S&C vs. DPW vs. Gibson Dunn vs. Skadden vs. Freshfields (NY) Forum

(On Campus Interviews, Summer Associate positions, Firm Reviews, Tips, ...)
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are revealing sensitive employment related information about a firm, job, etc. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned.
Anonymous User
Posts: 429940
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

S&C vs. DPW vs. Gibson Dunn vs. Skadden vs. Freshfields (NY)

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Jul 01, 2024 12:08 am

I am currently deciding between a few offers and would love any insight that might help in my decision-making. I am undecided between litigation and transactional but am interested in International Arbitration (likely 1st choice but I've never practiced so I don't know for sure), Capital Markets (easiest to live abroad), Antitrust (get to learn about entire industries), and maybe even Tax (I read it has better WLB than other practice groups). Mainly, I just hope to like what I'm doing. I enjoy reading and writing but the contentious nature of litigation makes me wary, and the collaborative nature of transactional law fits better with my personality. Long-term, I hope to live abroad and recognize that it's harder to do in litigation.

S&C has the generalist system and hybrid staffing model but isn't ranked on Chambers for International Arbitration. DPW is top tier in Capital Markets and also has a generalist system for the first three years in litigation but is also unranked for IA. Skadden has a Band 2 practice and a global presence but I'm worried about getting into the IA practice group and the fratty culture (just what I have read) makes me nervous as I am now sober and feel bad about refusing to drink around others. Gibson Dunn is highly regarded in IA and has a cool rotational system where I can try lit, transactional, tax, and real estate (although I hear trying all four is generally discouraged). However, I read it may not have as good of exit options and is headquartered in LA. Freshfields is Band 1 in IA and has a ton of global offices but is not as strong in other practices and also might have worse exit options. I liked all my interviewers but heard this shouldn't be determinative anyways. I have read a lot about these firms but would really appreciate getting an outside perspective because I'm struggling coming to a final decision.

soft blue

Bronze
Posts: 134
Joined: Mon Jun 10, 2019 10:59 am

Re: S&C vs. DPW vs. Gibson Dunn vs. Skadden vs. Freshfields (NY)

Post by soft blue » Mon Jul 01, 2024 7:33 pm

You have no idea at all what you want. Some thoughts/questions.
  • Where do you want to live? I will arrogantly assume NYC for the time being but it would be helpful if your post specified. Similarly so "live abroad," which could mean London or Dubai or Tokyo or etc - the strategies for these markets are different.
  • Why does international arbitration matter so much to you? My general sense (having not worked in arbitration specifically but a healthy amount of international transactional) is that "international work" is not so much business class to Paris and a suite at the George V as having to work on both US and European/Asian time (which is awful). If I had a say in the matter, I would never do a deal with a material international component again.
  • If you don't think you can fit at a frattier firm, don't go to Skadden.
  • GDC has a serious NYC office; assuming that's where you're targeting I wouldn't stress about exit options.
  • S&C, Skadden, and GDC all have serious general commercial litigation practices. FF and DPW don't (though DPW is excellent in white collar).
  • If you are going by generic prestige (which is a bad thing to do, etc), S&C = DPW > GDC >>>> FF.

Anonymous User
Posts: 429940
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: S&C vs. DPW vs. Gibson Dunn vs. Skadden vs. Freshfields (NY)

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Jul 01, 2024 7:55 pm

soft blue wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2024 7:33 pm
You have no idea at all what you want. Some thoughts/questions.
  • Where do you want to live? I will arrogantly assume NYC for the time being but it would be helpful if your post specified. Similarly so "live abroad," which could mean London or Dubai or Tokyo or etc - the strategies for these markets are different.
  • Why does international arbitration matter so much to you? My general sense (having not worked in arbitration specifically but a healthy amount of international transactional) is that "international work" is not so much business class to Paris and a suite at the George V as having to work on both US and European/Asian time (which is awful). If I had a say in the matter, I would never do a deal with a material international component again.
  • If you don't think you can fit at a frattier firm, don't go to Skadden.
  • GDC has a serious NYC office; assuming that's where you're targeting I wouldn't stress about exit options.
  • S&C, Skadden, and GDC all have serious general commercial litigation practices. FF and DPW don't (though DPW is excellent in white collar).
  • If you are going by generic prestige (which is a bad thing to do, etc), S&C = DPW > GDC >>>> FF.
What do the people who get slotted into civil lit at DPW do? (Hard to get tone across correctly through forums, but this is a serious question and not sarcastic or anything).

Anonymous User
Posts: 429940
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: S&C vs. DPW vs. Gibson Dunn vs. Skadden vs. Freshfields (NY)

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Jul 01, 2024 8:38 pm

DPW has an extremely strong and diverse civil litigation practice. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Its also home to a subgroup that works on bankruptcy litigation which allows earlier opportunities to go on the record in court. Its weakness compared to S&C and GDC is that it doesn't do much appellate work. But if you are looking for pure complex commercial litigation cases, DPW is an excellent choice.

Anonymous User
Posts: 429940
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: S&C vs. DPW vs. Gibson Dunn vs. Skadden vs. Freshfields (NY)

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jul 02, 2024 6:14 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2024 12:08 am
I am currently deciding between a few offers and would love any insight that might help in my decision-making. I am undecided between litigation and transactional but am interested in International Arbitration (likely 1st choice but I've never practiced so I don't know for sure), Capital Markets (easiest to live abroad), Antitrust (get to learn about entire industries), and maybe even Tax (I read it has better WLB than other practice groups). Mainly, I just hope to like what I'm doing. I enjoy reading and writing but the contentious nature of litigation makes me wary, and the collaborative nature of transactional law fits better with my personality. Long-term, I hope to live abroad and recognize that it's harder to do in litigation.

S&C has the generalist system and hybrid staffing model but isn't ranked on Chambers for International Arbitration. DPW is top tier in Capital Markets and also has a generalist system for the first three years in litigation but is also unranked for IA. Skadden has a Band 2 practice and a global presence but I'm worried about getting into the IA practice group and the fratty culture (just what I have read) makes me nervous as I am now sober and feel bad about refusing to drink around others. Gibson Dunn is highly regarded in IA and has a cool rotational system where I can try lit, transactional, tax, and real estate (although I hear trying all four is generally discouraged). However, I read it may not have as good of exit options and is headquartered in LA. Freshfields is Band 1 in IA and has a ton of global offices but is not as strong in other practices and also might have worse exit options. I liked all my interviewers but heard this shouldn't be determinative anyways. I have read a lot about these firms but would really appreciate getting an outside perspective because I'm struggling coming to a final decision.
I think you need to decide how much of a priority doing international arbitration is for you, and why. It’s generally less profitable than other litigation verticals and a number of the US firms that focus on PEP have scaled down their efforts there in recent years. (E.g., STB used to have a presence but basically does nothing now. Shearman became a much smaller name in the area pre-merger, but A&O does have a presence.) There are outliers, like GDC, Debevoise and to some extent White & Case, but generally it doesn’t have the pull it once did in US firms. The story’s different at Magic Circle firms. If IA is really what you want to do, Freshfields is the clear winner among your choices - especially if you can swing a move to London or Paris. You have the best shot at doing high level general litigation at GDC of all of these firms. Might be an idea to see how competitive you are for the groups and cases you want - some places require top of class grades, clerkships, etc. for you to have a sniff.

Otherwise, any of your choices is a fine one if you’re looking at transactional - the other poster’s ranking is a fair one, but of UK firms Freshfields probably has the most serious NY M&A practice now (possibly on par with / ahead of GDC’s, but still behind Skadden and DPW). That would probably foreclose a lot of international work / travel opportunities, though. If you want to do capital markets or finance, DPW and Skadden are clear choices, but GDC is a respectable brand there too.

If you want to keep as many options as possible open, I’d think strongly about GDC (while knowing there are risks if you want to do international arbitration). If you’re leaning IA but would be ok with M&A, Freshfields NY is a good choice. And if you want the best brand for NY transactional across the board (but to be at a firm that’s no slouch when it comes to litigation), go with Skadden or DPW.

Want to continue reading?

Register now to search topics and post comments!

Absolutely FREE!


Anonymous User
Posts: 429940
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: S&C vs. DPW vs. Gibson Dunn vs. Skadden vs. Freshfields (NY)

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Jul 03, 2024 12:21 am

soft blue wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2024 7:33 pm
You have no idea at all what you want. Some thoughts/questions.
  • Where do you want to live? I will arrogantly assume NYC for the time being but it would be helpful if your post specified. Similarly so "live abroad," which could mean London or Dubai or Tokyo or etc - the strategies for these markets are different.

    OP here. Thank you for your insight! You're right: NYC for a few years. Afterwards, I hope to return to Spain or France, having lived in both before. My Spanish-speaking skills are far better than my French but they have deteriorated somewhat because it has been a few years.
  • Why does international arbitration matter so much to you? My general sense (having not worked in arbitration specifically but a healthy amount of international transactional) is that "international work" is not so much business class to Paris and a suite at the George V as having to work on both US and European/Asian time (which is awful). If I had a say in the matter, I would never do a deal with a material international component again.

    I hear this a lot, so I'm glad you bring it up, because I feel like I'm walking into something that may make me miserable. Part of what draws me in is the people, as many of IA attorneys have an interest in public international law (as I do) and have experiences on their bios I am fascinated by. I am interested in working for an INGO in the far future and thought that this might be a good way to get some experience in the international arena.
  • If you don't think you can fit at a frattier firm, don't go to Skadden.
  • GDC has a serious NYC office; assuming that's where you're targeting I wouldn't stress about exit options.
  • S&C, Skadden, and GDC all have serious general commercial litigation practices. FF and DPW don't (though DPW is excellent in white collar).

    S&C sticks out to me because of its generalist system for both its litigation and transactional practices. As you said, I don't know what I want to do, so being able to try a wide variety of groups sounds ideal. I just worry about missing out on IA is all.
  • If you are going by generic prestige (which is a bad thing to do, etc), S&C = DPW > GDC >>>> FF.

Anonymous User
Posts: 429940
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: S&C vs. DPW vs. Gibson Dunn vs. Skadden vs. Freshfields (NY)

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Jul 03, 2024 12:34 am

I think you need to decide how much of a priority doing international arbitration is for you, and why. It’s generally less profitable than other litigation verticals and a number of the US firms that focus on PEP have scaled down their efforts there in recent years. (E.g., STB used to have a presence but basically does nothing now. Shearman became a much smaller name in the area pre-merger, but A&O does have a presence.) There are outliers, like GDC, Debevoise and to some extent White & Case, but generally it doesn’t have the pull it once did in US firms. The story’s different at Magic Circle firms. If IA is really what you want to do, Freshfields is the clear winner among your choices - especially if you can swing a move to London or Paris. You have the best shot at doing high level general litigation at GDC of all of these firms. Might be an idea to see how competitive you are for the groups and cases you want - some places require top of class grades, clerkships, etc. for you to have a sniff.

Interesting. I've scheduled second looks at a few of these firms so I'll be sure to ask about how competitive it is to get into these groups. Thanks for the input.

Otherwise, any of your choices is a fine one if you’re looking at transactional - the other poster’s ranking is a fair one, but of UK firms Freshfields probably has the most serious NY M&A practice now (possibly on par with / ahead of GDC’s, but still behind Skadden and DPW). That would probably foreclose a lot of international work / travel opportunities, though. If you want to do capital markets or finance, DPW and Skadden are clear choices, but GDC is a respectable brand there too.

For transactional, does S&C not stack up well against Skadden and DPW? Their generalist practice sounds like it would be a good idea given that I don't have a clear idea on what I want to end up doing.

If you want to keep as many options as possible open, I’d think strongly about GDC (while knowing there are risks if you want to do international arbitration). If you’re leaning IA but would be ok with M&A, Freshfields NY is a good choice. And if you want the best brand for NY transactional across the board (but to be at a firm that’s no slouch when it comes to litigation), go with Skadden or DPW.
[/quote]

I read that GDC did not have as good of exit opportunities as S&C, Skadden, and DPW. Is that true? I don't want to presume I will make it in BigLaw for more than 2-3 years and hope to keep as many doors open as possible.

User avatar
existentialcrisis

Silver
Posts: 717
Joined: Mon Mar 21, 2016 11:23 pm

Re: S&C vs. DPW vs. Gibson Dunn vs. Skadden vs. Freshfields (NY)

Post by existentialcrisis » Wed Jul 03, 2024 11:19 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Jul 03, 2024 12:34 am


Otherwise, any of your choices is a fine one if you’re looking at transactional - the other poster’s ranking is a fair one, but of UK firms Freshfields probably has the most serious NY M&A practice now (possibly on par with / ahead of GDC’s, but still behind Skadden and DPW). That would probably foreclose a lot of international work / travel opportunities, though. If you want to do capital markets or finance, DPW and Skadden are clear choices, but GDC is a respectable brand there too.

For transactional, does S&C not stack up well against Skadden and DPW? Their generalist practice sounds like it would be a good idea given that I don't have a clear idea on what I want to end up doing.
SullCrom stacks up more than fine against Skadden and DPW for transactional work. They are considered elite at all the major transactional practice groups.

It has a reputation as a pretty miserable place to work, but any of these three will likely be soul crushing.

Anonymous User
Posts: 429940
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: S&C vs. DPW vs. Gibson Dunn vs. Skadden vs. Freshfields (NY)

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Jul 03, 2024 2:57 pm

SullCrom stacks up more than fine against Skadden and DPW for transactional work. They are considered elite at all the major transactional practice groups.

OP. Great to know! Thank you for your response.

It has a reputation as a pretty miserable place to work, but any of these three will likely be soul crushing.

I have heard this as well. My plan is just to put in the long hours, try to become the best lawyer I can be, and let the cards fall where they may. I figured that these places, while miserable, may be the most efficient path to whatever I'll be looking for in a few years.

Want to continue reading?

Register for access!

Did I mention it was FREE ?


Anonymous User
Posts: 429940
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: S&C vs. DPW vs. Gibson Dunn vs. Skadden vs. Freshfields (NY)

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Jul 06, 2024 12:13 am

existentialcrisis wrote:
Wed Jul 03, 2024 11:19 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Wed Jul 03, 2024 12:34 am


Otherwise, any of your choices is a fine one if you’re looking at transactional - the other poster’s ranking is a fair one, but of UK firms Freshfields probably has the most serious NY M&A practice now (possibly on par with / ahead of GDC’s, but still behind Skadden and DPW). That would probably foreclose a lot of international work / travel opportunities, though. If you want to do capital markets or finance, DPW and Skadden are clear choices, but GDC is a respectable brand there too.

For transactional, does S&C not stack up well against Skadden and DPW? Their generalist practice sounds like it would be a good idea given that I don't have a clear idea on what I want to end up doing.
SullCrom stacks up more than fine against Skadden and DPW for transactional work. They are considered elite at all the major transactional practice groups.

It has a reputation as a pretty miserable place to work, but any of these three will likely be soul crushing.
Previous poster here. Of course S&C has a fabulous practice in all areas - just an omission on my part. There are some variations between the three firms (Skadden, S&C, DPW) but none are material enough to override feeling as though there’s more of a fit at one place over the others.

Exit options from GDC may be slightly less strong in NY than the three others, but the difference is marginal if you’re going for, say, an in-house role at Amazon, Blackrock or Chase that’s publicly advertised. Certain of the firms may give you an edge if you’re looking to go to certain clients of that firm.

Anonymous User
Posts: 429940
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: S&C vs. DPW vs. Gibson Dunn vs. Skadden vs. Freshfields (NY)

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Jul 12, 2024 12:04 am

Gibson is also the strongest antitrust firm out of those you are considering, fwiw.

Anonymous User
Posts: 429940
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: S&C vs. DPW vs. Gibson Dunn vs. Skadden vs. Freshfields (NY)

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Jul 12, 2024 3:15 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Jul 12, 2024 12:04 am
Gibson is also the strongest antitrust firm out of those you are considering, fwiw.
This is just blatantly wrong lol. Skadden is almost certainly far and ahead the best antitrust firm of the firms listed. Pretty sure Skadden is #1 in the US.

Register now!

Resources to assist law school applicants, students & graduates.

It's still FREE!


Post Reply Post Anonymous Reply  

Return to “Legal Employment”