Gunderson vs. V10

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Gunderson vs. V10

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 23, 2018 8:42 pm

Haven't seen this question before and having difficulty on a choice like this. For context, this is for an SA and I'm interested in corporate and eventually going in-house (in venture space but open to other opportunities). Wondering what your thoughts are on this choice specifically in the NYC market.

1) Is there a compelling reason to start at Gunderson over a V10 (assuming that a V10 associate could eventually lateral to Gunderson)?
2) Why are so many Gunderson NY associates laterals and is that a red flag?
3) For anyone who is a lateral at Gunderson (or Cooley/Lowenstein/Fenwick etc.), looking back, would you have chosen Gunderson over the firm you started at, instead of lateraling?
4) What are the general pros/cons here in terms of training and exit ops? (My assumption is that Gunderson precludes more opportunities than a V10.)

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Re: Gunderson vs. V10

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 23, 2018 8:54 pm

This is off topic, but how was the callback interview process and do you know if many offers have already gone out?

dabigchina

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Re: Gunderson vs. V10

Postby dabigchina » Fri Aug 24, 2018 12:13 am

Gunderson NY has a bunch of laterals because it is a relatively new office. They can't organically grow a decent sized office in under 10 years. That being said, they have been in a lateral hiring spree in NY and on the West Coast.

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Re: Gunderson vs. V10

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 20, 2018 1:39 pm

I'm a recent graduate starting at one of Gunderson's offices. Given that your question was over a month ago, it's likely you already had to make your decision, however, I can take a quick stab at these questions should this post prove useful to someone down the road.

I also want to maintain anonymity, but if someone really wants additional help, feel free to post here and we'll figure out some way to chat.

Questions:

1. I think the compelling reason to start at Gunderson over a V10 is that life is short. Gunderson (and Cooley + Fenwick) are, as I understand it, fairly unparalleled in placing their associates in-house at startups and VCs. Why delay things if that's your end goal? Sure, it's probably straightforward enough to go to Davis Polk (or wherever) and then later to Gunderson (or similar) and then have the same exit options, but that time at DP isn't going to open any new doors. In fact, you'll likely be limited, as your fellow 3rd years (or whatever) will have much more venture/startup exposure than you. Of course, if you want to go to a bank or something more similar to DP's line of work, then this answer doesn't really apply.

2. The other poster's answer for Gunderson NY is a good one—it's a young office. Also, at least ostensibly, it appears that a ton of people want to leave the DP's of the world and go to Gunderson. So I'd say this is potentially a good sign? Again, I haven't started yet.

3. Would love to hear the answer to this.

4. As I understand it, the biggest mistake law students make when deciding on a firm is thinking that vault prestige matters across exit-options. Instead, much more important is exposure. Your exit options are defined, in large-part, by the clients you work with everyday. A Gunderson attorney working with a startup or VC for the past 3 years is going to have a way easier time exiting to that client than a Wachtell associate cold-calling them (in fact, most VCs likely have no idea how firms stackup outside of the ones they deal with). Furthermore, your network of such clients (startups and VCs) is just going to be way larger at a Gunderson than a typical V10.

Now, the opposite is also true. If you want to exit to a huge company, or a bank, or private equity, etc. than a firm that deals with them all the time is going to be a much better option than Gunderson. So it's really not a matter of pro vs. con, but instead where do you want to work?

I guess you could hedge all your bets and go to a V10 to preserve your options there, and then pending how you feel about that, go to a Gunderson to explore those options, but that just seems like overkill to me. Also, you'll have to spend years in biglaw to make sense of it all. Again, when "desirable exit = experience + exposure", your 3 years at DP aren't going to mean much at Gunderson, Cooley, etc. when you're competing for jobs against associates who have spent those same 3 years developing relationships with the same clients.

Finally, Gunderson's claim is that you get more immediate exposure/responsibility early on than at other firms. From what I gather this is the case, but it's helpful to understand why. Gunderson works off of a volume model—help out a ton of small companies with a ton of small matters that individually don't bring in a lot. This is way different from a Skadden, where only a handful of time-intensive acquisitions can bring in significant revenue. As such, Gunderson needs its associates to quickly be able to handle these small-matters relatively on their own to keep volume high, while Skadden can stick you 6 layers beneath a partner on a deal since volume isn't a factor.

So while it is a lot more exposure/responsibility, it's going to be for smaller things. Again, I don't think this is a pro vs. con, but more, what do you want? To me, it's seems like that I'll be more excited to have the chance to be talking and working with the client right away, even if it is for something as mundane as taking minutes or incorporating. You, on the other hand, might get your kicks from being on the team that handled a WSJ headlining deal, even if what you did on that deal was route diligence and you never spoke with the client once.

And remember, Gunderson is still big law, and big law = big law. I know people who loved their time there and stayed for years, and I also met associates who left after a year, and I'm sure there's a similar split at the DPs, Skaddens, etcs of the world.

Hope that helps!

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Re: Gunderson vs. V10

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 20, 2018 9:48 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm a recent graduate starting at one of Gunderson's offices. Given that your question was over a month ago, it's likely you already had to make your decision, however, I can take a quick stab at these questions should this post prove useful to someone down the road.

I also want to maintain anonymity, but if someone really wants additional help, feel free to post here and we'll figure out some way to chat.

Questions:

1. I think the compelling reason to start at Gunderson over a V10 is that life is short. Gunderson (and Cooley + Fenwick) are, as I understand it, fairly unparalleled in placing their associates in-house at startups and VCs. Why delay things if that's your end goal? Sure, it's probably straightforward enough to go to Davis Polk (or wherever) and then later to Gunderson (or similar) and then have the same exit options, but that time at DP isn't going to open any new doors. In fact, you'll likely be limited, as your fellow 3rd years (or whatever) will have much more venture/startup exposure than you. Of course, if you want to go to a bank or something more similar to DP's line of work, then this answer doesn't really apply.

2. The other poster's answer for Gunderson NY is a good one—it's a young office. Also, at least ostensibly, it appears that a ton of people want to leave the DP's of the world and go to Gunderson. So I'd say this is potentially a good sign? Again, I haven't started yet.

3. Would love to hear the answer to this.

4. As I understand it, the biggest mistake law students make when deciding on a firm is thinking that vault prestige matters across exit-options. Instead, much more important is exposure. Your exit options are defined, in large-part, by the clients you work with everyday. A Gunderson attorney working with a startup or VC for the past 3 years is going to have a way easier time exiting to that client than a Wachtell associate cold-calling them (in fact, most VCs likely have no idea how firms stackup outside of the ones they deal with). Furthermore, your network of such clients (startups and VCs) is just going to be way larger at a Gunderson than a typical V10.

Now, the opposite is also true. If you want to exit to a huge company, or a bank, or private equity, etc. than a firm that deals with them all the time is going to be a much better option than Gunderson. So it's really not a matter of pro vs. con, but instead where do you want to work?

I guess you could hedge all your bets and go to a V10 to preserve your options there, and then pending how you feel about that, go to a Gunderson to explore those options, but that just seems like overkill to me. Also, you'll have to spend years in biglaw to make sense of it all. Again, when "desirable exit = experience + exposure", your 3 years at DP aren't going to mean much at Gunderson, Cooley, etc. when you're competing for jobs against associates who have spent those same 3 years developing relationships with the same clients.

Finally, Gunderson's claim is that you get more immediate exposure/responsibility early on than at other firms. From what I gather this is the case, but it's helpful to understand why. Gunderson works off of a volume model—help out a ton of small companies with a ton of small matters that individually don't bring in a lot. This is way different from a Skadden, where only a handful of time-intensive acquisitions can bring in significant revenue. As such, Gunderson needs its associates to quickly be able to handle these small-matters relatively on their own to keep volume high, while Skadden can stick you 6 layers beneath a partner on a deal since volume isn't a factor.

So while it is a lot more exposure/responsibility, it's going to be for smaller things. Again, I don't think this is a pro vs. con, but more, what do you want? To me, it's seems like that I'll be more excited to have the chance to be talking and working with the client right away, even if it is for something as mundane as taking minutes or incorporating. You, on the other hand, might get your kicks from being on the team that handled a WSJ headlining deal, even if what you did on that deal was route diligence and you never spoke with the client once.

And remember, Gunderson is still big law, and big law = big law. I know people who loved their time there and stayed for years, and I also met associates who left after a year, and I'm sure there's a similar split at the DPs, Skaddens, etcs of the world.

Hope that helps!

This is helpful, thank you. How are the hours at Gunderson, compared to corporate practices at Davis Polk, Simpson, Skadden etc.? About the same? Slightly better?

Anonymous User
Posts: 327341
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Gunderson vs. V10

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 22, 2018 2:04 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I'm a recent graduate starting at one of Gunderson's offices. Given that your question was over a month ago, it's likely you already had to make your decision, however, I can take a quick stab at these questions should this post prove useful to someone down the road.

I also want to maintain anonymity, but if someone really wants additional help, feel free to post here and we'll figure out some way to chat.

Questions:

1. I think the compelling reason to start at Gunderson over a V10 is that life is short. Gunderson (and Cooley + Fenwick) are, as I understand it, fairly unparalleled in placing their associates in-house at startups and VCs. Why delay things if that's your end goal? Sure, it's probably straightforward enough to go to Davis Polk (or wherever) and then later to Gunderson (or similar) and then have the same exit options, but that time at DP isn't going to open any new doors. In fact, you'll likely be limited, as your fellow 3rd years (or whatever) will have much more venture/startup exposure than you. Of course, if you want to go to a bank or something more similar to DP's line of work, then this answer doesn't really apply.

2. The other poster's answer for Gunderson NY is a good one—it's a young office. Also, at least ostensibly, it appears that a ton of people want to leave the DP's of the world and go to Gunderson. So I'd say this is potentially a good sign? Again, I haven't started yet.

3. Would love to hear the answer to this.

4. As I understand it, the biggest mistake law students make when deciding on a firm is thinking that vault prestige matters across exit-options. Instead, much more important is exposure. Your exit options are defined, in large-part, by the clients you work with everyday. A Gunderson attorney working with a startup or VC for the past 3 years is going to have a way easier time exiting to that client than a Wachtell associate cold-calling them (in fact, most VCs likely have no idea how firms stackup outside of the ones they deal with). Furthermore, your network of such clients (startups and VCs) is just going to be way larger at a Gunderson than a typical V10.

Now, the opposite is also true. If you want to exit to a huge company, or a bank, or private equity, etc. than a firm that deals with them all the time is going to be a much better option than Gunderson. So it's really not a matter of pro vs. con, but instead where do you want to work?

I guess you could hedge all your bets and go to a V10 to preserve your options there, and then pending how you feel about that, go to a Gunderson to explore those options, but that just seems like overkill to me. Also, you'll have to spend years in biglaw to make sense of it all. Again, when "desirable exit = experience + exposure", your 3 years at DP aren't going to mean much at Gunderson, Cooley, etc. when you're competing for jobs against associates who have spent those same 3 years developing relationships with the same clients.

Finally, Gunderson's claim is that you get more immediate exposure/responsibility early on than at other firms. From what I gather this is the case, but it's helpful to understand why. Gunderson works off of a volume model—help out a ton of small companies with a ton of small matters that individually don't bring in a lot. This is way different from a Skadden, where only a handful of time-intensive acquisitions can bring in significant revenue. As such, Gunderson needs its associates to quickly be able to handle these small-matters relatively on their own to keep volume high, while Skadden can stick you 6 layers beneath a partner on a deal since volume isn't a factor.

So while it is a lot more exposure/responsibility, it's going to be for smaller things. Again, I don't think this is a pro vs. con, but more, what do you want? To me, it's seems like that I'll be more excited to have the chance to be talking and working with the client right away, even if it is for something as mundane as taking minutes or incorporating. You, on the other hand, might get your kicks from being on the team that handled a WSJ headlining deal, even if what you did on that deal was route diligence and you never spoke with the client once.

And remember, Gunderson is still big law, and big law = big law. I know people who loved their time there and stayed for years, and I also met associates who left after a year, and I'm sure there's a similar split at the DPs, Skaddens, etcs of the world.

Hope that helps!

This is helpful, thank you. How are the hours at Gunderson, compared to corporate practices at Davis Polk, Simpson, Skadden etc.? About the same? Slightly better?


I work for one of the SV indigenouses in SV and agree generally with the above (though I will admit I did not read much of the long answer). I would say the hours are probably measurably better on the whole at Gunderson compared to the above listed firms. I would think this can mean 100-300 hours less per year (YMMV, though) but that can have a big impact on lifestyle. I also think the top 25% billers at Gunderson is likely to be significantly better vs V10.

I didn't respond to this thread earlier but almost did just to flag the fact that I believe working in the VC space on the east coast is not exactly the same as on the west coast. I know some people are not going to like it but the markets are just not comparable in size and scope. The wealth of VC/EC exits and the name brand of the SV firms are far and away strongest in the Bay Area, and the PNW to a lesser extent.

Also Gunderson is a bit of a different firm than F/W/C. It skews VC and early stage. It's generally regarded as a tad bro-ier (in SV) and probably has a much more business-friendly (ie relaxed)/start-up vibe. Note they recently landed a huge cap markets partner from Fenwick and they may start getting more IPOs but that will likely take a little time to get off the ground.

To answer the OP, I think if you want to do EC/VC you should always pick a firm doing that right out of LS rather than planning the V10 > EC/VC firm route. That is still not guaranteed and V10 will not give you better exits to the VC/EC space. Like I said, though, I think the brand, market and work is just measurably stronger on the west coast.

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Re: Gunderson vs. V10

Postby SFSpartan » Sat Sep 22, 2018 2:58 pm

If you want to be in-house at a tech company or VC fund, I don't see any reason why you would choose a V10 over Gunderson. While the variety of work for corporate associates at DPW, STB, Skadden, etc. is probably wider than you'll get at Gunderson. Gunderson will get you WAY more exposure to early stage startups or VC fund formation work, though. Exit ops at Gunderson are going to be better in the EC/VC space, but less good for other industries (though Gunderson's brand is strong enough that you'll probably be able to lateral to general corporate as a third year if you end up hating EC/VC work).

I'd try and go to the West Coast if in-house work is what you want to do. There is tech work in NYC, but there's a lot more of it in Silicon Valley, and to a lesser (though growing) extent LA and Seattle.

Both Fenwick and Gunderson's NY offices are staffed with laterals because those offices are relatively new, and were established organically (rather than by merger, a la Cooley NY)



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