Top Boutique/Mid Size firms?

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Pyrex
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Top Boutique/Mid Size firms?

Postby Pyrex » Sun Jun 18, 2017 7:54 pm

I read about some midsize and boutiques (such as Desmarais) that have as much/more prestige than a lot of big-law, but a smaller size. What are some other well known boutiques? For students straight out of law school, are there any advantages in going to a smaller firm?

TexasHays
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Re: Top Boutique/Mid Size firms?

Postby TexasHays » Sun Jun 18, 2017 8:27 pm

Susman Godfrey, AZA, McKool Smith, and Brewer are four of the most "prestigious" of the boutique firms that I know of.

As far as advantages go, these firms typically will get you in the courtroom faster, anywhere from 1-2 years out of law school depending on the firm, while if you do litigation at a more traditional big law firm, it might be years before you ever do anything major in court.

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Minnietron
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Re: Top Boutique/Mid Size firms?

Postby Minnietron » Sun Jun 18, 2017 9:53 pm

Also, some of the boutiques pay above-market compensation. Don't confuse that with "prestige" though. (e.g., In many ways, Desmarais is a high-end troll shop.)

Anonymous User
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Re: Top Boutique/Mid Size firms?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 18, 2017 9:59 pm

Any sense of where these firms fall in terms of competitiveness? At a T-14 are these comparable to Covington DC? Cravath? Lower?

Assume they don't hire enough people for career services to release numbers

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mt2165
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Re: Top Boutique/Mid Size firms?

Postby mt2165 » Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:21 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Any sense of where these firms fall in terms of competitiveness? At a T-14 are these comparable to Covington DC? Cravath? Lower?

Assume they don't hire enough people for career services to release numbers


From my limited impression, definitely very competitive. Like Williams and Connolly level competitive. You'll basically need tippy top grades at a T14 and be a lock for getting a clerkship. Most of those sort of places basically higher exclusively post fed clerkship.

TexasHays
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Re: Top Boutique/Mid Size firms?

Postby TexasHays » Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:26 pm

mt2165 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Any sense of where these firms fall in terms of competitiveness? At a T-14 are these comparable to Covington DC? Cravath? Lower?

Assume they don't hire enough people for career services to release numbers


From my limited impression, definitely very competitive. Like Williams and Connolly level competitive. You'll basically need tippy top grades at a T14 and be a lock for getting a clerkship. Most of those sort of places basically higher exclusively post fed clerkship.


Yep, Susman Godfrey I believe expressly requires a clerkship to get hired.

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jbagelboy
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Re: Top Boutique/Mid Size firms?

Postby jbagelboy » Mon Jun 19, 2017 12:40 am

Anonymous User wrote:Any sense of where these firms fall in terms of competitiveness? At a T-14 are these comparable to Covington DC? Cravath? Lower?

Assume they don't hire enough people for career services to release numbers


Considerably more competiive than somewhere like covington or cravath or their peers

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Re: Top Boutique/Mid Size firms?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 19, 2017 2:02 pm

Minnietron wrote:Also, some of the boutiques pay above-market compensation. Don't confuse that with "prestige" though. (e.g., In many ways, Desmarais is a high-end troll shop.)


No comment on Desmarais' prestige, but to speak to the latter point, a vast portion of Desmarais' plaintiff work is for major corporations (IBM, Cisco, etc.), although Desmarais does file plaintiff suits on behalf of NPEs as well. And, as far as I'm aware, the NPEs Desmarais represents mostly at least do research and aren't random entities formed for the sole purpose of a lawsuit (Enzo Life Sciences, Intellectual Ventures, etc.) In addition, Desmarais does defense work for a handful of institutional clients such as Apple, Boston Scientific, the aforementioned institutional clients, etc.

And yes, second years have appeared in federal court (although for lesser issues, like 1-2 claim terms in a Markman hearing).

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Re: Top Boutique/Mid Size firms?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 19, 2017 3:19 pm

Keker Van Nest in SF and Kellogg Huber in DC are ultra competitive

Pyrex
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Re: Top Boutique/Mid Size firms?

Postby Pyrex » Tue Jun 20, 2017 9:13 am

Minnietron wrote:Also, some of the boutiques pay above-market compensation. Don't confuse that with "prestige" though. (e.g., In many ways, Desmarais is a high-end troll shop.)


From a career standpoint (total earnings, exit opportunities, partnership prospects, etc), what exactly does "prestige" mean? Does it transfer to significantly better outcome, or is it more of a respect among peers thing?

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jbagelboy
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Re: Top Boutique/Mid Size firms?

Postby jbagelboy » Wed Jun 21, 2017 10:46 am

Pyrex wrote:
Minnietron wrote:Also, some of the boutiques pay above-market compensation. Don't confuse that with "prestige" though. (e.g., In many ways, Desmarais is a high-end troll shop.)


From a career standpoint (total earnings, exit opportunities, partnership prospects, etc), what exactly does "prestige" mean? Does it transfer to significantly better outcome, or is it more of a respect among peers thing?


Prestige is a word that intentionally connotes the intangible, so you can't reduce it to a particular metric. In law its closest expression is signaling power to the widest audience of relevant parties. What the V10 offer is uncontestable signaling power across the industry, since after working there you can apply to any Law firm or other employer and the name alone speaks "this person passed this level of competence/value standard." That's not exactly any of the attributes you listed: many firms have more qualified associates, pay more, and are more respected among their true peers. (For example, a Desmarais or Keker or McKool). Then there's institutional prestige, which is related in the sense that certain firms have reputations that expand beyond their associates and into the marketplace.

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quiver
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Re: Top Boutique/Mid Size firms?

Postby quiver » Wed Jun 21, 2017 4:40 pm

Yeah, there's a ton of info on this in the Legal Employment Forum. Go search there. As others have said, the firms you're referencing are much more competitive than biglaw and usually require fed clerkship(s) and/or time in biglaw. So I wouldn't expect to go into these places straight out of law school.

You can get a good idea about the necessary credentials by simply perusing the bios on their websites. Go check out Susman, Barlit Beck, Keker, Kellogg Hansen, Hueston Hennigan, Robbins Russell, etc. A good starting place (for research purposes) is here.




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