Why do Law Firm Rankings Matter?

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LSHopeful91
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Why do Law Firm Rankings Matter?

Postby LSHopeful91 » Mon Apr 08, 2013 12:42 am

Hello everyone

I'm a 1L at a T-14 (almost done with the first year, thank god) and the OCI discussion has been ramped up dramatically around my school. It seems everyone has been talking about Vault rankings more and more often, and I'm wondering what the relevance of firm rankings are.

I understand that Law School rankings are very roughly correlated to job prospects post-graduation (if at all), and that both undergrad and law school rankings are based on some abstract notion of prestige, but I have yet to figure out the point of law firm rankings.

This isn't a flame, I'm just genuinely confused because it seems to me that getting the $160k job at all is what people should be caring about, but everyone seems to be freaking out about getting into Latham, Skadden, White & Case, etc.

If this question has already been answered, I'd like a link to the thread and then I'll delete this thread.

Thanks

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Danger Zone
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Re: Why do Law Firm Rankings Matter?

Postby Danger Zone » Mon Apr 08, 2013 12:45 am

Long story short, because

Image

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Doorkeeper
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Re: Why do Law Firm Rankings Matter?

Postby Doorkeeper » Mon Apr 08, 2013 12:46 am

They don't actually matter. It's just another way for law students to chase meaningless prestige.

Go to the firm you would enjoy working at the most.

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Bronck
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Re: Why do Law Firm Rankings Matter?

Postby Bronck » Mon Apr 08, 2013 12:47 am

Vault rankings are a rough proxy for prestige in NY. Therefore, it tends to skew more towards the big transactional players.

Other resources, like Chambers & Partners, are more useful for figuring out which firms are strongest in (a) your desired practice area; and (b) your desired location for practicing.

And yeah, because law students don't know WTF they're talking about and get caught up in the ranking prestige.

LSHopeful91
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Re: Why do Law Firm Rankings Matter?

Postby LSHopeful91 » Mon Apr 08, 2013 12:51 am

Law student neuroticism is the answer I was expecting, but I just wanted to make sure I didn't miss anything.

The attempts to bring importance to the rankings I have heard most are exit options, bonuses, and quality of the work. Any credence to these?

rad lulz
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Re: Why do Law Firm Rankings Matter?

Postby rad lulz » Mon Apr 08, 2013 12:53 am

Because Wachtell (V1) is 100 times more PREFTIGIOUS than Foley Hoag (V100)

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Bronck
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Re: Why do Law Firm Rankings Matter?

Postby Bronck » Mon Apr 08, 2013 1:00 am

Dude, almost everyone follows the Cravath bonus scale. And QoL is going to suck at any big shop in NYC.

dixiecupdrinking
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Re: Why do Law Firm Rankings Matter?

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Mon Apr 08, 2013 12:49 pm

LSHopeful91 wrote:Law student neuroticism is the answer I was expecting, but I just wanted to make sure I didn't miss anything.

The attempts to bring importance to the rankings I have heard most are exit options, bonuses, and quality of the work. Any credence to these?
Bonuses is mostly a wash, and the few firms that do pay more are not generally at the top of the rankings, other than Wachtell. The only others I know of that consistently pay above market are Kirkland, Boies, Cahill and Quinn. I wouldn't want to work at any of them.

I think firms definitely differ in quality of work, exit opportunities, and stability. But the rankings are a rough proxy at best for these things. See Latham. Of course, quality of the people and culture are just as important and you are not going to find those by going to the highest Vault firm you can.

delusional
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Re: Why do Law Firm Rankings Matter?

Postby delusional » Mon Apr 08, 2013 12:58 pm

dixiecupdrinking wrote:
LSHopeful91 wrote:Law student neuroticism is the answer I was expecting, but I just wanted to make sure I didn't miss anything.

The attempts to bring importance to the rankings I have heard most are exit options, bonuses, and quality of the work. Any credence to these?
Bonuses is mostly a wash, and the few firms that do pay more are not generally at the top of the rankings, other than Wachtell. The only others I know of that consistently pay above market are Kirkland, Boies, Cahill and Quinn. I wouldn't want to work at any of them.

I think firms definitely differ in quality of work, exit opportunities, and stability. But the rankings are a rough proxy at best for these things. See Latham. Of course, quality of the people and culture are just as important and you are not going to find those by going to the highest Vault firm you can.
Boies is actually the only one of those that does not have a terrible reputation for QOL. Of course, 2500 hours is 2500 hours but at least they don't seem as soul-sucking as Quinn, Cahill, and Kirkland are said to be.

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Drake014
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Re: Why do Law Firm Rankings Matter?

Postby Drake014 » Mon Apr 08, 2013 1:12 pm

They don't matter. Those in the T14 are there, in large part, because of their numbers and their taste for prestige. Therefor they tend to be more numbers and prestige driven than most. Consequently, they care more about prestige than QOL.

LSHopeful91
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Re: Why do Law Firm Rankings Matter?

Postby LSHopeful91 » Mon Apr 08, 2013 1:35 pm

Drake014 wrote:They don't matter. Those in the T14 are there, in large part, because of their numbers and their taste for prestige. Therefor they tend to be more numbers and prestige driven than most. Consequently, they care more about prestige than QOL.


I think you misinterpreted the question

Edit: Just kidding, I misinterpreted the answer
Last edited by LSHopeful91 on Mon Apr 08, 2013 1:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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hephaestus
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Re: Why do Law Firm Rankings Matter?

Postby hephaestus » Mon Apr 08, 2013 1:43 pm

LSHopeful91 wrote:
Drake014 wrote:They don't matter. Those in the T14 are there, in large part, because of their numbers and their taste for prestige. Therefor they tend to be more numbers and prestige driven than most. Consequently, they care more about prestige than QOL.


I think you misinterpreted the question

I dont think he is. I think Drake is saying that because T14 students to be prestige whores, they focus on Vault rankings as a metric for how successful they are. However, its very much misplaced, especially for non-NYC markets. Also, if you are interested in a specific practice area, Vault may not do you much good (outside of M&A/PE/Corporate in NYC). For example, if you want IP, there is a completely different "prestige ladder."

sandiego222
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Re: Why do Law Firm Rankings Matter?

Postby sandiego222 » Mon Apr 08, 2013 2:36 pm

It does matter what firm you go to

The rankings matter, as one factor, if you are interested in corporate practice, particularly in NYC

Pretending they are completely meaningless is doing people a disservice. Hardly anyone here is going to stick with a big firm all the way to partnership.
Last edited by sandiego222 on Tue Feb 11, 2014 5:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

hlsperson1111
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Re: Why do Law Firm Rankings Matter?

Postby hlsperson1111 » Mon Apr 08, 2013 3:01 pm

Reasons to go to higher-ranked firms:
(1) "Prestige" (whatever that means)
(2) "Exit options" (whatever that means)
(3) Better corporate/M&A practice

Reasons you might want to go to lower-ranked firms:
(1) You want to do something besides corporate/M&A (litigation; IP; appellate work; regulatory work; niche transactional work)
(2) You want to practice in a city that's not NYC, and where the pecking order doesn't mirror Vault's
(3) You want to go somewhere with more reasonable hours expectations (not saying that these jobs are plush 9-5 jobs, but there's a big difference between billing 2000 hours a year and 2400+ hours a year).
(4) You want to get more early responsibility at a place that's known for giving it to juniors, is less leveraged, etc.

FWIW, I'm a 3L at HLS who turned down V10/V20 offers to work at a firm ranked in the lower half of the V50 (non-NYC), and don't regret it one bit. Do what makes sense for you and remember that you actually have to work at the firm you pick in order to reap the benefits of "prestige" and "exit options".

timbs4339
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Re: Why do Law Firm Rankings Matter?

Postby timbs4339 » Mon Apr 08, 2013 4:31 pm

They are a rough proxy for selectivity, stability, exit options, and bonuses for people who have absolutely no idea what kind of law they'd like to practice (well...maybe litigation, but transactional sounds interesting too!) and while not perfect, they're sufficient for many students who aren't planning to make a career of biglaw. Chambers is much more relevant for people who have specific practice areas in mind. When you are a few years out and looking to lateral you'll probably know by word of mouth which firms have the strongest practice groups in your field.




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