Wachtell (WLRK) v. Williams & Connolly (W&C) -- AUSA Exit Opps. & Work-Life Balance

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Wachtell (WLRK) v. Williams & Connolly (W&C) -- AUSA Exit Opps. & Work-Life Balance

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 21, 2017 6:19 pm

I know that these X firm v. Y firm threads generally devolve into blind speculation and vitriol directed towards the OP (I can handle it, I swear), but I figured that one out of every-so-many of the posts here will stay on topic and turn out to be helpful to me and those in a similar situation with similar questions (now and in the future).

I am considering between Wachtell (litigation) and Williams & Connolly, and I have two main questions:

(1) Does anyone have a sense which of these two firms places better in USA (United States Attorney) offices?

(2) How do the work-life balances of the two firms compare? This is of lesser concern to me because there are numerous threads that, at least in part, answer this question. But to the extent that you have any, please share information on this comparison.

I understand that a big part of this decision will come down to whether I would prefer to be in Washington D.C. or New York, and that is something I am determining independently. As helpful as such comments are, please refrain from redirecting this thread into a series of attacks for me not exclusively considering what market I prefer. If you don't mind, please just answer these questions as though there is a dead-even tie in terms of my market preference.

Also, please only chime in (at least with answers) if you have actual first- or second-hand information (anecdotal, statistical, or otherwise). Please avoid posting speculation or pure guesses, it makes these threads less helpful to the OP (me in this case) and future TLSers with the same or a similar question (the very reason I needed to start this thread in the first place).

Thanks in advance for your advice, thoughts, and inevitable sharp remarks at my expense.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Mon Aug 21, 2017 6:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Wachtell (WLRK) v. Williams & Connolly (W&C) -- AUSA Exit Opps. & Work-Life Balance

Postby Lacepiece23 » Mon Aug 21, 2017 6:21 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I know that these X firm v. Y firm threads generally devolve into blind speculation and vitriol directed towards the OP (I can handle it, I swear), but I figured that one out of every-so-many of the posts here will stay on topic and turn out to be helpful to me and those in a similar situation with similar questions (now and in the future).

I am considering between Wachtell (litigation) and Williams & Connolly, and I have two main questions:

(1) Does anyone have a sense which of these two firms places better in USA (United States Attorney) offices?

(2) How do the work-life balances of the two firms compare? This is of lesser concern to me because there are numerous threads that, at least in part, answer this question. But to the extent that you have any, please share information on this comparison.

I understand that a big part of this decision will come down to whether I would prefer to be in Washington D.C. or New York, and that is something I am determining independently. As helpful as such comments are, please refrain from redirecting this thread into a series of attacks for me not exclusively considering what market I prefer. If you don't mind, please just answer these questions as though there is a dead-even tie in terms of my market preference.

Also, please only chime in (at least with answers) if you have actual first- or second-hand information (anecdotal, statistical, or otherwise). Please avoid posting speculation or pure guesses, it makes these thread less helpful to the OP (me in this case) and future TLSers with the same or a similar question (the very reason I needed to start this thread in the first place).

Thanks in advance for your advice, thoughts, and inevitable sharp remarks at my expense.


Not much information, but I'm sure you'd have good odds at getting AUSA from both. I'd just go to WLKR because, $$$.

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Re: Wachtell (WLRK) v. Williams & Connolly (W&C) -- AUSA Exit Opps. & Work-Life Balance

Postby PeanutsNJam » Mon Aug 21, 2017 6:34 pm

If you're really sure about AUSA, you really should get a clerkship, preferably with a big-name feeder. I have no personal knowledge but I don't think there's going to be any material diff in litigation exit options from either firm.

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Re: Wachtell (WLRK) v. Williams & Connolly (W&C) -- AUSA Exit Opps. & Work-Life Balance

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 21, 2017 6:42 pm

PeanutsNJam wrote:If you're really sure about AUSA, you really should get a clerkship, preferably with a big-name feeder. I have no personal knowledge but I don't think there's going to be any material diff in litigation exit options from either firm.


Great point. OP here, I hope to do a district clerkship after 3L and then (hopefully) a COA clerkship the following year. Then I'd return to either WLRK or W&C

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Re: Wachtell (WLRK) v. Williams & Connolly (W&C) -- AUSA Exit Opps. & Work-Life Balance

Postby Oskosh » Mon Aug 21, 2017 6:45 pm

Isn't W&C the elite white collar criminal defense firm? Wouldn't that look better on your resume? Not too familiar with Wachtell's litigation department.
Though I guess Wachtell is so selective that it doesn't really matter lol.

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Re: Wachtell (WLRK) v. Williams & Connolly (W&C) -- AUSA Exit Opps. & Work-Life Balance

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 21, 2017 6:47 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
PeanutsNJam wrote:If you're really sure about AUSA, you really should get a clerkship, preferably with a big-name feeder. I have no personal knowledge but I don't think there's going to be any material diff in litigation exit options from either firm.


Great point. OP here, I hope to do a district clerkship after 3L and then (hopefully) a COA clerkship the following year. Then I'd return to either WLRK or W&C


Hard to imagine that someone with offers from both Wachtell and W&C doesn't have a feeder lined up already.

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Re: Wachtell (WLRK) v. Williams & Connolly (W&C) -- AUSA Exit Opps. & Work-Life Balance

Postby Interficio » Mon Aug 21, 2017 6:51 pm

I assume that W&C has better hours, just because it's in DC, and Wachtell is definitely a firm with a sweatshop reputation. My classmates who summered at Wachtell frequently worked 9am-9pm (as summers!), and the actual associates stayed longer than them.

But, also, I'm just not sure why someone who wants to do litigation would choose Wachtell. Even if you wanted some link to SDNY, there are plenty of litigation shops there (e.g. Paul Weiss) that may give you more useful connections and experience.

Do you actually have offers at these places?

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Re: Wachtell (WLRK) v. Williams & Connolly (W&C) -- AUSA Exit Opps. & Work-Life Balance

Postby Lacepiece23 » Mon Aug 21, 2017 6:55 pm

Interficio wrote:I assume that W&C has better hours, just because it's in DC, and Wachtell is definitely a firm with a sweatshop reputation. My classmates who summered at Wachtell frequently worked 9am-9pm (as summers!), and the actual associates stayed longer than them.

But, also, I'm just not sure why someone who wants to do litigation would choose Wachtell. Even if you wanted some link to SDNY, there are plenty of litigation shops there (e.g. Paul Weiss) that may give you more useful connections and experience.

Do you actually have offers at these places?


Doesn't Watchell pay like 100k more for first years? If you're going to miserably grind out your existence at one of these shops, why not make a ton more money along the way. Especially if the goal is to get out eventually and take a huge paycut for AUSA.

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Re: Wachtell (WLRK) v. Williams & Connolly (W&C) -- AUSA Exit Opps. & Work-Life Balance

Postby Interficio » Mon Aug 21, 2017 7:04 pm

Lacepiece23 wrote:
Interficio wrote:I assume that W&C has better hours, just because it's in DC, and Wachtell is definitely a firm with a sweatshop reputation. My classmates who summered at Wachtell frequently worked 9am-9pm (as summers!), and the actual associates stayed longer than them.

But, also, I'm just not sure why someone who wants to do litigation would choose Wachtell. Even if you wanted some link to SDNY, there are plenty of litigation shops there (e.g. Paul Weiss) that may give you more useful connections and experience.

Do you actually have offers at these places?


Doesn't Watchell pay like 100k more for first years? If you're going to miserably grind out your existence at one of these shops, why not make a ton more money along the way. Especially if the goal is to get out eventually and take a huge paycut for AUSA.


That's assuming that money is the main motivation. This might shock TLSers, but some lawyers in big firms actually *like* what they do.

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Re: Wachtell (WLRK) v. Williams & Connolly (W&C) -- AUSA Exit Opps. & Work-Life Balance

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 21, 2017 7:10 pm

Interficio wrote:I assume that W&C has better hours, just because it's in DC, and Wachtell is definitely a firm with a sweatshop reputation. My classmates who summered at Wachtell frequently worked 9am-9pm (as summers!), and the actual associates stayed longer than them.

But, also, I'm just not sure why someone who wants to do litigation would choose Wachtell. Even if you wanted some link to SDNY, there are plenty of litigation shops there (e.g. Paul Weiss) that may give you more useful connections and experience.

Do you actually have offers at these places?


Yes, I have an offer at both firms.

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Re: Wachtell (WLRK) v. Williams & Connolly (W&C) -- AUSA Exit Opps. & Work-Life Balance

Postby lawlorbust » Mon Aug 21, 2017 7:18 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Interficio wrote:I assume that W&C has better hours, just because it's in DC, and Wachtell is definitely a firm with a sweatshop reputation. My classmates who summered at Wachtell frequently worked 9am-9pm (as summers!), and the actual associates stayed longer than them.

But, also, I'm just not sure why someone who wants to do litigation would choose Wachtell. Even if you wanted some link to SDNY, there are plenty of litigation shops there (e.g. Paul Weiss) that may give you more useful connections and experience.

Do you actually have offers at these places?


Yes, I have an offer at both firms.


That much I believe, better question is why (and this is for all those KVN v. W&C v. WLRK v. MTO v. KHHTEF threads out there) why you're taking advice from 1Ls like him.

EDIT: hlsperson1111 is the only person in the thread who seems to have any clue about these firms. But really, congrats on your offer, start reaching out to your WLRK/W&C contacts and ask them instead.
Last edited by lawlorbust on Mon Aug 21, 2017 7:53 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Wachtell (WLRK) v. Williams & Connolly (W&C) -- AUSA Exit Opps. & Work-Life Balance

Postby RaceJudicata » Mon Aug 21, 2017 7:24 pm

Interficio wrote:
Lacepiece23 wrote:
Interficio wrote:I assume that W&C has better hours, just because it's in DC, and Wachtell is definitely a firm with a sweatshop reputation. My classmates who summered at Wachtell frequently worked 9am-9pm (as summers!), and the actual associates stayed longer than them.

But, also, I'm just not sure why someone who wants to do litigation would choose Wachtell. Even if you wanted some link to SDNY, there are plenty of litigation shops there (e.g. Paul Weiss) that may give you more useful connections and experience.

Do you actually have offers at these places?


Doesn't Watchell pay like 100k more for first years? If you're going to miserably grind out your existence at one of these shops, why not make a ton more money along the way. Especially if the goal is to get out eventually and take a huge paycut for AUSA.


That's assuming that money is the main motivation. This might shock TLSers, but some lawyers in big firms actually *like* what they do.


Yes, but OP wouldn't know what camp he or she falls into at this point.

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Re: Wachtell (WLRK) v. Williams & Connolly (W&C) -- AUSA Exit Opps. & Work-Life Balance

Postby hlsperson1111 » Mon Aug 21, 2017 7:38 pm

These are both good options. In general, you will work materially harder (think 2800+ hours at WLRK versus 2400+ at W&C) and get paid materially more (50-100k above market versus at or slightly below market) at WLRK than at W&C. W&C has a well-deserved reputation for placing associates into prestigious federal government jobs and does much more white-collar criminal defense and investigations work. My impression is that WLRK's litigation tends to be primarily big-ticket shareholder and M&A litigation, while W&C has a broader practice. I think they are both fancy firms that will give you a good credential for AUSA hiring, but I think W&C is a better fit for your stated goals/interests.

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Re: Wachtell (WLRK) v. Williams & Connolly (W&C) -- AUSA Exit Opps. & Work-Life Balance

Postby Johann » Mon Aug 21, 2017 7:47 pm

why would anyone ever turn down wachtell. best possible money and best name in the game.

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Re: Wachtell (WLRK) v. Williams & Connolly (W&C) -- AUSA Exit Opps. & Work-Life Balance

Postby quiver » Mon Aug 21, 2017 7:56 pm

Hours: advantage W&C
Pay: advantage WLRK
Exit ops: even. I know everyone thinks of W&C as the preeminent gov placement firm, but many of the recent SDNY hires have been from WLRK (despite being a relatively small firm).

OP, I think this comes down to whether you value money vs. hours and NYC vs. DC. Assuming you clerk, you'll be in great position coming from either.

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Re: Wachtell (WLRK) v. Williams & Connolly (W&C) -- AUSA Exit Opps. & Work-Life Balance

Postby cavalier1138 » Mon Aug 21, 2017 8:04 pm

Johann wrote:why would anyone ever turn down wachtell. best possible money and best name in the game.


They might have families or the desire to feel sunlight on their face every now and then. Weirdos.

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Re: Wachtell (WLRK) v. Williams & Connolly (W&C) -- AUSA Exit Opps. & Work-Life Balance

Postby jd20132013 » Mon Aug 21, 2017 8:26 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:
Johann wrote:why would anyone ever turn down wachtell. best possible money and best name in the game.


They might have families or the desire to feel sunlight on their face every now and then. Weirdos.


If the alternative is w and c I'm not sure why the things you mentioned are relevant

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Re: Wachtell (WLRK) v. Williams & Connolly (W&C) -- AUSA Exit Opps. & Work-Life Balance

Postby quiver » Mon Aug 21, 2017 8:35 pm

jd20132013 wrote:
cavalier1138 wrote:
Johann wrote:why would anyone ever turn down wachtell. best possible money and best name in the game.


They might have families or the desire to feel sunlight on their face every now and then. Weirdos.


If the alternative is w and c I'm not sure why the things you mentioned are relevant
On the whole, W&C associates tend to work less than WLRK associates. Cav's point stands.

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Re: Wachtell (WLRK) v. Williams & Connolly (W&C) -- AUSA Exit Opps. & Work-Life Balance

Postby Wild Card » Mon Aug 21, 2017 9:30 pm

At the Southern District of New York, W&C and WLRK are peers; both enjoy strong representation across the units.

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Re: Wachtell (WLRK) v. Williams & Connolly (W&C) -- AUSA Exit Opps. & Work-Life Balance

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 21, 2017 9:39 pm

I had this same option and chose WC. You should really look into the size of Wachtell's litigation practice, as well as the types of cases that come through the door.

Also WC now does much more IP work/products liability/pharma defense (and slightly less white-collar crime) than people generally think. This could be a good thing or bad thing for you.

I think about the $ I may give up often but figure I'll have another opportunity to work at another firm post-clerkships.

The thing everyone is forgetting is that nothing you decide now is permanent

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Re: Wachtell (WLRK) v. Williams & Connolly (W&C) -- AUSA Exit Opps. & Work-Life Balance

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 21, 2017 10:29 pm

I have/had friends at both (7th - 4th year).
WRLK will work you more and pay you more.
WRLK will also (my friends have said) be as honest as any firm in you progression prospects (didn't hear the same from W&C).
For SDNY, WRLK has the upper hand but for other offices and other DC Govt legal work W&C is marginally better.

If you want AUSA please do get at least 1 clerkship in (having a ton of friends who didn't clerk hit this stumbling block).

Either WRLK or W&C will provide you with great training and an amazing platform. Good luck and enjoy.

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Re: Wachtell (WLRK) v. Williams & Connolly (W&C) -- AUSA Exit Opps. & Work-Life Balance

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 21, 2017 11:17 pm

For reference, I summered at WLRK but chose a lit boutique instead in the end, so I can offer a slightly different perspective as you're considering long term options as well. For me, I Mainly wanted to get more direct experience actually litigating/taking depositions ASAP + I like working on the plaintiff side far better. My experience has confirmed that juniors at boutiques are getting more substance, more quickly, on average. Even at the outstanding firms you're considering, you'll have less substantive responsibility than a small boutique where you'll be staffed on incredibly small teams, and you'll only ever represent defendants (minus the occasional merger break fee case; i.e. Not plaintiffs work really). Consider applying to Susman, Kellogg, etc. post clerkship if a more diverse experience and early responsibility becomes more important to your thinking about your long term goals.

That said, the firms you're looking at will give you a lot of early responsibility as far as big law goes, and have fantastic networks for AUSA. You probably know that a bunch of recent AUSA hires just went over from WLRK, and I'm sure the partners that focus on white collar are a big part of the reason why. I'll bet both firms you're considering are going to have similar placement power. I don't have as much insight here though, as I'm a private sector oriented person.

Wachtell hours are everything they're cracked up to be. Even as a summer, it was a bit much (though some people have more humane experiences than I did). There are corp associates there who clear 3500 (not exaggerating; but that's obv the high end). Lit is prob 2750-3000 in a busy year. I doubt W&C is much better, but those marginal hours approaching 3000 are especially taxing.

At least the pay at WLRK is substantially better. If it was really a toss up, you'd be in a better position financially collecting the incredible WLRK bonus before taking the government pay cut. It would far make up for the lack of clerkship bonus after two years (about the time you'd need to be really competitive for AUSA as far as I understand the process). This is probably where I'd lean based on your OP given that most other factors are a toss up. I also think WLRK is a better brand. But that's definitely going to be disagreed with in the lit circles/D.C. ppl.

The perks at WLRK are also quite great. They really take care of their people in an intentional way (but still chain them to their desk lol). Not sure of the same at W&C.

Another thing for me personally is that I really did not jive with the ppl I met at W&C whereas I really liked most of my WLRK interviewers (and ppl I worked with as a summer). Granted, limited subset, but to the extent you felt more like you were interviewing with people you liked, the better. The folks from my LS class that chose each firm also confirmed this fit point for me. My only point here is if you are really 50/50, go with your gut in the end bc you can't go wrong either way.

Anyhow, I hope that was marginally helpful and not too rambling.

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Re: Wachtell (WLRK) v. Williams & Connolly (W&C) -- AUSA Exit Opps. & Work-Life Balance

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 21, 2017 11:32 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Interficio wrote:I assume that W&C has better hours, just because it's in DC, and Wachtell is definitely a firm with a sweatshop reputation. My classmates who summered at Wachtell frequently worked 9am-9pm (as summers!), and the actual associates stayed longer than them.

But, also, I'm just not sure why someone who wants to do litigation would choose Wachtell. Even if you wanted some link to SDNY, there are plenty of litigation shops there (e.g. Paul Weiss) that may give you more useful connections and experience.

Do you actually have offers at these places?


Yes, I have an offer at both firms.


Any chance you could clue us in on your school range? I'm waiting on Williams and Connolly post-cb.

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Re: Wachtell (WLRK) v. Williams & Connolly (W&C) -- AUSA Exit Opps. & Work-Life Balance

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 21, 2017 11:38 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Interficio wrote:I assume that W&C has better hours, just because it's in DC, and Wachtell is definitely a firm with a sweatshop reputation. My classmates who summered at Wachtell frequently worked 9am-9pm (as summers!), and the actual associates stayed longer than them.

But, also, I'm just not sure why someone who wants to do litigation would choose Wachtell. Even if you wanted some link to SDNY, there are plenty of litigation shops there (e.g. Paul Weiss) that may give you more useful connections and experience.

Do you actually have offers at these places?


Yes, I have an offer at both firms.


Any chance you could clue us in on your school range? I'm waiting on Williams and Connolly post-cb.


W&C makes decisions after they interview everyone from your school. For some people it will be quick (if they were the last to go), but if you're the first, you could wait a little bit.

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Re: Wachtell (WLRK) v. Williams & Connolly (W&C) -- AUSA Exit Opps. & Work-Life Balance

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 22, 2017 7:41 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Interficio wrote:I assume that W&C has better hours, just because it's in DC, and Wachtell is definitely a firm with a sweatshop reputation. My classmates who summered at Wachtell frequently worked 9am-9pm (as summers!), and the actual associates stayed longer than them.

But, also, I'm just not sure why someone who wants to do litigation would choose Wachtell. Even if you wanted some link to SDNY, there are plenty of litigation shops there (e.g. Paul Weiss) that may give you more useful connections and experience.

Do you actually have offers at these places?


Thank you for this. Unfortunately, I was aware of the W and C process. I'm just trying to find out if everyone from my school has been interviewed yet! Lol

Yes, I have an offer at both firms.


Any chance you could clue us in on your school range? I'm waiting on Williams and Connolly post-cb.


W&C makes decisions after they interview everyone from your school. For some people it will be quick (if they were the last to go), but if you're the first, you could wait a little bit.



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