Choate? (and Boston Market)

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Choate? (and Boston Market)

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Jun 28, 2020 11:29 am

I am a midlevel associate in New York looking to move to the Boston market for personal reasons. I know the associate lateral market is tough, but it has been fine for my practice area. I know a good amount of info about Ropes, Wilmer, and Goodwin, but can anyone please provide some insights on Choate? Based on their financial info over the last few years they have been doing very well (high PPP; high RPL), and I see that they pay an additional long-term bonus that I haven't seen at other firms. That long-term bonus program seems to indicate that you can make more money there as an associate than at the other 'Big 3' firms in Boston.

Just looking for general info in terms of career advancement, exit opportunities, culture, general perception in the Boston market and nationally. I know people have asked about them before but that was a few years ago -- looking for more recent info now. Thanks!

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Re: Choate? (and Boston Market)

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Jun 29, 2020 8:33 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Jun 28, 2020 11:29 am
I am a midlevel associate in New York looking to move to the Boston market for personal reasons. I know the associate lateral market is tough, but it has been fine for my practice area. I know a good amount of info about Ropes, Wilmer, and Goodwin, but can anyone please provide some insights on Choate? Based on their financial info over the last few years they have been doing very well (high PPP; high RPL), and I see that they pay an additional long-term bonus that I haven't seen at other firms. That long-term bonus program seems to indicate that you can make more money there as an associate than at the other 'Big 3' firms in Boston.

Just looking for general info in terms of career advancement, exit opportunities, culture, general perception in the Boston market and nationally. I know people have asked about them before but that was a few years ago -- looking for more recent info now. Thanks!
Unfortunately, I'm in Boston and I've heard pretty negative things about the firm. Not sure what your practice area is, but the litigators (both commercial and IP) don't seem happy. I've noticed some turnover there, and have also heard bad things about the culture (very bro-ey - but maybe that's your thing).

I'd also be a bit careful about lateraling there. It has a good rep in Boston, but the exit opps are probably Boston-focused. Is that what you want, long run?

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Re: Choate? (and Boston Market)

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Jun 29, 2020 10:00 am

I interviewed there for a summer associate position through the Loyola Patent Program (PLIP or whatever it's called). Ultimately, I didn't receive an offer, but I remember really disliking the firm during the callback. Lots of push-back for not being from Boston/educated at a Boston school (e.g. Harvard, BU, BC, Suffolk, etc.), so if you're coming from New York, be prepared with a good explanation. I think they have a very good reputation in Boston as another poster indicated, so your exit opportunities might be Boston-focused. Definitely not a bad firm to consider, but from my very limited experience, the firm seemed a bit too pretentious.

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Re: Choate? (and Boston Market)

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Jun 29, 2020 11:46 am

Echoing the above, its a well respected Boston firm, but not that well known outside of New England. I interviewed there as a 2L and everyone I interviewed with seemed nice, but I ended up at another firm so can't say much more than that.

If you want to leave your options open, a move to R/W/G might be a better bet. If your corporate, you might consider Latham/Kirkland and drop W from the list since they seem to do less corporate work in Boston nowadays.

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Re: Choate? (and Boston Market)

Post by objctnyrhnr » Mon Jun 29, 2020 1:49 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 11:46 am
Echoing the above, its a well respected Boston firm, but not that well known outside of New England. I interviewed there as a 2L and everyone I interviewed with seemed nice, but I ended up at another firm so can't say much more than that.

If you want to leave your options open, a move to R/W/G might be a better bet. If your corporate, you might consider Latham/Kirkland and drop W from the list since they seem to do less corporate work in Boston nowadays.
Building off of this, i anecdotally know that people have generally good experience at a the relatively small boston offices at a whole range of v50 up to v10 firms (in no particular order to name a few: Hogan Lovells, Morgan Lewis, Quinn, DLA, orrick, though there are a significant number of them). These types of offices would probably get you whatever general prestige you’re looking for from a choate but would also give you better options if you ever wanted to leave boston. Just something to consider.

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Re: Choate? (and Boston Market)

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:20 pm

From everything I’ve heard (and I know people there), I would avoid. Bro-ey (as one poster mentioned), probably gives it too much credit. Very old school and formal (so less of Gunderson Dettmer type of “bro” and more just old school country club types). Heard there are lot of bad personalities there and just generally behind the times.

Practice wise, they have a respectable PE and lit practices mostly.

I’ve heard rumblings of some bonuses there. Although they don’t get much notice, I’ve heard bonus numbers are very good for high performers. Not sure if that dings “low performers” to come out in the wash. But top end bonuses there are better than the small hikes Ropes and Goodwin and others give to top associates.

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Re: Choate? (and Boston Market)

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Jul 01, 2020 9:39 am

Former associate at Choate here, anon for obvious reasons. I would say go to Choate if you don't have any other options at Ropes/Wilmer/Goodwin (or big names w Boston satellites like Latham/Kirkland/Skadden if you're in corporate). Treatment of associates is rough, bonuses were below market (until recently when they realized attrition was high because better comp elsewhere), very VERY limited diversity efforts and old-school culture in a bad way. Bonuses aren't paid unless you hit a 2000 hour minimum with no proration under that, which in current market would be tough. Also heard that there were layoffs of juniors/midlevels in both lit and corporate as a result of covid.

TLDR: It isn't a terrible place, just not a good one.

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Re: Choate? (and Boston Market)

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jul 21, 2020 11:48 pm

I went to school in Boston and have always thought highly of Choate, so it’s a bit surprising hearing all of this.

I am interested in the firm, and I’m wondering how the firm manages to have an RPL that exceeds Goodwin (and is almost equal to Ropes)? Do the associates just work that many more hours? I’m assuming it has lower rates than Ropes/Goodwin.

Also, does anyone have any insight into the lateral process? It looks like they don’t really hire many laterals.

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Re: Choate? (and Boston Market)

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Jul 22, 2020 1:52 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Jul 21, 2020 11:48 pm

I am interested in the firm, and I’m wondering how the firm manages to have an RPL that exceeds Goodwin (and is almost equal to Ropes)? Do the associates just work that many more hours? I’m assuming it has lower rates than Ropes/Goodwin.

They have a decently sized patent prosecution group relative to overall size, which employs a lot of non-lawyers (tech specialists and patent agents) that basically charge first/second year attorney rates (that is, they contribute to the 'revenue' in the numerator but presumably dont contribute to the 'lawyers' in hte denominator), and likely account for at least some inflation of RPL.

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Re: Choate? (and Boston Market)

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Jul 29, 2020 9:52 pm

I guess they have changed the bonuses dramatically because this is from their Vault page: “I've received an above market bonus for working over 2,100 hours. Others have as well. … The firm also has a long-term bonus program, where if you meet your hours 2 years in a row, regardless of class year, you get $25,000, three years in a row you get $37,500, and 4 years in a row you get $50,000. This is in addition to regular market bonuses.”

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