Naive Question About Choosing Practice Groups

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Naive Question About Choosing Practice Groups

Postby drbarry987 » Mon Apr 09, 2012 10:04 am

For top firms that are notoriously strong in one practice area (DWP for Capital Markets, Weil for Bankruptcy, S&C for Public M&A) is it harder to get into those particular groups than it is to just get a slot in a random area at the firm? That is to say, is the grade cut off at CCN higher for Weil's BK group than it would be for their litigation/other corporate groups? This make come across as ignorant, because it is. lool tyia.

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Re: Naive Question About Choosing Practice Groups

Postby drbarry987 » Tue Apr 10, 2012 12:00 pm


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Re: Naive Question About Choosing Practice Groups

Postby Fark-o-vision » Tue Apr 10, 2012 12:13 pm

I have no reason to even try and answer this since I'm a 0L, but I've talked to a few people who have worked firm side of things and it seems like it goes like this:

1)They bring you in
2) You rotate through a few areas, getting familiar with the firm
3) Either someone likes you and the work you do, or you give the impression that you're particularly talented in one area, and they eventually assign you there. Although you have input into this decision, that input is nominal.

Sorry if I'm way off base, but at least maybe the conversation can get started regarding how wrong I am.

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Re: Naive Question About Choosing Practice Groups

Postby lynch » Thu Apr 12, 2012 3:23 am


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Re: Naive Question About Choosing Practice Groups

Postby USAIRS » Thu Apr 12, 2012 2:24 pm

There is no one answer for your question. The thing is that you have to consider two types of selectivity: one for things like grades, which is often just a firm cut off which is made explicit to OCI interviewers (or schools in allowing those interviews). The second is based on actual competition, basically between those who meet the cut off and, maybe, are going in for the call back interviews. The latter is the one you are concerned with, and the problem is that it is simply going to vary depending on who you are up against in your particular year and depending on the desireability of the practice area overall.

For a practice like bankruptcy, being selective means they can consistently hire candidates from the middle of the class at a top law school who has a credible interest in BK (why this is not BR, I don't know) and is actually committed to focusing on that as a practice area, maybe even wanting to do a BR clerkship (which is also similarly not as competitive if you are committed to the practice area). For something like M&A at a firm like S&C, I don't see how they could possibly be more selective than they already are in terms of overall aptitude and discipline. In fact, their overall reputation for being selective is probably a result of the competitive candidates they get for strong groups in lucrative practice areas. For a specific group like M&A, in addition to top grades and/or law review, they are going to look for a certain type of savvy and simpatico that would make you a good fit versus the other candidates they are interviewing with roughly the same credentials. It may help if you have always subscribed to the Wall Street Times, in addition to top credentials.

What FOV said is not generally wrong. I know they do that at some firms. But, I think interviewers from some firms also come in with (1) a general idea of what most of the work in their firm consists of, looking for people who they think would fit in to one of their groups, and/or (2) specific needs in terms of how many spots they have to fill and how many candidates would be allocated among those groups. With that in mind, marketing yourself as interested in M&A would make it easy for Quinn Emanuel to pass on you, regardless of your awesome grades and law review, but allow S&C to consider you because they have to fill a roster in that area every year.

Edit: I'm not editing the above. F-it.

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