Help! CSM vs. Latham vs. Cleary (NY)

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Help! CSM vs. Latham vs. Cleary (NY)

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 11, 2019 11:21 am

Trying to decide between the three for corporate/transactional work - not sure what. My main hesitation with CSM beyond the intense hours and potential of being stuck with an awful partner is that they have a very limited international presence. Liked both Cleary & Latham so having a hard time deciding.

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Re: Help! CSM vs. Latham vs. Cleary (NY)

Postby The Lsat Airbender » Wed Sep 11, 2019 11:47 am

Anonymous User wrote:very limited international presence


Is there a particular reason this matters to you? Personally I wouldn't worry much about this.

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Re: Help! CSM vs. Latham vs. Cleary (NY)

Postby nerd1 » Wed Sep 11, 2019 11:47 am

You can always start at CSM and lateral later. Choosing a firm largely based on international presence doesn't seem like a good idea. You will not be working in different offices, except in very rare circumstances, even at firms like Cleary with big international presence. If you are considering working in NYC for first few years and lateraling to Asia or Europe, it does seem easier to just move to that foreign office in the same firm than to lateral to a different firm. But you can lateral after working in CSM for few years and that shouldn't be difficult either.

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Re: Help! CSM vs. Latham vs. Cleary (NY)

Postby LBJ's Hair » Wed Sep 11, 2019 1:09 pm

Putting aside the "international" thing (which I agree is overblown/maybe even irrelevant)

If OP doesn't like the rotation system and Cravath's work-hard/intense/whatever culture turns them off, not really sure why everyone thinks they shouldn't do Cleary? They're both like, selective-ish, corporate-leaning V10 law firms...it's not like, obvious to me that Cravath even has 'better' exits...

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Re: Help! CSM vs. Latham vs. Cleary (NY)

Postby Res Ipsa Loquitter » Wed Sep 11, 2019 1:26 pm

LBJ's Hair wrote:Putting aside the "international" thing (which I agree is overblown/maybe even irrelevant)

If OP doesn't like the rotation system and Cravath's work-hard/intense/whatever culture turns them off, not really sure why everyone thinks they shouldn't do Cleary? They're both like, selective-ish, corporate-leaning V10 law firms...it's not like, obvious to me that Cravath even has 'better' exits...


Why did you phrase this like a Valley Girl from the nineties?

I also love the movie Clueless (1995) -- but isn't Cravath, like, the more selective and reputable firm? And isn't it totally possible that many associates at Cleary work long hours for miserable partners?

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Re: Help! CSM vs. Latham vs. Cleary (NY)

Postby dabigchina » Wed Sep 11, 2019 2:08 pm

Res Ipsa Loquitter wrote:
LBJ's Hair wrote:Putting aside the "international" thing (which I agree is overblown/maybe even irrelevant)

If OP doesn't like the rotation system and Cravath's work-hard/intense/whatever culture turns them off, not really sure why everyone thinks they shouldn't do Cleary? They're both like, selective-ish, corporate-leaning V10 law firms...it's not like, obvious to me that Cravath even has 'better' exits...


Why did you phrase this like a Valley Girl from the nineties?

I also love the movie Clueless (1995) -- but isn't Cravath, like, the more selective and reputable firm? And isn't it totally possible that many associates at Cleary work long hours for miserable partners?


Everyone works hard, but it truly seems like CSM's expectations are on a different level. Even if it only translates into an extra few hours a week, each marginal hour sucks more than the last.

Also, attacking his/her style is just...weird. There's nothing wrong with the substance of his/her advice.

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Re: Help! CSM vs. Latham vs. Cleary (NY)

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 11, 2019 2:25 pm

*associate at one of the 3 firms you mentioned.

Unless you have some specific unicorn of a career goal, all 3 will provide you with a similar range of desirable corporate exit options (with Cravath being a cut above). If you don't have your heart set on some particular exit option that would make Cravath worth it, then I'd recommend focusing on the factors that would make you happy over the few or however many years you do biglaw, like culture - which is quite different across these 3.

And if you're interested in international law, I'd recommend taking second looks at these firms, asking current associates/partners about what it's like to work for those clients and ask yourself if that truly sounds appealing. I've done some international work but prefer domestic.

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Re: Help! CSM vs. Latham vs. Cleary (NY)

Postby soft blue » Wed Sep 11, 2019 2:25 pm

Res Ipsa Loquitter wrote:
LBJ's Hair wrote:... isn't Cravath, like, the more selective and reputable firm?


Is Cravath more selective? My sense (Columbia) is that Cravath is no more or less selective than S&C, Paul Weiss, DPW, Cleary, that kind of firm.

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Re: Help! CSM vs. Latham vs. Cleary (NY)

Postby Res Ipsa Loquitter » Wed Sep 11, 2019 2:46 pm

dabigchina wrote:
Res Ipsa Loquitter wrote:
LBJ's Hair wrote:Putting aside the "international" thing (which I agree is overblown/maybe even irrelevant)

If OP doesn't like the rotation system and Cravath's work-hard/intense/whatever culture turns them off, not really sure why everyone thinks they shouldn't do Cleary? They're both like, selective-ish, corporate-leaning V10 law firms...it's not like, obvious to me that Cravath even has 'better' exits...


Why did you phrase this like a Valley Girl from the nineties?

I also love the movie Clueless (1995) -- but isn't Cravath, like, the more selective and reputable firm? And isn't it totally possible that many associates at Cleary work long hours for miserable partners?


Everyone works hard, but it truly seems like CSM's expectations are on a different level. Even if it only translates into an extra few hours a week, each marginal hour sucks more than the last.

Also, attacking his/her style is just...weird. There's nothing wrong with the substance of his/her advice.


I've actually worked a 100 hour week before. I'm well aware of the fact that long hours suck.

The Cravath bashing is unhelpful. Why would partner pairings cause conflict? The firm wants to make profits, not petty dysfunction. Partners get matched with juniors that they already like.

"It's work-hard/intense/whatever." It's whatever? What does that mean? And it's "not obvious" to one poster that CSM associates get better exits than Cleary? That doesn't tell us anything about exits.

Oh, and they're "both V10" -- no, Cravath is #1 and Cleary is #14

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Re: Help! CSM vs. Latham vs. Cleary (NY)

Postby soft blue » Wed Sep 11, 2019 3:02 pm

Res Ipsa Loquitter wrote:I've actually worked a 100 hour week before. I'm well aware of the fact that long hours suck.

The Cravath bashing is unhelpful. Why would partner pairings cause conflict? The firm wants to make profits, not petty dysfunction. Partners get matched with juniors that they already like.

"It's work-hard/intense/whatever." It's whatever? What does that mean? And it's "not obvious" to one poster that CSM associates get better exits than Cleary? That doesn't tell us anything about exits.

Oh, and they're "both V10" -- no, Cravath is #1 and Cleary is #14


This is a pretty aggro way to be.

It's pretty well known that, because you're paired with one partner at Cravath, you can be stuck working with someone who isn't a great fit for you, which sucks.

"Whatever," in this context, is clearly "or however else you want to put it."

It does tell us something -- don't assume that exits are automatically better. FWIW it seems like sexy places to go in house -- e.g. the NBA -- tend to have Cravath alums, though query if "sexy place to go in house" and "good exit" are the same thing.

Cleary is absolutely a top NYC shop, which is the point of calling it V10.

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Re: Help! CSM vs. Latham vs. Cleary (NY)

Postby didntretake » Wed Sep 11, 2019 3:31 pm

The tone of this thread is getting kind of miserable. Anyway I think you should go to Cleary. I was an associate there for a few years, it was pretty great as far as big law goes.

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Re: Help! CSM vs. Latham vs. Cleary (NY)

Postby LBJ's Hair » Wed Sep 11, 2019 4:24 pm

Res Ipsa Loquitter wrote:
dabigchina wrote:
Res Ipsa Loquitter wrote:
LBJ's Hair wrote:Putting aside the "international" thing (which I agree is overblown/maybe even irrelevant)

If OP doesn't like the rotation system and Cravath's work-hard/intense/whatever culture turns them off, not really sure why everyone thinks they shouldn't do Cleary? They're both like, selective-ish, corporate-leaning V10 law firms...it's not like, obvious to me that Cravath even has 'better' exits...


Why did you phrase this like a Valley Girl from the nineties?

I also love the movie Clueless (1995) -- but isn't Cravath, like, the more selective and reputable firm? And isn't it totally possible that many associates at Cleary work long hours for miserable partners?


Everyone works hard, but it truly seems like CSM's expectations are on a different level. Even if it only translates into an extra few hours a week, each marginal hour sucks more than the last.

Also, attacking his/her style is just...weird. There's nothing wrong with the substance of his/her advice.


I've actually worked a 100 hour week before. I'm well aware of the fact that long hours suck.

The Cravath bashing is unhelpful. Why would partner pairings cause conflict? The firm wants to make profits, not petty dysfunction. Partners get matched with juniors that they already like.

"It's work-hard/intense/whatever." It's whatever? What does that mean? And it's "not obvious" to one poster that CSM associates get better exits than Cleary? That doesn't tell us anything about exits.

Oh, and they're "both V10" -- no, Cravath is #1 and Cleary is #14


not bashing Cravath, there are a lot of great attorneys there and they do a lot of big deals.

I just don't think it's any obviously a better or worse law firm to work at than like, 4 other NYC corporate shops if you're in OP's shoes and wanna do corporate but don't have a practice preference. if others can attest to meaningful exit opp differences that'd be useful for OP (and me, out of sheer curiosity), but my impression, and those of my peers, is there...really aren't any? (empirically, they have extremely similar grade cutoffs, hire from the same schools, pay the same, have similar clients...)

re culture, think we'd both agree that Cravath has a certain... je ne sais quoi. and if that rubs you the wrong way, and the partner matching thing doesn't sound like your cup of tea, that matters. you're gonna be spending 60 or 80 or w/e hours a week there

so if you have other great options like Cleary....like, do that instead?

re my style --- if it's a little feminine ...¯\ _(ツ)_/¯

I masc it up for briefs, dw

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Re: Help! CSM vs. Latham vs. Cleary (NY)

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 11, 2019 5:08 pm

soft blue wrote:
Res Ipsa Loquitter wrote:
LBJ's Hair wrote:... isn't Cravath, like, the more selective and reputable firm?


Is Cravath more selective? My sense (Columbia) is that Cravath is no more or less selective than S&C, Paul Weiss, DPW, Cleary, that kind of firm.


Is your impression at Columbia that Paul Weiss corporate is just as selective as DPW, S&C? Wow, how times have changed. When I was going through OCI some years ago, Paul Weiss was nowhere near as selective as firms like DPW, STB, Cravath.

Anyway, I don't even know how people started bringing up selectivity here. As a 3rd year M&A associate in NYC, I tell you Cravath is clearly the better firm than Cleary. The only good reason for not choosing Cravath in this situation is if you don't like the rotation system. Regarding culture, except for some firms with particularly bad culture, most corporate practice groups (at least M&A) have very similar cultures where some are total assholes and some are more agreeable to work with. I wouldn't choose based on culture if the firms are in different tiers, because firm cultures for corporate work really are very similar. As for hours, hours are intense and unpredictable everywhere, but particularly worse at firms like K&E and STB.

(Anon because I provided some info about myself)

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Re: Help! CSM vs. Latham vs. Cleary (NY)

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 12, 2019 1:43 am

OP here - my concern for international presence is because I eventually want to move to Europe (where I'm originally from) and so want to make sure I can either move internally or that the firm has a strong enough brand recognition that I could lateral easily to a top firm. Less concerned about international work in the NY office.

Does anyone have thoughts on Latham? Thank you all :D

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Re: Help! CSM vs. Latham vs. Cleary (NY)

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 12, 2019 1:45 am

Anonymous User wrote:
soft blue wrote:
Res Ipsa Loquitter wrote:
LBJ's Hair wrote:... isn't Cravath, like, the more selective and reputable firm?


Is Cravath more selective? My sense (Columbia) is that Cravath is no more or less selective than S&C, Paul Weiss, DPW, Cleary, that kind of firm.


Is your impression at Columbia that Paul Weiss corporate is just as selective as DPW, S&C? Wow, how times have changed. When I was going through OCI some years ago, Paul Weiss was nowhere near as selective as firms like DPW, STB, Cravath.

Anyway, I don't even know how people started bringing up selectivity here. As a 3rd year M&A associate in NYC, I tell you Cravath is clearly the better firm than Cleary. The only good reason for not choosing Cravath in this situation is if you don't like the rotation system. Regarding culture, except for some firms with particularly bad culture, most corporate practice groups (at least M&A) have very similar cultures where some are total assholes and some are more agreeable to work with. I wouldn't choose based on culture if the firms are in different tiers, because firm cultures for corporate work really are very similar. As for hours, hours are intense and unpredictable everywhere, but particularly worse at firms like K&E and STB.

(Anon because I provided some info about myself)


Yeah this is still true. Know plenty of kids around the median with offers at PW, though I think the quality of the associates they get has certainly improved recently,(I.e. higher percentage of Stone Scholars in their summer classes). The other three still require Stone to be competitive for an offer.

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Re: Help! CSM vs. Latham vs. Cleary (NY)

Postby soft blue » Thu Sep 12, 2019 1:22 pm

Off topic a bit but for 2019 CLS summers, 93% of PW's offers went to Stone candidates, compared to Cravath (84%), STB (93%), DPW (78%), S&C (92%). This selectivity is shooting PW in the foot a bit because corporate people with PW offers almost certainly have at least one of CSM/STB/DPW/S&C as well and therefore won't do PW corporate. No idea of the formal numbers for 2020 summers but my sense from EIP was similar.

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Re: Help! CSM vs. Latham vs. Cleary (NY)

Postby Yea All Right » Thu Sep 12, 2019 3:09 pm

Why are you guys arguing about a single school's students and their offer rates in this thread. Take your prestige whoring/ weird competitiveness somewhere else; it's way off-topic here.

OP, Cravath obviously has the name brand (although not sure of the strength of its reputation in Europe despite its office in London), and Latham and Cleary are great firms themselves with huge international presences. If you'd rather bank on an internal transfer, ideally people who have worked at these firms can chime in on how amenable the firms are to office transfers and whether they've seen transfers to Europe from the US. IMHO you wouldn't have any problems lateraling from any of these firms.

Obligatory Lathaming note: I'm not sure how confident people are that the partners there will not do something similar when a recession happens again.

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Re: Help! CSM vs. Latham vs. Cleary (NY)

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 12, 2019 3:33 pm

I was at one of the “elite” firms mentioned on this thread (CSM / DPW/ S&C) and now at Latham. A few observations:
- while at my prior firm, we saw either Latham/K&E on the opposite side of us on more deals than any other firm across M&A, finance, and cap markets.

- You can literally do the same type of work at Latham as at the NY elites. Sure Latham doesn’t get the $60 billion headliners as often as the others or even close, but those are few and far between. Every one of the NY elites does way more deals in the $300mm-$5b range than the one off mega deals.

- maybe 10 years ago Cleary was in the same or close tier as the elites, but Latham/K&E are way better positioned than Cleary right now and in the future. Cleary is trying to keep up with the NY elites, while Latham/K&E have pretty much created their own tier and are killing it. So I think you should really decide between CSM and Latham.

- If you’re looking for international presence, Latham is the obvious choice over CSM (any European firm will obviously take you from Cravath, but they will take you from Latham as well, and Latham is great about letting people switch offices for a valid reason).

- There’s something to be said about the unassigned program / free market system and not being stuck doing long rotations of stuff you don’t want to do.

- If you want to do sophisticated work with top clients but want somewhat of a social life and also want to be social with your work colleagues, Latham is the obvious choice; if you are hell bent on being the best Corporate lawyer there ever was, don’t care for socializing with colleagues and want to live and breath that lifestyle in and out of the office, kudos to you, you should definitely go to CSM.

- All that said, there’s definitely something to be said about the NY elites and having started your career there (I don’t regret it). There’s lots of institutional knowledge and relationships and yes the big mega deals, and you can always start at CSM and lateral down the line to pretty much anywhere if you don’t like it.

Anon because my history would give me away.

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Re: Help! CSM vs. Latham vs. Cleary (NY)

Postby Elston Gunn » Thu Sep 12, 2019 6:10 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I was at one of the “elite” firms mentioned on this thread (CSM / DPW/ S&C) and now at Latham. A few observations:
- while at my prior firm, we saw either Latham/K&E on the opposite side of us on more deals than any other firm across M&A, finance, and cap markets.

- You can literally do the same type of work at Latham as at the NY elites. Sure Latham doesn’t get the $60 billion headliners as often as the others or even close, but those are few and far between. Every one of the NY elites does way more deals in the $300mm-$5b range than the one off mega deals.

- maybe 10 years ago Cleary was in the same or close tier as the elites, but Latham/K&E are way better positioned than Cleary right now and in the future. Cleary is trying to keep up with the NY elites, while Latham/K&E have pretty much created their own tier and are killing it. So I think you should really decide between CSM and Latham.

- If you’re looking for international presence, Latham is the obvious choice over CSM (any European firm will obviously take you from Cravath, but they will take you from Latham as well, and Latham is great about letting people switch offices for a valid reason).

- There’s something to be said about the unassigned program / free market system and not being stuck doing long rotations of stuff you don’t want to do.

- If you want to do sophisticated work with top clients but want somewhat of a social life and also want to be social with your work colleagues, Latham is the obvious choice; if you are hell bent on being the best Corporate lawyer there ever was, don’t care for socializing with colleagues and want to live and breath that lifestyle in and out of the office, kudos to you, you should definitely go to CSM.

- All that said, there’s definitely something to be said about the NY elites and having started your career there (I don’t regret it). There’s lots of institutional knowledge and relationships and yes the big mega deals, and you can always start at CSM and lateral down the line to pretty much anywhere if you don’t like it.

Anon because my history would give me away.

Another great reason to choose Latham is if you want to get fired as a first year.

Yea All Right wrote:Obligatory Lathaming note: I'm not sure how confident people are that the partners there will not do something similar when a recession happens again.

It’s not just full Lathaming you need to worry about. Search this board. It’s well-known that’s Latham fires some first and second years as a matter of course. That is not standard practice.

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Re: Help! CSM vs. Latham vs. Cleary (NY)

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 12, 2019 6:43 pm

Latham first year here. I can confirm that there is almost always one first year who gets fired every year. It has happened to 2/2 classes before mine and someone has already been warned about counseling out in my class.


If I had to do it again, I would probably go elsewhere.

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Re: Help! CSM vs. Latham vs. Cleary (NY)

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 12, 2019 7:57 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Latham first year here. I can confirm that there is almost always one first year who gets fired every year. It has happened to 2/2 classes before mine and someone has already been warned about counseling out in my class.


If I had to do it again, I would probably go elsewhere.


Firing first years is not unique to Latham. It happens regularly at few other firms too (or perhaps just my firm).

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Re: Help! CSM vs. Latham vs. Cleary (NY)

Postby Elston Gunn » Thu Sep 12, 2019 9:15 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Latham first year here. I can confirm that there is almost always one first year who gets fired every year. It has happened to 2/2 classes before mine and someone has already been warned about counseling out in my class.


If I had to do it again, I would probably go elsewhere.


Firing first years is not unique to Latham. It happens regularly at few other firms too (or perhaps just my firm).

Agree it’s not unique. Latham is just one of small number for which it’s well-known. It is, however, not at all standard practice in this industry. (Would be great if you’d out your firm, but understand you want to be extra careful.)

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Re: Help! CSM vs. Latham vs. Cleary (NY)

Postby LBJ's Hair » Thu Sep 12, 2019 9:30 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I was at one of the “elite” firms mentioned on this thread (CSM / DPW/ S&C) and now at Latham. A few observations:
- while at my prior firm, we saw either Latham/K&E on the opposite side of us on more deals than any other firm across M&A, finance, and cap markets.

- You can literally do the same type of work at Latham as at the NY elites. Sure Latham doesn’t get the $60 billion headliners as often as the others or even close, but those are few and far between. Every one of the NY elites does way more deals in the $300mm-$5b range than the one off mega deals.

- maybe 10 years ago Cleary was in the same or close tier as the elites, but Latham/K&E are way better positioned than Cleary right now and in the future. Cleary is trying to keep up with the NY elites, while Latham/K&E have pretty much created their own tier and are killing it. So I think you should really decide between CSM and Latham.

- If you’re looking for international presence, Latham is the obvious choice over CSM (any European firm will obviously take you from Cravath, but they will take you from Latham as well, and Latham is great about letting people switch offices for a valid reason).

- There’s something to be said about the unassigned program / free market system and not being stuck doing long rotations of stuff you don’t want to do.

- If you want to do sophisticated work with top clients but want somewhat of a social life and also want to be social with your work colleagues, Latham is the obvious choice; if you are hell bent on being the best Corporate lawyer there ever was, don’t care for socializing with colleagues and want to live and breath that lifestyle in and out of the office, kudos to you, you should definitely go to CSM.

- All that said, there’s definitely something to be said about the NY elites and having started your career there (I don’t regret it). There’s lots of institutional knowledge and relationships and yes the big mega deals, and you can always start at CSM and lateral down the line to pretty much anywhere if you don’t like it.

Anon because my history would give me away.


do you think Latham has the same exit opportunities, in NY (Latham is a powerhouse in CA obviously) vis-a-vis CSM/Cleary?

like I think everything you said makes sense---Latham's *business* is well-positioned, as is K&E's. but that doesn't necessarily mean it's a better place to *start your career as a 1st year associate*. like for example you lateraled from a traditional big NY player to Latham---but you couldn't have gone from Latham to CSM, and my instinct is probably not easily to Cleary either although I'm less sure about that.

these are honest questions to be clear, not rhetorical ones---I don't know the answer.

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Re: Help! CSM vs. Latham vs. Cleary (NY)

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 12, 2019 11:27 pm

I’m a first year at one of DPW/S&C/STB in NYC. I would choose Cravath or Cleary. I don’t care what Vault says; I do not consider Latham as being a peer to Cravath or Cleary, and I think people familiar with the industry (i.e., not first year associates across the country) would largely agree. I don’t say this to bash Latham — it’s a fine firm — but rather to further emphasize that there is value in where you begin your career, and I’d rather have CSM or CGSH on my resume than Latham.

If nothing else, it’s nice to have no hours requirements for bonuses. Everyone will (incorrectly) assure you that you’re going to bill whatever Latham’s minimum is regardless, but you’d be surprised how often that isn’t true. And even if you end up clearing the hurdle, it’s nice not having it hanging over your head in the first place.

Anon because my post history would likely reveal where I work.

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Re: Help! CSM vs. Latham vs. Cleary (NY)

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 13, 2019 4:14 pm

Anon because I work at CSM and don’t want to be connected w/ other posts.

OP, I was also between CSM and Cleary. I ended up choosing CSM because it was the universal advice I got from people who weren’t trying to get me to work for them. A V20 partner I’ve known for a long time specifically told me that he thought CSM carried the most international cache for what’s its worth.

But I really wanted to comment about CSM’s culture. I summered at a different firm 1L that had a free market system and I was constantly worried not just about work but about whether I was “hungry” enough for it. CSM isn’t like that: because you only work for one small group of partners (in corporate, you work for a group, not a single partner) your partners always know what you are doing. You aren’t expected to seek out more work, when you’re not doing anything g you can just relax, knowing full well that there is nothing else you’re expected to be doing.

Granted CSM works you hard, but they all do and this ability to really appreciate your time off without feeling guilty I think is an unsung perk of the Cravath system and worth considering vs all the other posters talking about CSM culture.



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