Why Vault?

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shadowfish
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Why Vault?

Postby shadowfish » Tue Sep 15, 2009 4:54 pm

Does anyone have any insight into the Vault obsession? I understand rankings in general, but why Vault and not AmLaw? Based on what I know, Vault seems kind of unrepresentative (not that AmLaw isn't, but at least it's clear about what it's ranking where Vault just seems outright wrong lots of times). It doesn't reflect that a bunch of people would ditch Skadden or SullCrom for Covington or Williams & Connolly. It definitely has a bias against the West Coast. People have posted on the ATL clerkship thread that they were "V5" summer associates, but does that really matter?

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irie
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Re: Why Vault?

Postby irie » Tue Sep 15, 2009 5:01 pm

amlaw > vault for law just as I.I. > vault for banking

its not about surveys, its about profits profits profits!! :mrgreen:

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Corsair
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Re: Why Vault?

Postby Corsair » Wed Sep 16, 2009 3:51 pm

..

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Rocketman11
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Re: Why Vault?

Postby Rocketman11 » Wed Sep 16, 2009 4:42 pm

shadowfish wrote:Does anyone have any insight into the Vault obsession? I understand rankings in general, but why Vault and not AmLaw? Based on what I know, Vault seems kind of unrepresentative (not that AmLaw isn't, but at least it's clear about what it's ranking where Vault just seems outright wrong lots of times). It doesn't reflect that a bunch of people would ditch Skadden or SullCrom for Covington or Williams & Connolly. It definitely has a bias against the West Coast. People have posted on the ATL clerkship thread that they were "V5" summer associates, but does that really matter?


Dont rank whore your life away. People already lend too much weight into USNWR ranks, the methodology of which are questionable at best, and IMO downright flawed. When you graduate law school, think about 1) where you want to live and 2) where you'll get good work and good compensation. Professionals dont brag about Vault or Amlaw rank, so really you should not care.

Oblomov
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Re: Why Vault?

Postby Oblomov » Wed Sep 16, 2009 4:46 pm

Rocketman11 wrote: Professionals dont brag about Vault or Amlaw rank, so really you should not care.


Unfortunately, I don't think that's true. They might not put a huge C&S sticker on their car, but it's often lurking.
Last edited by Oblomov on Wed Sep 16, 2009 4:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous User
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Re: Why Vault?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 16, 2009 4:47 pm

irie wrote:amlaw > vault for law just as I.I. > vault for banking

its not about surveys, its about profits profits profits!! :mrgreen:


what's I.I.?

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GeePee
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Re: Why Vault?

Postby GeePee » Wed Sep 16, 2009 4:55 pm

.

Now that we have this sorted out...
Last edited by GeePee on Wed Sep 16, 2009 5:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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joshikousei
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Re: Why Vault?

Postby joshikousei » Wed Sep 16, 2009 5:02 pm

no, more like "the anonymous reply button is where the quote button usually is" and "i'm lazy"

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TTT-LS
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Re: Why Vault?

Postby TTT-LS » Wed Sep 16, 2009 5:07 pm

.
Last edited by TTT-LS on Mon Jun 28, 2010 8:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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BradyToMoss
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Re: Why Vault?

Postby BradyToMoss » Wed Sep 16, 2009 6:43 pm

irie wrote:amlaw > vault for law just as I.I. > vault for banking

its not about surveys, its about profits profits profits!! :mrgreen:


Couldn't be further from the truth. As a law student looking for a good place to work, with job security and exit options, Vault should be looked at well before any rankings that AmLaw produces based on one metric.

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irie
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Re: Why Vault?

Postby irie » Wed Sep 16, 2009 6:46 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
irie wrote:amlaw > vault for law just as I.I. > vault for banking

its not about surveys, its about profits profits profits!! :mrgreen:


what's I.I.?



institutional investor, league tables

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lawlover829
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Re: Why Vault?

Postby lawlover829 » Wed Sep 16, 2009 7:01 pm

y not vault?

shadowfish
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Re: Why Vault?

Postby shadowfish » Wed Sep 16, 2009 7:17 pm

BradyToMoss wrote:
irie wrote:amlaw > vault for law just as I.I. > vault for banking

its not about surveys, its about profits profits profits!! :mrgreen:


Couldn't be further from the truth. As a law student looking for a good place to work, with job security and exit options, Vault should be looked at well before any rankings that AmLaw produces based on one metric.

I don't think Vault tells you much about job security, especially given the lag in publication. Stable firms are scattered throughout the list (though I admit it does seem there are a lot in the V20 or even V30) and certain unstable firms are ranked very highly.

Curious about exit options, though, and how Vault plays into that. I wouldn't know anything about lateraling - would anyone else have any anecdotal evidence on it? As for leaving firm life entirely, I could see how Vault would matter for gov't, but I would think it would depend for in-house. My guess is that tech companies would rather get an in-house lawyer from one of the big SV firms rather than someone from Cravath, all other stats equal.

imchuckbass58
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Re: Why Vault?

Postby imchuckbass58 » Wed Sep 16, 2009 7:34 pm

The easy answer is Vault is geared towards new associates, and measures "prestige" through surveys of lawyers. AmLaw is geared more towards partners, and is based not on prestige but more on financial metrics.

Vault is arguably a better representation of what a junior associate should consider. When looking for his/her second job, a junior associate would arguably be in a better position if he went to a highly-ranked vault firm than a highly-ranked amlaw firm. Highly-ranked vault firms typically have reputations for very selective recruiting, very substantive work, and other things that would make associates seem attractive. Amlaw firms just make lots of money. The two are often correlated, but not always.

FLS08
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Re: Why Vault?

Postby FLS08 » Wed Sep 16, 2009 8:14 pm

Here is my ideal firm, from an associate's perspective (partner considerations would obviously be different):

1. High selectivity ranking (Vault) + high ranking for my target practice group and office (Chambers)
2. High ratings in associate satisfaction (Vault, AmLaw Mid-Level Associates' Survey)
3. High ratings in formal and informal training (Vault)
3. Not-too-high but still respectable profits per partner (AmLaw)

Here is what those factors would indicate in my mind, respectively:

1. Prestige, exit opportunities, and smart colleagues
2. Civil culture and decent quality of work
3. Quality substantive experience and mentoring
4. Relatively low leverage and reasonable expectations for billable hours (of course, the partner profits should still be high enough to ensure stability of the firm and ability to retain well-regarded partners)

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NewHere
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Re: Why Vault?

Postby NewHere » Wed Sep 16, 2009 8:15 pm

This:
TTT-LS wrote:New York people are pretty justified in using Vault rankings as a yardstick of prestige and exit option opportunities, since the high end of the Vault rankings tracks closely with the quality of firms in that market--or so I've been told. Comparing between markets, however, seems to be much more problematic. I know that's what the Vault ranking is supposed to do, but I think it fails in this regard a little bit. Also, as law students, we need to avoid conflating prestige, which Vault says it is ranking, with selectivity, which is what we perceive when applying to firms. Selectivity is our most immediate reaction since that's how we're interacting with firms. But clients and laterals interact differently, and thus prestige could bring in lots of factors other than initial hiring selectivity.


And this:
imchuckbass58 wrote: Vault is arguably a better representation of what a junior associate should consider. When looking for his/her second job, a junior associate would arguably be in a better position if he went to a highly-ranked vault firm than a highly-ranked amlaw firm. Highly-ranked vault firms typically have reputations for very selective recruiting, very substantive work, and other things that would make associates seem attractive. Amlaw firms just make lots of money. The two are often correlated, but not always.


If you're in NY, Vault is good to look at. If you're elsewhere, it's good to look at Vault's regional guides. I don't know how one would compare NY-based firm X with Chicago-based firm Y using Vault rankings. Maybe Vault isn't very useful for that. But Vault rankings are quite useful to compare different firms within a city.

Also, if you read the actual guides, there's a lot of useful information outside of the rankings. Some information about practice areas, what firms are known for, gossip about the culture, etc. Of course it's not scientific, but it's some information that can be useful and that is hard to obtain without such guides, unless you personally know a lot of people at different levels at all the different firms.

Vault should not be your only guide -- if you know what practice area(s) you're interested in it's worth looking at Chambers, and (especially in this economy) it's worth looking for recent news on firms you're interested in. But Vault is a start.

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BradyToMoss
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Re: Why Vault?

Postby BradyToMoss » Wed Sep 16, 2009 8:19 pm

FLS08 wrote:Here is my ideal firm, from an associate's perspective (partner considerations would obviously be different):

1. High selectivity ranking (Vault) + high ranking for my target practice group and office (Chambers)
2. High ratings in associate satisfaction (Vault, AmLaw Mid-Level Associates' Survey)
3. High ratings in formal and informal training (Vault)
3. Not-too-high but still respectable profits per partner (AmLaw)

Here is what those factors would indicate in my mind, respectively:

1. Prestige, exit opportunities, and smart colleagues
2. Civil culture and decent quality of work
3. Quality substantive experience and mentoring
4. Relatively low leverage and reasonable expectations for billable hours (of course, the partner profits should still be high enough to ensure stability of the firm and ability to retain well-regarded partners)


It's 2009... not 2006.

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TTT-LS
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Re: Why Vault?

Postby TTT-LS » Wed Sep 16, 2009 9:30 pm

.
Last edited by TTT-LS on Mon Jun 28, 2010 8:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Corsair
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Re: Why Vault?

Postby Corsair » Wed Sep 16, 2009 9:37 pm

..

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BradyToMoss
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Re: Why Vault?

Postby BradyToMoss » Wed Sep 16, 2009 9:45 pm

^ What Cors was saying.

FLS08
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Re: Why Vault?

Postby FLS08 » Wed Sep 16, 2009 11:52 pm

BradyToMoss wrote:
FLS08 wrote:Here is my ideal firm, from an associate's perspective (partner considerations would obviously be different):

1. High selectivity ranking (Vault) + high ranking for my target practice group and office (Chambers)
2. High ratings in associate satisfaction (Vault, AmLaw Mid-Level Associates' Survey)
3. High ratings in formal and informal training (Vault)
3. Not-too-high but still respectable profits per partner (AmLaw)

Here is what those factors would indicate in my mind, respectively:

1. Prestige, exit opportunities, and smart colleagues
2. Civil culture and decent quality of work
3. Quality substantive experience and mentoring
4. Relatively low leverage and reasonable expectations for billable hours (of course, the partner profits should still be high enough to ensure stability of the firm and ability to retain well-regarded partners)


It's 2009... not 2006.


I didn't mean to come across as insensitive--I'm well aware of the carnage going on right now and wish all the best to the many students and laid off attorneys still searching for a job. Also, any law student who gets an offer through OCI this year should be grateful as hell, as Corsair correctly pointed out.

That said, the topic of this thread is the usefulness of the Vault rankings, both as a general resource and as compared to other rankings. By its very nature, the topic is only relevant to people with some choice of where to apply/accept, or who are curious about law firm rankings in general. In fact, your own earlier post ("As a law student looking for a good place to work, with job security and exit options, Vault should be looked at well before any rankings that AmLaw produces") assumes as much. I don't know why you seemed annoyed at someone contributing to a discussion that you yourself have engaged in. If you think a particular post isn't relevant to you, you're free to ignore it.

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underdawg
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Re: Why Vault?

Postby underdawg » Thu Sep 17, 2009 12:23 am

see this thread would be a lot better if some posts were anon

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BradyToMoss
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Re: Why Vault?

Postby BradyToMoss » Thu Sep 17, 2009 12:41 am

underdawg wrote:see this thread would be a lot better if some posts were anon


But then it just degenerates quickly into the garbage you see on ATL's comments. 5% of posts with thoughtful contact, and 95% of posts filled with bs and trolling to wade through.

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SplitterPride
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Re: Why Vault?

Postby SplitterPride » Thu Sep 17, 2009 1:13 am

vault...espn...they are all biased against the west coast.....(y am I talking about college football again...ahhhhhhhh)

loftynotions
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Re: Why Vault?

Postby loftynotions » Thu Sep 17, 2009 7:14 am

BradyToMoss wrote:
FLS08 wrote:Here is my ideal firm, from an associate's perspective (partner considerations would obviously be different):

1. High selectivity ranking (Vault) + high ranking for my target practice group and office (Chambers)
2. High ratings in associate satisfaction (Vault, AmLaw Mid-Level Associates' Survey)
3. High ratings in formal and informal training (Vault)
3. Not-too-high but still respectable profits per partner (AmLaw)

Here is what those factors would indicate in my mind, respectively:

1. Prestige, exit opportunities, and smart colleagues
2. Civil culture and decent quality of work
3. Quality substantive experience and mentoring
4. Relatively low leverage and reasonable expectations for billable hours (of course, the partner profits should still be high enough to ensure stability of the firm and ability to retain well-regarded partners)


It's 2009... not 2006.


But even in 2009 it is not all carnage. Unfortunately, the pattern I've seen is that it is feast or famine. There are people who are looking at multiple offers. Gratitude for the opportunity only gets you so far in choosing your job; after that you should be looking at factors like the ones above. While ITE you would want to consider whether there will be a job for you when you graduate first, as TTT-LS said, that doesn't always end the analysis. I think the list above is quite good. I would also add a consideration of whether you think you might want to be a partner at any of the firms someday. If that is a goal down the line, things like average year to partner, whether you'd be working for the hq or a satellite office, number of partners admitted per year, etc. might become relevant. I'd also look at the practice area diversification for over all firm stability (too many and they may be stretched thin in expertise, too few and they may be subject to market forces -- though this is not always the case).

The Vault rankings aren't anything that I pay that much attention to, but the guide is actually very useful. I have found that the narratives very much match my experience in interacting with the firms -- charactitures, yes, but with substance behind them.




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