NYC V5 Corp Junior --> SF/SV Firm (Help!)

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NYC V5 Corp Junior --> SF/SV Firm (Help!)

Postby Anonymous User » Wed May 23, 2018 10:12 pm

I'm a junior (1st/2nd year) corporate associate at a top NYC firm (WLRK/S&C/CSM) looking to move to one of the top SF/SV corporate firms. Looking for corporate/EC/VC work. Would ideally like to live in SF (for family reasons). I'd appreciate any thoughts on how difficult this move might be at this stage? And also any thoughts on the different firms. Talking to a couple recruiters, I've heard good things about Gunderson. Pros/cons on them vs the other usual suspects? Also, thoughts on SF vs. SV would be really appreciated.

Thanks!
Last edited by Anonymous User on Thu May 24, 2018 12:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: NYC V5 Corp Junior --> SF/SV Firm (Help!)

Postby Anonymous User » Wed May 23, 2018 10:50 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm a junior (1st/2nd year) corporate associate at a top NYC firm (WLRK/S&C/CSM) looking to move to one of the top SF/SV corporate firms. Looking for tech transactional/VC work. Would ideally like to live in SF (for family reasons). I'd appreciate any thoughts on how difficult this move might be at this stage? And also any thoughts on the different firms. Talking to a couple recruiters, I've heard good things about Gunderson. Pros/cons on them vs the other usual suspects? Also, thoughts on SF vs. SV would be really appreciated.

Thanks!


1st year at one of the SV natives. I'd be happy to chat offline if you want to post a dummy e-mail account so we can set up a call.

My firm is actively hiring 1st/2nd years in Corp, so I can also make that intro if you're interested. For any firm you're considering around here, I'd highly recommend the internal referral route (if at all possible) over using a recruiter.

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Re: NYC V5 Corp Junior --> SF/SV Firm (Help!)

Postby Anonymous User » Thu May 24, 2018 2:10 am

A lot of this has been covered elsewhere but I never get tired talking about it, so I'll bite.

1. I think the market is super hot right now. I don't know how much longer it will last but the IPO window is wide open and just about every other aspect of the VC eco system (M&A and VC financings) is chugging, meaning there's a lot of work in the pipeline and demand for bodies is high. That's the good news. The bad news is a lot of these firms can be bad at training laterals, especially when it's busy, I think because of high churn and cost-sensitive clients. They tend to just throw people in.

2. After a few years kicking around in corporate, I personally think there are a lot of bad personalities in the tech trans groups at these firms. Gundersons' tech trans group is probably better but WSGR's can suck and Cooley's is largely based on former WSGR people at this point. Not sure about Fenwick but it may be the same story as Cooley. In terms of quality of lawyering there's a lot of great lawyers in these groups, just shitty personalities IMO.

3. If you want to do corporate work, I think you'll be stuck in firms for a little longer than if you do tech trans. In-house depts in SF/SV are dying for tech trans experience these days. That being said I think a 5th year corp associate from an SF/SV firm demands a slightly higher salary than a 3rd year tech trans associate most of the time.

4. If you want to do corporate work in SF, I'd recommend Cooley as a first choice. Goodwin does pretty good corp work in SV/SF and just moved into new Redwood City offices near Caltrain that would be pretty okay commute-wise. Both Fenwick and WSGR have corp people in SF but for various reasons I don't think those are the best places career/development-wise, at least at this moment. Idk about Gunderson's SF office but they have one.

5. Personally, I think Gunderson is a cut below the other firms in terms of client-base, but still very good. They have great lawyers but tend towards smaller companies and representation of VC firms themselves (rather than the startups/tech companies).

6. I would not recommend trying to commute to Fenwick's Mountain View office from SF. That sounds terrible. Even WSGR's office in Palo Alto would be a bit too rough for me. People commute to both though. That downside is just about every associate wants to live in SF and just about every partner wants them in the South Bay and that's a real shitty commute.

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Re: NYC V5 Corp Junior --> SF/SV Firm (Help!)

Postby ithrowds » Thu May 24, 2018 8:41 am

Anonymous User wrote:2. After a few years kicking around in corporate, I personally think there are a lot of bad personalities in the tech trans groups at these firms. Gundersons' tech trans group is probably better but WSGR's can suck and Cooley's is largely based on former WSGR people at this point. Not sure about Fenwick but it may be the same story as Cooley. In terms of quality of lawyering there's a lot of great lawyers in these groups, just shitty personalities IMO.


Is tech transactions a harder group to get than general corporate at the SV firms? Are the tech trans groups at these firms standalone or do they operate in some senses as a support group for M&A/etc like they would at many NYC firms?

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Re: NYC V5 Corp Junior --> SF/SV Firm (Help!)

Postby Anonymous User » Thu May 24, 2018 8:46 am

Anonymous User wrote:1. I think the market is super hot right now. I don't know how much longer it will last but the IPO window is wide open and just about every other aspect of the VC eco system (M&A and VC financings) is chugging, meaning there's a lot of work in the pipeline and demand for bodies is high. That's the good news. The bad news is a lot of these firms can be bad at training laterals, especially when it's busy, I think because of high churn and cost-sensitive clients. They tend to just throw people in.


How would you rank the native SV firms (W/C/F/G) currently for general corporate work?

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Re: NYC V5 Corp Junior --> SF/SV Firm (Help!)

Postby Anonymous User » Thu May 24, 2018 1:37 pm

ithrowds wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:2. After a few years kicking around in corporate, I personally think there are a lot of bad personalities in the tech trans groups at these firms. Gundersons' tech trans group is probably better but WSGR's can suck and Cooley's is largely based on former WSGR people at this point. Not sure about Fenwick but it may be the same story as Cooley. In terms of quality of lawyering there's a lot of great lawyers in these groups, just shitty personalities IMO.


Is tech transactions a harder group to get than general corporate at the SV firms? Are the tech trans groups at these firms standalone or do they operate in some senses as a support group for M&A/etc like they would at many NYC firms?


I'm not sure if it's that much harder but I would think a tad. I do think there is a lot of interest in tech trans in SV/SF from law students and more need for corporate bodies. Not an expert on that though and I think it varies a bit year to year. They do a lot of deal support but I think most of them also do a lot of stand-alone work. I think most do much more stand alone work than most firms in NYC.

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Re: NYC V5 Corp Junior --> SF/SV Firm (Help!)

Postby Anonymous User » Thu May 24, 2018 1:40 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:1. I think the market is super hot right now. I don't know how much longer it will last but the IPO window is wide open and just about every other aspect of the VC eco system (M&A and VC financings) is chugging, meaning there's a lot of work in the pipeline and demand for bodies is high. That's the good news. The bad news is a lot of these firms can be bad at training laterals, especially when it's busy, I think because of high churn and cost-sensitive clients. They tend to just throw people in.


How would you rank the native SV firms (W/C/F/G) currently for general corporate work?


Biased but I think these days it's W/C > F >> G in terms of quality of client/deals. Fenwick is almost there though and is a great place to work. I would consider any of W/C/F as a toss up based on where you fit the best for other reasons, if you in theory had offers at all three.

I really would consider Goodwin in all this but they are harder to place. I see them all the time in the valley. Latham to a lesser extent.

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Re: NYC V5 Corp Junior --> SF/SV Firm (Help!)

Postby Anonymous User » Thu May 24, 2018 5:14 pm

WSGR is based in Palo Alto but they do have 2 offices in SF.

One office is in FiDi and is mostly public company M&A, the other is in SoMa and is exclusively focused on emerging companies.

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Re: NYC V5 Corp Junior --> SF/SV Firm (Help!)

Postby Anonymous User » Thu May 24, 2018 6:32 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm not sure if it's that much harder but I would think a tad. I do think there is a lot of interest in tech trans in SV/SF from law students and more need for corporate bodies. Not an expert on that though and I think it varies a bit year to year. They do a lot of deal support but I think most of them also do a lot of stand-alone work. I think most do much more stand alone work than most firms in NYC.


Thanks for this! How would you rank the SV firms for tech trans? Also, do you think there are discernible differences in hours/lifestyle between tech trans & general corporate?

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Re: NYC V5 Corp Junior --> SF/SV Firm (Help!)

Postby Anonymous User » Thu May 24, 2018 8:49 pm

Someone in a similar position here, though looking to make the move a little later - what exactly does Cooley do in its SF office, compared to its SV office? Is there any real difference in the type of work conducted out of that office (like there appears to be for WSGR)?

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Re: NYC V5 Corp Junior --> SF/SV Firm (Help!)

Postby Anonymous User » Thu May 24, 2018 11:54 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I'm not sure if it's that much harder but I would think a tad. I do think there is a lot of interest in tech trans in SV/SF from law students and more need for corporate bodies. Not an expert on that though and I think it varies a bit year to year. They do a lot of deal support but I think most of them also do a lot of stand-alone work. I think most do much more stand alone work than most firms in NYC.


Thanks for this! How would you rank the SV firms for tech trans? Also, do you think there are discernible differences in hours/lifestyle between tech trans & general corporate?


I'm the anon above. Sorry I just don't know that. I don't have that level of visibility into tech trans.

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Re: NYC V5 Corp Junior --> SF/SV Firm (Help!)

Postby Anonymous User » Fri May 25, 2018 12:00 am

Anonymous User wrote:Someone in a similar position here, though looking to make the move a little later - what exactly does Cooley do in its SF office, compared to its SV office? Is there any real difference in the type of work conducted out of that office (like there appears to be for WSGR)?


Anon from above. I recommend Cooley's SF office because I think it's one of the only firms that truly has a SV practice in its SF office. I think WSGR, Fenwick and Gunderson are trying to develop that to varying extents but I think they're all a tad behind. Not enough SV rainmakers in their SF offices. Cooley has that.

Cooley SF had the whole startup -> late stage -> IPOs -> public company practice in SF. Don't think any other SV firm has a critical mass of lawyers doing the full range like that.

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Re: NYC V5 Corp Junior --> SF/SV Firm (Help!)

Postby Anonymous User » Fri May 25, 2018 10:58 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Someone in a similar position here, though looking to make the move a little later - what exactly does Cooley do in its SF office, compared to its SV office? Is there any real difference in the type of work conducted out of that office (like there appears to be for WSGR)?


Anon from above. I recommend Cooley's SF office because I think it's one of the only firms that truly has a SV practice in its SF office. I think WSGR, Fenwick and Gunderson are trying to develop that to varying extents but I think they're all a tad behind. Not enough SV rainmakers in their SF offices. Cooley has that.

Cooley SF had the whole startup -> late stage -> IPOs -> public company practice in SF. Don't think any other SV firm has a critical mass of lawyers doing the full range like that.


W/C/F/G corporate associate here with friends at all these firms. This is inaccurate w/r/t Fenwick. Fenwick has a large corporate presence in its SF office with an entire floor in the Bank of America building (over 10 corporate partners and 30+ corporate associates). They do the full lifecycle there (early through late state startup, M&A, IPOs/securities) + operate as "one firm" across all offices anyway due to the free market system, so even if you're in the SF office you'll still be working with plenty of SV people doing exactly the same work. It's not like other firms i.e. WSGR, where their Market Street office only does M&A and their SOMA office only does early stage startup work, or Goodwin where the SF office is very private equity heavy.

That having been said, Fenwick doesn't have an SF summer program and makes all first years start in SV, so unless you're a lateral who lands an SF spot right away, you'll need to "earn" your way into the SF office (friends have moved up as 2nd years).

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Re: NYC V5 Corp Junior --> SF/SV Firm (Help!)

Postby Anonymous User » Fri May 25, 2018 2:08 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Someone in a similar position here, though looking to make the move a little later - what exactly does Cooley do in its SF office, compared to its SV office? Is there any real difference in the type of work conducted out of that office (like there appears to be for WSGR)?


Anon from above. I recommend Cooley's SF office because I think it's one of the only firms that truly has a SV practice in its SF office. I think WSGR, Fenwick and Gunderson are trying to develop that to varying extents but I think they're all a tad behind. Not enough SV rainmakers in their SF offices. Cooley has that.

Cooley SF had the whole startup -> late stage -> IPOs -> public company practice in SF. Don't think any other SV firm has a critical mass of lawyers doing the full range like that.


W/C/F/G corporate associate here with friends at all these firms. This is inaccurate w/r/t Fenwick. Fenwick has a large corporate presence in its SF office with an entire floor in the Bank of America building (over 10 corporate partners and 30+ corporate associates). They do the full lifecycle there (early through late state startup, M&A, IPOs/securities) + operate as "one firm" across all offices anyway due to the free market system, so even if you're in the SF office you'll still be working with plenty of SV people doing exactly the same work. It's not like other firms i.e. WSGR, where their Market Street office only does M&A and their SOMA office only does early stage startup work, or Goodwin where the SF office is very private equity heavy.

That having been said, Fenwick doesn't have an SF summer program and makes all first years start in SV, so unless you're a lateral who lands an SF spot right away, you'll need to "earn" your way into the SF office (friends have moved up as 2nd years).


Cooley is still largely ahead of Fenwick (and for that matter, WSGR/Gunderson) in terms of all-encompassing SF corporate practice, which was mostly the quoted anons point.

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Re: NYC V5 Corp Junior --> SF/SV Firm (Help!)

Postby Anonymous User » Fri May 25, 2018 2:33 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Someone in a similar position here, though looking to make the move a little later - what exactly does Cooley do in its SF office, compared to its SV office? Is there any real difference in the type of work conducted out of that office (like there appears to be for WSGR)?


Anon from above. I recommend Cooley's SF office because I think it's one of the only firms that truly has a SV practice in its SF office. I think WSGR, Fenwick and Gunderson are trying to develop that to varying extents but I think they're all a tad behind. Not enough SV rainmakers in their SF offices. Cooley has that.

Cooley SF had the whole startup -> late stage -> IPOs -> public company practice in SF. Don't think any other SV firm has a critical mass of lawyers doing the full range like that.


W/C/F/G corporate associate here with friends at all these firms. This is inaccurate w/r/t Fenwick. Fenwick has a large corporate presence in its SF office with an entire floor in the Bank of America building (over 10 corporate partners and 30+ corporate associates). They do the full lifecycle there (early through late state startup, M&A, IPOs/securities) + operate as "one firm" across all offices anyway due to the free market system, so even if you're in the SF office you'll still be working with plenty of SV people doing exactly the same work. It's not like other firms i.e. WSGR, where their Market Street office only does M&A and their SOMA office only does early stage startup work, or Goodwin where the SF office is very private equity heavy.

That having been said, Fenwick doesn't have an SF summer program and makes all first years start in SV, so unless you're a lateral who lands an SF spot right away, you'll need to "earn" your way into the SF office (friends have moved up as 2nd years).


Cooley is still largely ahead of Fenwick (and for that matter, WSGR/Gunderson) in terms of all-encompassing SF corporate practice, which was mostly the quoted anons point.


Yeah, I'm the anon quoted saying Cooley is the clear choice for SF living corp associates wanting to do corp work. It could be changing but Fenwick has long had that office space devoted to corp in SF and, although it's an admittedly small sample size, I never see Fenwick SF on big deals, other than M&A. If I'm working on an IPO with Fenwick, it's always been 90% out of the MV office. That's not the case with Cooley.

Personally, I think "free market" and "one firm" is kind of a law student marketing flame when any firm employs it. If the rainmaker want to walk down the hall to talk to you, you gotta be in her office building. That's just how it works. I believe all the Fenwick IPO heavy hitters are in MV. Cooley has IPO heavy hitters sitting in SF. That's the difference.

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Re: NYC V5 Corp Junior --> SF/SV Firm (Help!)

Postby Anonymous User » Sat May 26, 2018 11:39 pm

OP here. Thanks for all the replies - super super helpful. A couple follow ups:

1) What are hours like at the corporate practices at these firms?
2) What are your long term plans? Do exits differ materially between these firms?
3) How would you describe the culture?
4) Any other advice?

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Re: NYC V5 Corp Junior --> SF/SV Firm (Help!)

Postby Anonymous User » Mon May 28, 2018 3:40 am

Anonymous User wrote:OP here. Thanks for all the replies - super super helpful. A couple follow ups:

1) What are hours like at the corporate practices at these firms?
2) What are your long term plans? Do exits differ materially between these firms?
3) How would you describe the culture?
4) Any other advice?


Same random anon that is like 75% of the replies above here.

1. Tough to say. I think it's definitely a bit variable. I've heard WSGR has a rep for being the sweatshop of them all but I think that's probably a bit overblown. I think in general the firms are more or less the same in terms of hours. I think most years that's less than NYC V15 type hours. To be as clear as I can be, I think if you hit 2000-2150 hours in a month you would be fine most of the time. I think we're in the middle of busy time, so lots of people are probably hitting closer to 2200-2400 but that's probably still high-ish range and not sure how much longer that will last.

2. I don't think that much. I think historically WSGR has been viewed as the top firm of the four but I don't think it's materially different, especially when it comes to exit opportunities. That being said maybe W/C/F above G. Most people go to tech cos, a small number to VC funds and others to other firms but that is also a smaller number. Not many people completely pivot from EC/VC work in my experience. I think these days it's valuable experience to have. My plan like many is probably in-house. I think there's a bias toward in-house tech cos over partner here, though there are also way more partners being made in SV/SF than NYC these days I would bet.

3. Cooley is a bit lib and quirky. Goodwin is a bit of a frat culture overall. WSGR is a bit stuffy. Not really sure how to explain G or F but people seem to like F a lot. To me they both have seemed a bit more heterogenous. Lots of WSGR people at Cooley now though so idk how that will play out.

4. I think most all want to believe that you're interested in a broad corporate practice (startup, public company, IPOs, general corporate work, M&A, VC financings) because most of the time they are looking for someone who may want to do all of those. G may want you to be more interested in startups/VC fund work because thats more of what they do. I think a lot of time you can tell what kind of work a partner does by looking at their profile. If they do not list more than one recent IPO (issuer or underwriter) they probably do more startup work, which is cool for many people but would be good to know what you're getting into and pitch to the partner based on that. And most people want to hear that you're interested in SV/SF tech scene and why.

Note:

I view there as being a few kinds of practices out here:

1. Early-stage startup representation
2. VC-fund representation
3. Late-stage company + company-side IPO
4. Underwriter side IPO
5. Public company representation
6. M&A

Most groups/partners do 1-3 of the above mostly. Some do almost all 1. Some do mostly 2. Lots do a combo of 1 and 2, with a bit of 3. IMO the best exit ops come from partners that do tons of 3, with some of 1, 4 and 5, or all 6. Some partners do all 6 but that's probably the worst hours, followed by 3. IMO, the best lifestyle to exit op ratio is partners that mostly do 2 and 4 with a side of 3.

It's good to think about those areas and find out what kind of work the group you work with does, if any. Also note some people lean more towards life sciences vs. software/other tech. It's good to also consider how you feel about those practices. Also, in my experience if a group tends to do more startup only work, or life science mostly, they can tend to have worse exit ops, clients and training. That's not universal at all but do extra research in that case.

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Re: NYC V5 Corp Junior --> SF/SV Firm (Help!)

Postby jjjetplane » Tue May 29, 2018 12:42 pm

poster immediately above is providing SAGE advice.



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