Why Vault?

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TTT-LS
Posts: 764
Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2008 5:36 pm

Re: Why Vault?

Postby TTT-LS » Thu Sep 17, 2009 9:29 am

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

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BradyToMoss
Posts: 259
Joined: Sat Dec 22, 2007 2:00 pm

Re: Why Vault?

Postby BradyToMoss » Thu Sep 17, 2009 2:41 pm

loftynotions wrote:
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.



The people "feasting" this year would have done better in other years. They are few and far between (t6 top 10%), and it looks like they are feasting in light of the fact that most everyone else has 0-2 CBs. These people "feasting" would have had more CBs in past years, and had more offers at the end as well.

The point remains that people should be happy with any offer, and the bigger concern should be whether or not that offer is at a safe place. I'm sure we all want to work for a super-selective firm that is the best at what it does, spends tons of resources training, has happy associates and has partners who share the pie in a fair way; but at some point it's time to wake up to reality.

loftynotions
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Sep 17, 2009 6:56 am

Re: Why Vault?

Postby loftynotions » Thu Sep 17, 2009 10:18 pm

BradyToMoss wrote:
loftynotions wrote:
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.



The people "feasting" this year would have done better in other years. They are few and far between (t6 top 10%), and it looks like they are feasting in light of the fact that most everyone else has 0-2 CBs. These people "feasting" would have had more CBs in past years, and had more offers at the end as well.

The point remains that people should be happy with any offer, and the bigger concern should be whether or not that offer is at a safe place. I'm sure we all want to work for a super-selective firm that is the best at what it does, spends tons of resources training, has happy associates and has partners who share the pie in a fair way; but at some point it's time to wake up to reality.


I really don't get your point. Anyone with more than 1 offer needs to make a choice. That doesn't make them not happy with having to choose or ungrateful. What would you have them do, just throw a dart at the wall? Discussing what factors might be important in choosing a firm benefits those people (and they do exist) who now have choices between relatively healthy firms (or even similarly situated less healthy firms, since if you are choosing between two firms where you think you have a 1 in 3 shot of having a job waiting for you when you graduate, you might as well go with the one that will put you in a better position if the job does materialize).

It is also useful to start thinking about these things now even if you don't have choices. Knowing what factors are important to associates vs. partners vs. clients is invaluable when networking with people. It demonstrates a more nuanced understanding of the industry, which I can say with certainty is something that firms are currently valuing. If anything, the discussion here and the list that FLS08 made is probably more important in this economy than a good one. In a good economy a warm body meeting lower minimum requirements could get a CB and an offer from a firm. In this economy knowing why you are interested in a particular firm is vital. Understanding what Vault captures vs. Chambers vs. AmLaw, allows you to analyze what is unique about each firm. While an answer of "well you're a V10 firm" won't cut it, an answer that goes into detail about what aspects in particular the firm is highly rated for, can -- especially if you can weave that information into answers without specifically mentioning their ranking.




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