Houston market: LW vs KE vs VE

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Best Houston transactional firm?

VE
23
34%
KE
29
43%
LW
15
22%
 
Total votes: 67

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Houston market: LW vs KE vs VE

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Jul 19, 2021 6:50 pm

Deciding between VE, KE, and LW in Houston. I really liked the people at LW and VE but am worried about the immediate future in the event that things start to slow down again. Is being lathamed still a huge concern? Also, would I be shooting myself in the foot by turning down a TX legacy firm that seems to be holding onto their piece of the pie and fighting against the national firms coming in? I didn’t get too much of a read on KE but TLS posts seem to indicate that it’s not a great place to be a junior (?). Ideally, I’d like to build a career at whichever firm I choose and strap in for the long term. All in all, just a confused rising 2L looking for advice/insight.

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Re: Houston market: LW vs KE vs VE

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jul 20, 2021 3:55 pm

All great choices. I'd personally go to VE or maybe Latham, become a midlevel, and get that $$$ by lateralling to Kirkland. Meanwhile, all the schmucks who started at Kirkland miss out on the $$$.

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Re: Houston market: LW vs KE vs VE

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jul 20, 2021 4:30 pm

All of these firms are going to be a tough lifestyle, with Kirkland probably being the hardest.

V&E is more "traditional” in a lot of ways. More facetime, more formal dress, etc. I wouldn't underestimate how annoying this can be when you are billing constantly and are exhausted. V&E also has a lot of emphasis on socializing within their corporate groups - if you're an extrovert who is single without many responsibilities outside of work, this might be a great fit for you. If you're an introvert with a family, maybe not so much. I would go with Latham for these reasons, but V&E is still a great firm if it fits your personality.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Tue Jul 20, 2021 5:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Houston market: LW vs KE vs VE

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jul 20, 2021 5:27 pm

I agree with most of this. VE is pretty big on facetime and formal dress and KE is the opposite (very casual and people pre-covid worked from home all the time). I don't know much about LW. I would say, seeing what is happening to Baker Botts now makes me nervous about VE, and I know they are different but when I was a summer associate long ago, BB was on par with VE and now its not even close. I would go with KE just because of their growth and having the best M&A practice in town.

I am also not so sure these KE signing bonuses will last long enough to take advantage of in the future. I would imagine either KE will finally be built out in Houston and the work leveled out or things will have slowed down overall (this pace can't last forever).

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Re: Houston market: LW vs KE vs VE

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Jul 21, 2021 12:26 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Jul 19, 2021 6:50 pm
Deciding between VE, KE, and LW in Houston. I really liked the people at LW and VE but am worried about the immediate future in the event that things start to slow down again. Is being lathamed still a huge concern? Also, would I be shooting myself in the foot by turning down a TX legacy firm that seems to be holding onto their piece of the pie and fighting against the national firms coming in? I didn’t get too much of a read on KE but TLS posts seem to indicate that it’s not a great place to be a junior (?). Ideally, I’d like to build a career at whichever firm I choose and strap in for the long term. All in all, just a confused rising 2L looking for advice/insight.
Annon because I work at one of the named firms in Houston. Bottom line, you don't have a bad choice and congrats on the options.

I would go LW or KE depending on how you liked the offices/people if I were you. Both will be hard driving and you will do hard/good/interesting work. Not surprised it was difficult to read the people at KE, as the personalities vary a lot in my experience. Though not universal, both VE and LW Houston are generally easier going than KE.

Above posters are correct that VE holds onto some of the more old style elements, but its still a pretty low key place to work compared to other legacy TX firms. That said, "legacy Texas" means less and less every year (and I would argue it is worth little to nothing now). VE is also bleeding associates to other firms (KE and LW included) currently, so not sure what their future looks like.

If you liked the people at LW, I would tell you to go with them. They are busier than ever (maybe MLP boom of 2012-2014 excepted, but that office was much smaller then) and I think their leadership understands how much 2008 hurt the firm's reputation long term and I would be surprised if they lead the way on layoff's ever again (could always be wrong though).

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Re: Houston market: LW vs KE vs VE

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Jul 21, 2021 9:59 am

I would go to KE or LW based on how you liked the personalities/culture (and if possible, ask to follow-up with a "second look" or casual coffee with people on your future team to get a read on them outside the pressure of an interview, especially if it was Zoom). VE has been doing fine, but I think it's pretty clear that the momentum is behind LW and KE - I can't imagine that changing anytime soon. My bold prediction is that in the medium-term, VE will remain part of the elite trio, but it'll settle into a clear #3 and stay there.

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Re: Houston market: LW vs KE vs VE

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Jul 21, 2021 10:09 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Jul 21, 2021 9:59 am
I would go to KE or LW based on how you liked the personalities/culture (and if possible, ask to follow-up with a "second look" or casual coffee with people on your future team to get a read on them outside the pressure of an interview, especially if it was Zoom). VE has been doing fine, but I think it's pretty clear that the momentum is behind LW and KE - I can't imagine that changing anytime soon. My bold prediction is that in the medium-term, VE will remain part of the elite trio, but it'll settle into a clear #3 and stay there.
Any insight into the future if there's a downturn? Is there a reasonable fear that LW will Latham a bunch of associates? Is there a reason to pick LW over KE or vice versa aside from fit? Any reason as to why VE falls down to the number 3 spot aside from momentum given how the firm has been able to hold on and has had huge MA years (largest in size, not necessarily the most).

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Re: Houston market: LW vs KE vs VE

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Jul 21, 2021 10:13 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Jul 21, 2021 12:26 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Jul 19, 2021 6:50 pm
Deciding between VE, KE, and LW in Houston. I really liked the people at LW and VE but am worried about the immediate future in the event that things start to slow down again. Is being lathamed still a huge concern? Also, would I be shooting myself in the foot by turning down a TX legacy firm that seems to be holding onto their piece of the pie and fighting against the national firms coming in? I didn’t get too much of a read on KE but TLS posts seem to indicate that it’s not a great place to be a junior (?). Ideally, I’d like to build a career at whichever firm I choose and strap in for the long term. All in all, just a confused rising 2L looking for advice/insight.
Annon because I work at one of the named firms in Houston. Bottom line, you don't have a bad choice and congrats on the options.

I would go LW or KE depending on how you liked the offices/people if I were you. Both will be hard driving and you will do hard/good/interesting work. Not surprised it was difficult to read the people at KE, as the personalities vary a lot in my experience. Though not universal, both VE and LW Houston are generally easier going than KE.

Above posters are correct that VE holds onto some of the more old style elements, but its still a pretty low key place to work compared to other legacy TX firms. That said, "legacy Texas" means less and less every year (and I would argue it is worth little to nothing now). VE is also bleeding associates to other firms (KE and LW included) currently, so not sure what their future looks like.

If you liked the people at LW, I would tell you to go with them. They are busier than ever (maybe MLP boom of 2012-2014 excepted, but that office was much smaller then) and I think their leadership understands how much 2008 hurt the firm's reputation long term and I would be surprised if they lead the way on layoff's ever again (could always be wrong though).
Is this just kinda speculation? Also, given that LW Houston is generally a net exporter of work, does it mean that being in this office is bit safer than being an associate in another office if there is a general economic slowdown or is it all just a moot point and LW will Latham if it needs to?

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Re: Houston market: LW vs KE vs VE

Post by legalpotato » Thu Jul 22, 2021 1:52 pm

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Re: Houston market: LW vs KE vs VE

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Jul 22, 2021 2:11 pm

re downturns, I'd feel safer at the smaller national shops (like GDC/STB) over the above

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Re: Houston market: LW vs KE vs VE

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Jul 25, 2021 1:57 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Jul 22, 2021 2:11 pm
re downturns, I'd feel safer at the smaller national shops (like GDC/STB) over the above
Why would a smaller national shop be safer in a downturn? I'd imagine that a smaller shop would have less opportunity to generate work, meaning that no one is working and suddenly a smaller satellite office becomes expendable to keep the effect on the main offices minimal. Is there something I'm missing?

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Re: Houston market: LW vs KE vs VE

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jul 27, 2021 10:59 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Jul 22, 2021 2:11 pm
re downturns, I'd feel safer at the smaller national shops (like GDC/STB) over the above
Would a smaller shop be in a better position than VE? I’d imagine a smaller shop that doesn’t generate enough work on its own could be in a worse position in a downturn.

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Re: Houston market: LW vs KE vs VE

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Jul 28, 2021 1:08 am

Maybe smaller national shops of non elite firms, but both the above generate more than enough work locally to fuel their smaller sizes. I’d be much more concerned with a firm finding work for a satellite with hundreds of attorneys. Really comes down to how the firms are built/target expansion/etc.

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Re: Houston market: LW vs KE vs VE

Post by nealric » Thu Jul 29, 2021 11:01 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Jul 22, 2021 2:11 pm
re downturns, I'd feel safer at the smaller national shops (like GDC/STB) over the above
For those who were around during the great recession, Latham was pretty infamous for aggressively hiring, then aggressively firing. Getting "Lathamed" meant being fired as a brand new first year. However, there's frankly no telling how firms would react to a similar situation over a decade later. Management has changed, the business environment has changed, etc. I'm not sure you can really know in advance how safe you might be at the respective firms.

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Re: Houston market: LW vs KE vs VE

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Jul 29, 2021 11:43 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Jul 28, 2021 1:08 am
Maybe smaller national shops of non elite firms, but both the above generate more than enough work locally to fuel their smaller sizes. I’d be much more concerned with a firm finding work for a satellite with hundreds of attorneys. Really comes down to how the firms are built/target expansion/etc.
You also have no idea what you are talking about if you think KE or LW is a satellite in Houston getting its work from NY/Chicago/whatever. Houston is one of the most profitable offices for both of those shops. You will be likely the same at those 3 (KE, LW and VE). I would not go to STB as they are a non-player in Houston (similar to Skadden). GDC would likely be fine as well, but still more of an afterthought here. You don't pick STB or GDC (especially STB) if you have the choice of all of VE/LW/KE.

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Re: Houston market: LW vs KE vs VE

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Jul 29, 2021 11:58 am

fwiw, there's been a decent number of associates leaving K&E houston because the hours are just brutal (3 lateraled to firm within a month's time). i've heard particularly awful things - can't speak on the others.

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Re: Houston market: LW vs KE vs VE

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Jul 29, 2021 12:47 pm

Does anyone have insight into how VE is doing right now? Ive heard that they’re bleeding associates right now but I’m not sure if it’s just because of the lateral market or because of something else. Are they losing associates to the other two big names or is it just a mass move of associates going back and forth between the top three firms?

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Re: Houston market: LW vs KE vs VE

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Jul 29, 2021 3:44 pm

To each their own but definitely chose and know of others who chose GDC/STB over offers at LW/VE/KE for reasons discussed here…

KE has a horrible rep, VE is way more in oil/gas, LW seems like the best of those others

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