Boston vs New York - Broadly

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Boston vs New York - Broadly

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 16, 2017 8:13 pm

Hi all, long time lurker, first time starting a thread... top third at GULC, unusual pre-law school background, which seems mostly to have served me well in the recruiting process.

Was lucky to come out of OCI with eight callbacks, and have already received two offers. Both from great firms, with predominantly similar practices and cultures etc. Aside from a few minor differences that I don't think I care about much, the only significant distinction is that one is in NYC (not the hq but is the largest office) and the other is in Boston (hq). I'm originally from the Boston area, but not at all married to returning.

All other things being equal - as someone who wants to go into corporate/m&a work - should I be trying to start my career in New York because it's the hub of corporate work? Would starting off in Boston weaken future prospects? Does the higher cost of living in NYC make it a less attractive option? How big of a consideration should this be? (I'm single, family ties in both cities, and really don't care where I live tbh).

TIA

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Re: Boston vs New York - Broadly

Postby UVA2B » Wed Aug 16, 2017 8:25 pm

My opinion should hold relatively little value because I'm not an M&A/corporate attorney or someone particularly interested in the field, but the nature of deal work at this point seems to be more about the specific firms and the deals they do more than the city they are in. Although some of the best corporate shops are in NYC (again, it depends which shop you're in specifically to make this distinction), you can be staffed on massive deals in any office of the firm, so long as they regularly do those big deals. Location can matter, but it shouldn't be the driving factor. The specific firm and their practice strength in that market should drive this decision, since you're indifferent on the personal level.

So I guess what I'm saying is you can't make the "better" choice without giving some indication of the firms you're considering and the strength of their financials/corporate work generally.

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Re: Boston vs New York - Broadly

Postby SmokeytheBear » Wed Aug 16, 2017 8:32 pm

UVA2B wrote:Location can matter, but it shouldn't be the driving factor. The specific firm and their practice strength in that market should drive this decision, since you're indifferent on the personal level.

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Re: Boston vs New York - Broadly

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 16, 2017 8:34 pm

OP, I'm in a similar position as you -- thankful to have offers both at Ropes Bos and some big NYC shops, e.g., STB and S&C. Would be interested to hear input from others, but it seems like it's a decision only you can make. Maybe there's really something to be said about New York... but the hours are probably worse. Would be thankful if someone could speak to this.

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Re: Boston vs New York - Broadly

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 17, 2017 9:08 am

Anonymous User wrote:Hi all, long time lurker, first time starting a thread... top third at GULC, unusual pre-law school background, which seems mostly to have served me well in the recruiting process.

Was lucky to come out of OCI with eight callbacks, and have already received two offers. Both from great firms, with predominantly similar practices and cultures etc. Aside from a few minor differences that I don't think I care about much, the only significant distinction is that one is in NYC (not the hq but is the largest office) and the other is in Boston (hq). I'm originally from the Boston area, but not at all married to returning.

All other things being equal - as someone who wants to go into corporate/m&a work - should I be trying to start my career in New York because it's the hub of corporate work? Would starting off in Boston weaken future prospects? Does the higher cost of living in NYC make it a less attractive option? How big of a consideration should this be? (I'm single, family ties in both cities, and really don't care where I live tbh).

TIA


That's a nice number of CBs. Did you bid aggressively or conservatively?

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Re: Boston vs New York - Broadly

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 17, 2017 10:58 am

I chose Ropes Boston over a number of V10 firms in NYC, and it seemed like many (maybe most?) people in my summer class did the same.

I don't think in terms of prestige, working in Boston at a firm like Ropes will make a meaningful difference in your future opportunities. Ropes, while Boston-based, is a heavyweight firm with a great reputation. They've also beefed up their NYC presence a ton in the past several years, and I think they'll keep focusing on that. So, if you want to exit to work in New York later on, I don't think you'd have an issue doing that from Ropes Boston.

Boston and NYC are VERY different cities, though. I think your lifestyle will be better in Boston, your money will go further, etc., but it's a tiny city that isn't as vibrant/fun as NYC (e.g. bars close much earlier). Also, you'll still be working in biglaw, it's not like you'll be working 50h/week at Ropes Boston. I ended up choosing Boston over NYC because I like smaller cities, COL is lower, and I think work culture in Boston is just healthier and more manageable. However, some people hate how insular Boston is, which is completely fair; NYC is definitely a cooler/more exciting city.

Also keep in mind this is a summer job and your choice is not final. Tons of people decide to switch firms after their 2L summer, so don't think of picking a firm for your 2L summer as some sort of final decision you can't go back on.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Thu Aug 17, 2017 11:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Boston vs New York - Broadly

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 17, 2017 11:00 am

Echo the poster above. Assume if the decision you're making is between Ropes Boston and a NYC v10, you are probably going to have a much better overall QoL in Boston. And this is coming from someone who strongly prefers NYC.

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Re: Boston vs New York - Broadly

Postby Pokemon » Thu Aug 17, 2017 11:34 am

Without telling us firms, not sure what we can tell you. Maybe delete your school/background and provide firm info if u want better advice.

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Re: Boston vs New York - Broadly

Postby jhett » Thu Aug 17, 2017 11:40 am

If you work in Boston, it's also fairly easy to get cross-staffed on NYC work. It's not likely to happen in the reverse direction. Thus you'll get the benefits of living in Boston while working on some NYC-level deals (that is, if you like living in Boston).

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Re: Boston vs New York - Broadly

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 17, 2017 11:42 am

Anonymous User wrote:I chose Ropes Boston over a number of V10 firms in NYC, and it seemed like many (maybe most?) people in my summer class did the same.

I don't think in terms of prestige, working in Boston at a firm like Ropes will make a meaningful difference in your future opportunities. Ropes, while Boston-based, is a heavyweight firm with a great reputation. They've also beefed up their NYC presence a ton in the past several years, and I think they'll keep focusing on that. So, if you want to exit to work in New York later on, I don't think you'd have an issue doing that from Ropes Boston.

Boston and NYC are VERY different cities, though. I think your lifestyle will be better in Boston, your money will go further, etc., but it's a tiny city that isn't as vibrant/fun as NYC (e.g. bars close much earlier). Also, you'll still be working in biglaw, it's not like you'll be working 50h/week at Ropes Boston. I ended up choosing Boston over NYC because I like smaller cities, COL is lower, and I think work culture in Boston is just healthier and more manageable. However, some people hate how insular Boston is, which is completely fair; NYC is definitely a cooler/more exciting city.

Also keep in mind this is a summer job and your choice is not final. Tons of people decide to switch firms after their 2L summer, so don't think of picking a firm for your 2L summer as some sort of final decision you can't go back on.


Also went to Ropes Boston this summer and all of the above matches my experience. The only thing I may disagree with is that the COL is lower. If it is, it's a small difference even compared to NYC. I was surprised at how high rent and other COL expenses were.

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Re: Boston vs New York - Broadly

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 17, 2017 11:48 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I chose Ropes Boston over a number of V10 firms in NYC, and it seemed like many (maybe most?) people in my summer class did the same.

I don't think in terms of prestige, working in Boston at a firm like Ropes will make a meaningful difference in your future opportunities. Ropes, while Boston-based, is a heavyweight firm with a great reputation. They've also beefed up their NYC presence a ton in the past several years, and I think they'll keep focusing on that. So, if you want to exit to work in New York later on, I don't think you'd have an issue doing that from Ropes Boston.

Boston and NYC are VERY different cities, though. I think your lifestyle will be better in Boston, your money will go further, etc., but it's a tiny city that isn't as vibrant/fun as NYC (e.g. bars close much earlier). Also, you'll still be working in biglaw, it's not like you'll be working 50h/week at Ropes Boston. I ended up choosing Boston over NYC because I like smaller cities, COL is lower, and I think work culture in Boston is just healthier and more manageable. However, some people hate how insular Boston is, which is completely fair; NYC is definitely a cooler/more exciting city.

Also keep in mind this is a summer job and your choice is not final. Tons of people decide to switch firms after their 2L summer, so don't think of picking a firm for your 2L summer as some sort of final decision you can't go back on.


Also went to Ropes Boston this summer and all of the above matches my experience. The only thing I may disagree with is that the COL is lower. If it is, it's a small difference even compared to NYC. I was surprised at how high rent and other COL expenses were.



which neighborhood in Boston were you living in?

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Re: Boston vs New York - Broadly

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 17, 2017 12:19 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Hi all, long time lurker, first time starting a thread... top third at GULC, unusual pre-law school background, which seems mostly to have served me well in the recruiting process.

Was lucky to come out of OCI with eight callbacks, and have already received two offers. Both from great firms, with predominantly similar practices and cultures etc. Aside from a few minor differences that I don't think I care about much, the only significant distinction is that one is in NYC (not the hq but is the largest office) and the other is in Boston (hq). I'm originally from the Boston area, but not at all married to returning.

All other things being equal - as someone who wants to go into corporate/m&a work - should I be trying to start my career in New York because it's the hub of corporate work? Would starting off in Boston weaken future prospects? Does the higher cost of living in NYC make it a less attractive option? How big of a consideration should this be? (I'm single, family ties in both cities, and really don't care where I live tbh).

TIA


That's a nice number of CBs. Did you bid aggressively or conservatively?


I think I bid relatively conservatively... also I think I interview pretty well, and my work experience sounds more impressive than it is just as a function of being so unique, imo.

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Re: Boston vs New York - Broadly

Postby SmokeytheBear » Thu Aug 17, 2017 12:58 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Also keep in mind this is a summer job and your choice is not final. Tons of people decide to switch firms after their 2L summer, so don't think of picking a firm for your 2L summer as some sort of final decision you can't go back on.


I would highly, highly caution anyone from taking this advice and embracing this mentality. The 3L market is always difficult at best and dead at worst. Look on the 3L OCI thread on this forum. You may have a shot, but it's nothing that you should even think about banking on.

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Re: Boston vs New York - Broadly

Postby sparkytrainer » Thu Aug 17, 2017 1:02 pm

SmokeytheBear wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Also keep in mind this is a summer job and your choice is not final. Tons of people decide to switch firms after their 2L summer, so don't think of picking a firm for your 2L summer as some sort of final decision you can't go back on.


I would highly, highly caution anyone from taking this advice and embracing this mentality. The 3L market is always difficult at best and dead at worst. Look on the 3L OCI thread on this forum. You may have a shot, but it's nothing that you should even think about banking on.


Agreed with Smokey. Especially last year and this year, 3L oci/massmail is a bloodbath. I know someone at my t13 who was at a v20 in DC with top 25% grades trying to move to NYC due to some family reasons and that person has stuck out so far. Apparently amongst my friends trying to move up/change firms/change markets now that we have offers from our summer associateships, there is literally almost nothing out there minus Quinn, which is uber selective anyway.

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Re: Boston vs New York - Broadly

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 17, 2017 1:27 pm

I'm a mid-level corporate associate at one of Ropes/Wilmer/Goodwin in Boston, and I have friends at each of the others and also at large NYC firms. There's a lot of truth to the common wisdom of choosing the Boston options over the NYC firms: not quite as crazy hours as a Skadden/S&C/wherever NYC office, slightly lower cost of living (don't discount that NYC city income tax), less of a facetime requirement (though will depend on the partners/senior associates you're working with), ability to work with folks in the NYC office anyways (though I do think its better to work with people in your home office for a few reasons, mainly that it's easier and better for forming connections and finding mentors). It's still likely going to suck for long stretches, unless you're one of the masochists who actually enjoys being in biglaw, and odds are you aren't that person. My good friend from law school who went to one of Ropes/Wilmer/Goodwin (and didn't even do PE or a traditionally crazy practice group at his firm) would openly fantasize about getting hit by a car so he could get out of going to the office for a few weeks. But generally you're going to have some marginal quality of life benefit from going to a Boston firm.

I think two related things you miss out being in in those Boston firms rather than the mega NYC firms is a bit of prestige loss, and fewer opportunities to work on the mult-billion dollar, headline grabbing mega M&A deals (though you can find examples for each of the Boston firms, but less than the big New York ones). In terms of prestige, I couldn't give a crap about prestige for prestige sake, but it does have some residual effect on exit options. I was recently interviewing for an in-house position and the recruiter told me that their candidates from some bigger name NYC firms had been the first ones the HR folks at the in-house company had selected for interviews (though at the end of the day they didn't like those guys enough to give them an offer and were willing to bring me in for an interview, so its certainly not dispositive). I think this is particularly a factor if you're thinking of leaving Boston and going to a market where the big Boston firms aren't as well known, whereas the (for example) Cravath name travels a bit better.

In terms of mega deals, I'm actually of the mind you want to avoid those, at least as a junior. You'll probably get stuck doing more diligence and scut work and less substantive work since the more senior folks on the deal with more closely guard that work and the size of the companies involved will generally mean there is more to diligence. When I was a junior I worked with a mid-level who came in from a big NYC firm who remarked that the strategy at his old firm was to throw two or three times as many juniors on each mega deal as we did on the deal we were then working on (itself a multi-billion public M&A deal), and they would just eat sleep and breath diligence until it was done without much of a chance to work on the more substantive aspects of things. That's not to say that's always the case for the NYC firms or that all you do at NYC firms is mega deals and you don't do any at Boston firms, but the mix of deals is definitely a lot more of those kinds at NYC firms than Ropes/Wilmer/Goodwin.

So, I think if you're planning to stay in Boston, value quality of life more than exit options, or you're only planning to leave after only a couple of years with more substantive experience early, going Ropes/Wilmer/Goodwin makes a lot of sense. If you're planning to stick around for 4 or 5 years and then leave into higher level in-house positions, or have plans to not be in Boston forever, there's an argument for going to a big NYC firm.

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Re: Boston vs New York - Broadly

Postby SmokeytheBear » Thu Aug 17, 2017 1:31 pm

sparkytrainer wrote:
SmokeytheBear wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Also keep in mind this is a summer job and your choice is not final. Tons of people decide to switch firms after their 2L summer, so don't think of picking a firm for your 2L summer as some sort of final decision you can't go back on.


I would highly, highly caution anyone from taking this advice and embracing this mentality. The 3L market is always difficult at best and dead at worst. Look on the 3L OCI thread on this forum. You may have a shot, but it's nothing that you should even think about banking on.


Agreed with Smokey. Especially last year and this year, 3L oci/massmail is a bloodbath. I know someone at my t13 who was at a v20 in DC with top 25% grades trying to move to NYC due to some family reasons and that person has stuck out so far. Apparently amongst my friends trying to move up/change firms/change markets now that we have offers from our summer associateships, there is literally almost nothing out there minus Quinn, which is uber selective anyway.


Quinn = uber selective and litigation only.

We generally see Skadden, Kirkland, and Latham tap the 3L market in LA. But they open it up to T-13 + UCLA/USC/UCI for one or two spots at each firm. So you have a bazillion people applying for a few jobs.

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Re: Boston vs New York - Broadly

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 17, 2017 1:35 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm a mid-level corporate associate at one of Ropes/Wilmer/Goodwin in Boston, and I have friends at each of the others and also at large NYC firms. There's a lot of truth to the common wisdom of choosing the Boston options over the NYC firms: not quite as crazy hours as a Skadden/S&C/wherever NYC office, slightly lower cost of living (don't discount that NYC city income tax), less of a facetime requirement (though will depend on the partners/senior associates you're working with), ability to work with folks in the NYC office anyways (though I do think its better to work with people in your home office for a few reasons, mainly that it's easier and better for forming connections and finding mentors). It's still likely going to suck for long stretches, unless you're one of the masochists who actually enjoys being in biglaw, and odds are you aren't that person. My good friend from law school who went to one of Ropes/Wilmer/Goodwin (and didn't even do PE or a traditionally crazy practice group at his firm) would openly fantasize about getting hit by a car so he could get out of going to the office for a few weeks. But generally you're going to have some marginal quality of life benefit from going to a Boston firm.

I think two related things you miss out being in in those Boston firms rather than the mega NYC firms is a bit of prestige loss, and fewer opportunities to work on the mult-billion dollar, headline grabbing mega M&A deals (though you can find examples for each of the Boston firms, but less than the big New York ones). In terms of prestige, I couldn't give a crap about prestige for prestige sake, but it does have some residual effect on exit options. I was recently interviewing for an in-house position and the recruiter told me that their candidates from some bigger name NYC firms had been the first ones the HR folks at the in-house company had selected for interviews (though at the end of the day they didn't like those guys enough to give them an offer and were willing to bring me in for an interview, so its certainly not dispositive). I think this is particularly a factor if you're thinking of leaving Boston and going to a market where the big Boston firms aren't as well known, whereas the (for example) Cravath name travels a bit better.

In terms of mega deals, I'm actually of the mind you want to avoid those, at least as a junior. You'll probably get stuck doing more diligence and scut work and less substantive work since the more senior folks on the deal with more closely guard that work and the size of the companies involved will generally mean there is more to diligence. When I was a junior I worked with a mid-level who came in from a big NYC firm who remarked that the strategy at his old firm was to throw two or three times as many juniors on each mega deal as we did on the deal we were then working on (itself a multi-billion public M&A deal), and they would just eat sleep and breath diligence until it was done without much of a chance to work on the more substantive aspects of things. That's not to say that's always the case for the NYC firms or that all you do at NYC firms is mega deals and you don't do any at Boston firms, but the mix of deals is definitely a lot more of those kinds at NYC firms than Ropes/Wilmer/Goodwin.

So, I think if you're planning to stay in Boston, value quality of life more than exit options, or you're only planning to leave after only a couple of years with more substantive experience early, going Ropes/Wilmer/Goodwin makes a lot of sense. If you're planning to stick around for 4 or 5 years and then leave into higher level in-house positions, or have plans to not be in Boston forever, there's an argument for going to a big NYC firm.


Not OP, but this was incredibly helpful, thanks. Any thoughts on how Ropes/Wilmer/Goodwin do re: exit options into bigfed?

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Re: Boston vs New York - Broadly

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 17, 2017 1:40 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I'm a mid-level corporate associate at one of Ropes/Wilmer/Goodwin in Boston, and I have friends at each of the others and also at large NYC firms. There's a lot of truth to the common wisdom of choosing the Boston options over the NYC firms: not quite as crazy hours as a Skadden/S&C/wherever NYC office, slightly lower cost of living (don't discount that NYC city income tax), less of a facetime requirement (though will depend on the partners/senior associates you're working with), ability to work with folks in the NYC office anyways (though I do think its better to work with people in your home office for a few reasons, mainly that it's easier and better for forming connections and finding mentors). It's still likely going to suck for long stretches, unless you're one of the masochists who actually enjoys being in biglaw, and odds are you aren't that person. My good friend from law school who went to one of Ropes/Wilmer/Goodwin (and didn't even do PE or a traditionally crazy practice group at his firm) would openly fantasize about getting hit by a car so he could get out of going to the office for a few weeks. But generally you're going to have some marginal quality of life benefit from going to a Boston firm.

I think two related things you miss out being in in those Boston firms rather than the mega NYC firms is a bit of prestige loss, and fewer opportunities to work on the mult-billion dollar, headline grabbing mega M&A deals (though you can find examples for each of the Boston firms, but less than the big New York ones). In terms of prestige, I couldn't give a crap about prestige for prestige sake, but it does have some residual effect on exit options. I was recently interviewing for an in-house position and the recruiter told me that their candidates from some bigger name NYC firms had been the first ones the HR folks at the in-house company had selected for interviews (though at the end of the day they didn't like those guys enough to give them an offer and were willing to bring me in for an interview, so its certainly not dispositive). I think this is particularly a factor if you're thinking of leaving Boston and going to a market where the big Boston firms aren't as well known, whereas the (for example) Cravath name travels a bit better.

In terms of mega deals, I'm actually of the mind you want to avoid those, at least as a junior. You'll probably get stuck doing more diligence and scut work and less substantive work since the more senior folks on the deal with more closely guard that work and the size of the companies involved will generally mean there is more to diligence. When I was a junior I worked with a mid-level who came in from a big NYC firm who remarked that the strategy at his old firm was to throw two or three times as many juniors on each mega deal as we did on the deal we were then working on (itself a multi-billion public M&A deal), and they would just eat sleep and breath diligence until it was done without much of a chance to work on the more substantive aspects of things. That's not to say that's always the case for the NYC firms or that all you do at NYC firms is mega deals and you don't do any at Boston firms, but the mix of deals is definitely a lot more of those kinds at NYC firms than Ropes/Wilmer/Goodwin.

So, I think if you're planning to stay in Boston, value quality of life more than exit options, or you're only planning to leave after only a couple of years with more substantive experience early, going Ropes/Wilmer/Goodwin makes a lot of sense. If you're planning to stick around for 4 or 5 years and then leave into higher level in-house positions, or have plans to not be in Boston forever, there's an argument for going to a big NYC firm.


Not OP, but this was incredibly helpful, thanks. Any thoughts on how Ropes/Wilmer/Goodwin do re: exit options into bigfed?

For corporate to fed? I haven't seen that happen enough to think it's a real likely option/have opinions on which is better to make the move. No idea for litigation since I'm corporate.



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