Anonymous User wrote:Work/worked at one of these firms and am pretty familiar with the other.
The predominant issue is whether you want to live in DC or LA. As you know if you have ties to both places, it is hard to find two major coastal cities that are as different as these two. I understand that you want to bracket this issue aside, but this inflects the other issues you're looking at.
For QoL, the firms are probably similar. Munger probably has marginally lower average billables and may have a slightly more relaxed culture; this is just a reflection of general differences between the two markets. Moreover, the partners you work for at each will matter more than the firms themselves. Above all, DC and LA are very very different cities, and that will matter more for your QoL than anything else. Do you like driving everywhere? Do you care about having great hiking nearby? Do you care about being a train ride away from NY, etc.? Do you want to live in a huge sprawling city or a small-feeling city?
Early experience is probably pretty similar at both places; again, this will defend on which partners you work for and what cases you get assigned to. Hard to tell ex ante.
Exit opportunities are where the choice of city really matters. Do you want to be an AUSA in CDCal, go in-house at a studio, or get appointed to something in CA government? Go to Munger. Do you want to be an AUSA in DDC or work at the WH Counsel's Office? Go to W&C. Neither is really "better" in the abstract. Relative to other DC firms, W&C is less of a revolving door place for the federal government (once you leave, you generally don't come back), though this is less true than in the past and isn't relevant to the decision between MTO and W&C.
Also work/worked at one of these firms and am pretty familiar with the other and I agree with this post in its entirety. OP, this is not about being unhelpful; it is that while there are some differences as noted above, the junior associate experience at these firms is quite similar compared to other biglaw firms (work, hours, substance, exit opps, partnership prospects, etc.), such that you are better off choosing based on the city in which you want to live. I get that you "could live" in either one, but we are talking about building your legal practice and, as a practical matter, very likely making a lifelong decision to live in one of them. They are really
different cities (in my experience, very few people tend to like both of them) and if you don't have a preference for either one, you should investigate further.