DPW vs. PW vs. Kirkland vs. Weil. All NY restructuring.

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DPW vs. PW vs. Kirkland vs. Weil. All NY restructuring.

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Nov 27, 2020 6:46 pm

T14. Worked in finance/restructuring before so interested in bankruptcy/restructuring especially in the creditor side as I want to work with hedge funds and other financial institutions. But open to derivatives/structured products as well. Got summer offers from DPW, PW, Kirkland, Weil. Below is my takeaways from interactions with them so far but would love to hear out what others think as well.

People/Culture: Weil > DPW > Kirkland > PW
Practice: DPW > PW > Kirkland > Weil (considering both restructuring and derivatives)

What do you guys think?

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Re: DPW vs. PW vs. Kirkland vs. Weil. All NY restructuring.

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Nov 27, 2020 8:27 pm

Sounds about right. Starting as a 1st yr at KE & Weil will inevitably expose you to tonnes of debtor work, less so at DPW and PW. Folks at PW seem nice though, not sure why you'd put them last. But as a group, they're more alike than diff.

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Re: DPW vs. PW vs. Kirkland vs. Weil. All NY restructuring.

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Nov 27, 2020 9:05 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Nov 27, 2020 8:27 pm
Sounds about right. Starting as a 1st yr at KE & Weil will inevitably expose you to tonnes of debtor work, less so at DPW and PW. Folks at PW seem nice though, not sure why you'd put them last. But as a group, they're more alike than diff.
Anon, because I work at one of the above firms.

Culture stuff is almost always regurgitation of what people have said in the past. To think that the culture at DPW/Kirkland/PW is in any measurable way worse than at Weil in 2020 is... odd.

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Re: DPW vs. PW vs. Kirkland vs. Weil. All NY restructuring.

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Nov 27, 2020 10:17 pm

Rx senior at PW but started at DPW

It really depends on what kind of clients you’d rather work with and how badly you want to try derivatives. At PW, you need to make the corporate v. Rx decision at end of the summer. At DPW, Rx can be one of your rotations after you return as a first year, so you could take a tour of the SEG group full-time.

Culture wise, DPW’s group will be consistent with the rest of the firm. They hired a bunch of lateral mid levels recently but the people at the top are through and through DPW. PW’s group pre-Covid emphasized face time more than the rest of firm because we all sit on one floor and it’s a tight knit group. Number of partners and associates between the two shops are very similar. Both shops lean towards of ad hoc creditor representations but always have a few debtor matters going at any moment. Only real difference is that PW has more sponsor work and DPW does more bank reps, which runs through other groups as well.

Can’t really speak to Kirkland v Weil other than to say they’re both excellent at running cases and I’ve met great people at both. I don’t know if this true but Kirkland always felt larger and seems to give their associates a lot more room to maneuver and waits to see who excels and who burns out. Weil seems more structured from my experience as a counterpart but I could be wrong.

ETA: I probably would have made more money this year at Weil than any of the other three based on how they did fall bonuses. Also, the firmwide face time expectation at DPW is materially more suffocating than it is at PW’s Rx group

Anonymous User
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Re: DPW vs. PW vs. Kirkland vs. Weil. All NY restructuring.

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Nov 28, 2020 12:07 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Nov 27, 2020 10:17 pm
Rx senior at PW but started at DPW

It really depends on what kind of clients you’d rather work with and how badly you want to try derivatives. At PW, you need to make the corporate v. Rx decision at end of the summer. At DPW, Rx can be one of your rotations after you return as a first year, so you could take a tour of the SEG group full-time.

Culture wise, DPW’s group will be consistent with the rest of the firm. They hired a bunch of lateral mid levels recently but the people at the top are through and through DPW. PW’s group pre-Covid emphasized face time more than the rest of firm because we all sit on one floor and it’s a tight knit group. Number of partners and associates between the two shops are very similar. Both shops lean towards of ad hoc creditor representations but always have a few debtor matters going at any moment. Only real difference is that PW has more sponsor work and DPW does more bank reps, which runs through other groups as well.

Can’t really speak to Kirkland v Weil other than to say they’re both excellent at running cases and I’ve met great people at both. I don’t know if this true but Kirkland always felt larger and seems to give their associates a lot more room to maneuver and waits to see who excels and who burns out. Weil seems more structured from my experience as a counterpart but I could be wrong.

ETA: I probably would have made more money this year at Weil than any of the other three based on how they did fall bonuses. Also, the firmwide face time expectation at DPW is materially more suffocating than it is at PW’s Rx group
This is very helpful. Much appreciated it. A quick follow up. Would you say I should go with PW over DPW if I want to jump out to an investing role at a distressed HF later on?

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Re: DPW vs. PW vs. Kirkland vs. Weil. All NY restructuring.

Post by LBJ's Hair » Sat Nov 28, 2020 3:26 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Nov 28, 2020 12:07 pm

This is very helpful. Much appreciated it. A quick follow up. Would you say I should go with PW over DPW if I want to jump out to an investing role at a distressed HF later on?
not Anon, but if you have real front-office finance experience and your goal is to go to a fund, I'd spend your 2L and 3L years trying to do that directly after graduation, rather than work at a law firm. you have two years to network/do internships/etc. that's a fair amount of time.

could also do JD/MBA if the MBA program at your school is any good - shouldn't be hard to get in if you're already a JD.

EDIT: Could also recruit into IBD RX at Houlihan or Lazard or something via law school OCI or the MBA.

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Re: DPW vs. PW vs. Kirkland vs. Weil. All NY restructuring.

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Nov 28, 2020 4:15 pm

LBJ's Hair wrote:
Sat Nov 28, 2020 3:26 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Nov 28, 2020 12:07 pm

This is very helpful. Much appreciated it. A quick follow up. Would you say I should go with PW over DPW if I want to jump out to an investing role at a distressed HF later on?
not Anon, but if you have real front-office finance experience and your goal is to go to a fund, I'd spend your 2L and 3L years trying to do that directly after graduation, rather than work at a law firm. you have two years to network/do internships/etc. that's a fair amount of time.

could also do JD/MBA if the MBA program at your school is any good - shouldn't be hard to get in if you're already a JD.

EDIT: Could also recruit into IBD RX at Houlihan or Lazard or something via law school OCI or the MBA.
You think working at RX banking adds more value than working at big law restructuring? I noticed you've commented quite a bit on matters related to finance. Would you be able to share your background briefly by not naming the firms you worked for?

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

Re: DPW vs. PW vs. Kirkland vs. Weil. All NY restructuring.

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Nov 28, 2020 4:17 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Nov 28, 2020 12:07 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Nov 27, 2020 10:17 pm
Rx senior at PW but started at DPW

It really depends on what kind of clients you’d rather work with and how badly you want to try derivatives. At PW, you need to make the corporate v. Rx decision at end of the summer. At DPW, Rx can be one of your rotations after you return as a first year, so you could take a tour of the SEG group full-time.

Culture wise, DPW’s group will be consistent with the rest of the firm. They hired a bunch of lateral mid levels recently but the people at the top are through and through DPW. PW’s group pre-Covid emphasized face time more than the rest of firm because we all sit on one floor and it’s a tight knit group. Number of partners and associates between the two shops are very similar. Both shops lean towards of ad hoc creditor representations but always have a few debtor matters going at any moment. Only real difference is that PW has more sponsor work and DPW does more bank reps, which runs through other groups as well.

Can’t really speak to Kirkland v Weil other than to say they’re both excellent at running cases and I’ve met great people at both. I don’t know if this true but Kirkland always felt larger and seems to give their associates a lot more room to maneuver and waits to see who excels and who burns out. Weil seems more structured from my experience as a counterpart but I could be wrong.

ETA: I probably would have made more money this year at Weil than any of the other three based on how they did fall bonuses. Also, the firmwide face time expectation at DPW is materially more suffocating than it is at PW’s Rx group
This is very helpful. Much appreciated it. A quick follow up. Would you say I should go with PW over DPW if I want to jump out to an investing role at a distressed HF later on?
No problem. Most of our recent exits have been to hybrid roles at asset managers or funds like Brookfield, KKR, Blackstone, AIG, and Goldman (the other exits were to smaller firms in other cities) whereas I can only think of one guy from DPW that made a similar move a few years ago to Highbridge. We also have more secondment opportunities to those types of places - have a guy doing one at BlackRock right now and two guys recently returned from stints at Centerbridge and KKR. All the DPW secondments I remember were to banks like Barclays or MS for more in-house credit roles as opposed to desk lawyer positions

That said, I don’t think it’s easy to jump from law firm associate to a pure investment professional. Likely requires additional years in a hybrid role and even then uncertain. Probably easier at a smaller shop with less bureaucracy? Most direct way is probably just launch your own fund after becoming a partner or something like that.

Anonymous User
Posts: 358485
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: DPW vs. PW vs. Kirkland vs. Weil. All NY restructuring.

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Nov 28, 2020 5:24 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Nov 28, 2020 4:17 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Nov 28, 2020 12:07 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Nov 27, 2020 10:17 pm
Rx senior at PW but started at DPW

It really depends on what kind of clients you’d rather work with and how badly you want to try derivatives. At PW, you need to make the corporate v. Rx decision at end of the summer. At DPW, Rx can be one of your rotations after you return as a first year, so you could take a tour of the SEG group full-time.

Culture wise, DPW’s group will be consistent with the rest of the firm. They hired a bunch of lateral mid levels recently but the people at the top are through and through DPW. PW’s group pre-Covid emphasized face time more than the rest of firm because we all sit on one floor and it’s a tight knit group. Number of partners and associates between the two shops are very similar. Both shops lean towards of ad hoc creditor representations but always have a few debtor matters going at any moment. Only real difference is that PW has more sponsor work and DPW does more bank reps, which runs through other groups as well.

Can’t really speak to Kirkland v Weil other than to say they’re both excellent at running cases and I’ve met great people at both. I don’t know if this true but Kirkland always felt larger and seems to give their associates a lot more room to maneuver and waits to see who excels and who burns out. Weil seems more structured from my experience as a counterpart but I could be wrong.

ETA: I probably would have made more money this year at Weil than any of the other three based on how they did fall bonuses. Also, the firmwide face time expectation at DPW is materially more suffocating than it is at PW’s Rx group
This is very helpful. Much appreciated it. A quick follow up. Would you say I should go with PW over DPW if I want to jump out to an investing role at a distressed HF later on?
No problem. Most of our recent exits have been to hybrid roles at asset managers or funds like Brookfield, KKR, Blackstone, AIG, and Goldman (the other exits were to smaller firms in other cities) whereas I can only think of one guy from DPW that made a similar move a few years ago to Highbridge. We also have more secondment opportunities to those types of places - have a guy doing one at BlackRock right now and two guys recently returned from stints at Centerbridge and KKR. All the DPW secondments I remember were to banks like Barclays or MS for more in-house credit roles as opposed to desk lawyer positions

That said, I don’t think it’s easy to jump from law firm associate to a pure investment professional. Likely requires additional years in a hybrid role and even then uncertain. Probably easier at a smaller shop with less bureaucracy? Most direct way is probably just launch your own fund after becoming a partner or something like that.
This is interesting. Can you please elaborate on the hybrid role at funds? How much investing-related work are they engaged in and how long does it usually take for lawyers to get into those roles?

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Anonymous User
Posts: 358485
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: DPW vs. PW vs. Kirkland vs. Weil. All NY restructuring.

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Nov 29, 2020 3:47 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Nov 28, 2020 5:24 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Nov 28, 2020 4:17 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Nov 28, 2020 12:07 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Nov 27, 2020 10:17 pm
Rx senior at PW but started at DPW

It really depends on what kind of clients you’d rather work with and how badly you want to try derivatives. At PW, you need to make the corporate v. Rx decision at end of the summer. At DPW, Rx can be one of your rotations after you return as a first year, so you could take a tour of the SEG group full-time.

Culture wise, DPW’s group will be consistent with the rest of the firm. They hired a bunch of lateral mid levels recently but the people at the top are through and through DPW. PW’s group pre-Covid emphasized face time more than the rest of firm because we all sit on one floor and it’s a tight knit group. Number of partners and associates between the two shops are very similar. Both shops lean towards of ad hoc creditor representations but always have a few debtor matters going at any moment. Only real difference is that PW has more sponsor work and DPW does more bank reps, which runs through other groups as well.

Can’t really speak to Kirkland v Weil other than to say they’re both excellent at running cases and I’ve met great people at both. I don’t know if this true but Kirkland always felt larger and seems to give their associates a lot more room to maneuver and waits to see who excels and who burns out. Weil seems more structured from my experience as a counterpart but I could be wrong.

ETA: I probably would have made more money this year at Weil than any of the other three based on how they did fall bonuses. Also, the firmwide face time expectation at DPW is materially more suffocating than it is at PW’s Rx group
This is very helpful. Much appreciated it. A quick follow up. Would you say I should go with PW over DPW if I want to jump out to an investing role at a distressed HF later on?
No problem. Most of our recent exits have been to hybrid roles at asset managers or funds like Brookfield, KKR, Blackstone, AIG, and Goldman (the other exits were to smaller firms in other cities) whereas I can only think of one guy from DPW that made a similar move a few years ago to Highbridge. We also have more secondment opportunities to those types of places - have a guy doing one at BlackRock right now and two guys recently returned from stints at Centerbridge and KKR. All the DPW secondments I remember were to banks like Barclays or MS for more in-house credit roles as opposed to desk lawyer positions

That said, I don’t think it’s easy to jump from law firm associate to a pure investment professional. Likely requires additional years in a hybrid role and even then uncertain. Probably easier at a smaller shop with less bureaucracy? Most direct way is probably just launch your own fund after becoming a partner or something like that.
This is interesting. Can you please elaborate on the hybrid role at funds? How much investing-related work are they engaged in and how long does it usually take for lawyers to get into those roles?
Not one of the posters above but work in a similar seat for a large private fund manager. Technically not a hybrid seat, rather an investment seat but 25% of the group are ex-lawyers and we often-times negotiate legal term sheets with opposing counsel. I've seen these jumps around year 4 - year 7+. Its pretty infrequently I see the direct jump at a junior level and usually its a jump to RX IB -> maybe to a fund.

For these seats, you tend to be involved in amendments and restructurings of current portfolio. For example you would negotiate commercial terms rate increases, PIK, fees, etc. while also negotiating legal items like covenants and other credit agreement items. Around 15-20% the people I interact with at other funds when we negotiate amendments in our portfolio are ex-lawyers. Others tend to be ex-lev fin bankers, restructuring bankers, and some homegrown talent. At some funds they are "in-house counsel" while at other funds they are in investment seats.

Getting into a pure investment seat is difficult because you come in at a mid-level where expectations of underwriting businesses, financial modeling skills, and executive presence are expected to be pristine. For example, sure you talk to clients and partners often, but asking a management team about their relationship with their largest customer in an intelligent way is alot more difficult than it sounds. Unless you did an IBD analyst stint, there is a very little chance you are going to be competitive on any of those fronts even with a shit-ton of practice. I thought I was pretty good since I worked in corporate development for a year or so and was the resident "excel guru" at my law firm and realized I had a huge learning curve when I moved over.

Anonymous User
Posts: 358485
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: DPW vs. PW vs. Kirkland vs. Weil. All NY restructuring.

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Nov 29, 2020 4:00 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Nov 28, 2020 5:24 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Nov 28, 2020 4:17 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Nov 28, 2020 12:07 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Nov 27, 2020 10:17 pm
Rx senior at PW but started at DPW

It really depends on what kind of clients you’d rather work with and how badly you want to try derivatives. At PW, you need to make the corporate v. Rx decision at end of the summer. At DPW, Rx can be one of your rotations after you return as a first year, so you could take a tour of the SEG group full-time.

Culture wise, DPW’s group will be consistent with the rest of the firm. They hired a bunch of lateral mid levels recently but the people at the top are through and through DPW. PW’s group pre-Covid emphasized face time more than the rest of firm because we all sit on one floor and it’s a tight knit group. Number of partners and associates between the two shops are very similar. Both shops lean towards of ad hoc creditor representations but always have a few debtor matters going at any moment. Only real difference is that PW has more sponsor work and DPW does more bank reps, which runs through other groups as well.

Can’t really speak to Kirkland v Weil other than to say they’re both excellent at running cases and I’ve met great people at both. I don’t know if this true but Kirkland always felt larger and seems to give their associates a lot more room to maneuver and waits to see who excels and who burns out. Weil seems more structured from my experience as a counterpart but I could be wrong.

ETA: I probably would have made more money this year at Weil than any of the other three based on how they did fall bonuses. Also, the firmwide face time expectation at DPW is materially more suffocating than it is at PW’s Rx group
This is very helpful. Much appreciated it. A quick follow up. Would you say I should go with PW over DPW if I want to jump out to an investing role at a distressed HF later on?
No problem. Most of our recent exits have been to hybrid roles at asset managers or funds like Brookfield, KKR, Blackstone, AIG, and Goldman (the other exits were to smaller firms in other cities) whereas I can only think of one guy from DPW that made a similar move a few years ago to Highbridge. We also have more secondment opportunities to those types of places - have a guy doing one at BlackRock right now and two guys recently returned from stints at Centerbridge and KKR. All the DPW secondments I remember were to banks like Barclays or MS for more in-house credit roles as opposed to desk lawyer positions

That said, I don’t think it’s easy to jump from law firm associate to a pure investment professional. Likely requires additional years in a hybrid role and even then uncertain. Probably easier at a smaller shop with less bureaucracy? Most direct way is probably just launch your own fund after becoming a partner or something like that.
This is interesting. Can you please elaborate on the hybrid role at funds? How much investing-related work are they engaged in and how long does it usually take for lawyers to get into those roles?
Different poster (at one of Weil/KE): I've seen people go in around 3rd-5th year at the earliest, the best candidates (the ones who go to shops with a name and presence in the market) seem to go in around year 7+ or so.

Anecdotally, as someone in finance but has to deal with the pure investment professionals sitting on the other side of the table in deals, it's far better to deal either with someone who was a lawyer for a while (think 8-10 years) who then made the jump or with someone who walked into the investment role day 1. Dealing with the hybrid guys who dipped out at their 3rd-4th year into the fund can be a frustrating experience.

Anonymous User
Posts: 358485
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: DPW vs. PW vs. Kirkland vs. Weil. All NY restructuring.

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Nov 29, 2020 4:10 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Nov 29, 2020 3:47 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Nov 28, 2020 5:24 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Nov 28, 2020 4:17 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Nov 28, 2020 12:07 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Nov 27, 2020 10:17 pm
Rx senior at PW but started at DPW

It really depends on what kind of clients you’d rather work with and how badly you want to try derivatives. At PW, you need to make the corporate v. Rx decision at end of the summer. At DPW, Rx can be one of your rotations after you return as a first year, so you could take a tour of the SEG group full-time.

Culture wise, DPW’s group will be consistent with the rest of the firm. They hired a bunch of lateral mid levels recently but the people at the top are through and through DPW. PW’s group pre-Covid emphasized face time more than the rest of firm because we all sit on one floor and it’s a tight knit group. Number of partners and associates between the two shops are very similar. Both shops lean towards of ad hoc creditor representations but always have a few debtor matters going at any moment. Only real difference is that PW has more sponsor work and DPW does more bank reps, which runs through other groups as well.

Can’t really speak to Kirkland v Weil other than to say they’re both excellent at running cases and I’ve met great people at both. I don’t know if this true but Kirkland always felt larger and seems to give their associates a lot more room to maneuver and waits to see who excels and who burns out. Weil seems more structured from my experience as a counterpart but I could be wrong.

ETA: I probably would have made more money this year at Weil than any of the other three based on how they did fall bonuses. Also, the firmwide face time expectation at DPW is materially more suffocating than it is at PW’s Rx group
This is very helpful. Much appreciated it. A quick follow up. Would you say I should go with PW over DPW if I want to jump out to an investing role at a distressed HF later on?
No problem. Most of our recent exits have been to hybrid roles at asset managers or funds like Brookfield, KKR, Blackstone, AIG, and Goldman (the other exits were to smaller firms in other cities) whereas I can only think of one guy from DPW that made a similar move a few years ago to Highbridge. We also have more secondment opportunities to those types of places - have a guy doing one at BlackRock right now and two guys recently returned from stints at Centerbridge and KKR. All the DPW secondments I remember were to banks like Barclays or MS for more in-house credit roles as opposed to desk lawyer positions

That said, I don’t think it’s easy to jump from law firm associate to a pure investment professional. Likely requires additional years in a hybrid role and even then uncertain. Probably easier at a smaller shop with less bureaucracy? Most direct way is probably just launch your own fund after becoming a partner or something like that.
This is interesting. Can you please elaborate on the hybrid role at funds? How much investing-related work are they engaged in and how long does it usually take for lawyers to get into those roles?
Not one of the posters above but work in a similar seat for a large private fund manager. Technically not a hybrid seat, rather an investment seat but 25% of the group are ex-lawyers and we often-times negotiate legal term sheets with opposing counsel. I've seen these jumps around year 4 - year 7+. Its pretty infrequently I see the direct jump at a junior level and usually its a jump to RX IB -> maybe to a fund.

For these seats, you tend to be involved in amendments and restructurings of current portfolio. For example you would negotiate commercial terms rate increases, PIK, fees, etc. while also negotiating legal items like covenants and other credit agreement items. Around 15-20% the people I interact with at other funds when we negotiate amendments in our portfolio are ex-lawyers. Others tend to be ex-lev fin bankers, restructuring bankers, and some homegrown talent. At some funds they are "in-house counsel" while at other funds they are in investment seats.

Getting into a pure investment seat is difficult because you come in at a mid-level where expectations of underwriting businesses, financial modeling skills, and executive presence are expected to be pristine. For example, sure you talk to clients and partners often, but asking a management team about their relationship with their largest customer in an intelligent way is alot more difficult than it sounds. Unless you did an IBD analyst stint, there is a very little chance you are going to be competitive on any of those fronts even with a shit-ton of practice. I thought I was pretty good since I worked in corporate development for a year or so and was the resident "excel guru" at my law firm and realized I had a huge learning curve when I moved over.
Thanks much. This is super helpful. I'm interested in making that jump as well. I did IBD analyst stint at top BB (GS/MS) before law school and am going to practice restructuring law at one of the creditor-focused law firms mentioned above. I thought about RX banking instead but I figured practicing law would provide more value in the long run. Plus, I just wanted to practice law at least for couple years after law school.

In my case, do you think I'd be better off going to RX banking even though I have banking background? If I decide to do law first, do you think I still need +5 years of practicing law to make the transition into distressed HF later on? Thanks!
Last edited by Anonymous User on Sun Nov 29, 2020 4:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous User
Posts: 358485
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: DPW vs. PW vs. Kirkland vs. Weil. All NY restructuring.

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Nov 29, 2020 4:24 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Nov 28, 2020 4:17 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Nov 28, 2020 12:07 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Nov 27, 2020 10:17 pm
Rx senior at PW but started at DPW

It really depends on what kind of clients you’d rather work with and how badly you want to try derivatives. At PW, you need to make the corporate v. Rx decision at end of the summer. At DPW, Rx can be one of your rotations after you return as a first year, so you could take a tour of the SEG group full-time.

Culture wise, DPW’s group will be consistent with the rest of the firm. They hired a bunch of lateral mid levels recently but the people at the top are through and through DPW. PW’s group pre-Covid emphasized face time more than the rest of firm because we all sit on one floor and it’s a tight knit group. Number of partners and associates between the two shops are very similar. Both shops lean towards of ad hoc creditor representations but always have a few debtor matters going at any moment. Only real difference is that PW has more sponsor work and DPW does more bank reps, which runs through other groups as well.

Can’t really speak to Kirkland v Weil other than to say they’re both excellent at running cases and I’ve met great people at both. I don’t know if this true but Kirkland always felt larger and seems to give their associates a lot more room to maneuver and waits to see who excels and who burns out. Weil seems more structured from my experience as a counterpart but I could be wrong.

ETA: I probably would have made more money this year at Weil than any of the other three based on how they did fall bonuses. Also, the firmwide face time expectation at DPW is materially more suffocating than it is at PW’s Rx group
This is very helpful. Much appreciated it. A quick follow up. Would you say I should go with PW over DPW if I want to jump out to an investing role at a distressed HF later on?
No problem. Most of our recent exits have been to hybrid roles at asset managers or funds like Brookfield, KKR, Blackstone, AIG, and Goldman (the other exits were to smaller firms in other cities) whereas I can only think of one guy from DPW that made a similar move a few years ago to Highbridge. We also have more secondment opportunities to those types of places - have a guy doing one at BlackRock right now and two guys recently returned from stints at Centerbridge and KKR. All the DPW secondments I remember were to banks like Barclays or MS for more in-house credit roles as opposed to desk lawyer positions

That said, I don’t think it’s easy to jump from law firm associate to a pure investment professional. Likely requires additional years in a hybrid role and even then uncertain. Probably easier at a smaller shop with less bureaucracy? Most direct way is probably just launch your own fund after becoming a partner or something like that.
OP: thanks for sharing your experience. Curious about the secondment opportunity at PW. Who gets it and is it competitive to be placed in the top shops?

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Anonymous User
Posts: 358485
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: DPW vs. PW vs. Kirkland vs. Weil. All NY restructuring.

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Nov 29, 2020 9:32 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Nov 29, 2020 4:10 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Nov 29, 2020 3:47 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Nov 28, 2020 5:24 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Nov 28, 2020 4:17 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Nov 28, 2020 12:07 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Nov 27, 2020 10:17 pm
Rx senior at PW but started at DPW

It really depends on what kind of clients you’d rather work with and how badly you want to try derivatives. At PW, you need to make the corporate v. Rx decision at end of the summer. At DPW, Rx can be one of your rotations after you return as a first year, so you could take a tour of the SEG group full-time.

Culture wise, DPW’s group will be consistent with the rest of the firm. They hired a bunch of lateral mid levels recently but the people at the top are through and through DPW. PW’s group pre-Covid emphasized face time more than the rest of firm because we all sit on one floor and it’s a tight knit group. Number of partners and associates between the two shops are very similar. Both shops lean towards of ad hoc creditor representations but always have a few debtor matters going at any moment. Only real difference is that PW has more sponsor work and DPW does more bank reps, which runs through other groups as well.

Can’t really speak to Kirkland v Weil other than to say they’re both excellent at running cases and I’ve met great people at both. I don’t know if this true but Kirkland always felt larger and seems to give their associates a lot more room to maneuver and waits to see who excels and who burns out. Weil seems more structured from my experience as a counterpart but I could be wrong.

ETA: I probably would have made more money this year at Weil than any of the other three based on how they did fall bonuses. Also, the firmwide face time expectation at DPW is materially more suffocating than it is at PW’s Rx group
This is very helpful. Much appreciated it. A quick follow up. Would you say I should go with PW over DPW if I want to jump out to an investing role at a distressed HF later on?
No problem. Most of our recent exits have been to hybrid roles at asset managers or funds like Brookfield, KKR, Blackstone, AIG, and Goldman (the other exits were to smaller firms in other cities) whereas I can only think of one guy from DPW that made a similar move a few years ago to Highbridge. We also have more secondment opportunities to those types of places - have a guy doing one at BlackRock right now and two guys recently returned from stints at Centerbridge and KKR. All the DPW secondments I remember were to banks like Barclays or MS for more in-house credit roles as opposed to desk lawyer positions

That said, I don’t think it’s easy to jump from law firm associate to a pure investment professional. Likely requires additional years in a hybrid role and even then uncertain. Probably easier at a smaller shop with less bureaucracy? Most direct way is probably just launch your own fund after becoming a partner or something like that.
This is interesting. Can you please elaborate on the hybrid role at funds? How much investing-related work are they engaged in and how long does it usually take for lawyers to get into those roles?
Not one of the posters above but work in a similar seat for a large private fund manager. Technically not a hybrid seat, rather an investment seat but 25% of the group are ex-lawyers and we often-times negotiate legal term sheets with opposing counsel. I've seen these jumps around year 4 - year 7+. Its pretty infrequently I see the direct jump at a junior level and usually its a jump to RX IB -> maybe to a fund.

For these seats, you tend to be involved in amendments and restructurings of current portfolio. For example you would negotiate commercial terms rate increases, PIK, fees, etc. while also negotiating legal items like covenants and other credit agreement items. Around 15-20% the people I interact with at other funds when we negotiate amendments in our portfolio are ex-lawyers. Others tend to be ex-lev fin bankers, restructuring bankers, and some homegrown talent. At some funds they are "in-house counsel" while at other funds they are in investment seats.

Getting into a pure investment seat is difficult because you come in at a mid-level where expectations of underwriting businesses, financial modeling skills, and executive presence are expected to be pristine. For example, sure you talk to clients and partners often, but asking a management team about their relationship with their largest customer in an intelligent way is alot more difficult than it sounds. Unless you did an IBD analyst stint, there is a very little chance you are going to be competitive on any of those fronts even with a shit-ton of practice. I thought I was pretty good since I worked in corporate development for a year or so and was the resident "excel guru" at my law firm and realized I had a huge learning curve when I moved over.
Thanks much. This is super helpful. I'm interested in making that jump as well. I did IBD analyst stint at top BB (GS/MS) before law school and am going to practice restructuring law at one of the creditor-focused law firms mentioned above. I thought about RX banking instead but I figured practicing law would provide more value in the long run. Plus, I just wanted to practice law at least for couple years after law school.

In my case, do you think I'd be better off going to RX banking even though I have banking background? If I decide to do law first, do you think I still need +5 years of practicing law to make the transition into distressed HF later on? Thanks!
Guy at the fund here.

I'd go to an rx bank. Your hours are likely going to be a bit better at a bank if you did a full IBD analyst stint than at a law firm and your first few years at a law firm, you probably learn less than you would at a bank.

Also comp wise, 3rd years this year I believe made 290k all in with the abnormal covid bonuses while many EB associates cleared a decent amount more than that there first year.

If you have a banking analyst stint + good creditor focused firm on resume even if just a summer, I'd think you also could get recruiting looks directly out of law school from distressed funds. I would hit up Robin Judson (headhunter) sooner rather than later and try to get in her pipeline.

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Re: DPW vs. PW vs. Kirkland vs. Weil. All NY restructuring.

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Nov 29, 2020 11:42 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Nov 27, 2020 6:46 pm
T14. Worked in finance/restructuring before so interested in bankruptcy/restructuring especially in the creditor side as I want to work with hedge funds and other financial institutions. But open to derivatives/structured products as well. Got summer offers from DPW, PW, Kirkland, Weil. Below is my takeaways from interactions with them so far but would love to hear out what others think as well.

People/Culture: Weil > DPW > Kirkland > PW
Practice: DPW > PW > Kirkland > Weil (considering both restructuring and derivatives)

What do you guys think?
BK associate at PW / DPW. PW senior is on point. Would not go to Weil / K&E if you want creditor-side work.
DPW has a distinctive culture that people either love or hate, in my experience. If choosing between PW / DPW I would choose 100% based on people/culture. You will be spending a ton of time in a very small group at either one.

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Re: DPW vs. PW vs. Kirkland vs. Weil. All NY restructuring.

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Nov 30, 2020 10:52 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Nov 29, 2020 4:24 pm

OP: thanks for sharing your experience. Curious about the secondment opportunity at PW. Who gets it and is it competitive to be placed in the top shops?
It's more random than competitive because it depends on which clients make the request and who is interested. Usually 5th year and above because still need enough experience to actually do the job. My advice would be to do good work as a junior/midlevel and let someone know that you would be interested in it when you're a 4th year. Partners will do what they can to make that experience available to you.

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Re: DPW vs. PW vs. Kirkland vs. Weil. All NY restructuring.

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Dec 01, 2020 1:59 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Nov 29, 2020 9:32 pm
Guy at the fund here.

I'd go to an rx bank. Your hours are likely going to be a bit better at a bank if you did a full IBD analyst stint than at a law firm and your first few years at a law firm, you probably learn less than you would at a bank.

Also comp wise, 3rd years this year I believe made 290k all in with the abnormal covid bonuses while many EB associates cleared a decent amount more than that there first year.

If you have a banking analyst stint + good creditor focused firm on resume even if just a summer, I'd think you also could get recruiting looks directly out of law school from distressed funds. I would hit up Robin Judson (headhunter) sooner rather than later and try to get in her pipeline.
Thank you very much for this! I'm curious about the things you learn from bankruptcy practice at a law firm (creditor-focused) vs. restructuring banking, as to doing investing (or hybrid) role at a distressed credit fund. Since I've done IBD stint (M&A +3 years) before law school, I thought there would be more to learn in the legal side and better in differentiating myself from other associate-level (post-MBA) trying to break into buyside. Any thoughts on this would be much appreciated. Thank you!

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Re: DPW vs. PW vs. Kirkland vs. Weil. All NY restructuring.

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Dec 02, 2020 11:04 pm

Sorry to hijack thread, but any thoughts on Jones Day bankruptcy? Are they still a major player with all the partner / associate departures that I keep reading about? I thought there were a lot of associates there since it was traditionally a highly regarded shop, but I just noticed there are only five JD bankruptcy associates remaining in the New York office. Yes, five. What on earth is going on there?

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Re: DPW vs. PW vs. Kirkland vs. Weil. All NY restructuring.

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Dec 03, 2020 9:04 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Dec 02, 2020 11:04 pm
Sorry to hijack thread, but any thoughts on Jones Day bankruptcy? Are they still a major player with all the partner / associate departures that I keep reading about? I thought there were a lot of associates there since it was traditionally a highly regarded shop, but I just noticed there are only five JD bankruptcy associates remaining in the New York office. Yes, five. What on earth is going on there?
Bruce Bennett carrying that entire practice right now and I think he’s based in LA. Most of NY left for other places when the rainmakers went to Gibson or Deb. They’re still doing deals but I wouldn’t start there if you have other options

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Re: DPW vs. PW vs. Kirkland vs. Weil. All NY restructuring.

Post by LBJ's Hair » Thu Dec 03, 2020 12:15 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Nov 28, 2020 4:15 pm
LBJ's Hair wrote:
Sat Nov 28, 2020 3:26 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Nov 28, 2020 12:07 pm

This is very helpful. Much appreciated it. A quick follow up. Would you say I should go with PW over DPW if I want to jump out to an investing role at a distressed HF later on?
not Anon, but if you have real front-office finance experience and your goal is to go to a fund, I'd spend your 2L and 3L years trying to do that directly after graduation, rather than work at a law firm. you have two years to network/do internships/etc. that's a fair amount of time.

could also do JD/MBA if the MBA program at your school is any good - shouldn't be hard to get in if you're already a JD.

EDIT: Could also recruit into IBD RX at Houlihan or Lazard or something via law school OCI or the MBA.
You think working at RX banking adds more value than working at big law restructuring? I noticed you've commented quite a bit on matters related to finance. Would you be able to share your background briefly by not naming the firms you worked for?
I did IBD BB (not in RX) before law school, now bankruptcy. no personal experience trying to leave law firm for investing, so this is just intuitions/idly chatting w/IBD friends now in distressed. take that for what it is - maybe worthless, maybe not

but my 2 cents is given your IBD BB analyst background, spending 2L/3L year trying to get a fund job would make a lot of sense, if that's your goal. (tacking on a JD-MBA could help too - give you more time to recruit, potentially not-totally-useless-credential, fun, w/e)

if you really want to work at a law firm by all means do that. but if your #1 goal is getting to a fund, IBD analyst + law firm summer would be a resume I'd want to spend a lot of time shopping around.

given age/experience level, you could be target the most junior HF roles (which is good because you'd be cheap, there are more of them, and people would expect you to still be learning), you're not super far removed from IBD analyst which is a job HF guys understand, your resume "seems" law-y which is nice for distressed ... but you're not a lawyer yet, so it's not like it's a career change

So if I were you, and had the goal of doing distressed at a fund and the law was just a path to getting there, I'd hit up that recruiter the other Anon mentioned, my analyst friends now on the buyside, etc.

(RE IBD RX, my thought process was basically - "it's likely more common to leave IBD RX for investing roles at funds than law firms, even at associate level." think the other Anon covered it and sounds like knows more.)

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Re: DPW vs. PW vs. Kirkland vs. Weil. All NY restructuring.

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Dec 03, 2020 2:53 pm

LBJ's Hair wrote:
Thu Dec 03, 2020 12:15 pm

I did IBD BB (not in RX) before law school, now bankruptcy. no personal experience trying to leave law firm for investing, so this is just intuitions/idly chatting w/IBD friends now in distressed. take that for what it is - maybe worthless, maybe not

but my 2 cents is given your IBD BB analyst background, spending 2L/3L year trying to get a fund job would make a lot of sense, if that's your goal. (tacking on a JD-MBA could help too - give you more time to recruit, potentially not-totally-useless-credential, fun, w/e)

if you really want to work at a law firm by all means do that. but if your #1 goal is getting to a fund, IBD analyst + law firm summer would be a resume I'd want to spend a lot of time shopping around.

given age/experience level, you could be target the most junior HF roles (which is good because you'd be cheap, there are more of them, and people would expect you to still be learning), you're not super far removed from IBD analyst which is a job HF guys understand, your resume "seems" law-y which is nice for distressed ... but you're not a lawyer yet, so it's not like it's a career change

So if I were you, and had the goal of doing distressed at a fund and the law was just a path to getting there, I'd hit up that recruiter the other Anon mentioned, my analyst friends now on the buyside, etc.

(RE IBD RX, my thought process was basically - "it's likely more common to leave IBD RX for investing roles at funds than law firms, even at associate level." think the other Anon covered it and sounds like knows more.)
Hey really appreciate this. I'm curious about your experience in bankruptcy law so far. Coming from IBD background, how do you like it so far? Do you want to stay there in biglaw for a longer time? I want to try out the bankruptcy law but at the same time I'm not completely sure if I'm gonna enjoy it and that's why I want to keep the buyside exit door open. I don't mind hard working but I don't think I can make it to partner level - bringing clients and whatnots. Just wanted to hear your thoughts what you want to get out of from bankruptcy law practice using your IBD background. Thanks.

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Re: DPW vs. PW vs. Kirkland vs. Weil. All NY restructuring.

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Dec 24, 2020 1:01 pm

Can anyone here weigh in on:

(1) Restructuring at WLRK?

(2) Culture in the Rx groups at DPW/PW/Weil

(3) Which practices are the most litigation-oriented and which are the most transaction-oriented? If you really want to handle contested stuff / litigation but aren't committed to being a litigator (b/c of long partnership odds and bad exit ops), which Rx practice would be the best to join?

(4) When handling the transaction stuff, what do you actually do? Is it interesting? I worked on a DIP once on the finance (not Rx, straight debt finance) side and found it extremely tedious.

(5) Whether debtor/creditor work is more interesting/rewarding.

Thanks!

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Re: DPW vs. PW vs. Kirkland vs. Weil. All NY restructuring.

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Dec 24, 2020 3:59 pm

2L with interest in restructuring, choosing between some of the these same shops. Also curious in the questions just posted.

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Re: DPW vs. PW vs. Kirkland vs. Weil. All NY restructuring.

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Dec 24, 2020 7:37 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Dec 24, 2020 1:01 pm
Can anyone here weigh in on:

(1) Restructuring at WLRK?

(2) Culture in the Rx groups at DPW/PW/Weil

(3) Which practices are the most litigation-oriented and which are the most transaction-oriented? If you really want to handle contested stuff / litigation but aren't committed to being a litigator (b/c of long partnership odds and bad exit ops), which Rx practice would be the best to join?

(4) When handling the transaction stuff, what do you actually do? Is it interesting? I worked on a DIP once on the finance (not Rx, straight debt finance) side and found it extremely tedious.

(5) Whether debtor/creditor work is more interesting/rewarding.

Thanks!
Anon at one of the creditor shops in the thread's title.

WLRK: Don't see them around. They're lateral recruiting for ReFi, maybe trying to change things. They lost people recently to PW (Bolin, Witt). They do finance and RX in the same group (including vanilla acquisition work).

Culture: Weil is a grindhouse searching for bodies. DPW RX is DPW. PW is unremarkable (not a good or a bad thing, hard to put an adjective on their culture.) I know happy and unhappy people at all 3 shops.

Lit-oriented: if you're committed to a lit-heavy practice, go do UCC work at Akin or do Quinn's bk lit practice. (WLRK has a bk lit group that I don't know much about but sounds different from everyone else's.) At DPW / PW / Weil BK does stuff related to the code (e.g. plan confirmation) and lit does stuff that isn't (e.g. adversary proceeding regarding a patent dispute). Lit also does evidence, deposition, testimony, discovery for all bk matters at those shops.

Transactions: depends on what you want. You're going to be involved in a DIP, but that can be in a minor way (for bk-related stuff) or whole-hog. Ditto M&A agreements through 363. Other big documents are RSAs and plans. I find it interesting but I also like credit stuff so who knows what you'll like. You'll also be quarterbacking pretty often (i.e. making sure that others work on those docs will be done on time, etc).

Debtor-creditor: really hard to generalize. (And substantial differences between UCC, fulcrum, senior secured, etc). At PW / DPW you will get debtor reps (though still clearly majority creditor shops) and if that's what you love you can go to KE, Weil and do it more full time. Haven't seen KE / Weil as creditors basically ever. FWIW debtor people will tell you that 1.) their clients are way more thankful than creditor clients and 2.) they feel good about saving businesses.

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Re: DPW vs. PW vs. Kirkland vs. Weil. All NY restructuring.

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Dec 27, 2020 4:01 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Dec 24, 2020 7:37 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Dec 24, 2020 1:01 pm
Can anyone here weigh in on:

(1) Restructuring at WLRK?

(2) Culture in the Rx groups at DPW/PW/Weil

(3) Which practices are the most litigation-oriented and which are the most transaction-oriented? If you really want to handle contested stuff / litigation but aren't committed to being a litigator (b/c of long partnership odds and bad exit ops), which Rx practice would be the best to join?

(4) When handling the transaction stuff, what do you actually do? Is it interesting? I worked on a DIP once on the finance (not Rx, straight debt finance) side and found it extremely tedious.

(5) Whether debtor/creditor work is more interesting/rewarding.

Thanks!
Anon at one of the creditor shops in the thread's title.

WLRK: Don't see them around. They're lateral recruiting for ReFi, maybe trying to change things. They lost people recently to PW (Bolin, Witt). They do finance and RX in the same group (including vanilla acquisition work).

Culture: Weil is a grindhouse searching for bodies. DPW RX is DPW. PW is unremarkable (not a good or a bad thing, hard to put an adjective on their culture.) I know happy and unhappy people at all 3 shops.

Lit-oriented: if you're committed to a lit-heavy practice, go do UCC work at Akin or do Quinn's bk lit practice. (WLRK has a bk lit group that I don't know much about but sounds different from everyone else's.) At DPW / PW / Weil BK does stuff related to the code (e.g. plan confirmation) and lit does stuff that isn't (e.g. adversary proceeding regarding a patent dispute). Lit also does evidence, deposition, testimony, discovery for all bk matters at those shops.

Transactions: depends on what you want. You're going to be involved in a DIP, but that can be in a minor way (for bk-related stuff) or whole-hog. Ditto M&A agreements through 363. Other big documents are RSAs and plans. I find it interesting but I also like credit stuff so who knows what you'll like. You'll also be quarterbacking pretty often (i.e. making sure that others work on those docs will be done on time, etc).

Debtor-creditor: really hard to generalize. (And substantial differences between UCC, fulcrum, senior secured, etc). At PW / DPW you will get debtor reps (though still clearly majority creditor shops) and if that's what you love you can go to KE, Weil and do it more full time. Haven't seen KE / Weil as creditors basically ever. FWIW debtor people will tell you that 1.) their clients are way more thankful than creditor clients and 2.) they feel good about saving businesses.
Thanks for this. I have a few follow ups:

(1) Re: Quinn -- I have heard they have a phenomenal bankruptcy litigation group. But the general rep is that QE is just an awful place to work. Do you (or anyone else on here) have any insight into that?

(2) Re: Weil/PW/DPW -- I guess what I'm wondering is, what is the character of litigation at these firms if you're in the Rx group? Are you actually making arguments in briefs ever? Reading cases / writing memos? Arguing about things in court? Or are you just doing first days / other rote motions / helping lit develop facts for their briefs. My sense is that some of these firms' Rx groups may have more of a litigation bent than others and are much more actively engaged in lit than others, even if they're still technically not litigation.

(3) Agree that credit is interesting. But the issue I have had with transactional stuff is that it feels like you're not really negotiating or even critically analyzing/advising on things that much, you're just kind of figuring out how to do what the client wants. I feel like that's a common complaint about transactional work, but I've also heard that bankruptcy is different, and I was wondering if that is true in your (or anyone's) experience.

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