Vault 2021 Predictions

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addie1412

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Posts: 585
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Re: Vault 2021 Predictions

Post by addie1412 » Wed Jul 29, 2020 1:00 pm

JusticeSquee wrote:
Wed Jul 29, 2020 12:53 pm
ChickenSalad wrote:
Wed Jul 29, 2020 12:23 pm
JusticeSquee wrote:
Wed Jul 29, 2020 11:09 am
Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:
Fri Jul 24, 2020 4:51 pm
Spectator wrote:
Thu Jul 23, 2020 9:53 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Jul 22, 2020 11:18 am
Vault is nonsense.

Wrong.


HOW SALARY CUTS AND MORE SHOW YOU'RE WRONG ABOUT VAULT
As of May 15, 2020, 4:00 pm Eastern Time (U.S.), 41 of the V100 implemented compensation freezes/cuts or layoffs. Of the 41, 11 were V1-V50, 30 were V51-100. The largest pay cut to have been announced is 25%, by Cadwalader (V52) and Arent Fox (V77). The highest Vault-ranked firm to have announced compensation freezes/cuts or layoffs is Boies Schiller (V24).

HOW DEFERRALS SHOW THAT YOU'RE WRONG ABOUT VAULT
Firms that are starting incoming associates in fall: V1-V20 (45%), V-21-40 (10%), V41-V60 (10%), V-61-80 (1%), V81-V100 (0%)
Firms Deferred to 2021: V1-V20 (15%), V21-V40 (45%), V41-V60 (50%), V61-V80 (50%), V81-V100 (80%)

Source, based on firms that have made decisions as of today: https://www.reddit.com/r/LawSchool/comm ... art_dates/

SUMMARY
People notice these things and consider them when filling out surveys. Generally the wealthiest firms are consistently ranked at top for a reason, because they have the resources to not cut salaries, to bring people on when or closer to when promised than lower ranked firms, etc.

CONCESSION
Vault isn't perfect. But the notion that it's nonsense is sour-grapes.
This is really just a case for going to a rich firm, not a "prestigious" firm. They're not the same thing.
Agreed. There is a far stronger correlation of what Spectator is showing (deferral rates and pay cut rates) if you use the RPL rankings instead of Vault. Firms at the top of the RPL ladder (Wachtell, SullCrom, Simpson, Kirkland, Skadden) have not cut salaries or defer associates.

https://i.imgur.com/R1mo1rT_d.jpg?maxwi ... ity=medium
Well Sullivan & Cromwell has taken austerity measures but otherwise your point is well taken

https://abovethelaw.com/2020/07/layoffs ... -law-firm/
Staff layoffs and buyouts were commonplace even before the rona tho. Not sure Simpson and Ropes deferring associates is shitty, given that they can clearly afford not to. All hail Wachtell/Kirkland/Skadden for treating their associates fairly I guess.
Skadden also has yet to decide on start dates, whereas Cravath and Latham have committed to bringing associates on in the fall, both providing October and November start date options.

Anonymous User
Posts: 351196
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Vault 2021 Predictions

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Aug 10, 2020 7:33 pm

Auxilio wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 4:22 pm
sms18 wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 12:32 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 12:21 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 10:19 am
Yes, IME they do tend to be unnecessarily hostile negotiators and can indeed be very difficult to work across from. In my experience working across from them, it often seems that many of their lawyers are happy to argue just for the sake of arguing, which comes off as pretty non-commercial. And I'm not sure they necessarily get better outcomes for their clients as a result of it -- it seems like they just make the deals unpleasant for everyone. As an example, see the articles on the Victoria's Secret negotiations and the pandemic MAE.
I agree with all of this on K&E. From what I've observed, what many of their lawyers tell their clients and what they tell the other side is often poles apart - e.g., claiming they'll only make certain changes, and then making a bunch more (and telling their client that they're just "lawyer points", when often they're not). Then when the firm on the other side raises them, the K&E lawyer will claim that the other side's being uncommercial. I've found that what really annoys them is being called out for their BS in front of their clients. Most other firms are too nice to do this to them, in a spirit of collegiality and comity. Some older school K&E partners haven't always extended other lawyers the same courtesy.

There's also a focus on "looking good" rather than doing good work. I've frequently seen unnecessary markups turned in advance of key commercial negotiations, so as to put the real work on the other firm, but bills that wind up being higher than the other side's when the work doesn't justify it. This can lead to other sorts of slovenliness. It's easy to ingratiate yourself with a deal team at a sponsor when you get deals done through demanding that they take risky positions (e.g., giving uncapped fund-level guarantees) on which legal and compliance would never sign off (so they're circumvented) and spending zillions on hospitality events. It's an investment banker mindset: the focus has shifted from protection to execution at all costs. I think that sticks in other lawyers' craws.

And, finally, there's a lot of goosing the rankings: showing up to do financing on a PE acquisition where they didn't do the buy-side work, just to get it on deal tables, or agreeing to represent some collateral party on a bankruptcy just to get the deal credit. This makes it seem like they're on a bunch more matters than those on which they do the real work. They do have a lot of lawyers, but I don't think they're as busy as the deal tables suggest.

So: disingenuousness; a focus on appearance over substance; and taking credit for work you haven't done. All of this leads to questions as to competence and quality of execution. If you don't want to spend time reviewing a document, how will the second year know that her signature pages are screwed up or his escrow agreement doesn't work? Maybe the powers that be at K&E are geniuses, as they've realized ahead of others that no client cares all that much about cross-references and clean documents that make sense outside litigation and instead wants to get a deal done quickly. Markets like the current one test the long-term viabiilty of this approach.

I should also say that this isn't the case across the board at K&E, just with some of the folks who came up doing mid-cap PE where the stakes are lower than they've generally been for larger funds. Many of the laterals who've been trained at different firms bring a different level of care to their work - but it seems like you get sub-teams rather than across-the-board quality (and not just an "A" team and a "B" team, where you know that even a B team at DPW will get the job done efficiently and quickly). This variability is another reason why one has to query Kirkland quality (at least on a lawyer-to-lawyer basis). Unlike, say, Cravath, Wachtell, S&C or DPW (or even many parts of Weil or Fried Frank) it's not a place where there's really a "firm style" or "firm position" on many things. The sad thing is that this seems to have become a race to the bottom - instead of holding the line on firm culture, some more storied firms (like STB) seem to be competing heavily for laterals on similar terms to K&E and Latham, breaking lockstep and bringing in income partners.

(I am curious as to why so many - myself included - feel less affronted by Paul, Weiss's post-Barshay rise in corporate. Maybe because they bring more people on as counsel for a look before throwing big guarantees at them? Because there's a bit more quality control and checking about culture? Or because they generally maintain lockstep?)
Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 10:19 am
Interesting, i didn't appreciate that the buyer (Sycamore) was represented by K&E (and that VS was represented by DPW) - the buyer's rationale for walking away from that deal was not because of the MAE clause (which specifically carved out pandemics) but because the company's business wasn't conducted in the ordinary course of business during this pandemic, which is a pretty ridiculous argument. Matt Levine covered this pretty well on Bloomberg: https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/artic ... footnote-6
My takeaway from the complaint was that most of the argument was pretty weak, but categorically not making rent payments was iffy.

There's also a cute third complaint that doesn't get mentioned much, that I initially thought was going too far but my PE partners when I mentioned it said that they put a lot of stock in the clause:

First complaint was the Buyer suing to get out, second complaint was the seller suing to enforce sale or other monetary relief. Third complaint was the buyer suing to terminate the agreement because the agreement explicitly gave them the right to terminate if the seller sues for monetary damages.
[/quote]

Sycamore's not alone in doing this; what Advent pulled on Forescout was even more shady, I think (given they claimed an MAE and still did a deal, just at a 12% price discount after alleging that the company was screwed). Both PE funds now look shifty for alleging that a drop in markets that probably wasn't unique to those targets, and a general drop in share prices, were grounds to terminate. Neither buyer had good facts. But, a bit like the way K&E practices law, maybe this is just the new normal now.

Anonymous User
Posts: 351196
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Vault 2021 Predictions

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Aug 11, 2020 1:25 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Aug 10, 2020 7:33 pm
Auxilio wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 4:22 pm
sms18 wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 12:32 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 12:21 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 10:19 am
Yes, IME they do tend to be unnecessarily hostile negotiators and can indeed be very difficult to work across from. In my experience working across from them, it often seems that many of their lawyers are happy to argue just for the sake of arguing, which comes off as pretty non-commercial. And I'm not sure they necessarily get better outcomes for their clients as a result of it -- it seems like they just make the deals unpleasant for everyone. As an example, see the articles on the Victoria's Secret negotiations and the pandemic MAE.
I agree with all of this on K&E. From what I've observed, what many of their lawyers tell their clients and what they tell the other side is often poles apart - e.g., claiming they'll only make certain changes, and then making a bunch more (and telling their client that they're just "lawyer points", when often they're not). Then when the firm on the other side raises them, the K&E lawyer will claim that the other side's being uncommercial. I've found that what really annoys them is being called out for their BS in front of their clients. Most other firms are too nice to do this to them, in a spirit of collegiality and comity. Some older school K&E partners haven't always extended other lawyers the same courtesy.

There's also a focus on "looking good" rather than doing good work. I've frequently seen unnecessary markups turned in advance of key commercial negotiations, so as to put the real work on the other firm, but bills that wind up being higher than the other side's when the work doesn't justify it. This can lead to other sorts of slovenliness. It's easy to ingratiate yourself with a deal team at a sponsor when you get deals done through demanding that they take risky positions (e.g., giving uncapped fund-level guarantees) on which legal and compliance would never sign off (so they're circumvented) and spending zillions on hospitality events. It's an investment banker mindset: the focus has shifted from protection to execution at all costs. I think that sticks in other lawyers' craws.

And, finally, there's a lot of goosing the rankings: showing up to do financing on a PE acquisition where they didn't do the buy-side work, just to get it on deal tables, or agreeing to represent some collateral party on a bankruptcy just to get the deal credit. This makes it seem like they're on a bunch more matters than those on which they do the real work. They do have a lot of lawyers, but I don't think they're as busy as the deal tables suggest.

So: disingenuousness; a focus on appearance over substance; and taking credit for work you haven't done. All of this leads to questions as to competence and quality of execution. If you don't want to spend time reviewing a document, how will the second year know that her signature pages are screwed up or his escrow agreement doesn't work? Maybe the powers that be at K&E are geniuses, as they've realized ahead of others that no client cares all that much about cross-references and clean documents that make sense outside litigation and instead wants to get a deal done quickly. Markets like the current one test the long-term viabiilty of this approach.

I should also say that this isn't the case across the board at K&E, just with some of the folks who came up doing mid-cap PE where the stakes are lower than they've generally been for larger funds. Many of the laterals who've been trained at different firms bring a different level of care to their work - but it seems like you get sub-teams rather than across-the-board quality (and not just an "A" team and a "B" team, where you know that even a B team at DPW will get the job done efficiently and quickly). This variability is another reason why one has to query Kirkland quality (at least on a lawyer-to-lawyer basis). Unlike, say, Cravath, Wachtell, S&C or DPW (or even many parts of Weil or Fried Frank) it's not a place where there's really a "firm style" or "firm position" on many things. The sad thing is that this seems to have become a race to the bottom - instead of holding the line on firm culture, some more storied firms (like STB) seem to be competing heavily for laterals on similar terms to K&E and Latham, breaking lockstep and bringing in income partners.

(I am curious as to why so many - myself included - feel less affronted by Paul, Weiss's post-Barshay rise in corporate. Maybe because they bring more people on as counsel for a look before throwing big guarantees at them? Because there's a bit more quality control and checking about culture? Or because they generally maintain lockstep?)
Agree with this. I've had a similar experience with K&E but have worked with some great K&E deal teams to be fair. It just seems when you get stuck across from a K&E team that just pushes aggressive negotiations and sloppy work, it can be a rough time. But I also think their clients may like that approach (if they are even aware) - probably keeps the bill down and you get good results on the substantive points even if you make the other firm clean up all your documents.

Also agree re variability. Often, someone at K&E will dig in on a legal position and then we'll point them to another recent deal we did with K&E where one of their partners was fine with our position. This really waters down some of their arguments.

But putting all that aside, I've worked across from some great people at K&E that were excellent lawyers, which really just speaks to the inconsistency of the platform.

sms18

New
Posts: 49
Joined: Mon Jul 01, 2013 9:04 pm

Re: Vault 2021 Predictions

Post by sms18 » Tue Aug 11, 2020 4:33 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Aug 10, 2020 7:33 pm
Auxilio wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 4:22 pm
sms18 wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 12:32 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 12:21 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 10:19 am
Yes, IME they do tend to be unnecessarily hostile negotiators and can indeed be very difficult to work across from. In my experience working across from them, it often seems that many of their lawyers are happy to argue just for the sake of arguing, which comes off as pretty non-commercial. And I'm not sure they necessarily get better outcomes for their clients as a result of it -- it seems like they just make the deals unpleasant for everyone. As an example, see the articles on the Victoria's Secret negotiations and the pandemic MAE.


(I am curious as to why so many - myself included - feel less affronted by Paul, Weiss's post-Barshay rise in corporate. Maybe because they bring more people on as counsel for a look before throwing big guarantees at them? Because there's a bit more quality control and checking about culture? Or because they generally maintain lockstep?)
Also curious about Paul Weiss - it may be because of quality control as you said, because the number of attorneys at PW is apparently less than half compared to KE (PW supposedly has around 1000 attorneys while KE has over 2000). What's interesting is that Apollo, which PW regularly represents, is quite notorious in the PE/buyside market for taking extremely aggressive positions (and particularly for screwing over its creditors, taking certain liberties with credit agreement terms, etc - this is covered pretty well on the Wallstreet Oasis forum) but Apollo's reputation doesn't seem to "taint" PW that much.

Anonymous User
Posts: 351196
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Vault 2021 Predictions

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Aug 11, 2020 7:26 pm

sms18 wrote:
Tue Aug 11, 2020 4:33 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Aug 10, 2020 7:33 pm
Auxilio wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 4:22 pm
sms18 wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 12:32 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 12:21 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 10:19 am
Yes, IME they do tend to be unnecessarily hostile negotiators and can indeed be very difficult to work across from. In my experience working across from them, it often seems that many of their lawyers are happy to argue just for the sake of arguing, which comes off as pretty non-commercial. And I'm not sure they necessarily get better outcomes for their clients as a result of it -- it seems like they just make the deals unpleasant for everyone. As an example, see the articles on the Victoria's Secret negotiations and the pandemic MAE.


(I am curious as to why so many - myself included - feel less affronted by Paul, Weiss's post-Barshay rise in corporate. Maybe because they bring more people on as counsel for a look before throwing big guarantees at them? Because there's a bit more quality control and checking about culture? Or because they generally maintain lockstep?)
Also curious about Paul Weiss - it may be because of quality control as you said, because the number of attorneys at PW is apparently less than half compared to KE (PW supposedly has around 1000 attorneys while KE has over 2000). What's interesting is that Apollo, which PW regularly represents, is quite notorious in the PE/buyside market for taking extremely aggressive positions (and particularly for screwing over its creditors, taking certain liberties with credit agreement terms, etc - this is covered pretty well on the Wallstreet Oasis forum) but Apollo's reputation doesn't seem to "taint" PW that much.
Previous poster here. Now I think about it some more, a few thoughts:

1. PW post-Barshay is a different beast from pre-Barshay. They were always the crack defense litigation firm - from Arthur Liman days and earlier - but corporate has been a mix. Pre-2011 Schumer was doing deals across from KKR and they had a strong entertainment law franchise. I know I'm probably underselling the breadth and depth of their practice, but I just don't think they were regarded as a corporate player with the rest of the V10 or AmLaw 10. (Fun facts that I only learned recently: the showrunner on Suits, Doug Liman, is Arthur Liman's son. And John McEnroe's father was a partner at Paul Weiss for a long time, too.)

2. In 2011 a bunch of legacy O'Melveny hires went across with the Apollo work. For the next few years, particularly in light of the way Apollo had behaved during and after the crisis, the Paul Weiss corporate department didn't have a great reputation. This was both as a place to work and as a firm on the other side of a deal. A bit like K&E has been in pockets, they were seen as difficult and off-market in positions they took for repeat players who should've known better; BX and TPG didn't behave that way.

Also, people who came out of there to go to other firms would speak of an abusive culture, while finding it hard to adapt to "nicer" places. (I acknowledge that this is very much a relative term in the world of NY big law, where the alternative is often thinly-masked passive aggression. Ex-PW seniors would seem to come across as rough and difficult even in contrast with people who'd come out of Cravath, which has never been my idea of a nice-person's firm.)

In those days, too, the corporate department seemed to have trouble hiring. Recruiters were always calling about Paul Weiss, selling it as the place with the third-highest PPP in the country. The law schools from which the corporate department hired were much more of a mix than CSM, DPW, STB, and Cleary, too - not a knock on the firm, but perhaps an indication of the net they had to cast to fill seats.

Even at this point, though, their reputation wasn't all Apollo-based. They'd never had all of the Apollo work - until a few years ago, Taurie Zeitzer was at Latham and then Kirkland doing Apollo stuff; some of that work still goes to Sidley - and they have other reasonable PE clients who aren't quite as obstreperous as Apollo. Ezring's one of the top few sponsor-side finance lawyers in the world, and he knows the market. I think people acknowledge that Apollo is an unusual client. But you didn't see PW on big non-Apollo deals then as often as you do now.

3. Post-Barshay it's been a different story in terms of hiring, deals, and direction. They seem to have been focused and strategic about how they grow the group - responding to market pressure by bringing in and promoting women (although racial diversity still isn't strong) - and broadening the practice to encompass large public M&A. They seem also to have focused on Litigation, Corporate (with a focus on funds and public and private M&A), Restructuring, and Tax as core areas, unlike K&E or LW's at times Quixotic quest to be all things to all people in all places. (They don't seem, for example, to be trying to grow an underwriter-side capital markets practice or take over the world in project finance, but I don't have any inside scoop on this. And some of their recent tax and M&A hires have been fantastic people.)

It's also been interesting that most lateral associates come in with or directly tied to partners, meaning that they have an established track record. (I learned too late that you're always better off moving with someone than on your own if you want to stick around, and that applies at all major firms in New York and London.) Unlike some other places, it seems like they're keeping their promises, too. Many of the recent promotions are clearly tied to key partners in bankruptcy or restructuring. And it's hard to query their deal sheet since 2014 - they're probably mentioned as often as DPW, S&C, STB, Shearman and K&E for really big public M&A deals, pipped only by Wachtell and Skadden (and probably about on par with Cravath). I think seeing them do IBM/RedHat was seismic - a 34bn deal for IBM was ALWAYS a Cravath transaction; after that, we knew PW was here to stay.

Culturally I'm not sure it's that different from the way it was before. It's never seemed like a kind or touchy-feely corporate department, but maybe it's better to be honest than molly-coddle when you're playing with people's careers, I don't know. My thinking on this has moved, too. Barshay's reputation is still as a difficult negotiator, but no-one doubts his brilliance. I'm not sure that people were as convinced of PW's across-the-board quality before he arrived.

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Daboose

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Posts: 19
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2014 12:53 am

Re: Vault 2021 Predictions

Post by Daboose » Wed Aug 12, 2020 11:56 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Aug 11, 2020 7:26 pm
sms18 wrote:
Tue Aug 11, 2020 4:33 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Aug 10, 2020 7:33 pm
Auxilio wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 4:22 pm
sms18 wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 12:32 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 12:21 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 10:19 am
Yes, IME they do tend to be unnecessarily hostile negotiators and can indeed be very difficult to work across from. In my experience working across from them, it often seems that many of their lawyers are happy to argue just for the sake of arguing, which comes off as pretty non-commercial. And I'm not sure they necessarily get better outcomes for their clients as a result of it -- it seems like they just make the deals unpleasant for everyone. As an example, see the articles on the Victoria's Secret negotiations and the pandemic MAE.


(I am curious as to why so many - myself included - feel less affronted by Paul, Weiss's post-Barshay rise in corporate. Maybe because they bring more people on as counsel for a look before throwing big guarantees at them? Because there's a bit more quality control and checking about culture? Or because they generally maintain lockstep?)
Also curious about Paul Weiss - it may be because of quality control as you said, because the number of attorneys at PW is apparently less than half compared to KE (PW supposedly has around 1000 attorneys while KE has over 2000). What's interesting is that Apollo, which PW regularly represents, is quite notorious in the PE/buyside market for taking extremely aggressive positions (and particularly for screwing over its creditors, taking certain liberties with credit agreement terms, etc - this is covered pretty well on the Wallstreet Oasis forum) but Apollo's reputation doesn't seem to "taint" PW that much.
Previous poster here. Now I think about it some more, a few thoughts:

1. PW post-Barshay is a different beast from pre-Barshay. They were always the crack defense litigation firm - from Arthur Liman days and earlier - but corporate has been a mix. Pre-2011 Schumer was doing deals across from KKR and they had a strong entertainment law franchise. I know I'm probably underselling the breadth and depth of their practice, but I just don't think they were regarded as a corporate player with the rest of the V10 or AmLaw 10. (Fun facts that I only learned recently: the showrunner on Suits, Doug Liman, is Arthur Liman's son. And John McEnroe's father was a partner at Paul Weiss for a long time, too.)

2. In 2011 a bunch of legacy O'Melveny hires went across with the Apollo work. For the next few years, particularly in light of the way Apollo had behaved during and after the crisis, the Paul Weiss corporate department didn't have a great reputation. This was both as a place to work and as a firm on the other side of a deal. A bit like K&E has been in pockets, they were seen as difficult and off-market in positions they took for repeat players who should've known better; BX and TPG didn't behave that way.

Also, people who came out of there to go to other firms would speak of an abusive culture, while finding it hard to adapt to "nicer" places. (I acknowledge that this is very much a relative term in the world of NY big law, where the alternative is often thinly-masked passive aggression. Ex-PW seniors would seem to come across as rough and difficult even in contrast with people who'd come out of Cravath, which has never been my idea of a nice-person's firm.)

In those days, too, the corporate department seemed to have trouble hiring. Recruiters were always calling about Paul Weiss, selling it as the place with the third-highest PPP in the country. The law schools from which the corporate department hired were much more of a mix than CSM, DPW, STB, and Cleary, too - not a knock on the firm, but perhaps an indication of the net they had to cast to fill seats.

Even at this point, though, their reputation wasn't all Apollo-based. They'd never had all of the Apollo work - until a few years ago, Taurie Zeitzer was at Latham and then Kirkland doing Apollo stuff; some of that work still goes to Sidley - and they have other reasonable PE clients who aren't quite as obstreperous as Apollo. Ezring's one of the top few sponsor-side finance lawyers in the world, and he knows the market. I think people acknowledge that Apollo is an unusual client. But you didn't see PW on big non-Apollo deals then as often as you do now.

3. Post-Barshay it's been a different story in terms of hiring, deals, and direction. They seem to have been focused and strategic about how they grow the group - responding to market pressure by bringing in and promoting women (although racial diversity still isn't strong) - and broadening the practice to encompass large public M&A. They seem also to have focused on Litigation, Corporate (with a focus on funds and public and private M&A), Restructuring, and Tax as core areas, unlike K&E or LW's at times Quixotic quest to be all things to all people in all places. (They don't seem, for example, to be trying to grow an underwriter-side capital markets practice or take over the world in project finance, but I don't have any inside scoop on this. And some of their recent tax and M&A hires have been fantastic people.)

It's also been interesting that most lateral associates come in with or directly tied to partners, meaning that they have an established track record. (I learned too late that you're always better off moving with someone than on your own if you want to stick around, and that applies at all major firms in New York and London.) Unlike some other places, it seems like they're keeping their promises, too. Many of the recent promotions are clearly tied to key partners in bankruptcy or restructuring. And it's hard to query their deal sheet since 2014 - they're probably mentioned as often as DPW, S&C, STB, Shearman and K&E for really big public M&A deals, pipped only by Wachtell and Skadden (and probably about on par with Cravath). I think seeing them do IBM/RedHat was seismic - a 34bn deal for IBM was ALWAYS a Cravath transaction; after that, we knew PW was here to stay.

Culturally I'm not sure it's that different from the way it was before. It's never seemed like a kind or touchy-feely corporate department, but maybe it's better to be honest than molly-coddle when you're playing with people's careers, I don't know. My thinking on this has moved, too. Barshay's reputation is still as a difficult negotiator, but no-one doubts his brilliance. I'm not sure that people were as convinced of PW's across-the-board quality before he arrived.
This is great. Enjoy it when people are familiar enough with a market to give this level of detail. Also your style is enjoyable/easy to read.

Anon115523

New
Posts: 34
Joined: Sun May 03, 2020 6:50 pm

Re: Vault 2021 Predictions

Post by Anon115523 » Fri Aug 14, 2020 2:28 pm

JusticeSquee wrote:
Wed Jul 29, 2020 12:53 pm
ChickenSalad wrote:
Wed Jul 29, 2020 12:23 pm
JusticeSquee wrote:
Wed Jul 29, 2020 11:09 am
Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:
Fri Jul 24, 2020 4:51 pm
Spectator wrote:
Thu Jul 23, 2020 9:53 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Jul 22, 2020 11:18 am
Vault is nonsense.

Wrong.


HOW SALARY CUTS AND MORE SHOW YOU'RE WRONG ABOUT VAULT
As of May 15, 2020, 4:00 pm Eastern Time (U.S.), 41 of the V100 implemented compensation freezes/cuts or layoffs. Of the 41, 11 were V1-V50, 30 were V51-100. The largest pay cut to have been announced is 25%, by Cadwalader (V52) and Arent Fox (V77). The highest Vault-ranked firm to have announced compensation freezes/cuts or layoffs is Boies Schiller (V24).

HOW DEFERRALS SHOW THAT YOU'RE WRONG ABOUT VAULT
Firms that are starting incoming associates in fall: V1-V20 (45%), V-21-40 (10%), V41-V60 (10%), V-61-80 (1%), V81-V100 (0%)
Firms Deferred to 2021: V1-V20 (15%), V21-V40 (45%), V41-V60 (50%), V61-V80 (50%), V81-V100 (80%)

Source, based on firms that have made decisions as of today: https://www.reddit.com/r/LawSchool/comm ... art_dates/

SUMMARY
People notice these things and consider them when filling out surveys. Generally the wealthiest firms are consistently ranked at top for a reason, because they have the resources to not cut salaries, to bring people on when or closer to when promised than lower ranked firms, etc.

CONCESSION
Vault isn't perfect. But the notion that it's nonsense is sour-grapes.
This is really just a case for going to a rich firm, not a "prestigious" firm. They're not the same thing.
Agreed. There is a far stronger correlation of what Spectator is showing (deferral rates and pay cut rates) if you use the RPL rankings instead of Vault. Firms at the top of the RPL ladder (Wachtell, SullCrom, Simpson, Kirkland, Skadden) have not cut salaries or defer associates.

https://i.imgur.com/R1mo1rT_d.jpg?maxwi ... ity=medium
Well Sullivan & Cromwell has taken austerity measures but otherwise your point is well taken

https://abovethelaw.com/2020/07/layoffs ... -law-firm/
Staff layoffs and buyouts were commonplace even before the rona tho. Not sure Simpson and Ropes deferring associates is shitty, given that they can clearly afford not to. All hail Wachtell/Kirkland/Skadden for treating their associates fairly I guess.
Skadden has deferred incoming associates till January, with a stipend ($10,000) that is below that of many firms, including those ranked V50-100.

JusticeSquee

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Re: Vault 2021 Predictions

Post by JusticeSquee » Fri Aug 14, 2020 3:16 pm

Anon115523 wrote:
Fri Aug 14, 2020 2:28 pm
JusticeSquee wrote:
Wed Jul 29, 2020 12:53 pm
ChickenSalad wrote:
Wed Jul 29, 2020 12:23 pm
JusticeSquee wrote:
Wed Jul 29, 2020 11:09 am
Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:
Fri Jul 24, 2020 4:51 pm
Spectator wrote:
Thu Jul 23, 2020 9:53 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Jul 22, 2020 11:18 am
Vault is nonsense.

Wrong.


HOW SALARY CUTS AND MORE SHOW YOU'RE WRONG ABOUT VAULT
As of May 15, 2020, 4:00 pm Eastern Time (U.S.), 41 of the V100 implemented compensation freezes/cuts or layoffs. Of the 41, 11 were V1-V50, 30 were V51-100. The largest pay cut to have been announced is 25%, by Cadwalader (V52) and Arent Fox (V77). The highest Vault-ranked firm to have announced compensation freezes/cuts or layoffs is Boies Schiller (V24).

HOW DEFERRALS SHOW THAT YOU'RE WRONG ABOUT VAULT
Firms that are starting incoming associates in fall: V1-V20 (45%), V-21-40 (10%), V41-V60 (10%), V-61-80 (1%), V81-V100 (0%)
Firms Deferred to 2021: V1-V20 (15%), V21-V40 (45%), V41-V60 (50%), V61-V80 (50%), V81-V100 (80%)

Source, based on firms that have made decisions as of today: https://www.reddit.com/r/LawSchool/comm ... art_dates/

SUMMARY
People notice these things and consider them when filling out surveys. Generally the wealthiest firms are consistently ranked at top for a reason, because they have the resources to not cut salaries, to bring people on when or closer to when promised than lower ranked firms, etc.

CONCESSION
Vault isn't perfect. But the notion that it's nonsense is sour-grapes.
This is really just a case for going to a rich firm, not a "prestigious" firm. They're not the same thing.
Agreed. There is a far stronger correlation of what Spectator is showing (deferral rates and pay cut rates) if you use the RPL rankings instead of Vault. Firms at the top of the RPL ladder (Wachtell, SullCrom, Simpson, Kirkland, Skadden) have not cut salaries or defer associates.

https://i.imgur.com/R1mo1rT_d.jpg?maxwi ... ity=medium
Well Sullivan & Cromwell has taken austerity measures but otherwise your point is well taken

https://abovethelaw.com/2020/07/layoffs ... -law-firm/
Staff layoffs and buyouts were commonplace even before the rona tho. Not sure Simpson and Ropes deferring associates is shitty, given that they can clearly afford not to. All hail Wachtell/Kirkland/Skadden for treating their associates fairly I guess.
Skadden has deferred incoming associates till January, with a stipend ($10,000) that is below that of many firms, including those ranked V50-100.
Good catch, I was not aware of this. Skadden is a shithole that deserves to be shamed.

TigerIsBack

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Re: Vault 2021 Predictions

Post by TigerIsBack » Tue Sep 01, 2020 8:07 am

Do we know when the rankings will be released this month? I don't usually follow closely, so not sure if they're usually on a Thursday, the last day of the month, etc.

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Re: Vault 2021 Predictions

Post by ChairmanKaga » Sat Sep 05, 2020 2:44 pm

TigerIsBack wrote:
Tue Sep 01, 2020 8:07 am
Do we know when the rankings will be released this month? I don't usually follow closely, so not sure if they're usually on a Thursday, the last day of the month, etc.
I think it will be this coming week.

PaulieG

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Re: Vault 2021 Predictions

Post by PaulieG » Wed Sep 09, 2020 10:19 am

The Vault rankings are out now.

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Re: Vault 2021 Predictions

Post by JS623 » Wed Sep 09, 2020 10:47 am

Rankings out today for V100 and Top Midsize looks like.

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Re: Vault 2021 Predictions

Post by Scallion » Wed Sep 09, 2020 10:53 am

Skadden takes number two from Wachtell. Interesting.

Putting that aside, why isn't Wachtell always number one? They're a top firm, they're harder to get into than the rest of the v10, and they pay top dollar.

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Re: Vault 2021 Predictions

Post by cavalier1138 » Wed Sep 09, 2020 10:56 am

Scallion wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 10:53 am
Skadden takes number two from Wachtell. Interesting.

Putting that aside, why isn't Wachtell always number one? They're a top firm, they're harder to get into than the rest of the v10, and they pay top dollar.
Because Vault rankings don't have anything to do with objective metrics. They're literally a popularity contest based entirely on how prestigious other associates (who don't work at the firm) perceive the firm to be.

bbsexclusively

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Re: Vault 2021 Predictions

Post by bbsexclusively » Wed Sep 09, 2020 11:05 am

Ranking doesn't mean anything but congrats to Cooley and Goodwin.

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Re: Vault 2021 Predictions

Post by Scallion » Wed Sep 09, 2020 11:09 am

cavalier1138 wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 10:56 am
Scallion wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 10:53 am
Skadden takes number two from Wachtell. Interesting.

Putting that aside, why isn't Wachtell always number one? They're a top firm, they're harder to get into than the rest of the v10, and they pay top dollar.
Because Vault rankings don't have anything to do with objective metrics. They're literally a popularity contest based entirely on how prestigious other associates (who don't work at the firm) perceive the firm to be.
Fair. Obviously my opinion is one out of many, and the survey shows associate opinions writ large, but Wachtell seems like it should be regarded as the most prestigious given things like its RPL, top pay, difficulty of getting in, and reputation for taking on novel and complex issues and rejecting mundane, but profitable work that most of biglaw would accept.

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Re: Vault 2021 Predictions

Post by basketofbread » Wed Sep 09, 2020 11:47 am

What recourse do you have if your firm dropped in the rankings? Asking for a friend

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Re: Vault 2021 Predictions

Post by TigerIsBack » Wed Sep 09, 2020 12:13 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 10:56 am
Scallion wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 10:53 am
Skadden takes number two from Wachtell. Interesting.

Putting that aside, why isn't Wachtell always number one? They're a top firm, they're harder to get into than the rest of the v10, and they pay top dollar.
Because Vault rankings don't have anything to do with objective metrics. They're literally a popularity contest based entirely on how prestigious other associates (who don't work at the firm) perceive the firm to be.
I agree with this, I just don't understand how others (i.e., the people voting on Vault rankings) don't view Wachtell as the most prestigious. They only hire at 8 schools, don't hire laterals, are the only firm that charges on a percentage of transactions, and they pay like 2x Cravath.

lawlo

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Re: Vault 2021 Predictions

Post by lawlo » Wed Sep 09, 2020 1:20 pm

Wow the rankings are boring this year. Obviously the skadden move is stupid. The rest hasn't really changed.

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Re: Vault 2021 Predictions

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Sep 09, 2020 2:14 pm

TigerIsBack wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 12:13 pm
cavalier1138 wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 10:56 am
Scallion wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 10:53 am
Skadden takes number two from Wachtell. Interesting.

Putting that aside, why isn't Wachtell always number one? They're a top firm, they're harder to get into than the rest of the v10, and they pay top dollar.
Because Vault rankings don't have anything to do with objective metrics. They're literally a popularity contest based entirely on how prestigious other associates (who don't work at the firm) perceive the firm to be.
I agree with this, I just don't understand how others (i.e., the people voting on Vault rankings) don't view Wachtell as the most prestigious. They only hire at 8 schools, don't hire laterals, are the only firm that charges on a percentage of transactions, and they pay like 2x Cravath.
Agree with this but just noting that they do hire laterals - my good friend lateraled from Cravath to Wachtell as a mid-level. She says she works the same amount at both firms.

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Re: Vault 2021 Predictions

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Sep 09, 2020 2:31 pm

TigerIsBack wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 12:13 pm
cavalier1138 wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 10:56 am
Scallion wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 10:53 am
Skadden takes number two from Wachtell. Interesting.

Putting that aside, why isn't Wachtell always number one? They're a top firm, they're harder to get into than the rest of the v10, and they pay top dollar.
Because Vault rankings don't have anything to do with objective metrics. They're literally a popularity contest based entirely on how prestigious other associates (who don't work at the firm) perceive the firm to be.
I agree with this, I just don't understand how others (i.e., the people voting on Vault rankings) don't view Wachtell as the most prestigious. They only hire at 8 schools, don't hire laterals, are the only firm that charges on a percentage of transactions, and they pay like 2x Cravath.
I think generally only biglaw junior associates that went to law schools where some classmates actually do get into Wachtell appreciate how prestigious Wachtell is. A significant percentage of biglaw associates never went to Wachtell's target schools. I think that explains why Wachtell is below Cravath in national rankings and why the national rankings are inaccurate.

First, Vault is pretty much all about what junior associates think. Because as you get senior, you no longer have the time or interest to fill out Vault surveys, Vault rankings are largely a reflection of what most biglaw junior associates (first and second years) think. I'm a rising 4th year in New York and I didn't respond to the surveys for this year's rankings. I did fill out the surveys during my first and second years. Junior associates rate firms based on their perception of firms made during their law school years. They have too little experience to assess firms based on actual experience working with or against different firms

Second, only the regional rankings seem to more accurately reflect prestige. This is because when we are filling out the survey and rating the firms, we have no clue about 60~70 percent of the firms listed as they are outside of our market. I could only give meaningful ratings for the firms I knew or at least heard about. This also explains why the national rankings are somewhat reflective of prestige for big markets like NY. The biggest percentage of Vault survey responders must be NY associates.

Third, Wachtell is the most selective law firm in the country. It's also very small and recruits only from top 7 or 8 law schools. So if an associate went to a law school that Wachtell never hires from, then that associate may not know how selective Wachtell is relative to other top firms like Cravath simply because he's never actually seen classmates getting offers from Wachtell. Because there's only a handful of top law schools where Wachtell recruits, and because 60 or 70 percent of biglaw associates never went those schools and may have never seen classmates getting into Wachtell, one could say Vault rankings reflect what those associates that don't know enough about Wachtell think.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Wed Sep 09, 2020 2:45 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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polareagle

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Re: Vault 2021 Predictions

Post by polareagle » Wed Sep 09, 2020 2:42 pm

TigerIsBack wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 12:13 pm
cavalier1138 wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 10:56 am
Scallion wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 10:53 am
Skadden takes number two from Wachtell. Interesting.

Putting that aside, why isn't Wachtell always number one? They're a top firm, they're harder to get into than the rest of the v10, and they pay top dollar.
Because Vault rankings don't have anything to do with objective metrics. They're literally a popularity contest based entirely on how prestigious other associates (who don't work at the firm) perceive the firm to be.
I agree with this, I just don't understand how others (i.e., the people voting on Vault rankings) don't view Wachtell as the most prestigious. They only hire at 8 schools, don't hire laterals, are the only firm that charges on a percentage of transactions, and they pay like 2x Cravath.
I don't know but the explanation could be some combination of litigators and non-NY lawyers. A lot of litigators probably wouldn't rank Wachtell first. I mean, its litigation practice is certainly respectable, but there are a decent number of firms that most litigators would rank higher. For my part, I am aware that Wachtell is very selective and very good (the best?) at corporate work, but since I dedicate approximately 0% of my mental power to thinking about corporate work, that doesn't mean much to me. I also am not based in New York and never applied to firms there, so Wachtell was never something that I considered for a moment. All this to say, I don't remember where I ranked Wachtell when I last filled out the survey, but I'm fairly sure I didn't rank it first (and may not have ranked it at all because I rank based on litigation).

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Re: Vault 2021 Predictions

Post by nerd1 » Wed Sep 09, 2020 2:48 pm

polareagle wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 2:42 pm
TigerIsBack wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 12:13 pm
cavalier1138 wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 10:56 am
Scallion wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 10:53 am
Skadden takes number two from Wachtell. Interesting.

Putting that aside, why isn't Wachtell always number one? They're a top firm, they're harder to get into than the rest of the v10, and they pay top dollar.
Because Vault rankings don't have anything to do with objective metrics. They're literally a popularity contest based entirely on how prestigious other associates (who don't work at the firm) perceive the firm to be.
I agree with this, I just don't understand how others (i.e., the people voting on Vault rankings) don't view Wachtell as the most prestigious. They only hire at 8 schools, don't hire laterals, are the only firm that charges on a percentage of transactions, and they pay like 2x Cravath.
I don't know but the explanation could be some combination of litigators and non-NY lawyers. A lot of litigators probably wouldn't rank Wachtell first. I mean, its litigation practice is certainly respectable, but there are a decent number of firms that most litigators would rank higher. For my part, I am aware that Wachtell is very selective and very good (the best?) at corporate work, but since I dedicate approximately 0% of my mental power to thinking about corporate work, that doesn't mean much to me. I also am not based in New York and never applied to firms there, so Wachtell was never something that I considered for a moment. All this to say, I don't remember where I ranked Wachtell when I last filled out the survey, but I'm fairly sure I didn't rank it first (and may not have ranked it at all because I rank based on litigation).
You don't actually rank firms when you are doing Vault surveys. You rate firms. I don't recall ever ranking firms. You give each firm a prestige score out of 10.

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polareagle

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Re: Vault 2021 Predictions

Post by polareagle » Wed Sep 09, 2020 2:50 pm

nerd1 wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 2:48 pm
polareagle wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 2:42 pm
TigerIsBack wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 12:13 pm
cavalier1138 wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 10:56 am
Scallion wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 10:53 am
Skadden takes number two from Wachtell. Interesting.

Putting that aside, why isn't Wachtell always number one? They're a top firm, they're harder to get into than the rest of the v10, and they pay top dollar.
Because Vault rankings don't have anything to do with objective metrics. They're literally a popularity contest based entirely on how prestigious other associates (who don't work at the firm) perceive the firm to be.
I agree with this, I just don't understand how others (i.e., the people voting on Vault rankings) don't view Wachtell as the most prestigious. They only hire at 8 schools, don't hire laterals, are the only firm that charges on a percentage of transactions, and they pay like 2x Cravath.
I don't know but the explanation could be some combination of litigators and non-NY lawyers. A lot of litigators probably wouldn't rank Wachtell first. I mean, its litigation practice is certainly respectable, but there are a decent number of firms that most litigators would rank higher. For my part, I am aware that Wachtell is very selective and very good (the best?) at corporate work, but since I dedicate approximately 0% of my mental power to thinking about corporate work, that doesn't mean much to me. I also am not based in New York and never applied to firms there, so Wachtell was never something that I considered for a moment. All this to say, I don't remember where I ranked Wachtell when I last filled out the survey, but I'm fairly sure I didn't rank it first (and may not have ranked it at all because I rank based on litigation).
You don't actually rank firms when you are doing Vault surveys. You rate firms. I don't recall ever ranking firms. You give each firm a prestige score out of 10.
Interesting. As per the comment above about mostly juniors filling these out, I haven't done one in a while. I thought there was some overall ranking but maybe I'm thinking of a different survey. In that case, *maybe* I would've given Wachtell a 10 but maybe not, I honestly can't remember.

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Re: Vault 2021 Predictions

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Sep 09, 2020 3:19 pm

Can also confirm that Wachtell does accept laterals, but only from Cravath/Sullivan to my knowledge.

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