Vault 2021 Predictions

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Joachim2017

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Re: Vault 2021 Predictions

Post by Joachim2017 » Wed Sep 09, 2020 3:20 pm

A big part of the answer to why Wachtell is not always and clearly ranked #1 is that the gap between its litigation practice and other top litigation firms is not actually that great, and at least some of the people who determine these rankings are aware of this. Setting corporate/transactional work aside, WLRK's litigation work is not as diverse, interesting, or prestigious as boutiques like, say, Kellogg Hansen or Susman Godfrey. And the pay gap is not as yawning either (though in the long term it's pretty large and is more stable, obviously).

By the way, it is wrong to say WLRK does not hire lateral associates. I know of at least 2 mid-level associates who have lateraled to WLRK. It's rare, and some WLRK partners do not like it (the more snobby ones, I guess), but it does happen.

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Re: Vault 2021 Predictions

Post by Joachim2017 » Wed Sep 09, 2020 3:21 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 3:19 pm
Can also confirm that Wachtell does accept laterals, but only from Cravath/Sullivan to my knowledge.
Nope, also from other firms (e.g., DPW).

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Sackboy

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Re: Vault 2021 Predictions

Post by Sackboy » Wed Sep 09, 2020 3:28 pm

I'm generally a Skadden proponent when the rest of the NY V10ers shit on it, but #2 obviously not correct. If you look at the NY rankings, Wachtell is still #1, so, like the other poster said, it's just non-NYers and lit folks screwing up the general ranking.

Nothing else was too shocking. Shearman continues it's descent to #49. To think they were #14 (or something like that) about a decade ago. Cadwalader also continues its descent out of the V50. I feel somewhat bad for Shearman, as they still do complex M&A and Capital Markets. I feel less bad for CWT given their reputation. Was a bit surprised Kirkland didn't move up to #5 over Latham, but also not flabbergasted that it stayed at #6. Good to see Milbank stabilize at #25. Cahill's seven spot hit seems kind of random, but that might be to do with a trend in overly specialized firms falling out of vogue. I've never even heard of Mintz, but they look like the biggest gainer with a 10 spot upward move from #86 to #96.

Somewhat disappointing rankings, especially after the delay. There weren't any fun narratives to over hype, and that is, after all, the whole point of the Vault survey.

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Sackboy

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Re: Vault 2021 Predictions

Post by Sackboy » Wed Sep 09, 2020 3:30 pm

Joachim2017 wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 3:21 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 3:19 pm
Can also confirm that Wachtell does accept laterals, but only from Cravath/Sullivan to my knowledge.
Nope, also from other firms (e.g., DPW).
Yep, they've also taken laterals from Kirkland. It's just rare and generally for very specialized work.

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Re: Vault 2021 Predictions

Post by nerd1 » Wed Sep 09, 2020 3:34 pm

Sackboy wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 3:30 pm
Joachim2017 wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 3:21 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 3:19 pm
Can also confirm that Wachtell does accept laterals, but only from Cravath/Sullivan to my knowledge.
Nope, also from other firms (e.g., DPW).
Yep, they've also taken laterals from Kirkland. It's just rare and generally for very specialized work.
I think they changed over the years. I remember reading a business school case study on Wachtell from about a decade ago which said that Wachtell never hired laterals.

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Re: Vault 2021 Predictions

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Sep 09, 2020 3:37 pm

I honestly feel Skadden being better ranked than Wachtell means these rankings have turned into a complete joke. Wachtell is 10x more selective than Skadden, pays better, is starting its associates on time (along with firms ranked far lower than Skadden, like Debevoise), and does vastly more sophisticated work.

Any associate with an ounce of basic knowledge of the market (at least at my firm) knows this. With all the trash Skadden has gotten up to recently, it amazes me they could be ranked better. It seems the new standard for Vault rankings is simply large firms that are easy to get into (both Skadden and Kirkland are large, non grade, and non school selective firms). It wouldn't surprise me if associates are pumping up firms that are easy to lateral into (at least for corporate work), so that they look better when they do lateral into those firms.

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Re: Vault 2021 Predictions

Post by JusticeSquee » Wed Sep 09, 2020 3:39 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 3:37 pm
I honestly feel Skadden being better ranked than Wachtell means these rankings have turned into a complete joke. Wachtell is 10x more selective than Skadden, pays better, is starting its associates on time (along with firms ranked far lower than Skadden, like Debevoise), and does vastly more sophisticated work.

Any associate with an ounce of basic knowledge of the market (at least at my firm) knows this. With all the trash Skadden has gotten up to recently, it amazes me they could be ranked better. It seems the new standard for Vault rankings is simply large firms that are easy to get into (both Skadden and Kirkland are large, non grade, and non school selective firms). It wouldn't surprise me if associates are pumping up firms that are easy to lateral into (at least for corporate work), so that they look better when they do lateral into those firms.
These rankings have always been a complete joke. Skadden being ranked above Wachtell just confirms it. Just a reminder: the "#2" ranked firm has deferred first years to 2021, while firms ranked 3-6 have not done so. Skadden has shown during this past-summer it is a TTT shithole, try not to forget.

NoLongerALurker

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Re: Vault 2021 Predictions

Post by NoLongerALurker » Wed Sep 09, 2020 3:41 pm

I think that all associates should band together to give bottom grades to any firm with an hours minimum, that deferred incoming classes or that had any salary cuts or layoffs (including professional staff). Come on now, folks.

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Sackboy

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Re: Vault 2021 Predictions

Post by Sackboy » Wed Sep 09, 2020 3:46 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 3:37 pm
I honestly feel Skadden being better ranked than Wachtell means these rankings have turned into a complete joke. Wachtell is 10x more selective than Skadden, pays better, is starting its associates on time (along with firms ranked far lower than Skadden, like Debevoise), and does vastly more sophisticated work.

Any associate with an ounce of basic knowledge of the market (at least at my firm) knows this. With all the trash Skadden has gotten up to recently, it amazes me they could be ranked better. It seems the new standard for Vault rankings is simply large firms that are easy to get into (both Skadden and Kirkland are large, non grade, and non school selective firms). It wouldn't surprise me if associates are pumping up firms that are easy to lateral into (at least for corporate work), so that they look better when they do lateral into those firms.
Three things.

The overall ranking measures NATIONAL prestige. A firm that does excellent work and has one fairly small office is far less likely to shine than a firm that does great work with 22 offices. The fact that Wachtell can even hold on to #3 is a testament to its M&A dominance. A firm like Kellogg Hansen is #97. Nobody decries the ranking for that, because they understand a 70 person firm in D.C. that only does high-brow litigation probably isn't super well known.

Wachtell is still #1 for the NY sub-ranking, beating out Cravath by 0.07 and S&C by 0.55 and Skadden by 060. That all makes sense.

Don't abuse anon to pontificate re: Vault.

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Re: Vault 2021 Predictions

Post by nerd1 » Wed Sep 09, 2020 4:03 pm

NoLongerALurker wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 3:41 pm
I think that all associates should band together to give bottom grades to any firm with an hours minimum, that deferred incoming classes or that had any salary cuts or layoffs (including professional staff). Come on now, folks.
Many people actually prefer minimum billable hour requirements over black box bonuses. The most profitable firms like STB have no billable requirements because their associates work a ton and the firm can easily give full bonuses to all of its associates. But a biglaw firm that's not as profitable cannot afford to give full bonuses to everyone and in that case, lack of billable requirements enables the firm to give none or partial bonuses to many of its associates based on arbitrary subjective standards. Roughly speaking, it's better for an associate if a firm that's outside of top 20 in terms of PPP has a billable hour requirement.

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Re: Vault 2021 Predictions

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Sep 09, 2020 4:10 pm

Sackboy wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 3:46 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 3:37 pm
I honestly feel Skadden being better ranked than Wachtell means these rankings have turned into a complete joke. Wachtell is 10x more selective than Skadden, pays better, is starting its associates on time (along with firms ranked far lower than Skadden, like Debevoise), and does vastly more sophisticated work.

Any associate with an ounce of basic knowledge of the market (at least at my firm) knows this. With all the trash Skadden has gotten up to recently, it amazes me they could be ranked better. It seems the new standard for Vault rankings is simply large firms that are easy to get into (both Skadden and Kirkland are large, non grade, and non school selective firms). It wouldn't surprise me if associates are pumping up firms that are easy to lateral into (at least for corporate work), so that they look better when they do lateral into those firms.
Three things.

The overall ranking measures NATIONAL prestige. A firm that does excellent work and has one fairly small office is far less likely to shine than a firm that does great work with 22 offices. The fact that Wachtell can even hold on to #3 is a testament to its M&A dominance. A firm like Kellogg Hansen is #97. Nobody decries the ranking for that, because they understand a 70 person firm in D.C. that only does high-brow litigation probably isn't super well known.

Wachtell is still #1 for the NY sub-ranking, beating out Cravath by 0.07 and S&C by 0.55 and Skadden by 060. That all makes sense.

Don't abuse anon to pontificate re: Vault.
Vault rankings has little to do with how a firm is actually doing. A firm may be doing a lot better in terms of its M&A practice than previous years, but as long as junior associates located all over the country do not know that, that doesn't get reflected in this year's rankings. The overall national rankings I'd say is almost totally useless due to the differences in knowledge about firms of associates located in different regions. The regional rankings generally do accurately reflect prestige, but that too has little to do with how the firm is actually doing. It's not clients or even partners or senior associates that make these rankings. Mostly juniors and some midlevels fill out these surveys.

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Re: Vault 2021 Predictions

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Sep 09, 2020 4:24 pm

Willkie also jumping FF and Shearman up 7 spots to 44 was interesting.

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Re: Vault 2021 Predictions

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Sep 09, 2020 4:44 pm

Is Weil finished? Jump ship!!!

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Re: Vault 2021 Predictions

Post by SGTslaughter » Wed Sep 09, 2020 5:07 pm

Joachim2017 wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 3:21 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 3:19 pm
Can also confirm that Wachtell does accept laterals, but only from Cravath/Sullivan to my knowledge.
Nope, also from other firms (e.g., DPW).
They also took at least one person from Weil in recent years so pretty sure this is a myth completely. They just don't hire too many laterals.

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Re: Vault 2021 Predictions

Post by nerd1 » Wed Sep 09, 2020 5:11 pm

SGTslaughter wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 5:07 pm
Joachim2017 wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 3:21 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 3:19 pm
Can also confirm that Wachtell does accept laterals, but only from Cravath/Sullivan to my knowledge.
Nope, also from other firms (e.g., DPW).
They also took at least one person from Weil in recent years so pretty sure this is a myth completely. They just don't hire too many laterals.
They rarely hire laterals. That doesn't mean they don't hire laterals. I think this has been discussed sufficiently here. Why people obsess over this is beyond me.

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Re: Vault 2021 Predictions

Post by SGTslaughter » Wed Sep 09, 2020 5:56 pm

nerd1 wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 5:11 pm
SGTslaughter wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 5:07 pm
Joachim2017 wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 3:21 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 3:19 pm
Can also confirm that Wachtell does accept laterals, but only from Cravath/Sullivan to my knowledge.
Nope, also from other firms (e.g., DPW).
They also took at least one person from Weil in recent years so pretty sure this is a myth completely. They just don't hire too many laterals.
They rarely hire laterals. That doesn't mean they don't hire laterals. I think this has been discussed sufficiently here. Why people obsess over this is beyond me.

Did I say something different, lol. What is the point of this post?

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Sackboy

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Re: Vault 2021 Predictions

Post by Sackboy » Wed Sep 09, 2020 6:02 pm

nerd1 wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 5:11 pm

They rarely hire laterals. That doesn't mean they don't hire laterals. I think this has been discussed sufficiently here. Why people obsess over this is beyond me.
The obsession is due to a combination of exclusivity and Wachtell's $6M+ lockstep PPP.

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Re: Vault 2021 Predictions

Post by Wild Card » Wed Sep 09, 2020 6:03 pm

Sackboy wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 3:46 pm

Three things.

The overall ranking measures NATIONAL prestige.
If we go global, we quickly see why certain shitttfirms are so highly ranked.

https://www.acritas.com/sites/default/f ... e_2020.jpg

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Sackboy

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Re: Vault 2021 Predictions

Post by Sackboy » Wed Sep 09, 2020 6:09 pm

Wild Card wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 6:03 pm
Sackboy wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 3:46 pm

Three things.

The overall ranking measures NATIONAL prestige.
If we go global, we quickly see why certain shitttfirms are so highly ranked.

https://www.acritas.com/sites/default/f ... e_2020.jpg
Yep.

Presence in major cities, high overall revenue, and being constantly mentioned in the legal press for churning out decently-sized deals/suits pretty much explains how a lot of players in Vault garner their prestige. The other firms, which TLS users largely see as legit and venerated firms, often do far less revenue in far fewer cities but with more sophisticated clients/deals/suits. Unfortunately, both earn you prestige points when the audience is as wide as it is, and that can cause some seemingly "incorrect" rankings for people who exclusively care about the second set of metrics.

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Re: Vault 2021 Predictions

Post by nealric » Tue Sep 15, 2020 2:03 pm

Wild Card wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 6:03 pm
Sackboy wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 3:46 pm

Three things.

The overall ranking measures NATIONAL prestige.
If we go global, we quickly see why certain shitttfirms are so highly ranked.

https://www.acritas.com/sites/default/f ... e_2020.jpg
Many rankings prioritize quantity over quality. If you have enough lawyer worldwide, it means a huge number of people have at least heard of you and recognize you as a major firm. None of this really matters to prospective associates.

Is it really going to make a meaningful difference to your work life if Norton Rose has some of the largest law offices in Australia? Or if Baker McKenzie has a great Sao Paulo office? If you see or talk to anybody in those offices, it will be purely incidental.

To clients, it can make some marginal difference to have a "one stop shop" where you really need both local and international advice that can coordinate with less friction than unrelated firms. As such, there is probably some work they pick up purely because of their scale. But that doesn't necessarily mean you will work on the biggest or most sophisticated matters.

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Re: Vault 2021 Predictions

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Sep 15, 2020 2:05 pm

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Re: Vault 2021 Predictions

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Sep 15, 2020 2:39 pm

Very curious how Weil Gotshal's rankings seem to always go the opposite way of intuition: despite its top league table and arguably the best restructuring team, when economy was bad its ranking dropped a few but when economy was good its ranking rose to as high as #6

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Re: Vault 2021 Predictions

Post by Sackboy » Tue Sep 15, 2020 2:41 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Sep 15, 2020 2:39 pm
Very curious how Weil Gotshal's rankings seem to always go the opposite way of intuition: despite its top league table and arguably the best restructuring team, when economy was bad its ranking dropped a few but when economy was good its ranking rose to as high as #6
As others have noted, these Vault rankings are the result of pre-pandemic surveys. If Weil is to get any bump for its BK practice during this crisis and its position on league tables, it's going to be in next year's rankings.

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Re: Vault 2021 Predictions

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Sep 15, 2020 3:07 pm

Sackboy wrote:
Tue Sep 15, 2020 2:41 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Sep 15, 2020 2:39 pm
Very curious how Weil Gotshal's rankings seem to always go the opposite way of intuition: despite its top league table and arguably the best restructuring team, when economy was bad its ranking dropped a few but when economy was good its ranking rose to as high as #6
As others have noted, these Vault rankings are the result of pre-pandemic surveys. If Weil is to get any bump for its BK practice during this crisis and its position on league tables, it's going to be in next year's rankings.
Yes but that kind of only answers the ranking for 2021.

Historical ranking:

2007: 9
2008: 9
2009: 9
2010: 6
2011: 7
2012: 7
2013: 6
2014: 6
2015: 8
2016: 9
2017: 11
2018: 10
2019: 11
2020: 11
2021: 12

The ranking increased and stayed there for quite a while during 2011 to 2014, when economy has started to resurrect and it seemed to be way past the financial crisis (so RX should be slow), but then ranking dropped during 2017-2019, despite the stock market crash and widespread fear of the next upcoming recession (so RX would be busy).

If the countercyclical ranking is solely attributable to the lag between the survey and the publication time, that is a very significant lag.

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Re: Vault 2021 Predictions

Post by Sackboy » Tue Sep 15, 2020 3:55 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Sep 15, 2020 3:07 pm

Yes but that kind of only answers the ranking for 2021.

Historical ranking:

2007: 9
2008: 9
2009: 9
2010: 6
2011: 7
2012: 7
2013: 6
2014: 6
2015: 8
2016: 9
2017: 11
2018: 10
2019: 11
2020: 11
2021: 12

The ranking increased and stayed there for quite a while during 2011 to 2014, when economy has started to resurrect and it seemed to be way past the financial crisis (so RX should be slow), but then ranking dropped during 2017-2019, despite the stock market crash and widespread fear of the next upcoming recession (so RX would be busy).

If the countercyclical ranking is solely attributable to the lag between the survey and the publication time, that is a very significant lag.
Here's the thing. Only ten firms can be in the top ten.

Weil having a good year is great, but it needs its peer firms to also not have a good year and for that to impact people's perceptions of both firms (negatively for the higher ranked peer and positively for Weil, obviously). That's just not going to happen most years. Most years, the status quo will remain or a firm will bump up or down one or two spots.

Firms like Latham and Kirkland have obviously been on the up and up, which explains 2 spots of Weil's decline. PW and GDC probably passed up Weil on the backs of their litigation teams. Sidley moved up one spot this year, but they are still 0.05 apart in the rankings. That's essentially a tie. Beyond that, Weil seems to have lost out to the classic NY white shoe firms, which is to be expected. None of these occurrences are really shocking, and when you lump them all together it means that Weil is #12 instead of #6. At the end of the day, 6 spots is nothing. The #6 and #12 firm in any given year have a lot more in common than they do that differentiates them in terms of quality of work and future prospects.

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