 12:36 pm

Have you seen anyone get shitcanned in your time there/do you suspect stealth layoffs?

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Re: DPW Corp Junior Taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 20, 2017 1:15 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Thank you for doing this.

no problem!

Anonymous User wrote:Of people you know in your class, how many didn't get their preferred rotations? If someone came in wanting to rotate through M&A and capital markets, how likely is it that they get shunted into credit? How are rotation decisions made? I assume deciding one first year doesn't get their preferred rotation while another does has a qualitative aspect to it.

I can't provide an actual number, but it's rare for someone to miss their first choice rotation both times.

The market is probably the biggest factor. They're going to send people where they need them. Until recently, everyone who wanted to do capital markets (and even those that didn't want to) had a chance to try it just because of how busy the group was. Nowadays it would be difficult for someone to get both M&A and capital markets since both groups are popular and have slowed down. Credit has gotten very busy as the group has started to build out its sponsor-side practice and borrowers have been taking advantage of the low interest rates. Your guess is as good as mine re where the market will be when you join the firm.

But if we put all that to one side, there is a "gaming" element to the rotations given that some rotations are much more/less popular than others due to perceived sexiness, group size, and exit options.

Capital markets and M&A are consistently more popular than Credit and FIG even though our Credit/FIG practices are stronger than our M&A practice, especially compared to some of our M&A-focused peers like CSM/STB. I'm guessing it's because cap markets is considered the "crown jewel", M&A sounds sexy and intuitive to students, credit literally sounds boring and FIG involves a lot of research and memo-writing, which corporate-minded students usually dislike. Of the smaller groups, IMG (our fund formation group) and real estate are more competitive to get into.

Given all this, you can probably guess how you can try to game the system in the current market climate (i.e., M&A/Capital Markets have slowed down). If you put an unpopular but busy group third and rank popular but slow/small groups first and second, then it's likely that you get choice #3. But the upside is that it's likely that you get your first choice rotation the second time around. If you get your first choice in M&A your first time, you should be prepared to spend the next six months somewhere not-capital markets. Remember that this could change very quickly if the market changes.

I don't wanna speak out of turn and suggest that there are substantive considerations in determining which first-years get placed into a rotation. Truth is i don't know. However, it wouldn't surprise me if being an exceptionally good or bad summer was a tie-breaker consideration. They're human too. That said, it's hard to stand out in either direction. People don't really remember and there aren't a lot of opportunities for summers to stand out on the virtue of their work product.

Notwithstanding the above, if you don't get a chance to work with a group that you really want to try, they will work to accommodate you. There are associates who are permitted to change groups even a year or two after they've assigned to one (either to a different corp group or to litigation). Remember that they've spent a lot of time/money getting you here and training you. No one wants to see you depart for another firm because you couldn't develop your career the way you wanted.

Anonymous User wrote:Does DPW have a part time program for certain 3Ls near NYC?

I know the firm recently started a part-time program for 3L's that attend schools in the city (I did not). I'm not sure how much work they actually do given they can't work full-time. I've never worked with a part-time 3L nor have I seen any of my friends work with one.

Anonymous User wrote:Any tips for a summer associate?

-Get to know the first-years. They're the most likely to be around by the time you arrive after graduation.

-This sounds obvious, but remember that we're just like you. Odds are that we get annoyed by the same things you do. Try not to do those things. And if you do, then don't sweat it. We've all annoyed someone at some point. We forget about the same things you do too.

-Have a list of restaurants ready for lunches/dinners. We're already sick of everything in the area so we defer to you guys lol.

-Relax. We want you to have a good experience and try a varied diet of work. Go to as many summer events as you can, put in sincere effort to the extent your post-lunch food coma will permit and ask questions.


Well, fuck. The only thing I didn't like was the relative inflexibility of the rotation system, but I was assured that I would get M&A and capital markets if I wanted them, even if I had to do a third rotation. Do people do third rotations?

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Re: DPW Corporate Junior Taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 20, 2017 4:34 pm

Not to steal anyone's thunder, but I'm a former lit associate and happy to answer any lit questions as well.

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Re: DPW Corporate Junior Taking Q's

Postby Lincoln » Thu Apr 20, 2017 4:56 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Not to steal anyone's thunder, but I'm a former lit associate and happy to answer any lit questions as well.


Why did you leave?

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Re: DPW Corporate Junior Taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 20, 2017 4:59 pm

Lincoln wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Not to steal anyone's thunder, but I'm a former lit associate and happy to answer any lit questions as well.


Why did you leave?

Clerkship!

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Re: DPW Corporate Junior Taking Q's

Postby Joscellin » Thu Apr 20, 2017 5:35 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Not to steal anyone's thunder, but I'm a former lit associate and happy to answer any lit questions as well.


I know this gets asked a lot, but can you talk about your day-to-day in lit? What's the typical schedule look like?

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Re: DPW Corp Junior Taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 20, 2017 9:27 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Well, fuck. The only thing I didn't like was the relative inflexibility of the rotation system, but I was assured that I would get M&A and capital markets if I wanted them, even if I had to do a third rotation. Do people do third rotations?

People definitely do third rotations. But it's not common. Doesn't mean it's frowned upon or anything though. A lot of people in my class came in wanting to do M&A/Cap Markets but by the end of their first one, they just wanted to chill in a smaller group or decided they liked the first one enough to come back and not fight for a third rotation to try the other.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Thu Apr 20, 2017 10:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: DPW Corporate Junior Taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 20, 2017 10:19 pm

Yet another DPW associate here.
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:would love to hear any general thoughts you have on the FIG group


Would also be interested in this question. They seemed like a very strong group both internally and across peer firms, but curious to know about:

(1) your sense of the people,
Pretty good, no complaints. Lots of people with kids.
(2) how the group differs in terms of practice from peer FIG groups (e.g. heard S&C does more bank M&A, while DPW is more regulatory? true? and if so, what does that mean?),
Can't really speak to S&C, but I think there's less DPW FIG involvement with banking M&A and capital markets than there was say 10 years ago--but that's because there is just less of it in general. That said, that kind of work is still available if you want it. It's certainly more regulatory in that FIG is very very involved in the living will process each year.
(3) how the lifestyle differs if at all from the big corp groups,
Fewer fire drills, but still a grind.
(4) what kinds of exits have you seen,
Other firms, in house at banks, generalist in house
(5) and whether FIG is a "safe" practice area in terms of the consistent workflow and political winds.
A reasonable concern, but I think it's very safe.

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Re: DPW Corporate Junior Taking Q's

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 20, 2017 10:55 pm

deepseapartners wrote:Which corporate practice groups have the most longevity?

Which corporate practice groups have the highest satisfaction rate, from what you can see?

What surprised you the most 3 months in that you weren't expecting on day 1?

I dunno which groups are statistically easier to endure in terms of hours (which is what I assume you mean by longevity). Real Estate, Environment, IMG and pre-Living Wills FIG are generally considered lifestyle.

Highest satisfaction rate? Hmm..that's an interesting question. I'd have to guess the smaller specialty groups (on average) because of how self-selection works out. The people who go to more niche practices generally go/stay because they like the work and subject matter. People in exec comp and bankruptcy work crazy hours but it doesn't seem to bother them as much as the M&A associate counting the days until they can go in-house.

I was surprised by how not awful it was. Maybe a function of how low my expectations were coming in.

Anonymous User wrote:Can you describe your day to day and what interests you about corporate work

Hate to do this but can't really answer this without outing my practice group. I will say that I find certain corporate work more interesting than others. Based on hearing/watching the partners and seniors, every corporate practice sounds interesting in some way at a high level. But there are groups that--at the junior level--are basically just accelerated compliance work. Make sure all the resolutions and certificates and bylaws are there. Make sure the prospectus and OM comply with XYZ and that the right forms are filed at the right time. Make sure the terms match the precedent as much as possible etc...The bigger groups are like that. The more "legal" groups seem more interesting to me as far as junior work. You get your hands deeper into the law. For example i think tax and FIG are super interesting (I'm not in either group). You never actually talking about law when working on a secured credit facility. You're negotiating over precedent and baskets and leverage ratios. But some people prefer that.

imnottelling wrote:I'm coming in as a junior associate this fall. I'd love to chat with you personally if you don't mind sending me a PM.

PM'ed

Anonymous User wrote:Thanks for doing this, OP!

You've already answered a lot of my lingering Qs, but could you speak more to the non-work aspects of being a DPW corp associate? Namely:

(1) how have you dealt with the variability and volume of hours in your practice while trying to maintain something of a work-life balance?
(2) where do you recommend new DPW corp associates live in the city? Given the level of face time and workload you've experienced thus far, how far of a commute will literally make you want to off yourself?
(3) what has your experience been in terms of work on the weekends? Consistent or otherwise?

1. You're gonna hate this answer, but it's 90% about attitude. Weekend/evening plans (even non-social ones like going to the gym, doing laundry, getting a haircut) can get cancelled/delayed at any time. I'm fortunate in that all of my friends/dates understand that it comes with the territory (as they are also lawyers or work in similarly demanding professions). It's inconvenient as fuck some times. But on the whole i still get to see who I want to see and do what I want to do, it's just not always when I planned. We just try and remember that we're extremely fortunate to be where we are while making what we make and hope that the grind won't last forever. But the whole "shitty hours" thing hasn't been as bad as i thought (FYI I'm a young single male without children, so that helps i'm sure). I find that I still have energy to go out even after a long week (i.e., excited to see people when I can). The work itself isn't bad at all and the people are great. And as it turns out, I don't do a ton of stuff with my free time. If i'm not working, i'm just working out, chilling with friends, Netflixing. All of those are pretty easy to reschedule.

2. live on the east side (4,5,6 line) if you can. My commute is 30 minutes door to door when i'm not taking a cab or black car and it's been fine. Some people prefer living right next to the office, but i like the space and being able to get away. I think I could tolerate up to an hour. I've never had to go back to the office after I've already come home (some of my friends have a few times but it's not common). This isn't because the universe is kind and no one would ask us too. We either just work from home or don't go home until we're done for the night.

3. i would estimate 3-5 hours weekend work on average. But 75% of the time it's just 1-2 hours of random blacklining, drafting, replying to emails, conference call. The weekends where I work nonstop bring that average up. Generally seniors are pretty good about giving you a heads up about weekend work and accommodating any blackout periods you have scheduled.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Fri Apr 21, 2017 12:45 am, edited 4 times in total.




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