I'm a junior associate in NYC, and I don't really get the fever pitch of the OP. Maybe I'm too quick to buy management's rationalizations, or perhaps I just don't have another biglaw point of reference, but I'm pretty satisfied. I like the people I work with, and never got any impression that the work itself was unusual for biglaw.
1) Summers. Summer classes shrink, sure, but the firm itself has slimmed down quite a bit, so that seems obvious — more on the shrinkage below. Most of the summers this year were still T-14, and even for the ones who weren't, Cad has always hired from a broader range of law schools than some peer firms. That might be a consequence of many top-billing partners graduating from Fordham and other non-14 schools, especially the second-tier NYC schools. So that's not a sudden product of today's dynamics. I mean, for example, our two young partners named Law 360 rising stars a couple weeks ago went to Fordham and Ohio State, respectively — and now they're closing billion-dollar deals. So I always thought that was a cool part of the firm culture.
2) Closures. As for office closures, I get it — I was genuinely alarmed when the DC antitrust group left. But they seem like the only blindsiding hit, the rest of the attrition seemed logical. The only reason we were in Houston or Hong Kong or Beijing was a desperate attempt to diversify business after the financial crisis. As it turns out, if somebody in Texas needs an energy lawyer, there are plenty of Texas energy firms to do the trick. No reason to hire a Wall Street firm that happens to have a satellite office in Houston. Same issue with Asian markets. I think that CWT management expected our brand relationships with key financial institutions in NY to translate to HK, and they just didn't. So both expansion strategies flopped.
But neither attempt really speaks to the core NYC business, which is what law students today would be considering, and what CWT attorneys do now.
Like I said initially, maybe I'm too deep in the Kool Aid, who knows. But these strike me as non-absurd explanations.
3. Departures. I don't know about associate turnover, again, I don't really have anything to compare it to. I haven't checked laterally, I don't know how reliable their data is or what we can draw from it, maybe associate turnover is unusually high. If so, that sucks, I always assumed it was just part of the biglaw gig.
But I do take issue with the "partners/practice groups jumping ship" characterization, because for all the partner turnover, this year has seen a pretty steady stream of incoming lateral partners too.
I don't have access to internal firm financials, but incoming partners do. These men and women aren't dopes. They do their diligence, and "run for the hills" failing firms can't keep hiring new partners at the rate CWT is hiring. At the very least, it doesn't seem consistent with OP's doom and gloom outlook.
Admittedly, I'd say the culture does have a general fatigue of bad news. People occasionally make gallows humor-style jokes about the constant drip of stories. So there's an element of that I'm not denying, I've made those jokes myself, but I haven't felt any of the OP's deep resentment.
Instead, I think readers should remember that you occasionally find extremes, people who really hate it and have nothing but bad things to say, and I suspect that there's some self-selection in who starts online TLS threads based on the passion of their feelings. Likewise, I think some "everybody in New York knows" stereotypes are self-perpetuating memes that obviously come with a grain of salt. (E.g. I have friends who love working at Skadden, but you'd never know it from their QOL stereotype).
So in an office with hundreds of people, I'd wager that most have more nuanced feelings than OP. In any case, I would be surprised if the "BEWARE" sentiment prevails, and a reader of this thread might even be surprised at how many of us are fairly content.
If I could do it all over again, would I take an offer again? I don't know, maybe, I certainly don't have any flashing red "stay away" signs the OP pushes. I'm not saying law students should disregard everything in this thread, but I am saying they should take a more nuanced view than OP.
Last edited by Anonymous User
on Sat Aug 12, 2017 9:47 am, edited 1 time in total.