Davis Polk (NY) vs Freshfields (NY) for Corporate

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Davis Polk (NY) vs Freshfields (NY) for Corporate

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Feb 19, 2021 9:02 pm

Considering an offer from these two firms. Interested in either M&A or capital markets. I recognize Davis Polk has a very established reputation in the US, and while Freshfields is great internationally it has a long way to go in the US (even with recent hires).

I like Freshfields' growth strategy and the opportunities that can bring, but Davis Polk is, well, Davis Polk.

Any thoughts?

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Re: Davis Polk (NY) vs Freshfields (NY) for Corporate

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Feb 19, 2021 9:12 pm

DPW without question

as an aside, with regard to international transactional work, if you haven't done it before you're probably in for a reality check when you get a taste. in actual practice it entails spamming local counsel, waking up to a ton of emails from overnight, trying to understand arcane local law and waking up at ungodly times for calls. honestly sucks lol.

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Re: Davis Polk (NY) vs Freshfields (NY) for Corporate

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Feb 19, 2021 9:20 pm

Hehe, is this for real? Please choose Davis Polk :)

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Re: Davis Polk (NY) vs Freshfields (NY) for Corporate

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Feb 20, 2021 12:04 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Feb 19, 2021 9:20 pm
Hehe, is this for real? Please choose Davis Polk :)
Wouldn't lateralling to Freshfields also be pretty simple if you were established in M&A at DPW?

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Re: Davis Polk (NY) vs Freshfields (NY) for Corporate

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Feb 20, 2021 12:49 am

Speaking as a practicing lawyer in NY BigLaw, this is an incredibly easy choice: go to Davis Polk

Speaking as someone who has actually worked at DPW corporate and still has close friends in both those groups, this is an incredibly easy choice: go to Freshfields

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Re: Davis Polk (NY) vs Freshfields (NY) for Corporate

Post by louislittmbajdesq » Sat Feb 20, 2021 12:58 am

"Magic Circle" has such a cool ring to it ("V10" etc is so uncreative), but yes this should be an easy call for Davis Polk. Freshfields has a great international arbitration practice, but it sounds like you're set on corporate.

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Re: Davis Polk (NY) vs Freshfields (NY) for Corporate

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Feb 20, 2021 1:35 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Feb 20, 2021 12:49 am
Speaking as a practicing lawyer in NY BigLaw, this is an incredibly easy choice: go to Davis Polk

Speaking as someone who has actually worked at DPW corporate and still has close friends in both those groups, this is an incredibly easy choice: go to Freshfields
Haha. Curious - where did you go post DPW? Other thoughts on the experience?

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Re: Davis Polk (NY) vs Freshfields (NY) for Corporate

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Feb 20, 2021 1:48 am

If you are seriously interested in matters with a strong cross-border and multi-jurisdictional bent, go with the MC firm. People on these forums tend to be very NYC-centric and tend to dismiss international practice, so keep that in mind. Of course, if you are simply interested in becoming an M&A or Cap. Market expert, go with DPW.

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Re: Davis Polk (NY) vs Freshfields (NY) for Corporate

Post by musafir » Sat Feb 20, 2021 6:37 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Feb 20, 2021 12:49 am
Speaking as a practicing lawyer in NY BigLaw, this is an incredibly easy choice: go to Davis Polk

Speaking as someone who has actually worked at DPW corporate and still has close friends in both those groups, this is an incredibly easy choice: go to Freshfields
Would you be able to elaborate on this?

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Re: Davis Polk (NY) vs Freshfields (NY) for Corporate

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Feb 20, 2021 10:56 am

musafir wrote:
Sat Feb 20, 2021 6:37 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Feb 20, 2021 12:49 am
Speaking as a practicing lawyer in NY BigLaw, this is an incredibly easy choice: go to Davis Polk

Speaking as someone who has actually worked at DPW corporate and still has close friends in both those groups, this is an incredibly easy choice: go to Freshfields
Would you be able to elaborate on this?
tl;dr - If you go to DPW you'll probably lateral to a generic in-house position or another law firm anyway. Your personal life will be much better at Freshfields

Sure - for background I’m a senior associate who started at DPW and then lateraled to PW. I generally liked my time there, felt I learned a lot, and left on good terms. And to preface this, my response could probably apply to any number of firms that ppl consider DPW peers based on the experience of my friends and classmates.

DPW offers clear advantages at this point in the OPs career because there are so many unknown variables. Stronger brand in corporate circles, steadier volume of high quality work with high profile clients, and guaranteed to earn non-WLRK top compensation every year without an hours requirement.

But I’ve done the DPW thing myself and have watched many colleagues leave at various points. The reality is that 80% of DPW associates will leave the firm between years 2-5. The plurality of those exits are to other law firms (either in NY or otherwise). At that point, you’re no longer a DPW associate anyway and still too junior to do the “straight to partner or counsel at the new firm” thing. So the only thing that you take with you are the skills you picked up and friends you made (I’ll come back to this). On the non law firm exits, most ppl go to seats that one could get from any decently well known NY firm. Very few ppl scored a position that only DPW could offer (client specifically hires that associate because timing and impressions lined up) and those only go to senior associates (I.e., you have to survive and thrive long enough to get the look which is a challenge in and of itself). I’ve seen more DPW associates leave law altogether and start their own business than be cherry picked by a client.

It’s also not that hard to lateral into DPW. That’s really a myth. In some ways there’s less competition than at more lifestyle firms because most NY associates don’t want to “lateral up” and work worse hours for probably same money. You can count on one hand the number S&C and Cravath associates that want to lateral to DPW. What’s the point? On the other hand I’ve seen plenty of laterals from Cahill, Cadwalader, Paul Hastings, et al.

At the end of the day, the only thing that matters in this market is your ability to deliver good work product and how people think of you. And the DPW prestige isn’t always the answer to that. I’ve seen lots of obviously smart DPW associates crash and burn because they were overwhelmed on deals or the culture just wasn’t a right fit. One thing that that distinguishes DPW from its immediate peers is that the firm shies away from direct confrontation. So sure Skadden or S&C or Kirkland may scream at you, but at DPW they’ll just start directing work away from you to better associates. So if you’re a “bad junior” (which is most juniors) then you could be crippled early. Worse, if you’re one of the few good ones, you’ll feel the crush really quickly which makes you more prone to burning out.

So go where you think you’ll perform the best. Most law students don’t know so they pick based on prestige, which is what I did and it worked out fine. But if you know you’ll be happier and do better in a different environment, then just do that. I’ve seen classmates turn down Wachtell for regional firms in other cities and they're happy and fantastic lawyers today. Ultimately you’re the one that actually has to work the hours, not some random poster on TLS

ETA: Obviously this doesn't apply neatly to the litigation side.

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Re: Davis Polk (NY) vs Freshfields (NY) for Corporate

Post by spyke123 » Sat Feb 20, 2021 11:21 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Feb 20, 2021 10:56 am
musafir wrote:
Sat Feb 20, 2021 6:37 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Feb 20, 2021 12:49 am
Speaking as a practicing lawyer in NY BigLaw, this is an incredibly easy choice: go to Davis Polk

Speaking as someone who has actually worked at DPW corporate and still has close friends in both those groups, this is an incredibly easy choice: go to Freshfields
Would you be able to elaborate on this?
tl;dr - If you go to DPW you'll probably lateral to a generic in-house position or another law firm anyway. Your personal life will be much better at Freshfields

Sure - for background I’m a senior associate who started at DPW and then lateraled to PW. I generally liked my time there, felt I learned a lot, and left on good terms. And to preface this, my response could probably apply to any number of firms that ppl consider DPW peers based on the experience of my friends and classmates.

DPW offers clear advantages at this point in the OPs career because there are so many unknown variables. Stronger brand in corporate circles, steadier volume of high quality work with high profile clients, and guaranteed to earn non-WLRK top compensation every year without an hours requirement.

But I’ve done the DPW thing myself and have watched many colleagues leave at various points. The reality is that 80% of DPW associates will leave the firm between years 2-5. The plurality of those exits are to other law firms (either in NY or otherwise). At that point, you’re no longer a DPW associate anyway and still too junior to do the “straight to partner or counsel at the new firm” thing. So the only thing that you take with you are the skills you picked up and friends you made (I’ll come back to this). On the non law firm exits, most ppl go to seats that one could get from any decently well known NY firm. Very few ppl scored a position that only DPW could offer (client specifically hires that associate because timing and impressions lined up) and those only go to senior associates (I.e., you have to survive and thrive long enough to get the look which is a challenge in and of itself). I’ve seen more DPW associates leave law altogether and start their own business than be cherry picked by a client.

It’s also not that hard to lateral into DPW. That’s really a myth. In some ways there’s less competition than at more lifestyle firms because most NY associates don’t want to “lateral up” and work worse hours for probably same money. You can count on one hand the number S&C and Cravath associates that want to lateral to DPW. What’s the point? On the other hand I’ve seen plenty of laterals from Cahill, Cadwalader, Paul Hastings, et al.

At the end of the day, the only thing that matters in this market is your ability to deliver good work product and how people think of you. And the DPW prestige isn’t always the answer to that. I’ve seen lots of obviously smart DPW associates crash and burn because they were overwhelmed on deals or the culture just wasn’t a right fit. One thing that that distinguishes DPW from its immediate peers is that the firm shies away from direct confrontation. So sure Skadden or S&C or Kirkland may scream at you, but at DPW they’ll just start directing work away from you to better associates. So if you’re a “bad junior” (which is most juniors) then you could be crippled early. Worse, if you’re one of the few good ones, you’ll feel the crush really quickly which makes you more prone to burning out.

So go where you think you’ll perform the best. Most law students don’t know so they pick based on prestige, which is what I did and it worked out fine. But if you know you’ll be happier and do better in a different environment, then just do that. I’ve seen classmates turn down Wachtell for regional firms in other cities and they're happy and fantastic lawyers today. Ultimately you’re the one that actually has to work the hours, not some random poster on TLS

ETA: Obviously this doesn't apply neatly to the litigation side.
Not disagreeing with anything said here but nothing you said seems to imply that it is an incredible easy choice for OP to go to freshfields.

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Re: Davis Polk (NY) vs Freshfields (NY) for Corporate

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Feb 20, 2021 11:33 am

spyke123 wrote:
Sat Feb 20, 2021 11:21 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Feb 20, 2021 10:56 am
musafir wrote:
Sat Feb 20, 2021 6:37 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Feb 20, 2021 12:49 am
Speaking as a practicing lawyer in NY BigLaw, this is an incredibly easy choice: go to Davis Polk

Speaking as someone who has actually worked at DPW corporate and still has close friends in both those groups, this is an incredibly easy choice: go to Freshfields
Would you be able to elaborate on this?
tl;dr - If you go to DPW you'll probably lateral to a generic in-house position or another law firm anyway. Your personal life will be much better at Freshfields

Sure - for background I’m a senior associate who started at DPW and then lateraled to PW. I generally liked my time there, felt I learned a lot, and left on good terms. And to preface this, my response could probably apply to any number of firms that ppl consider DPW peers based on the experience of my friends and classmates.

DPW offers clear advantages at this point in the OPs career because there are so many unknown variables. Stronger brand in corporate circles, steadier volume of high quality work with high profile clients, and guaranteed to earn non-WLRK top compensation every year without an hours requirement.

But I’ve done the DPW thing myself and have watched many colleagues leave at various points. The reality is that 80% of DPW associates will leave the firm between years 2-5. The plurality of those exits are to other law firms (either in NY or otherwise). At that point, you’re no longer a DPW associate anyway and still too junior to do the “straight to partner or counsel at the new firm” thing. So the only thing that you take with you are the skills you picked up and friends you made (I’ll come back to this). On the non law firm exits, most ppl go to seats that one could get from any decently well known NY firm. Very few ppl scored a position that only DPW could offer (client specifically hires that associate because timing and impressions lined up) and those only go to senior associates (I.e., you have to survive and thrive long enough to get the look which is a challenge in and of itself). I’ve seen more DPW associates leave law altogether and start their own business than be cherry picked by a client.

It’s also not that hard to lateral into DPW. That’s really a myth. In some ways there’s less competition than at more lifestyle firms because most NY associates don’t want to “lateral up” and work worse hours for probably same money. You can count on one hand the number S&C and Cravath associates that want to lateral to DPW. What’s the point? On the other hand I’ve seen plenty of laterals from Cahill, Cadwalader, Paul Hastings, et al.

At the end of the day, the only thing that matters in this market is your ability to deliver good work product and how people think of you. And the DPW prestige isn’t always the answer to that. I’ve seen lots of obviously smart DPW associates crash and burn because they were overwhelmed on deals or the culture just wasn’t a right fit. One thing that that distinguishes DPW from its immediate peers is that the firm shies away from direct confrontation. So sure Skadden or S&C or Kirkland may scream at you, but at DPW they’ll just start directing work away from you to better associates. So if you’re a “bad junior” (which is most juniors) then you could be crippled early. Worse, if you’re one of the few good ones, you’ll feel the crush really quickly which makes you more prone to burning out.

So go where you think you’ll perform the best. Most law students don’t know so they pick based on prestige, which is what I did and it worked out fine. But if you know you’ll be happier and do better in a different environment, then just do that. I’ve seen classmates turn down Wachtell for regional firms in other cities and they're happy and fantastic lawyers today. Ultimately you’re the one that actually has to work the hours, not some random poster on TLS

ETA: Obviously this doesn't apply neatly to the litigation side.
Not disagreeing with anything said here but nothing you said seems to imply that it is an incredible easy choice for OP to go to freshfields.
An easy choice in hindsight for those of us that have done it - save yourself lol. But yes conventional wisdom is to go to DPW and try it for yourself

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Re: Davis Polk (NY) vs Freshfields (NY) for Corporate

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Feb 20, 2021 12:04 pm

As a corporate midlevel at Dpw, go to fresh fields. You’ll probcbly last longer and better exits are often about relevant experience rather than firm name. Of course if you last 5 years at Dpw you might have better exits but it’s unlikely you last five years here.

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Re: Davis Polk (NY) vs Freshfields (NY) for Corporate

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Feb 20, 2021 2:57 pm

I had the exact choice between CSM/S&C/DPW/STB and Freshfields many years ago. Back then too, Freshfields had some exciting new hires that made me strongly consider it, and I too, really liked the culture. I ended up not going with it, and I'm glad, because when I decided to lateral, I had choices I just don't believe I'd have gotten coming out of Freshfields (and someone who worked there confirmed that belief). Also, I'd have always wondered "what if?"

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Re: Davis Polk (NY) vs Freshfields (NY) for Corporate

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Feb 20, 2021 10:30 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Feb 20, 2021 10:56 am
musafir wrote:
Sat Feb 20, 2021 6:37 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Feb 20, 2021 12:49 am
Speaking as a practicing lawyer in NY BigLaw, this is an incredibly easy choice: go to Davis Polk

Speaking as someone who has actually worked at DPW corporate and still has close friends in both those groups, this is an incredibly easy choice: go to Freshfields
Would you be able to elaborate on this?
tl;dr - If you go to DPW you'll probably lateral to a generic in-house position or another law firm anyway. Your personal life will be much better at Freshfields

Sure - for background I’m a senior associate who started at DPW and then lateraled to PW. I generally liked my time there, felt I learned a lot, and left on good terms. And to preface this, my response could probably apply to any number of firms that ppl consider DPW peers based on the experience of my friends and classmates.

DPW offers clear advantages at this point in the OPs career because there are so many unknown variables. Stronger brand in corporate circles, steadier volume of high quality work with high profile clients, and guaranteed to earn non-WLRK top compensation every year without an hours requirement.

But I’ve done the DPW thing myself and have watched many colleagues leave at various points. The reality is that 80% of DPW associates will leave the firm between years 2-5. The plurality of those exits are to other law firms (either in NY or otherwise). At that point, you’re no longer a DPW associate anyway and still too junior to do the “straight to partner or counsel at the new firm” thing. So the only thing that you take with you are the skills you picked up and friends you made (I’ll come back to this). On the non law firm exits, most ppl go to seats that one could get from any decently well known NY firm. Very few ppl scored a position that only DPW could offer (client specifically hires that associate because timing and impressions lined up) and those only go to senior associates (I.e., you have to survive and thrive long enough to get the look which is a challenge in and of itself). I’ve seen more DPW associates leave law altogether and start their own business than be cherry picked by a client.

It’s also not that hard to lateral into DPW. That’s really a myth. In some ways there’s less competition than at more lifestyle firms because most NY associates don’t want to “lateral up” and work worse hours for probably same money. You can count on one hand the number S&C and Cravath associates that want to lateral to DPW. What’s the point? On the other hand I’ve seen plenty of laterals from Cahill, Cadwalader, Paul Hastings, et al.

At the end of the day, the only thing that matters in this market is your ability to deliver good work product and how people think of you. And the DPW prestige isn’t always the answer to that. I’ve seen lots of obviously smart DPW associates crash and burn because they were overwhelmed on deals or the culture just wasn’t a right fit. One thing that that distinguishes DPW from its immediate peers is that the firm shies away from direct confrontation. So sure Skadden or S&C or Kirkland may scream at you, but at DPW they’ll just start directing work away from you to better associates. So if you’re a “bad junior” (which is most juniors) then you could be crippled early. Worse, if you’re one of the few good ones, you’ll feel the crush really quickly which makes you more prone to burning out.

So go where you think you’ll perform the best. Most law students don’t know so they pick based on prestige, which is what I did and it worked out fine. But if you know you’ll be happier and do better in a different environment, then just do that. I’ve seen classmates turn down Wachtell for regional firms in other cities and they're happy and fantastic lawyers today. Ultimately you’re the one that actually has to work the hours, not some random poster on TLS

ETA: Obviously this doesn't apply neatly to the litigation side.
OP here. Thanks for this - very helpful.

I should have been clearer in my original post. I am currently a 3-5th year lateral applicant considering the two firms for corporate/capital markets. I don't know how much that changes the equation. I am getting a little bit concerned about the warnings of burning and crashing so hard and DPW. I was leaning DPW, fully aware of the demands of BL, but if it is THAT bad, I may have some thinking to do.

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Re: Davis Polk (NY) vs Freshfields (NY) for Corporate

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Feb 20, 2021 10:39 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Feb 20, 2021 10:30 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Feb 20, 2021 10:56 am
musafir wrote:
Sat Feb 20, 2021 6:37 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Feb 20, 2021 12:49 am
Speaking as a practicing lawyer in NY BigLaw, this is an incredibly easy choice: go to Davis Polk

Speaking as someone who has actually worked at DPW corporate and still has close friends in both those groups, this is an incredibly easy choice: go to Freshfields
Would you be able to elaborate on this?
tl;dr - If you go to DPW you'll probably lateral to a generic in-house position or another law firm anyway. Your personal life will be much better at Freshfields

Sure - for background I’m a senior associate who started at DPW and then lateraled to PW. I generally liked my time there, felt I learned a lot, and left on good terms. And to preface this, my response could probably apply to any number of firms that ppl consider DPW peers based on the experience of my friends and classmates.

DPW offers clear advantages at this point in the OPs career because there are so many unknown variables. Stronger brand in corporate circles, steadier volume of high quality work with high profile clients, and guaranteed to earn non-WLRK top compensation every year without an hours requirement.

But I’ve done the DPW thing myself and have watched many colleagues leave at various points. The reality is that 80% of DPW associates will leave the firm between years 2-5. The plurality of those exits are to other law firms (either in NY or otherwise). At that point, you’re no longer a DPW associate anyway and still too junior to do the “straight to partner or counsel at the new firm” thing. So the only thing that you take with you are the skills you picked up and friends you made (I’ll come back to this). On the non law firm exits, most ppl go to seats that one could get from any decently well known NY firm. Very few ppl scored a position that only DPW could offer (client specifically hires that associate because timing and impressions lined up) and those only go to senior associates (I.e., you have to survive and thrive long enough to get the look which is a challenge in and of itself). I’ve seen more DPW associates leave law altogether and start their own business than be cherry picked by a client.

It’s also not that hard to lateral into DPW. That’s really a myth. In some ways there’s less competition than at more lifestyle firms because most NY associates don’t want to “lateral up” and work worse hours for probably same money. You can count on one hand the number S&C and Cravath associates that want to lateral to DPW. What’s the point? On the other hand I’ve seen plenty of laterals from Cahill, Cadwalader, Paul Hastings, et al.

At the end of the day, the only thing that matters in this market is your ability to deliver good work product and how people think of you. And the DPW prestige isn’t always the answer to that. I’ve seen lots of obviously smart DPW associates crash and burn because they were overwhelmed on deals or the culture just wasn’t a right fit. One thing that that distinguishes DPW from its immediate peers is that the firm shies away from direct confrontation. So sure Skadden or S&C or Kirkland may scream at you, but at DPW they’ll just start directing work away from you to better associates. So if you’re a “bad junior” (which is most juniors) then you could be crippled early. Worse, if you’re one of the few good ones, you’ll feel the crush really quickly which makes you more prone to burning out.

So go where you think you’ll perform the best. Most law students don’t know so they pick based on prestige, which is what I did and it worked out fine. But if you know you’ll be happier and do better in a different environment, then just do that. I’ve seen classmates turn down Wachtell for regional firms in other cities and they're happy and fantastic lawyers today. Ultimately you’re the one that actually has to work the hours, not some random poster on TLS

ETA: Obviously this doesn't apply neatly to the litigation side.
OP here. Thanks for this - very helpful.

I should have been clearer in my original post. I am currently a 3-5th year lateral applicant considering the two firms for corporate/capital markets. I don't know how much that changes the equation. I am getting a little bit concerned about the warnings of burning and crashing so hard and DPW. I was leaning DPW, fully aware of the demands of BL, but if it is THAT bad, I may have some thinking to do.
If you want to stay at a firm (ie; make partner), going to the firm that is rapidly trying to expand its US presence is going to be a better choice than the firm who is and will be the traditional white shoe firm pyramid.

Also know someone who has been at both - recommendation from them would be 100% Freshfields.

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Re: Davis Polk (NY) vs Freshfields (NY) for Corporate

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Feb 22, 2021 2:41 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Feb 20, 2021 10:30 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Feb 20, 2021 10:56 am
musafir wrote:
Sat Feb 20, 2021 6:37 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Feb 20, 2021 12:49 am
Speaking as a practicing lawyer in NY BigLaw, this is an incredibly easy choice: go to Davis Polk

Speaking as someone who has actually worked at DPW corporate and still has close friends in both those groups, this is an incredibly easy choice: go to Freshfields
Would you be able to elaborate on this?
tl;dr - If you go to DPW you'll probably lateral to a generic in-house position or another law firm anyway. Your personal life will be much better at Freshfields

Sure - for background I’m a senior associate who started at DPW and then lateraled to PW. I generally liked my time there, felt I learned a lot, and left on good terms. And to preface this, my response could probably apply to any number of firms that ppl consider DPW peers based on the experience of my friends and classmates.

DPW offers clear advantages at this point in the OPs career because there are so many unknown variables. Stronger brand in corporate circles, steadier volume of high quality work with high profile clients, and guaranteed to earn non-WLRK top compensation every year without an hours requirement.

But I’ve done the DPW thing myself and have watched many colleagues leave at various points. The reality is that 80% of DPW associates will leave the firm between years 2-5. The plurality of those exits are to other law firms (either in NY or otherwise). At that point, you’re no longer a DPW associate anyway and still too junior to do the “straight to partner or counsel at the new firm” thing. So the only thing that you take with you are the skills you picked up and friends you made (I’ll come back to this). On the non law firm exits, most ppl go to seats that one could get from any decently well known NY firm. Very few ppl scored a position that only DPW could offer (client specifically hires that associate because timing and impressions lined up) and those only go to senior associates (I.e., you have to survive and thrive long enough to get the look which is a challenge in and of itself). I’ve seen more DPW associates leave law altogether and start their own business than be cherry picked by a client.

It’s also not that hard to lateral into DPW. That’s really a myth. In some ways there’s less competition than at more lifestyle firms because most NY associates don’t want to “lateral up” and work worse hours for probably same money. You can count on one hand the number S&C and Cravath associates that want to lateral to DPW. What’s the point? On the other hand I’ve seen plenty of laterals from Cahill, Cadwalader, Paul Hastings, et al.

At the end of the day, the only thing that matters in this market is your ability to deliver good work product and how people think of you. And the DPW prestige isn’t always the answer to that. I’ve seen lots of obviously smart DPW associates crash and burn because they were overwhelmed on deals or the culture just wasn’t a right fit. One thing that that distinguishes DPW from its immediate peers is that the firm shies away from direct confrontation. So sure Skadden or S&C or Kirkland may scream at you, but at DPW they’ll just start directing work away from you to better associates. So if you’re a “bad junior” (which is most juniors) then you could be crippled early. Worse, if you’re one of the few good ones, you’ll feel the crush really quickly which makes you more prone to burning out.

So go where you think you’ll perform the best. Most law students don’t know so they pick based on prestige, which is what I did and it worked out fine. But if you know you’ll be happier and do better in a different environment, then just do that. I’ve seen classmates turn down Wachtell for regional firms in other cities and they're happy and fantastic lawyers today. Ultimately you’re the one that actually has to work the hours, not some random poster on TLS

ETA: Obviously this doesn't apply neatly to the litigation side.
OP here. Thanks for this - very helpful.

I should have been clearer in my original post. I am currently a 3-5th year lateral applicant considering the two firms for corporate/capital markets. I don't know how much that changes the equation. I am getting a little bit concerned about the warnings of burning and crashing so hard and DPW. I was leaning DPW, fully aware of the demands of BL, but if it is THAT bad, I may have some thinking to do.
I'm the anon you quoted. Sorry, i completely missed that. I definitely think it changes the equation. I can promise you that a new 3-5th year is going to get completely murdered at DPW M&A right now. Have very close friends who are among the remaining seniors in that group and I've never seen it be this bad. The group has lost a bunch of seniors and midlevels and I know for a fact that they're losing at least 1-2 more between now and July. It's impossible to get adequate junior staffing, all the 2nd years are crushed too so you're stuck with rotators who have no idea what to do (not their fault, just how the rotation system plays out). I don't have as much direct intel on cap markets but the group seems just as busy.

DPW is also one of those places where laterals are considered "second-class" in terms of partnership/recruiting efforts but it depends on where you're coming from. If you're coming from a peer shop, then probably not a problem. But if you're lateraling up then I would seriously discount promotion prospects. If you're looking for a long-term home, then I imagine a growing Freshfields practice is going to be a more fertile environment for a strong 3-5 year. If your plan is to jump one more time after this, then maybe worth rubbing the DPW name on your resume for a year or two but it's going to be miserable.

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Re: Davis Polk (NY) vs Freshfields (NY) for Corporate

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Feb 22, 2021 2:55 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Feb 22, 2021 2:41 pm
I'm the anon you quoted. Sorry, i completely missed that. I definitely think it changes the equation. I can promise you that a new 3-5th year is going to get completely murdered at DPW M&A right now. Have very close friends who are among the remaining seniors in that group and I've never seen it be this bad. The group has lost a bunch of seniors and midlevels and I know for a fact that they're losing at least 1-2 more between now and July. It's impossible to get adequate junior staffing, all the 2nd years are crushed too so you're stuck with rotators who have no idea what to do (not their fault, just how the rotation system plays out). I don't have as much direct intel on cap markets but the group seems just as busy.

DPW is also one of those places where laterals are considered "second-class" in terms of partnership/recruiting efforts but it depends on where you're coming from. If you're coming from a peer shop, then probably not a problem. But if you're lateraling up then I would seriously discount promotion prospects. If you're looking for a long-term home, then I imagine a growing Freshfields practice is going to be a more fertile environment for a strong 3-5 year. If your plan is to jump one more time after this, then maybe worth rubbing the DPW name on your resume for a year or two but it's going to be miserable.
Not the original lateral anon, but do you have any intel on whether DPW restructuring is (still) getting crushed?

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Re: Davis Polk (NY) vs Freshfields (NY) for Corporate

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Feb 22, 2021 2:58 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Feb 22, 2021 2:55 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Feb 22, 2021 2:41 pm
I'm the anon you quoted. Sorry, i completely missed that. I definitely think it changes the equation. I can promise you that a new 3-5th year is going to get completely murdered at DPW M&A right now. Have very close friends who are among the remaining seniors in that group and I've never seen it be this bad. The group has lost a bunch of seniors and midlevels and I know for a fact that they're losing at least 1-2 more between now and July. It's impossible to get adequate junior staffing, all the 2nd years are crushed too so you're stuck with rotators who have no idea what to do (not their fault, just how the rotation system plays out). I don't have as much direct intel on cap markets but the group seems just as busy.

DPW is also one of those places where laterals are considered "second-class" in terms of partnership/recruiting efforts but it depends on where you're coming from. If you're coming from a peer shop, then probably not a problem. But if you're lateraling up then I would seriously discount promotion prospects. If you're looking for a long-term home, then I imagine a growing Freshfields practice is going to be a more fertile environment for a strong 3-5 year. If your plan is to jump one more time after this, then maybe worth rubbing the DPW name on your resume for a year or two but it's going to be miserable.
Not the original lateral anon, but do you have any intel on whether DPW restructuring is (still) getting crushed?
Not as bad in Rx - i'd be surprised if they're busy at all right now. Rx groups across the city have been in a lull for the past few months that will likely continue for another quarter or two - too cheap/easy in this market for companies to borrow money and avoid a restructuring. I've heard rumors that Kirkland moved dozens of Bk juniors over to corporate (not sure if temporary or permanent) and that they've nudged some out.

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Re: Davis Polk (NY) vs Freshfields (NY) for Corporate

Post by NoLongerALurker » Mon Feb 22, 2021 3:26 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Feb 20, 2021 10:30 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Feb 20, 2021 10:56 am
musafir wrote:
Sat Feb 20, 2021 6:37 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Feb 20, 2021 12:49 am
Speaking as a practicing lawyer in NY BigLaw, this is an incredibly easy choice: go to Davis Polk

Speaking as someone who has actually worked at DPW corporate and still has close friends in both those groups, this is an incredibly easy choice: go to Freshfields
Would you be able to elaborate on this?
tl;dr - If you go to DPW you'll probably lateral to a generic in-house position or another law firm anyway. Your personal life will be much better at Freshfields

Sure - for background I’m a senior associate who started at DPW and then lateraled to PW. I generally liked my time there, felt I learned a lot, and left on good terms. And to preface this, my response could probably apply to any number of firms that ppl consider DPW peers based on the experience of my friends and classmates.

DPW offers clear advantages at this point in the OPs career because there are so many unknown variables. Stronger brand in corporate circles, steadier volume of high quality work with high profile clients, and guaranteed to earn non-WLRK top compensation every year without an hours requirement.

But I’ve done the DPW thing myself and have watched many colleagues leave at various points. The reality is that 80% of DPW associates will leave the firm between years 2-5. The plurality of those exits are to other law firms (either in NY or otherwise). At that point, you’re no longer a DPW associate anyway and still too junior to do the “straight to partner or counsel at the new firm” thing. So the only thing that you take with you are the skills you picked up and friends you made (I’ll come back to this). On the non law firm exits, most ppl go to seats that one could get from any decently well known NY firm. Very few ppl scored a position that only DPW could offer (client specifically hires that associate because timing and impressions lined up) and those only go to senior associates (I.e., you have to survive and thrive long enough to get the look which is a challenge in and of itself). I’ve seen more DPW associates leave law altogether and start their own business than be cherry picked by a client.

It’s also not that hard to lateral into DPW. That’s really a myth. In some ways there’s less competition than at more lifestyle firms because most NY associates don’t want to “lateral up” and work worse hours for probably same money. You can count on one hand the number S&C and Cravath associates that want to lateral to DPW. What’s the point? On the other hand I’ve seen plenty of laterals from Cahill, Cadwalader, Paul Hastings, et al.

At the end of the day, the only thing that matters in this market is your ability to deliver good work product and how people think of you. And the DPW prestige isn’t always the answer to that. I’ve seen lots of obviously smart DPW associates crash and burn because they were overwhelmed on deals or the culture just wasn’t a right fit. One thing that that distinguishes DPW from its immediate peers is that the firm shies away from direct confrontation. So sure Skadden or S&C or Kirkland may scream at you, but at DPW they’ll just start directing work away from you to better associates. So if you’re a “bad junior” (which is most juniors) then you could be crippled early. Worse, if you’re one of the few good ones, you’ll feel the crush really quickly which makes you more prone to burning out.

So go where you think you’ll perform the best. Most law students don’t know so they pick based on prestige, which is what I did and it worked out fine. But if you know you’ll be happier and do better in a different environment, then just do that. I’ve seen classmates turn down Wachtell for regional firms in other cities and they're happy and fantastic lawyers today. Ultimately you’re the one that actually has to work the hours, not some random poster on TLS

ETA: Obviously this doesn't apply neatly to the litigation side.
OP here. Thanks for this - very helpful.

I should have been clearer in my original post. I am currently a 3-5th year lateral applicant considering the two firms for corporate/capital markets. I don't know how much that changes the equation. I am getting a little bit concerned about the warnings of burning and crashing so hard and DPW. I was leaning DPW, fully aware of the demands of BL, but if it is THAT bad, I may have some thinking to do.
As someone at a peer firm who knows many people lateraling, and who knows many people at DPW -- if you were a fresh grad, I'd take DPW no question. If I were in your position, I'd almost (..almost) certainly take FF.

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Re: Davis Polk (NY) vs Freshfields (NY) for Corporate

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Feb 23, 2021 12:32 am

For everyone saying Freshfields, mind expanding on why? I don't have a stake in this but am super curious.

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Re: Davis Polk (NY) vs Freshfields (NY) for Corporate

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Feb 24, 2021 5:50 pm

OP anon here. Thanks for all the responses, looks like I will end up going with FF.

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Re: Davis Polk (NY) vs Freshfields (NY) for Corporate

Post by FF2020 » Wed Feb 24, 2021 7:10 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Feb 24, 2021 5:50 pm
OP anon here. Thanks for all the responses, looks like I will end up going with FF.
The right choice. Congrats.

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Re: Davis Polk (NY) vs Freshfields (NY) for Corporate

Post by Wild Card » Wed Feb 24, 2021 7:40 pm

White & Case

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Re: Davis Polk (NY) vs Freshfields (NY) for Corporate

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Feb 24, 2021 11:55 pm

As a DPW corporate mid-level, this thread is spot on

Seriously? What are you waiting for?

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