Deb vs. Cov vs. V5 (all NY)

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Deb vs. Cov vs. V5 (all NY)

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 25, 2017 11:32 am

All NY, all corporate. Interested primarily in M&A, maybe Cap Markets, maybe tech transactions. Deciding between Deb, Cov, and a V5 (not Cravath/Wachtell). Really liked the V5 when I visited. Also really liked Deb and Cov, but maybe slightly less than the V5. (Think I prefer a larger office which gives Deb the edge over Cov, but I also liked Cov's people a tiny bit more than Deb's.)

Culture's the most important thing to me, followed by potential exit options (as I know partnership is highly unlikely at any of the three).

1) All three emphasized their collaborative, non-competitive culture. But the V5 has a bit of a TLS rep for being miserable, high-stress, and long hours (even by NYC standards). I know Deb particularly has a good rep for culture. Would either (or both) Deb/Cov really be significantly better in terms of being lower-stress or friendlier? Or lower hours? Spoke with a Deb associate in bankruptcy who seemed to have really good hours, but I also gathered there were some even slower months. He wasn't concerned about his billables, and I don't plan to do bankruptcy, but should I be concerned about Deb/Cov potentially not getting enough work and laying people off?

2) Are Deb/Cov's rep for corporate really that much lesser than that of a non-Cravath/Wachtell V5? Would that have a big impact on my exit options? I wouldn't be doing PE, so wouldn't really be taking advantage of Deb's PE strength. Not sure what Cov's corporate strengths are.

Any thoughts welcome!

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Re: Deb vs. Cov vs. V5 (all NY)

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 25, 2017 11:57 am

I didn't even know Cov does corporate, fwiw. I interviewed NY firms and didn't even consider them. Looked at the rest.

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Re: Deb vs. Cov vs. V5 (all NY)

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 25, 2017 12:29 pm

I'm in the same boat (but have already eliminated a V5 with terrible reputation). Leaning Deb but also loved my visit at Cov. So torn!

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Re: Deb vs. Cov vs. V5 (all NY)

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 25, 2017 12:30 pm

V5 corporate associate.

disregard Covington. Doesn't matter how much you like the people or whatever. People come and go. Their corporate group isn't in same league as Deb and S&C/Skadden.

If you're primarily interested in M&A then just go with S&C/Skadden. Debevoise isn't as strong and any top M&A group is gonna be intense/long hours. Exit options out of all three will differ depending on which actual group you end up choosing, which may not be M&A.

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Re: Deb vs. Cov vs. V5 (all NY)

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 25, 2017 12:34 pm

Anonymous User wrote:All NY, all corporate. Interested primarily in M&A, maybe Cap Markets, maybe tech transactions. Deciding between Deb, Cov, and a V5 (not Cravath/Wachtell). Really liked the V5 when I visited. Also really liked Deb and Cov, but maybe slightly less than the V5. (Think I prefer a larger office which gives Deb the edge over Cov, but I also liked Cov's people a tiny bit more than Deb's.)

Culture's the most important thing to me, followed by potential exit options (as I know partnership is highly unlikely at any of the three).

1) All three emphasized their collaborative, non-competitive culture. But the V5 has a bit of a TLS rep for being miserable, high-stress, and long hours (even by NYC standards). I know Deb particularly has a good rep for culture. Would either (or both) Deb/Cov really be significantly better in terms of being lower-stress or friendlier? Or lower hours? Spoke with a Deb associate in bankruptcy who seemed to have really good hours, but I also gathered there were some even slower months. He wasn't concerned about his billables, and I don't plan to do bankruptcy, but should I be concerned about Deb/Cov potentially not getting enough work and laying people off?

2) Are Deb/Cov's rep for corporate really that much lesser than that of a non-Cravath/Wachtell V5? Would that have a big impact on my exit options? I wouldn't be doing PE, so wouldn't really be taking advantage of Deb's PE strength. Not sure what Cov's corporate strengths are.

Any thoughts welcome!


I'm a former Debevoise associate and can confirm that it has a good culture and you get your bonus regardless of hours. Your practice interests don't sound well suited for Debevoise though. The M&A team basically does PE acquisitions, if you want to work on public M&As go elsewhere. On the capital markets team you'll be working on the issuer side at Debevoise, so it's worth thinking about what experience you want if you do capital markets. Also don't go to Debevoise if you want to do tech transactions. The tiny tech/IP group at Debevoise really only exists to support the other groups. The group had maybe three associates when I was there.

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Re: Deb vs. Cov vs. V5 (all NY)

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 25, 2017 1:04 pm

OP here. Thanks so much for the input. Can confirm the V5 is not DPW, which is probably obvious from my original post... lol. I see the consensus is to eliminate Cov, which leaves me with Deb vs. S&C/Skadden.

A few follow-up questions:
1) My impression was that tech transactions at most all firms really only exists to support the other practices. Is this not the case at S&C/Skadden? Or is the tech transactions group at Deb especially small, relatively speaking?

2) Does Deb corporate have any other strengths besides PE? Or is it a step below S&C/Skadden in everything except PE? I'm not closed to the idea of doing PE, but it's just not something I think is one of my top interests, so it'd be nice to be at a firm where I could comfortably do non-PE work without shooting myself in the rear.

3) Former Deb associate: Any rough sense of the 'general' M&A hours at Deb? 10 hours? 12? The bankruptcy guy said bankruptcy was usually 9-10 hours/weekday and rarely much over that.

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Re: Deb vs. Cov vs. V5 (all NY)

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 25, 2017 1:16 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I didn't even know Cov does corporate, fwiw. I interviewed NY firms and didn't even consider them. Looked at the rest.

We do corporate, but most of the transactions are pharma (although some tech).

Edit: Although I agree - Covington isn't a top tier corporate shop, although the group is growing and the hours aren't bad relative to NY-based firms.

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Re: Deb vs. Cov vs. V5 (all NY)

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 25, 2017 1:19 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I didn't even know Cov does corporate, fwiw. I interviewed NY firms and didn't even consider them. Looked at the rest.

We do corporate, but most of the transactions are pharma (although some tech).


OP here - thanks for chiming in. Do you think Cov's pharma transactions in particular (as opposed to general corporate) are in the same league as Skadden/S&C?

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Re: Deb vs. Cov vs. V5 (all NY)

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 25, 2017 4:19 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP here. Thanks so much for the input. Can confirm the V5 is not DPW, which is probably obvious from my original post... lol. I see the consensus is to eliminate Cov, which leaves me with Deb vs. S&C/Skadden.

A few follow-up questions:
1) My impression was that tech transactions at most all firms really only exists to support the other practices. Is this not the case at S&C/Skadden? Or is the tech transactions group at Deb especially small, relatively speaking?

2) Does Deb corporate have any other strengths besides PE? Or is it a step below S&C/Skadden in everything except PE? I'm not closed to the idea of doing PE, but it's just not something I think is one of my top interests, so it'd be nice to be at a firm where I could comfortably do non-PE work without shooting myself in the rear.

3) Former Deb associate: Any rough sense of the 'general' M&A hours at Deb? 10 hours? 12? The bankruptcy guy said bankruptcy was usually 9-10 hours/weekday and rarely much over that.

Hours in the M&A group vary a lot, but the hours normally aren't any worse than any other corporate group. A lot of associates at Debevoise want to do M&A, so the group normally has more than enough associates. This means that some groups where there are fewer associates for how much work there is, like insurance or finance, tend to bill more hours. Unless you have a big deal closing the hours in the M&A group will be reasonable for biglaw.

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Re: Deb vs. Cov vs. V5 (all NY)

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 26, 2017 12:18 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I didn't even know Cov does corporate, fwiw. I interviewed NY firms and didn't even consider them. Looked at the rest.

We do corporate, but most of the transactions are pharma (although some tech).


OP here - thanks for chiming in. Do you think Cov's pharma transactions in particular (as opposed to general corporate) are in the same league as Skadden/S&C?


different cov anon. some are but most probably are not? i'm being realistic here that the deals i work on aren't the biggest or most glamorous. but then you have to ask yourself just how different the deals really are and whether that's worth the fairly wide gulf you'll face in culture and hours (both of which are really quite good at covington). i turned down much "better" firms for covington and have been here nearly 6 years now. never regretted it once. it is a very tight knit and friendly group.

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Re: Deb vs. Cov vs. V5 (all NY)

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 26, 2017 12:34 am

Anonymous User wrote:different cov anon. some are but most probably are not? i'm being realistic here that the deals i work on aren't the biggest or most glamorous. but then you have to ask yourself just how different the deals really are and whether that's worth the fairly wide gulf you'll face in culture and hours (both of which are really quite good at covington). i turned down much "better" firms for covington and have been here nearly 6 years now. never regretted it once. it is a very tight knit and friendly group.


OP - Thanks for the input! If you don't mind sharing, what are your (or the 'average' cov corporate associate's) typical hours - like, not when a deal is closing. Is it something like 9-7 or more 9-9?

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Re: Deb vs. Cov vs. V5 (all NY)

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 26, 2017 12:52 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:different cov anon. some are but most probably are not? i'm being realistic here that the deals i work on aren't the biggest or most glamorous. but then you have to ask yourself just how different the deals really are and whether that's worth the fairly wide gulf you'll face in culture and hours (both of which are really quite good at covington). i turned down much "better" firms for covington and have been here nearly 6 years now. never regretted it once. it is a very tight knit and friendly group.


OP - Thanks for the input! If you don't mind sharing, what are your (or the 'average' cov corporate associate's) typical hours - like, not when a deal is closing. Is it something like 9-7 or more 9-9?


really no such thing as average hours a day in corporate, it's totally variable. but, if not at all busy -- 10-6, "normal busy" 945-7, busy = whatever. i billed about 2200 one year and the rest have been in the 1850-2000 range.

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Re: Deb vs. Cov vs. V5 (all NY)

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 26, 2017 12:55 am

Go with the V5 if it's Sullivan. Otherwise, go with Debevois.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Sat Aug 26, 2017 12:56 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Deb vs. Cov vs. V5 (all NY)

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 26, 2017 12:55 am

I assume the V5 is Skadden. I'd go with Debevois instead.

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Re: Deb vs. Cov vs. V5 (all NY)

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 26, 2017 9:23 pm

Anonymous User wrote:really no such thing as average hours a day in corporate, it's totally variable. but, if not at all busy -- 10-6, "normal busy" 945-7, busy = whatever. i billed about 2200 one year and the rest have been in the 1850-2000 range.


OP - Got it. Thanks again for chiming in - much appreciated!

Other anon in same boat - Are you still leaning Deb or also leaning toward 'your' V5 now?

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Re: Deb vs. Cov vs. V5 (all NY)

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 27, 2017 3:01 am

Just tell us what firm.

Also, this:

a Deb associate in bankruptcy who seemed to have really good hours


This is bizarre for a bankruptcy/restructuring attorney in a busy practice. They either have a not-busy bankruptcy group (which means it isn't going to apply to the work you want to do) or he was bullshitting you.

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Re: Deb vs. Cov vs. V5 (all NY)

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 27, 2017 3:03 am

Also if they need to lay people off because BK isn't busy, they'll lay of BK associates.

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Re: Deb vs. Cov vs. V5 (all NY)

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 27, 2017 10:32 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:really no such thing as average hours a day in corporate, it's totally variable. but, if not at all busy -- 10-6, "normal busy" 945-7, busy = whatever. i billed about 2200 one year and the rest have been in the 1850-2000 range.


OP - Got it. Thanks again for chiming in - much appreciated!

Other anon in same boat - Are you still leaning Deb or also leaning toward 'your' V5 now?



I'm anon in same boat - have eliminated my V5 based on fit/culture. Even in light of the comments here, am still deciding between Cov and Deb. Leaning Deb. My main dilemma is how to balance the early substantive experience and better work-life balance promised at Cov against Deb's overall superior corporate practice reputation with regards to possible exit options. At least there's still time to decide!

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Re: Deb vs. Cov vs. V5 (all NY)

Postby Rahviveh » Sun Aug 27, 2017 10:40 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:All NY, all corporate. Interested primarily in M&A, maybe Cap Markets, maybe tech transactions. Deciding between Deb, Cov, and a V5 (not Cravath/Wachtell). Really liked the V5 when I visited. Also really liked Deb and Cov, but maybe slightly less than the V5. (Think I prefer a larger office which gives Deb the edge over Cov, but I also liked Cov's people a tiny bit more than Deb's.)

Culture's the most important thing to me, followed by potential exit options (as I know partnership is highly unlikely at any of the three).

1) All three emphasized their collaborative, non-competitive culture. But the V5 has a bit of a TLS rep for being miserable, high-stress, and long hours (even by NYC standards). I know Deb particularly has a good rep for culture. Would either (or both) Deb/Cov really be significantly better in terms of being lower-stress or friendlier? Or lower hours? Spoke with a Deb associate in bankruptcy who seemed to have really good hours, but I also gathered there were some even slower months. He wasn't concerned about his billables, and I don't plan to do bankruptcy, but should I be concerned about Deb/Cov potentially not getting enough work and laying people off?

2) Are Deb/Cov's rep for corporate really that much lesser than that of a non-Cravath/Wachtell V5? Would that have a big impact on my exit options? I wouldn't be doing PE, so wouldn't really be taking advantage of Deb's PE strength. Not sure what Cov's corporate strengths are.

Any thoughts welcome!


I'm a former Debevoise associate and can confirm that it has a good culture and you get your bonus regardless of hours. Your practice interests don't sound well suited for Debevoise though. The M&A team basically does PE acquisitions, if you want to work on public M&As go elsewhere. On the capital markets team you'll be working on the issuer side at Debevoise, so it's worth thinking about what experience you want if you do capital markets. Also don't go to Debevoise if you want to do tech transactions. The tiny tech/IP group at Debevoise really only exists to support the other groups. The group had maybe three associates when I was there.


What does it matter if you're working on the issuers or underwriters side in capital markets? It's all shit.

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Re: Deb vs. Cov vs. V5 (all NY)

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 27, 2017 10:48 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Also if they need to lay people off because BK isn't busy, they'll lay of BK associates.


OP - Yeah, I get that. Was just wondering if the potential lack of work in BK also extended to other Deb practice areas. I also can't see why the BK associate would want to lie to me, esp. as the associate knew I didn't want to do BK.

Anonymous User wrote:I'm anon in same boat - have eliminated my V5 based on fit/culture. Even in light of the comments here, am still deciding between Cov and Deb. Leaning Deb. My main dilemma is how to balance the early substantive experience and better work-life balance promised at Cov against Deb's overall superior corporate practice reputation with regards to possible exit options. At least there's still time to decide!


I agree, the idea of early substantive experience and more reasonable hours is very tempting. But I really don't want to limit myself down the road. Did you also get the sense that Cov is somewhat more hierarchical / somewhat more of a gap between partners and associates, and even between senior vs. midlevel associates? What're your thoughts on Deb's rotations?

Also, are you interested in the same areas I mentioned in my initial post?

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Re: Deb vs. Cov vs. V5 (all NY)

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 27, 2017 11:24 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Also if they need to lay people off because BK isn't busy, they'll lay of BK associates.


OP - Yeah, I get that. Was just wondering if the potential lack of work in BK also extended to other Deb practice areas. I also can't see why the BK associate would want to lie to me, esp. as the associate knew I didn't want to do BK.

Anonymous User wrote:I'm anon in same boat - have eliminated my V5 based on fit/culture. Even in light of the comments here, am still deciding between Cov and Deb. Leaning Deb. My main dilemma is how to balance the early substantive experience and better work-life balance promised at Cov against Deb's overall superior corporate practice reputation with regards to possible exit options. At least there's still time to decide!


I agree, the idea of early substantive experience and more reasonable hours is very tempting. But I really don't want to limit myself down the road. Did you also get the sense that Cov is somewhat more hierarchical / somewhat more of a gap between partners and associates, and even between senior vs. midlevel associates? What're your thoughts on Deb's rotations?

Also, are you interested in the same areas I mentioned in my initial post?


BK is a very cyclical group at all firms. Huge swaths of busy and stagnant times depending on the market. Why would you think this would apply to other Deb practice groups?

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Re: Deb vs. Cov vs. V5 (all NY)

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 27, 2017 11:55 pm

Anonymous User wrote:BK is a very cyclical group at all firms. Huge swaths of busy and stagnant times depending on the market. Why would you think this would apply to other Deb practice groups?


OP - Because it sounded like even the "busy" periods weren't that busy by NY standards. Which made me wonder/worry.

But I don't get why you seem to be trying to argue with me. Should be obvious I have nothing against Deb - if I did, the thread would've been Cov vs. V5 and Deb would be out of the picture.

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Re: Deb vs. Cov vs. V5 (all NY)

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 28, 2017 12:51 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:BK is a very cyclical group at all firms. Huge swaths of busy and stagnant times depending on the market. Why would you think this would apply to other Deb practice groups?


OP - Because it sounded like even the "busy" periods weren't that busy by NY standards. Which made me wonder/worry.

But I don't get why you seem to be trying to argue with me. Should be obvious I have nothing against Deb - if I did, the thread would've been Cov vs. V5 and Deb would be out of the picture.


That was a different anon (I was the first doubter anon)

People aren't arguing with you, we're giving you advice, which means (among other things) correcting misunderstandings and inaccurate assumptions.

The fact that the busy periods aren't that busy makes it sound like one of two things is going on here:

1) the associate is bullshitting you. Maybe they want more people to go into restructuring, who knows. Maybe they're about to get fired. Maybe they're not supposed to scare the recruits.
2) their bankruptcy group doesn't get a lot of work.

If the answer is 2) I still don't think you should be worried. Bankruptcy is basically it's own thing. The firm could maybe feed the BK group too much money but that's not really something you can tell from one, probably bullshitting, associate. And it's unlikely to really fuck the entire firm.

I guess there's also possibility 3, which is that this associate is new and the group is too busy to give them work when things really get slammed.

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Re: Deb vs. Cov vs. V5 (all NY)

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 28, 2017 8:53 am

Anonymous User wrote:That was a different anon (I was the first doubter anon)

People aren't arguing with you, we're giving you advice, which means (among other things) correcting misunderstandings and inaccurate assumptions.

The fact that the busy periods aren't that busy makes it sound like one of two things is going on here:

1) the associate is bullshitting you. Maybe they want more people to go into restructuring, who knows. Maybe they're about to get fired. Maybe they're not supposed to scare the recruits.
2) their bankruptcy group doesn't get a lot of work.

If the answer is 2) I still don't think you should be worried. Bankruptcy is basically it's own thing. The firm could maybe feed the BK group too much money but that's not really something you can tell from one, probably bullshitting, associate. And it's unlikely to really fuck the entire firm.

I guess there's also possibility 3, which is that this associate is new and the group is too busy to give them work when things really get slammed.


OP - Thanks - I appreciate the advice. Had not been aware of entirely how separate BK is from "other" corporate practices.

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Re: Deb vs. Cov vs. V5 (all NY)

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 28, 2017 1:07 pm

Right, so this probably varies by firm, but typically it's a whole different marketing/business generation thing. I think at a lot of firms business generation goes practice by practice (or even partner by partner). That's why you see entire practice groups leaving firms; they're able to do that because they are relatively self-contained. A firm that is unhealthy is one that fails to plain effectively to support the practices in proportion to the money they can generate. A practice group that is unhealthy (or just slow) is one that isn't bringing in business. If bankruptcy at Deb is slow, then a well-managed firm will slow hiring for that group or, if necessary, lay people off. It won't drain other groups that are making money or lay people off in groups that are bringing in business.

Oddly enough, people in slow groups not being laid off could be the result of either a very healthy income in other practice groups (such that they can easily cushion a slow group) or the result of serious mismanagement. Given that Deb's profits per partner are positive, I would bet it's the former --- if bankruptcy truly is that slow and people truly are not getting laid off.



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