Vault 2021 Predictions

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Spectator

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Vault 2021 Predictions

Post by Spectator » Fri Jun 12, 2020 10:34 pm

The 2021 Vault 100 rankings will be published next week.

I drafted two emails, a resignation letter if my firm goes down the rankings by even 1/100, and a request for a promotion if we go up by more than 2/100. Non-associates should know that we did the 2021 survey in February 2020, so it was too late to vote based on COVID-19 responses.

With that being said, what are your predictions? Where do you see the most change? The least? Surprises? I predict Milbank will jump from v25 to v16.

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Re: Vault 2021 Predictions

Post by lawlo » Fri Jun 12, 2020 11:09 pm

Spectator wrote:
Fri Jun 12, 2020 10:34 pm
The 2021 Vault 100 rankings will be published next week.

I drafted two emails, a resignation letter if my firm goes down the rankings by even 1/100, and a request for a promotion if we go up by more than 2/100. Non-associates should know that we did the 2021 survey in February 2020, so it was too late to vote based on COVID-19 responses.

With that being said, what are your predictions? Where do you see the most change? The least? Surprises? I predict Milbank will jump from v25 to v16.
Kirkland V5.

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Re: Vault 2021 Predictions

Post by ChairmanKaga » Fri Jun 12, 2020 11:59 pm

From looking at the historical rankings, it will be interesting to see what happens to these firms:

Notable rises
K&E - V11 in 2006 > V6 in 2020
Quinn - not ranked in 2006 (V44 in 2008) > V13 in 2020
Cooley - V52 in 2006 > V28 in 2020
Perkins Coie - V75 in 2006 > V49 in 2020
Greenberg - V71 in 2006 > V56 in 2020

Notable drops
Cleary - V8 in 2006 (V7 in 2007) > V14 in 2020
Covington - V10 in 2006 > V15 in 2020
Shearman - V12 in 2006 > V44 in 2020
Fried Frank - V28 in 2006 > V48 in 2020
Cadwalader - V36 in 2006 > V52 in 2020

I'd also be interested in TLS's views on the reasons for these rises/falls. K&E's success is well-documented but what about the other rises? I can understand Cadwalader's drop post-2008 (given their securitization focus) but what about the others (particularly Shearman which seems like a meaningful fall)?

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Re: Vault 2021 Predictions

Post by gasfard » Sat Jun 13, 2020 12:14 am

Goodwin V60

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Re: Vault 2021 Predictions

Post by FedFan123 » Sat Jun 13, 2020 12:39 am

Will weil continue to go down?

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Re: Vault 2021 Predictions

Post by Spectator » Sat Jun 13, 2020 10:15 am

Kirkland v5, or even v4, sounds right.

If Goodwin doesn't begin its descent from v37 this year, it will next year.

Weil might hold the v11 line, but I'm guessing v12-v14.

On one hand, Jones Day might see a long overdue drop, due to all the bad press and black box compensation. On the other, representing POTUS (no matter your opinion on whoever is POTUS at the time) could even boost their rank.

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Re: Vault 2021 Predictions

Post by AllyMcBail » Sat Jun 13, 2020 12:28 pm

Spectator wrote:
Fri Jun 12, 2020 10:34 pm
The 2021 Vault 100 rankings will be published next week.

I drafted two emails, a resignation letter if my firm goes down the rankings by even 1/100, and a request for a promotion if we go up by more than 2/100. Non-associates should know that we did the 2021 survey in February 2020, so it was too late to vote based on COVID-19 responses.

With that being said, what are your predictions? Where do you see the most change? The least? Surprises? I predict Milbank will jump from v25 to v16.
I'm so with you. I quit my biglaw job out of shame when we lost 3 spots in the Vault rankings.

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Re: Vault 2021 Predictions

Post by LBJ's Hair » Sat Jun 13, 2020 2:26 pm

Is there actual significance to like, individual moves in the V5/V10/V20/whatever range? Honest question -- maybe recruiting?

I'm pretty familiar with the Chambers rankings for my practice and that of our competitors', who the rated partners are, etc. But couldn't tell my firm's Vault specific ranking without googling.

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Re: Vault 2021 Predictions

Post by Joachim2017 » Sat Jun 13, 2020 2:45 pm

Predictions:

No change to top 2.

Kirkland will rise. DPW will rise. Kobre & Kim will rise. Boies Schiller will fall. Jones Day might drop, less sure on that one.

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Re: Vault 2021 Predictions

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Jun 13, 2020 7:45 pm

I'm new to all of this. Would Weil going down have any effect on corporate exit options? I noticed that their capital markets practice group is pretty small. Is its reputation still strong enough for a midlevel to either get a good option or, with Mandarin fluency, lateral to a different firm's Asia office?

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Re: Vault 2021 Predictions

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Jun 13, 2020 8:08 pm

AllyMcBail wrote:
Sat Jun 13, 2020 12:28 pm
Spectator wrote:
Fri Jun 12, 2020 10:34 pm
The 2021 Vault 100 rankings will be published next week.

I drafted two emails, a resignation letter if my firm goes down the rankings by even 1/100, and a request for a promotion if we go up by more than 2/100. Non-associates should know that we did the 2021 survey in February 2020, so it was too late to vote based on COVID-19 responses.

With that being said, what are your predictions? Where do you see the most change? The least? Surprises? I predict Milbank will jump from v25 to v16.
I'm so with you. I quit my biglaw job out of shame when we lost 3 spots in the Vault rankings.
I can't tell if this is a joke but I hope it is.

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Re: Vault 2021 Predictions

Post by jigiwo1898jupiter » Sat Jun 13, 2020 10:14 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Jun 13, 2020 7:45 pm
I'm new to all of this. Would Weil going down have any effect on corporate exit options? I noticed that their capital markets practice group is pretty small. Is its reputation still strong enough for a midlevel to either get a good option or, with Mandarin fluency, lateral to a different firm's Asia office?
It would have zero impact on exit options.

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Re: Vault 2021 Predictions

Post by JusticeSquee » Sun Jun 14, 2020 9:04 am

lawlo wrote:
Fri Jun 12, 2020 11:09 pm
Spectator wrote:
Fri Jun 12, 2020 10:34 pm
The 2021 Vault 100 rankings will be published next week.

I drafted two emails, a resignation letter if my firm goes down the rankings by even 1/100, and a request for a promotion if we go up by more than 2/100. Non-associates should know that we did the 2021 survey in February 2020, so it was too late to vote based on COVID-19 responses.

With that being said, what are your predictions? Where do you see the most change? The least? Surprises? I predict Milbank will jump from v25 to v16.
Kirkland V5.
lol looking forward to the 10-page thread shitting on Kirkland if this happens.

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Re: Vault 2021 Predictions

Post by SLS_AMG » Sun Jun 14, 2020 2:02 pm

I actually think that it's inevitable that both Latham and Kirkland will surpass S&C in the next few years. Honestly Vault should probably just produce regional rankings, because the national rankings have truly become silly. Latham and Kirkland are both good firms, but in NY, for instance, there are at least 10 firms better than both.

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Re: Vault 2021 Predictions

Post by Sackboy » Sun Jun 14, 2020 2:32 pm

SLS_AMG wrote:
Sun Jun 14, 2020 2:02 pm
I actually think that it's inevitable that both Latham and Kirkland will surpass S&C in the next few years. Honestly Vault should probably just produce regional rankings, because the national rankings have truly become silly. Latham and Kirkland are both good firms, but in NY, for instance, there are at least 10 firms better than both.
I think this is what people want to believe, but I'm just not sure it's true anymore. Kirkland is the Bankruptcy + PE king. Chambers also recently elevated them to Band 1 of M&A (Elite) with Wachtell, Skadden, Cravath, Sullivan, STB, and DPW, and they've poached several Cravath and now a Wachtell M&A partner. I don't work in CM but from what I understand (and my only corporate knock against Kirkland) is that their CM practice is just generally very mediocre. I think you'd struggle to find 10 firms that are holistically better in corporate (i.e. what vault mainly measures) than Kirkland in NY. I think Latham NY is genuinely a lot more mediocre in NY and a mostly B+/A- firm in all its NY corporate practices. They're obviously still a very CA-centric firm when it comes to talent acquisition and competitiveness.

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Re: Vault 2021 Predictions

Post by kovdak02 » Sun Jun 14, 2020 2:52 pm

Too many people on TLS think of "best firms" in the sense of "the order of firms I would accept offers from as a 2L" when in reality Vault rankings are not about this. As Sackboy mentioned, Kirkland has a very strong argument to be one of the top five firms even if most HLS 2Ls aiming for NY preftige would not have it in their top five.

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Re: Vault 2021 Predictions

Post by Joachim2017 » Sun Jun 14, 2020 3:04 pm

kovdak02 wrote:
Sun Jun 14, 2020 2:52 pm
Too many people on TLS think of "best firms" in the sense of "the order of firms I would accept offers from as a 2L" when in reality Vault rankings are not about this. As Sackboy mentioned, Kirkland has a very strong argument to be one of the top five firms even if most HLS 2Ls aiming for NY preftige would not have it in their top five.
Well also, even aside from the fact that HLS 2Ls are not a very well-informed group, they're going to come around to reality. Prestige can be sticky, but K&E pays above-market bonus for the same amount of work you'd do at a place like Cravath or DPW. And it has all-star caliber talent in multiple corporate areas. I think as the older generations of students thinking that stuffy bank/finance-heavy "white shoe" = prestige gets older and older, and younger students come in, they'll care less and less about those traditional markers of prestige and more about stuff like pay, dynamic practice, etc.

The old picture of the V5 as necessarily having to include white-show stalwarts like S&C and DPW is going to steadily decline, and in the next 5-10 years, with more and more access to information and less rigid conceptions of prestige, that picture will have become a relic.

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Re: Vault 2021 Predictions

Post by SLS_AMG » Sun Jun 14, 2020 7:44 pm

Kirkland is certainly a "disruptor" firm, but I guess I just don't feel it's in the same league as S&C, DPW, STB. A quick look at the Chambers rankings reveals that each of those firms has more Band 1 nationwide practices than K&E--despite each having a much smaller footprint. They are very good at a few big practice areas, but they just don't have the across-the-board quality of other firms IMO.

I think people should also keep in mind that K&E's whole business model has really been developed (or seriously accelerated) in the last 10 years or so. Time will tell how well it holds up compared to the more traditional model, but I think it's too early to say that it will necessarily be the first choice landing spot of tomorrow's all-stars.

All that said, K&E is a good firm with many good lawyers, and their ranking is much more deserved than Latham & Watkins, which at #5 is a complete joke.

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Re: Vault 2021 Predictions

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Jun 14, 2020 7:48 pm

Joachim2017 wrote:
Sun Jun 14, 2020 3:04 pm
kovdak02 wrote:
Sun Jun 14, 2020 2:52 pm
Too many people on TLS think of "best firms" in the sense of "the order of firms I would accept offers from as a 2L" when in reality Vault rankings are not about this. As Sackboy mentioned, Kirkland has a very strong argument to be one of the top five firms even if most HLS 2Ls aiming for NY preftige would not have it in their top five.
Well also, even aside from the fact that HLS 2Ls are not a very well-informed group, they're going to come around to reality. Prestige can be sticky, but K&E pays above-market bonus for the same amount of work you'd do at a place like Cravath or DPW. And it has all-star caliber talent in multiple corporate areas. I think as the older generations of students thinking that stuffy bank/finance-heavy "white shoe" = prestige gets older and older, and younger students come in, they'll care less and less about those traditional markers of prestige and more about stuff like pay, dynamic practice, etc.

The old picture of the V5 as necessarily having to include white-show stalwarts like S&C and DPW is going to steadily decline, and in the next 5-10 years, with more and more access to information and less rigid conceptions of prestige, that picture will have become a relic.
Anon because my firm is pretty much outable by this post (especially to those at K&E).


K&E is known for poaching high-achieving partners from elsewhere. I can’t really name a “star” corporate or litigation partner at K&E who isn’t a lateral. I’m sure there are a few (every firm has a few); I’m just saying I can’t name any, and the most prominent names in the corp and lit departments are laterals.

Moreover, K&E over the past several months has offered many midlevels and seniors from my firm, offering six figure bonuses to join (or offering to make the associates “whole” when it comes bonus time to account for the bonus they would’ve received had they stayed at their original firms).

Obviously pecuniary gain is one of the most important goals that one should keep in mind when evaluating firms. But I think it’s fair for many to question why a firm that labels more employees “partners” than anywhere else also must try to recruit away other associates and partners to keep the engine humming. In other words, what are third, fourth, and fifth years learning at my firm that they aren’t at K&E such that K&E’s willing to pay such a high premium to try and lure them away?

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Re: Vault 2021 Predictions

Post by 2013 » Sun Jun 14, 2020 7:57 pm

Why do people in this thread always act like Kirkland is this upstart firm that came out of nowhere? It’s been an extremely well-regraded firm for a long time. Even in the 2007 Vault rankings, it was ranked in the V10 or so. I understand there’s a difference between V10 and V5, but people seem to always think that Kirkland as a whole was an unranked law firm just a decade ago. I wouldn’t call a firm that has regularly been in the V10 conversation an upstart firm that’s taking the biglaw elite by storm.

I think Kirkland will be in the V5 this year and it deserves to be. But it will be because it now has sizable offices in more cities (Boston and Houston), so it’ll have more name recognition to more people.

It’s like why Jones Day miraculously stays in the V20. It’s a highly respected firm in places like Cleveland and Pittsburgh.

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Re: Vault 2021 Predictions

Post by SLS_AMG » Sun Jun 14, 2020 9:36 pm

2013 wrote:
Sun Jun 14, 2020 7:57 pm
Why do people in this thread always act like Kirkland is this upstart firm that came out of nowhere? It’s been an extremely well-regraded firm for a long time. Even in the 2007 Vault rankings, it was ranked in the V10 or so. I understand there’s a difference between V10 and V5, but people seem to always think that Kirkland as a whole was an unranked law firm just a decade ago. I wouldn’t call a firm that has regularly been in the V10 conversation an upstart firm that’s taking the biglaw elite by storm.

I think Kirkland will be in the V5 this year and it deserves to be. But it will be because it now has sizable offices in more cities (Boston and Houston), so it’ll have more name recognition to more people.

It’s like why Jones Day miraculously stays in the V20. It’s a highly respected firm in places like Cleveland and Pittsburgh.
I don't think anyone is treating it as an upstart firm. It has long been a premier firm. But it is not the same firm it was a decade ago. In 2007, K&E was renowned more for its litigation practice than, say, its M&A practice. It was a "top" firm, but it wasn't really upwardly mobile. In the past decade, it has hired like crazy, refocused its energy particularly on private equity and bankruptcy, and started aggressively poaching talent from other firms. Kirkland 2020 bears little or no resemblance to Kirkland 2007.

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Re: Vault 2021 Predictions

Post by parkslope » Sun Jun 14, 2020 10:01 pm

SLS_AMG wrote:
Sun Jun 14, 2020 9:36 pm
2013 wrote:
Sun Jun 14, 2020 7:57 pm
Why do people in this thread always act like Kirkland is this upstart firm that came out of nowhere? It’s been an extremely well-regraded firm for a long time. Even in the 2007 Vault rankings, it was ranked in the V10 or so. I understand there’s a difference between V10 and V5, but people seem to always think that Kirkland as a whole was an unranked law firm just a decade ago. I wouldn’t call a firm that has regularly been in the V10 conversation an upstart firm that’s taking the biglaw elite by storm.

I think Kirkland will be in the V5 this year and it deserves to be. But it will be because it now has sizable offices in more cities (Boston and Houston), so it’ll have more name recognition to more people.

It’s like why Jones Day miraculously stays in the V20. It’s a highly respected firm in places like Cleveland and Pittsburgh.
I don't think anyone is treating it as an upstart firm. It has long been a premier firm. But it is not the same firm it was a decade ago. In 2007, K&E was renowned more for its litigation practice than, say, its M&A practice. It was a "top" firm, but it wasn't really upwardly mobile. In the past decade, it has hired like crazy, refocused its energy particularly on private equity and bankruptcy, and started aggressively poaching talent from other firms. Kirkland 2020 bears little or no resemblance to Kirkland 2007.
I agree with this, and I would think about it from a different angle as well: in 2007, Kirkland was the king of Chicago (both in corporate and lit, I imagine), and had a presence elsewhere but wasn't a big player in most other American cities. In a way it was comparable to Covington, which similarly had a big presence in DC but wasn't really a big player elsewhere. Kirkland did a ton of mid-market deals but didn't do a lot of the $50 billion deals because it didn't have a big NY presence. Kirkland wasn't competing for the same students looking for NY as, say, DPW was.

Now, over the past 10 years or so, Kirkland has built an enormous NY office through lateral partners and does play in the same M&A/PE lanes as firms like DPW. Kirkland does feature on the big deals now. It has also built huge offices in Houston, Dallas and elsewhere. Much the same is true of other firms like Latham and Gibson Dunn (now Band 1 Litigation in NY, ahead of NY white-shoe firms)--they have reached higher heights in part by emphasizing NY.

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Re: Vault 2021 Predictions

Post by Wild Card » Sun Jun 14, 2020 10:07 pm

ChairmanKaga wrote:
Fri Jun 12, 2020 11:59 pm
but what about the others (particularly Shearman which seems like a meaningful fall)?
It was one of the first firms to deequitize unprouctive partners, of which it had very many, after the Great Recession. Also, its portfolio of clients was not sufficiently diversified, so it was left behind as those clients sought greener pastures. Its only strong practice is public M&A.

More recently, it has earned a reputation for mistreating associates: assigning them to random practice groups, paying underperforming associates full bonuses while denying bonuses to productive associates, stealthing second years and even first years, seconding associates and then assigning them to random practice groups upon their return.

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Re: Vault 2021 Predictions

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Jun 14, 2020 10:11 pm

As someone who works at Weil (so biased), I don't get why people keep thinking, and some hoping, that it drops. It's a good firm.

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Re: Vault 2021 Predictions

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Jun 14, 2020 10:11 pm

As someone who works at Weil (so biased), I don't get why people keep thinking, and some hoping, that it drops. It's a good firm.

Seriously? What are you waiting for?

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