Gerard Fox Law - Beware

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giggaman1228

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Gerard Fox Law - Beware

Postby giggaman1228 » Thu Oct 19, 2017 1:32 am

All-

Since I didn't see this firm mentioned on this site, I wanted to relate my experience with "Gerard Fox Law" (http://www.gerardfoxlaw.com), which styles itself as an "elite" litigation boutique with offices in DC/LA/SF/NY. It is not.

I joined the firm from a biglaw firm, and was attracted to its small size and promise of substantive responsibility. Recruiters heavily advertise for this firm because there is NEAR-CONSTANT TURNOVER. I joined in Summer 2017, and in just four months, at least seven attorneys (including three partners/of counsel and two senior associates) left or were fired. At least four paralegals/assistants left or were fired during this period as well. Several came into my office crying because they were fired so suddenly and with no warning. I spoke with an attorney who was fired who speculated that the firings were related to financial pressures. Keep in mind this is a very small firm, so firing this number of people is inherently alarming. And most of those terminated had not even been at the firm very long..

Perhaps the biggest problem is that the firm is run by (you guessed it) a guy named Gerard Fox, with his wife Samantha as CFO. He is incredibly egotistical and often bad-mouths people who have left the firm as "quitters" and "whiners" (he says this in firmwide emails..), even though a rational manager would wonder if he's doing something wrong with such an incredible amount of turnover. I would have thought having one managing partner would lead to efficiency, but what you make up for in efficiency you lose in competent, stable management.

There is a lot of iffy financial management at this firm too. Plenty of offices in LA and NY remain unoccupied, even though that real estate ain't cheap. Small-time clients also don't always pay full bills.

The cases are mostly really small-time, obviously (since it's a small firm with low rates), but keep that in mind if you're used to more meaningful or interesting cases.

You will get some decent substantive experience here (drafting motions, handling arbitrations from start to finish) and some people are nice. But it's really not a secure place to work, and the colleagues don't make up for the atrocious management.

Hope this helps.

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Re: Gerard Fox Law - Beware

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 19, 2017 11:27 am

I know someone who went here for a summer with the promise they’d be opening a Seattle office. That didn’t materialize.

gaddockteeg

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Re: Gerard Fox Law - Beware

Postby gaddockteeg » Thu Oct 19, 2017 1:27 pm

How's the pay?

FascinatedWanderer

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Re: Gerard Fox Law - Beware

Postby FascinatedWanderer » Thu Oct 19, 2017 2:00 pm

I am unaware of anyone who was laboring under the impression that this firm is an "elite litigation boutique."

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Re: Gerard Fox Law - Beware

Postby omar1 » Thu Oct 19, 2017 2:09 pm

gaddockteeg wrote:How's the pay?

giggaman1228

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Re: Gerard Fox Law - Beware

Postby giggaman1228 » Thu Oct 19, 2017 2:44 pm

To be clear, no one sane thinks this is an ‘elite’ anything, except for the management. The point is that the management is delusional, not that I’m making an insightful observation by saying it’s not a high-quality firm.

The pay is about 50,000$-80,000 off the Cravath scale, at all levels, with minimal bonuses.

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Re: Gerard Fox Law - Beware

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 19, 2017 7:14 pm

Is your firm hiring first years for 2018?

gaddockteeg

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Re: Gerard Fox Law - Beware

Postby gaddockteeg » Thu Oct 19, 2017 7:15 pm

giggaman1228 wrote:To be clear, no one sane thinks this is an ‘elite’ anything, except for the management. The point is that the management is delusional, not that I’m making an insightful observation by saying it’s not a high-quality firm.

The pay is about 50,000$-80,000 off the Cravath scale, at all levels, with minimal bonuses.


Ah okay got it. I perused the website out of curiousity but couldn't tell what they meant by "elite"

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Re: Gerard Fox Law - Beware

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 19, 2017 7:37 pm

How wiuld it make financial sense to hire and fire peoplw all the time

giggaman1228

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Re: Gerard Fox Law - Beware

Postby giggaman1228 » Thu Oct 19, 2017 7:44 pm

If clients suddenly don’t pay, or if they suddenly bail, you can run into a need to fire people quickly (Within 1-2 years of hiring them). Or if partners don’t bring in as much business as they promise, you might need to offload people fast. It’s a sign of mismanagement obviously. But it’s not unheard of to have to fire people a lot if you are under financial pressure.

Of course at this firm, the wife of the head partner (Samantha Fox) is also the CFO. There’s so many potential conflicts.

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Re: Gerard Fox Law - Beware

Postby nealric » Fri Oct 20, 2017 9:50 am

giggaman1228 wrote:The pay is about 50,000$-80,000 off the Cravath scale, at all levels, with minimal bonuses.


If a firm is not paying at least Cravath scale (including bonus), it is not an elite litigation boutique.

OP sorry to hear, but these sorts of things happen. The good news is that career detours are generally reversible.

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Re: Gerard Fox Law - Beware

Postby lolwat » Fri Oct 20, 2017 12:51 pm

giggaman1228 wrote:If clients suddenly don’t pay, or if they suddenly bail, you can run into a need to fire people quickly (Within 1-2 years of hiring them). Or if partners don’t bring in as much business as they promise, you might need to offload people fast. It’s a sign of mismanagement obviously. But it’s not unheard of to have to fire people a lot if you are under financial pressure.


Partners not bringing in business is one thing. But I think firing associates other than for poor performance isn't really just mismanagement, it's a sign the firm isn't doing very well at all. For small firms IMO it makes far more sense for the partners to weather the storm by taking a small hit to themselves for a year or two and just keep the associates they already have, rather than to fire associates during bad years and hire new ones when things pick up again. (It's also not very good if the firm only has a few clients and is totally fucked if one or more of those clients suddenly don't pay or suddenly bail.)

If a firm is not paying at least Cravath scale (including bonus), it is not an elite litigation boutique.


I wouldn't necessarily agree with compensation as being the sole factor here in what counts as an elite litigation boutique... but then again I'm probably splitting hairs by this point.

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Re: Gerard Fox Law - Beware

Postby FascinatedWanderer » Fri Oct 20, 2017 12:58 pm

nealric wrote:
giggaman1228 wrote:The pay is about 50,000$-80,000 off the Cravath scale, at all levels, with minimal bonuses.


If a firm is not paying at least Cravath scale (including bonus), it is not an elite litigation boutique.

OP sorry to hear, but these sorts of things happen. The good news is that career detours are generally reversible.


He said, ignoring the fact that Williams & Connolly pays well under market.

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Re: Gerard Fox Law - Beware

Postby Bubbles1012 » Fri Oct 20, 2017 3:32 pm

Is the Samantha Fox who is the CFO the same Samantha Fox who was a rockstar thirty or so years ago?

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Re: Gerard Fox Law - Beware

Postby TLSModBot » Fri Oct 20, 2017 4:18 pm

Bubbles1012 wrote:Is the Samantha Fox who is the CFO the same Samantha Fox who was a rockstar thirty or so years ago?

This seems very likely!

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Re: Gerard Fox Law - Beware

Postby Jumpman32 » Fri Oct 20, 2017 4:48 pm

FascinatedWanderer wrote:I am unaware of anyone who was laboring under the impression that this firm is an "elite litigation boutique."



Yeah... they just like to think they are. The firm's SA listing at our school advised us not to apply if we don't have a 3.5 GPA... when almost all AmLaw firms' cutoffs was a 3.3 lol

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Re: Gerard Fox Law - Beware

Postby Lincoln » Fri Oct 20, 2017 7:47 pm

Bubbles1012 wrote:Is the Samantha Fox who is the CFO the same Samantha Fox who was a rockstar thirty or so years ago?


This was my first thought. I remember 1988 fondly.

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Re: Gerard Fox Law - Beware

Postby jd20132013 » Fri Oct 20, 2017 7:55 pm

FascinatedWanderer wrote:
nealric wrote:
giggaman1228 wrote:The pay is about 50,000$-80,000 off the Cravath scale, at all levels, with minimal bonuses.


If a firm is not paying at least Cravath scale (including bonus), it is not an elite litigation boutique.

OP sorry to hear, but these sorts of things happen. The good news is that career detours are generally reversible.


He said, ignoring the fact that Williams & Connolly pays well under market.



Yea and I wouldn't advise anyone with williams grades o go there over a boutique that actually pays market

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rpupkin

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Re: Gerard Fox Law - Beware

Postby rpupkin » Fri Oct 20, 2017 8:09 pm

jd20132013 wrote:Yea and I wouldn't advise anyone with williams grades o go there over a boutique that actually pays market

Munger, Keker, and W&C have usually paid below market over the past 20 years. Why would you advise someone not to work at those places?

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Re: Gerard Fox Law - Beware

Postby Mr. Sprinkles » Fri Oct 20, 2017 8:13 pm

"Any firm that must say, 'We are elite' is not truly elite."

-Tywin Lannister, probably.

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nealric

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Re: Gerard Fox Law - Beware

Postby nealric » Mon Oct 23, 2017 8:51 am

FascinatedWanderer wrote:
nealric wrote:
giggaman1228 wrote:The pay is about 50,000$-80,000 off the Cravath scale, at all levels, with minimal bonuses.


If a firm is not paying at least Cravath scale (including bonus), it is not an elite litigation boutique.

OP sorry to hear, but these sorts of things happen. The good news is that career detours are generally reversible.


He said, ignoring the fact that Williams & Connolly pays well under market.


W&C traditionally paid over-market base, but with no bonus. It was over-market at certain class levels during the recession. Setting that aside, I don't really consider W&C a litigation "boutique." A place with 250+ attorneys is straight up biglaw in my book.

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rpupkin

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Re: Gerard Fox Law - Beware

Postby rpupkin » Mon Oct 23, 2017 2:15 pm

nealric wrote:W&C traditionally paid over-market base, but with no bonus. It was over-market at certain class levels during the recession. Setting that aside, I don't really consider W&C a litigation "boutique." A place with 250+ attorneys is straight up biglaw in my book.

I agree that W&C is no longer a boutique but it's not straight-up biglaw either. Same for MTO.

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Re: Gerard Fox Law - Beware

Postby FascinatedWanderer » Mon Oct 23, 2017 3:13 pm

nealric wrote:
FascinatedWanderer wrote:
nealric wrote:
giggaman1228 wrote:The pay is about 50,000$-80,000 off the Cravath scale, at all levels, with minimal bonuses.


If a firm is not paying at least Cravath scale (including bonus), it is not an elite litigation boutique.

OP sorry to hear, but these sorts of things happen. The good news is that career detours are generally reversible.


He said, ignoring the fact that Williams & Connolly pays well under market.


W&C traditionally paid over-market base, but with no bonus. It was over-market at certain class levels during the recession. Setting that aside, I don't really consider W&C a litigation "boutique." A place with 250+ attorneys is straight up biglaw in my book.


I'm aware of all of this. Doesn't change the fact that they pay $25k less than market for third years when considering all-in comp. And about $50k less all-in for fourth years.

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Re: Gerard Fox Law - Beware

Postby jd20132013 » Mon Oct 23, 2017 3:51 pm

rpupkin wrote:
jd20132013 wrote:Yea and I wouldn't advise anyone with williams grades o go there over a boutique that actually pays market

Munger, Keker, and W&C have usually paid below market over the past 20 years. Why would you advise someone not to work at those places?

Because they don't pay market. Ymmv of course

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rpupkin

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Re: Gerard Fox Law - Beware

Postby rpupkin » Mon Oct 23, 2017 3:59 pm

jd20132013 wrote:
rpupkin wrote:
jd20132013 wrote:Yea and I wouldn't advise anyone with williams grades o go there over a boutique that actually pays market

Munger, Keker, and W&C have usually paid below market over the past 20 years. Why would you advise someone not to work at those places?

Because they don't pay market. Ymmv of course

But I thought your point was that you would advise someone to go to boutiques that actually pay market. What boutiques are you talking about? The boutiques/smaller firms that consistently pay market and above (like Susman and McKool) tend to focus on plaintiff-side work and require longer hours. If your hypothetical advice-seeker wanted to avoid those environments (many people do), would you tell them to choose big law over Munger/Keker/W&C because big law pays market?



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