Which firm has a better debtor side RX practice - Kirkland or Weil? Forum

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Re: Which firm has a better debtor side RX practice - Kirkland or Weil?

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Jan 11, 2023 6:38 pm

Kirkland--volume is just better, teams are leaner, and as a junior you'll see a lot more matters and situations. Weil is really good at mega-chapter 11s (e.g. PG&E) and have the setup for that. K&E is dominant in the midmarket and really only loses those mandates when there's a conflict or an established firm relations (ex. FTX).

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Re: Which firm has a better debtor side RX practice - Kirkland or Weil?

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Jan 14, 2023 2:19 pm

Weil is much more respected and smaller group. Not sure what that other poster is talking about- kirkland teams are giant, much to the detriment of its associates. Many KE associates still don’t know what they’re doing after a few years there.

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Re: Which firm has a better debtor side RX practice - Kirkland or Weil?

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Jan 14, 2023 6:01 pm

I worked at one of them for a long time and have worked closely with the other one quite a lot in a different capacity. Here are my observations; you can reach to your own conclusion as to which one is better.

1. K&E has a much bigger team than Weil. It is also related to Weil being more selective about it's client base/deal flow. Most of Weil's upper middle market/middle market debtor deal flow come from relationships; they rarely chased down and pitched to these smaller deals themselves. K&E on the other hand does not give up its middle market deal flow while keeps chasing down mega deals and compete with Weil. K&E's deal flow in the recent years have outrun Weil. Their deal flow beat Weil's out of the water this year especially. That means a lot more reps for junior lawyers to train and learn at K&E and also to develop relationships outside the firm for any exit options.

2. Weil is more old school than K&E in a lot of ways. Selection of client base mentioned above is one example. K&E is lot more edgy. They were multiple steps ahead of Weil in terms of understanding the crypto space, and that's why K&E won pretty much all the crypto company side mandates out there and Weil only won one recently. Other examples include how they recruit lateral talents, compensate people, do things internally, etc.

I guess another example is K&E is a lot sloppier in drafting documents. Counter parties often have to pick up K&E's mess in working drafts and basically do K&E's part of the drafting. Does that sloppiness make a practical difference? Most of the time it doesn't. But lawyers at Weil in my experience never tolerate that level of sloppiness in their own drafts, mostly due to its culture of being old-school lawyers and having to have water-proof drafting skills for little marginal benefits.

3. Culture wise, I only have direct observations at one of these places but know enough people from the other one. People I know from both sides are very nice and fun to work with. I would say in general Weil people are more polite and intellectual, and K&E people are more about shits and giggles, but again that's over-generalizing.

4. Brand name wise, I would say people in the restructuring and distress space still pay a different level of respect to Weil even though you see K&E winning a lot more deals than Weil recently. Part of it is because of Weil's past glory built by Harvey Miller. Part of it (and somewhat related) is Weil has decades of institutional knowledge that gets passed down to generations, which in turn gives new partners the ability to spiral off previous success and develop new creative bankruptcy strategies (structural dismissal, merger of two bankrupt companies in each of their own chapter 11 cases, and more recently the two lender-on-lender violence strategies all came from Weil). K&E in my opinion is more of a great deal executioner (and they surely have the human capital to execute every deal you send their way), but if I want to hire a lawyer to figure out some creative bankruptcy strategy in a muddy situation, I would call Weil.

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Re: Which firm has a better debtor side RX practice - Kirkland or Weil?

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Jan 14, 2023 7:55 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Jan 14, 2023 6:01 pm
I worked at one of them for a long time and have worked closely with the other one quite a lot in a different capacity. Here are my observations; you can reach to your own conclusion as to which one is better.

1. K&E has a much bigger team than Weil. It is also related to Weil being more selective about it's client base/deal flow. Most of Weil's upper middle market/middle market debtor deal flow come from relationships; they rarely chased down and pitched to these smaller deals themselves. K&E on the other hand does not give up its middle market deal flow while keeps chasing down mega deals and compete with Weil. K&E's deal flow in the recent years have outrun Weil. Their deal flow beat Weil's out of the water this year especially. That means a lot more reps for junior lawyers to train and learn at K&E and also to develop relationships outside the firm for any exit options.

2. Weil is more old school than K&E in a lot of ways. Selection of client base mentioned above is one example. K&E is lot more edgy. They were multiple steps ahead of Weil in terms of understanding the crypto space, and that's why K&E won pretty much all the crypto company side mandates out there and Weil only won one recently. Other examples include how they recruit lateral talents, compensate people, do things internally, etc.

I guess another example is K&E is a lot sloppier in drafting documents. Counter parties often have to pick up K&E's mess in working drafts and basically do K&E's part of the drafting. Does that sloppiness make a practical difference? Most of the time it doesn't. But lawyers at Weil in my experience never tolerate that level of sloppiness in their own drafts, mostly due to its culture of being old-school lawyers and having to have water-proof drafting skills for little marginal benefits.

3. Culture wise, I only have direct observations at one of these places but know enough people from the other one. People I know from both sides are very nice and fun to work with. I would say in general Weil people are more polite and intellectual, and K&E people are more about shits and giggles, but again that's over-generalizing.

4. Brand name wise, I would say people in the restructuring and distress space still pay a different level of respect to Weil even though you see K&E winning a lot more deals than Weil recently. Part of it is because of Weil's past glory built by Harvey Miller. Part of it (and somewhat related) is Weil has decades of institutional knowledge that gets passed down to generations, which in turn gives new partners the ability to spiral off previous success and develop new creative bankruptcy strategies (structural dismissal, merger of two bankrupt companies in each of their own chapter 11 cases, and more recently the two lender-on-lender violence strategies all came from Weil). K&E in my opinion is more of a great deal executioner (and they surely have the human capital to execute every deal you send their way), but if I want to hire a lawyer to figure out some creative bankruptcy strategy in a muddy situation, I would call Weil.
Was at KE Rx for a few years as a junior. TITCR and is a cogent analysis of the two groups.

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Re: Which firm has a better debtor side RX practice - Kirkland or Weil?

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Jan 14, 2023 7:58 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Jan 14, 2023 2:19 pm
Weil is much more respected and smaller group. Not sure what that other poster is talking about- kirkland teams are giant, much to the detriment of its associates. Many KE associates still don’t know what they’re doing after a few years there.
Same anon as directly above. This is an out of touch NY homer response.

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Re: Which firm has a better debtor side RX practice - Kirkland or Weil?

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Jan 14, 2023 8:50 pm

Lmao I assure you it’s more than one person

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Re: Which firm has a better debtor side RX practice - Kirkland or Weil?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Jan 16, 2023 3:51 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Jan 14, 2023 6:01 pm
I worked at one of them for a long time and have worked closely with the other one quite a lot in a different capacity. Here are my observations; you can reach to your own conclusion as to which one is better.

1. K&E has a much bigger team than Weil. It is also related to Weil being more selective about it's client base/deal flow. Most of Weil's upper middle market/middle market debtor deal flow come from relationships; they rarely chased down and pitched to these smaller deals themselves. K&E on the other hand does not give up its middle market deal flow while keeps chasing down mega deals and compete with Weil. K&E's deal flow in the recent years have outrun Weil. Their deal flow beat Weil's out of the water this year especially. That means a lot more reps for junior lawyers to train and learn at K&E and also to develop relationships outside the firm for any exit options.

2. Weil is more old school than K&E in a lot of ways. Selection of client base mentioned above is one example. K&E is lot more edgy. They were multiple steps ahead of Weil in terms of understanding the crypto space, and that's why K&E won pretty much all the crypto company side mandates out there and Weil only won one recently. Other examples include how they recruit lateral talents, compensate people, do things internally, etc.

I guess another example is K&E is a lot sloppier in drafting documents. Counter parties often have to pick up K&E's mess in working drafts and basically do K&E's part of the drafting. Does that sloppiness make a practical difference? Most of the time it doesn't. But lawyers at Weil in my experience never tolerate that level of sloppiness in their own drafts, mostly due to its culture of being old-school lawyers and having to have water-proof drafting skills for little marginal benefits.

3. Culture wise, I only have direct observations at one of these places but know enough people from the other one. People I know from both sides are very nice and fun to work with. I would say in general Weil people are more polite and intellectual, and K&E people are more about shits and giggles, but again that's over-generalizing.

4. Brand name wise, I would say people in the restructuring and distress space still pay a different level of respect to Weil even though you see K&E winning a lot more deals than Weil recently. Part of it is because of Weil's past glory built by Harvey Miller. Part of it (and somewhat related) is Weil has decades of institutional knowledge that gets passed down to generations, which in turn gives new partners the ability to spiral off previous success and develop new creative bankruptcy strategies (structural dismissal, merger of two bankrupt companies in each of their own chapter 11 cases, and more recently the two lender-on-lender violence strategies all came from Weil). K&E in my opinion is more of a great deal executioner (and they surely have the human capital to execute every deal you send their way), but if I want to hire a lawyer to figure out some creative bankruptcy strategy in a muddy situation, I would call Weil.
Senior associate at another large RX firm that previously worked at one of KE/Weil for a long time, this is a good description of the firms. Agree with pretty much everything said.

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Re: Which firm has a better debtor side RX practice - Kirkland or Weil?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jan 17, 2023 2:26 am

Long post by Weil associate/non-equity partner, who then sock puppeted two very similar sounding, yet swear to god different and not from Weil, responses.

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Re: Which firm has a better debtor side RX practice - Kirkland or Weil?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jan 17, 2023 2:08 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Jan 17, 2023 2:26 am
Long post by Weil associate/non-equity partner, who then sock puppeted two very similar sounding, yet swear to god different and not from Weil, responses.
Followed by multiple K&E boosters showing up and not refuting anything substantive in the enumerated post, but trying to discredit its source. ("NY homer", "sock puppeted".)

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Re: Which firm has a better debtor side RX practice - Kirkland or Weil?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jan 17, 2023 8:07 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Jan 17, 2023 2:08 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Jan 17, 2023 2:26 am
Long post by Weil associate/non-equity partner, who then sock puppeted two very similar sounding, yet swear to god different and not from Weil, responses.
Followed by multiple K&E boosters showing up and not refuting anything substantive in the enumerated post, but trying to discredit its source. ("NY homer", "sock puppeted".)
Ok guy who "worked at one of them for a long time and have worked closely with the other one quite a lot in a different capacity." Why not just say you're with Weil?

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Re: Which firm has a better debtor side RX practice - Kirkland or Weil?

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Jan 21, 2023 12:36 pm

Re Kirkland:

In terms of strategy/creative thinking. They did "merge two bankrupt companies" more than 10 years ago, so, did Weil actually pioneer that? Which one did Weil do that was earlier than Dex One/Supermedia? It's also not all that creative a thing to do, just takes a set of circumstances that doesn't show itself all that often. Kirkland pioneered the 24 hour prepacks that are going on and rammed them through tons of objections and they've done spinoff transactions that are pretty unique. Not saying that KE has a monopoly but it seems a bit unfair to call them uncreative.

Not sure that Weil pioneered the lender on lender violence stuff (and a lot of that comes from debt finance, not RX, anyway). Kirkland did JCrew and a lot of the other foundational ones, and Kirkland recently hired the debt finance person that did a lot of the foundational ones that Kirkland didn't do. Which ones has Weil done that are being pointed to here?

The leader of the RX groups at Weil, PW, and Sidley are all former KE partners. Former KE people also are mid-level equity at Ropes and a few other places.

What large deals has Kirkland missed recently or seen go wrong where there wasn't a pretty obvious reason? No one but PW was ever going to get Revlon, there was an institutional relationship there. Same is true of FTX (and KE missed out on the UCC because members of the UCC didn't like KE's legal positions in Celsius and Voyager). 3M/Aero is rough, but it's a "luck of the draw on the judge" issue when you compare it to J&J. Voyager and Celsius would be a mess for anyone. Weil beat Kirkland out for Sears (though there was something of an institutional relationship there) and Westinghouse a few years ago (though Kirkland repped the buyer in the Westinghouse transaction), but no other really significant transactions are coming to mind. Just look at their debtor representation webpage. They have a lot of extremely important restructuring deals. If you look at the lifetime of both firms, Weil wins, no question about it. But in the last 10 years?

I'm not a KE homer by any stretch. Firm's a firm's a firm. Weil is a fantastic debtor shop, and it definitely has a different, more "white shoe" culture than Kirkland (which is true of basically any NY firm comparison to Kirkland). I'm not at either firm--I'm at a primarily creditor-side firm that works on the other side of both of them. But some of the stuff in the longer post didn't feel right. Interested in hearing more detailed specific thoughts and there is actually a basis for an interesting discussion here if people at both firms would stop frothing at the mouth.

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Re: Which firm has a better debtor side RX practice - Kirkland or Weil?

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Jan 21, 2023 2:05 pm

Vertis and American Color did the merger in 2008. Dex and Supermedia happened in 2013.

All the lender-on-lender violence stuff are variations of drop-down (J.Crew) or uptier (Serta), which were both Weil's deals. Kirkland only represented J Crew in a follow up advisor-related litigation.

TBH I don't know where you got your facts.

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Re: Which firm has a better debtor side RX practice - Kirkland or Weil?

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Jan 21, 2023 7:51 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Jan 21, 2023 12:36 pm
Re Kirkland:

In terms of strategy/creative thinking. They did "merge two bankrupt companies" more than 10 years ago, so, did Weil actually pioneer that? Which one did Weil do that was earlier than Dex One/Supermedia? It's also not all that creative a thing to do, just takes a set of circumstances that doesn't show itself all that often. Kirkland pioneered the 24 hour prepacks that are going on and rammed them through tons of objections and they've done spinoff transactions that are pretty unique. Not saying that KE has a monopoly but it seems a bit unfair to call them uncreative.

Not sure that Weil pioneered the lender on lender violence stuff (and a lot of that comes from debt finance, not RX, anyway). Kirkland did JCrew and a lot of the other foundational ones, and Kirkland recently hired the debt finance person that did a lot of the foundational ones that Kirkland didn't do. Which ones has Weil done that are being pointed to here?

The leader of the RX groups at Weil, PW, and Sidley are all former KE partners. Former KE people also are mid-level equity at Ropes and a few other places.

What large deals has Kirkland missed recently or seen go wrong where there wasn't a pretty obvious reason? No one but PW was ever going to get Revlon, there was an institutional relationship there. Same is true of FTX (and KE missed out on the UCC because members of the UCC didn't like KE's legal positions in Celsius and Voyager). 3M/Aero is rough, but it's a "luck of the draw on the judge" issue when you compare it to J&J. Voyager and Celsius would be a mess for anyone. Weil beat Kirkland out for Sears (though there was something of an institutional relationship there) and Westinghouse a few years ago (though Kirkland repped the buyer in the Westinghouse transaction), but no other really significant transactions are coming to mind. Just look at their debtor representation webpage. They have a lot of extremely important restructuring deals. If you look at the lifetime of both firms, Weil wins, no question about it. But in the last 10 years?

I'm not a KE homer by any stretch. Firm's a firm's a firm. Weil is a fantastic debtor shop, and it definitely has a different, more "white shoe" culture than Kirkland (which is true of basically any NY firm comparison to Kirkland). I'm not at either firm--I'm at a primarily creditor-side firm that works on the other side of both of them. But some of the stuff in the longer post didn't feel right. Interested in hearing more detailed specific thoughts and there is actually a basis for an interesting discussion here if people at both firms would stop frothing at the mouth.
Kirkland repped Intelsat (the company that basically broadcasted the moon landing) in a two-year bankruptcy with a shit ton of litigation and controversy, like four plans, etc. - ended up getting it done pretty effectively. Pretty good example of even when everything goes wrong in a case they were able to get a plan through without everything falling apart.

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Re: Which firm has a better debtor side RX practice - Kirkland or Weil?

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Jan 22, 2023 4:07 pm

Not at either of these places and have worked opposite both enough to know that the quality of lawyering at the partner level is roughly the same, which, end of day, determines the quality of the group.

That said, this conversation could not be more insecure, whether it’s the one side that believes they’re more prestigious despite the other being known in national media as the go-to rx firm (wsj just has to say that a co has hired ke for the message to get across) or the other side that’s desperately defending its own honor when fees speak for themselves.

OP, answer is that if you’re any good, you can start at one and lateral to the other. Probably go with KE seeing as their volume is better, especially in the midmarket, and you’ll see reps more often, which matters 100,000x more than Harvey Miller or deals from 08 that no one who matters in the space today would reference.

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Re: Which firm has a better debtor side RX practice - Kirkland or Weil?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Jan 23, 2023 6:00 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Jan 21, 2023 12:36 pm
Re Kirkland:
I'm not a KE homer by any stretch. Firm's a firm's a firm. Weil is a fantastic debtor shop, and it definitely has a different, more "white shoe" culture than Kirkland (which is true of basically any NY firm comparison to Kirkland). I'm not at either firm--I'm at a primarily creditor-side firm that works on the other side of both of them. But some of the stuff in the longer post didn't feel right. Interested in hearing more detailed specific thoughts and there is actually a basis for an interesting discussion here if people at both firms would stop frothing at the mouth.
Can you speak to your experience working opposite KE? I'll be joining KE RX and am curious about what that experience was like for you on the other side. You seem pretty impartial.

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Re: Which firm has a better debtor side RX practice - Kirkland or Weil?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jan 24, 2023 7:27 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Jan 21, 2023 12:36 pm

What large deals has Kirkland missed recently or seen go wrong where there wasn't a pretty obvious reason? No one but PW was ever going to get Revlon, there was an institutional relationship there. Same is true of FTX (and KE missed out on the UCC because members of the UCC didn't like KE's legal positions in Celsius and Voyager). 3M/Aero is rough, but it's a "luck of the draw on the judge" issue when you compare it to J&J. Voyager and Celsius would be a mess for anyone.
We're talking about the guys who just blew the bar date in one of their own debtor cases, right?

Also, come on, dismissing the Aearo shitshow as just bad luck removes any pretense of objectivity. They made so many unforced errors there it's borderline comical.

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Re: Which firm has a better debtor side RX practice - Kirkland or Weil?

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Jan 25, 2023 9:32 am

People in the industry are pretty unhappy with the aearo decision. Saying a failed legal strategy regarding venue comes down to bad luck is rather silly. By that logic, any successes or failures in the practice of law is a result of luck rather than skill.

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Re: Which firm has a better debtor side RX practice - Kirkland or Weil?

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Jan 25, 2023 1:29 pm

what is the detail on aearo and the bar date?

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Re: Which firm has a better debtor side RX practice - Kirkland or Weil?

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Jan 25, 2023 5:05 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Jan 21, 2023 12:36 pm
Re Kirkland:

In terms of strategy/creative thinking. They did "merge two bankrupt companies" more than 10 years ago, so, did Weil actually pioneer that? Which one did Weil do that was earlier than Dex One/Supermedia? It's also not all that creative a thing to do, just takes a set of circumstances that doesn't show itself all that often. Kirkland pioneered the 24 hour prepacks that are going on and rammed them through tons of objections and they've done spinoff transactions that are pretty unique. Not saying that KE has a monopoly but it seems a bit unfair to call them uncreative.

Not sure that Weil pioneered the lender on lender violence stuff (and a lot of that comes from debt finance, not RX, anyway). Kirkland did JCrew and a lot of the other foundational ones, and Kirkland recently hired the debt finance person that did a lot of the foundational ones that Kirkland didn't do. Which ones has Weil done that are being pointed to here?

The leader of the RX groups at Weil, PW, and Sidley are all former KE partners. Former KE people also are mid-level equity at Ropes and a few other places.

What large deals has Kirkland missed recently or seen go wrong where there wasn't a pretty obvious reason? No one but PW was ever going to get Revlon, there was an institutional relationship there. Same is true of FTX (and KE missed out on the UCC because members of the UCC didn't like KE's legal positions in Celsius and Voyager). 3M/Aero is rough, but it's a "luck of the draw on the judge" issue when you compare it to J&J. Voyager and Celsius would be a mess for anyone. Weil beat Kirkland out for Sears (though there was something of an institutional relationship there) and Westinghouse a few years ago (though Kirkland repped the buyer in the Westinghouse transaction), but no other really significant transactions are coming to mind. Just look at their debtor representation webpage. They have a lot of extremely important restructuring deals. If you look at the lifetime of both firms, Weil wins, no question about it. But in the last 10 years?

I'm not a KE homer by any stretch. Firm's a firm's a firm. Weil is a fantastic debtor shop, and it definitely has a different, more "white shoe" culture than Kirkland (which is true of basically any NY firm comparison to Kirkland). I'm not at either firm--I'm at a primarily creditor-side firm that works on the other side of both of them. But some of the stuff in the longer post didn't feel right. Interested in hearing more detailed specific thoughts and there is actually a basis for an interesting discussion here if people at both firms would stop frothing at the mouth.
Leaving aside the rest of this post which has some good and less good points IMO, really difficult to understate how badly Kirkland has screwed up Aearo right from the very beginning, including the first day hearing where they essentially disparaged the MDL judge. This wasn’t a “luck of the draw” situation.

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