Kirkland v. Simpson Thacher

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Kirkland v. Simpson Thacher

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 04, 2019 11:00 pm

Looking at both for corporate in Houston, and I'm having trouble deciding.

I've talked to a lot of people at both, done a 2nd look, etc, and I'm still torn.

What does the TLS widsom say about each?

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Re: Kirkland v. Simpson Thacher

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 05, 2019 12:54 am

I looked carefully at both of these firms’ Houston offices when lateraling before ultimately deciding on Kirkland. Kirkland was (and is) growing and dead set on being a major player in the market. As an added benefit to junior associates, it has a full range of corporate practice groups with a realistic opportunity to ultimately land in your chosen practice area. One major downside is a heavy (extremely lopsided) focus on PE on the M&A side, which leads to a rough schedule and stunted growth as a well-rounded corporate attorney. It has made strides on the public M&A side lately, but not enough to avoid PE work. Other groups are a little more tame, and benefit from countercyclical restructuring work during downturns (which is what Houston has been in for quite a while).

I almost chose STB because they genuinely seem to have a great culture. However, my impression was that they are comfortable with their current status in the Houston market, without much interest or expectation of growth. It is also a much smaller office, and practice group choices are very limited. That said, it is definitely an STB office, complete with high expectations, a great reputation and top notch lawyers. Just seems to be a difficult office to start at if you are looking for a long-term career.

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Re: Kirkland v. Simpson Thacher

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 05, 2019 12:12 pm

Former Houston associate just moved in-house. No dog in this fight - go to KE (no question). Simpson is not a player in Houston and won't ever be. They may have a better culture than KE (almost surely does since this is one thing I don't think KE has going for it). I have friends at both offices, those at KE are getting much more M&A work (primarily PE) and the ones at Simpson are generally not that busy (the market has been weird the last 12 months). They friends at KE work a lot more (A LOT), but in the beginning that is not a terrible thing. Also, do you not have offers from VE and LW? The decision should be between KE, VE, LW if you want corporate work. If you only have 1, take it. I was at one of those two, most KE associates had a fairly easy time getting a lateral offer, you had to be very well liked if applying from Simpson to be considered.

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Re: Kirkland v. Simpson Thacher

Postby LBJ's Hair » Thu Sep 05, 2019 1:33 pm

Didn't K&E Houston have like literally 50 summers for summer 2019? Feel like that's relevant for OP.

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Re: Kirkland v. Simpson Thacher

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 05, 2019 11:31 pm

LBJ's Hair wrote:Didn't K&E Houston have like literally 50 summers for summer 2019? Feel like that's relevant for OP.


That's insane. That's more summers than my V50 had across all offices.

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Re: Kirkland v. Simpson Thacher

Postby LBJ's Hair » Fri Sep 06, 2019 12:04 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
LBJ's Hair wrote:Didn't K&E Houston have like literally 50 summers for summer 2019? Feel like that's relevant for OP.


That's insane. That's more summers than my V50 had across all offices.


48, sorry. would love to know who approved this number/their thought process

viewtopic.php?f=23&t=298869&start=25

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Re: Kirkland v. Simpson Thacher

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 06, 2019 4:33 pm

Kirkland was actually 52 (48 2Ls + 4 1Ls). They’re looking to cut down quite a bit this year though (like 30 maybe?). So the thing about K&E and Simpson in Houston is that K&E is literally an offshoot of Simpson. The founding partner of STB Houston left to start K&E Houston and took a massive chunk of talent and clients with him. And from what I understand, the most promising talent at STB continues to be stolen as laterals. So the question is, do you want to go to the firm that all the most ambitious talent went to, or where it came from? K&E has this dynamic with all Houston firms to a degree, as it gobbles talent and clients from them, but with Simpson specifically it’s an extremely explicit one-sided relationship. Personally I think K&E has the clear momentum of all firms in the market, though if you are truly a star (which you can’t really know ex ante) I suppose you could start elsewhere and then get headhunted to K&E with a big bonus...

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Re: Kirkland v. Simpson Thacher

Postby hlsperson1111 » Fri Sep 06, 2019 4:44 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Kirkland was actually 52 (48 2Ls + 4 1Ls). They’re looking to cut down quite a bit this year though (like 30 maybe?). So the thing about K&E and Simpson in Houston is that K&E is literally an offshoot of Simpson. The founding partner of STB Houston left to start K&E Houston and took a massive chunk of talent and clients with him. And from what I understand, the most promising talent at STB continues to be stolen as laterals. So the question is, do you want to go to the firm that all the most ambitious talent went to, or where it came from? K&E has this dynamic with all Houston firms to a degree, as it gobbles talent and clients from them, but with Simpson specifically it’s an extremely explicit one-sided relationship. Personally I think K&E has the clear momentum of all firms in the market, though if you are truly a star (which you can’t really know ex ante) I suppose you could start elsewhere and then get headhunted to K&E with a big bonus...


This dynamic is not limited to Houston, FYI:

Kirkland has shaken up the profession and expanded its practice by poaching top partners not just from Cravath, but from other prominent, old-line firms, including Latham and Skadden Arps Meagher Slate & Flom. It has raided the venerable Simpson Thacher & Bartlett in New York for so many partners that one Kirkland partner, in a widely circulated email, referred to Simpson as “Kirkland’s AAA farm club.”


(https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/26/busi ... ching.html)

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Re: Kirkland v. Simpson Thacher

Postby LBJ's Hair » Fri Sep 06, 2019 5:34 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Kirkland was actually 52 (48 2Ls + 4 1Ls). They’re looking to cut down quite a bit this year though (like 30 maybe?). So the thing about K&E and Simpson in Houston is that K&E is literally an offshoot of Simpson. The founding partner of STB Houston left to start K&E Houston and took a massive chunk of talent and clients with him. And from what I understand, the most promising talent at STB continues to be stolen as laterals. So the question is, do you want to go to the firm that all the most ambitious talent went to, or where it came from? K&E has this dynamic with all Houston firms to a degree, as it gobbles talent and clients from them, but with Simpson specifically it’s an extremely explicit one-sided relationship. Personally I think K&E has the clear momentum of all firms in the market, though if you are truly a star (which you can’t really know ex ante) I suppose you could start elsewhere and then get headhunted to K&E with a big bonus...


Feel like "K&E poaches lots of smart people and offering them a lot of money" is a good reason to work somewhere else and then consider accepting their $$$$ offer as a midlevel/partner...not a reason to *start* your career at K&E. All those people at STB who have been bouncing over for $$ are...displacing junior K&E associates, who by all accounts have had much shittier experiences than their counterparts at other law firms?

To give a more extreme example: K&E and to a lesser extent PW are known for throwing regularly throwing $$$ offers at like, pretty much every (XYZ prominent corporate firm) midlevel with a pulse. Occasionally they take it. But that's...an argument for starting at (XYZ firm) not for starting at K&E. The K&E associates at this new person's level aren't pumped that some XYZ person came in with a better comp package and partnership prospects---they just got screwed. And XYZ (or S&C or w/e) wasn't offering the K&E associate a similar option to lateral in. The outsider lateral-ing IN to K&E has the career optionality, which is great. The *K&E juniors/midlevels* are the ones faced with the career risk of a lateral coming displacing them in the firm's pecking order.

Never worked at either STB or K&E, and I have a sort of macabre respect for the latter's business strategy. It's a great way to make the partners $$$. But I don't see how it's anything but *terrible* for K&E juniors.

And I apologize if this sounds rude but...K&E Houston hired 52 summer associates. Color me skeptical that you have to be a "star" to lateral in.



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