bonsai tree S&C Sullivan Cromwell Above the Law blog.jpgThink of law firm recruiting as a war. America’s top law firms are engaged in a battle to the death, vying for the best young legal minds in the country. And in this war, Sullivan & Cromwell is bringing out the heavy artillery.
Sources report that S&C is sending its offerees… BONSAI TREES!!!
We asked one bonsai tree recipient to speculate on what S&C is trying to say with these gifts:

There’s no message with them (other than a “Compliments of Sullivan & Cromwell” card). Bonsai trees live a long time. Perhaps they want us to grow old with the firm?

Or maybe to “bend over” like a bonsai?
Another theory: “[M]aybe it is a test to see if we can keep them alive by the time the summer rolls around.”
Interesting. Perhaps the firm can give a special prize to the S&C summer associate with the best bonsai tree at the start of the program?
More about S&C’s odd horticultural booty, after the jump.


These gifts, while strange, are being well-received by the recruits:

I’m a law student, not a botanist. But, I think the bonsai tree shows that they care. They also sent really high-end cookies: http://www.elenis.com.

Regardless, it IS Sullivan, and it’s hard not to accept an offer there.

From another bonsai recipient:

[A] little background: the head of recruiting at S&C is Patty Morrissy (previously head of recruiting at Paul Weiss)… She is *not* your typical young, chipper, pretty recruiting lady. She’s smart, hyper-professional, well-spoken, etc. Very much worthy of marketing the S&C brand.

This all shows during the recruiting process: she reserves the best restaurants, provides stacks of S&C umbrellas at winter receptions (versus the chip-clips Kirkland gives you and the reams of advertisements you get at Cravath), gives callback interviewees magnetically-sealed information packets with notepads personalized with the interviewee’s name, etc. A miniaturized tree waiting for us when we got home fits her style. (Remember, S&C gives its offers in person at the end of your final interview during the callback.)

So the purpose was to continue Patti’s tradition of high brow recruiting (no firm-branded keychains here), and yes it makes me more comfortable about the types of perks we’ll see at the firm.

Like Kiehl’s products for gay associates. Good stuff!
P.S. Advice to S&C’s media relations people: to ensure favorable coverage in the Wall Street Journal, send a bonsai tree to reporter Nathan Koppel. He’s really into bonsai trees. See here.


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