comparing.jpgWe’re back with the next installment of open threads on the Vault 100 law firms.
A particularly insightful comment from the last post on the top five firms:

[Davis Polk & Wardwell] and [Sullivan & Cromwell] do very similar work. DPW has a stronger underwriters’ practice, Sullivan is marginally better on the issuer side. DPW is much stronger than anyone at converts. Sullivan does more edgy contested M&A while DPW excels at deals with cutting edge securities components.

Sullivan is a slightly better place to work than its reputation. DPW generally lives up to its strong rep as a good place to work.

Now on to the next five from Vault, with their prestige scores in parentheses:

6. Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP (7.985)
7. Latham & Watkins LLP (7.784)
8. Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton LLP (7.754)
9. Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP (7.623)
10. Kirkland & Ellis LLP (7.473)

The most notable of “notable perks” in this batch is at Kirkland, where NYC associates get a “$350 office art budget” (previously reported here). Can associates use the money to commission work from their toddlers?
Please compare and contrast the firms in the comments. We’ll continue to work our way down the Vault list in future threads.
The Top 100 Most Prestigious Law Firms [Vault]
Earlier: Fall Recruiting Open Thread: Vault 1-5 (2009)


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151 thoughts on “Fall Recruiting Open Thread: Vault 6-10 (2009)

  1. guest says:

    Boring – First YES!

  2. guest says:

    First!!!!

  3. guest says:

    2 – I beat you. YES!

  4. guest says:

    Since we are talking about recruiting, did anyone see that website that was mentioned in the other threads about training for interviews and resumes specifically by practicing attorneys? I can’t remember the name, but I’m thinking since I’m in the middle of my T14 it probably wouldn’t hurt me.

  5. guest says:

    IF you are going to work at one of these sweatshops, any reason not to work for K&E, what with their bonus policies and all?

  6. guest says:

    Does anyone know what litigation at Cleary is like?

  7. guest says:

    FWIW, I summered at Latham this year and couldn’t have had a better experience – extraordinarily friendly people (on top of all the other stuff).

  8. guest says:

    Can anyone compare Latham (Chicago) v. Kirkland (Chicago)? Thanks.
    Chicago = TTT comments in 3…2…1…

  9. guest says:

    Litigation at Cleary is very strong nowadays. The litigation department was not so strong in the 80s and early 90s, but since then the firm has recruited some of the best litigation talent around. The reason that this myth still lingers around is that other top firms cling to old history to smear Cleary during recruiting these days. Moreover, the fact that Cleary has a very interesting/international client base makes for some of the more interesting cases to work on (think sovereign litigation, international arbitration, etc).

  10. guest says:

    9 – you’re not going to find a lot of people with significant experience at both Latham and Kirkland. Generally, when people leave one of those places, it’s not to go somewhere similar.

  11. guest says:

    9 – Chicago isnt TTT. It simply isnt New York and yes you will feel inferior and be viewed as inferior to us New York lawyers.

  12. guest says:

    9 – I interviewed at both and got callbacks (and offers) but didn’t accept either. Here are my impressions.
    Latham Chicago – I think that the associates don’t pick a speciality for the first two years, they sort of rotate or take assignments from all departments. They seem to work a ton (one associate told me her hours and it seemed really high, but I forgot the number). Also it is known as an LA firm.
    Kirkland Chicago – Better reputation as a firm and known for paying more money. Probably the best reputation of any Chicago firm among non-lawyers. I’m sure they work a ton too.
    The people were really nice at both places.

  13. guest says:

    10 is right. Cleary’s litigation department has gotten a lot better. They now have superstar Lewis Liman — former SCOTUS clerk and AUSA (SDNY), and son of the legendary Arthur Liman:
    http://www.cgsh.com/lliman/

  14. guest says:

    7 – Litigation at Cleary is a mixed bag – it is definitely not Cleary’s forte, but they are definitely trying to expand the practice at the firm. there are a few great partners, but also some real assholes (as at any large firm). If you are a favored associate, you will be deluged with work and have next to no life at all (again, as at any big firm). should say i don’t know too many associates 2nd year and above who arent contemplating, or actively seeking, to leave the firm in the next litle while. the idea cleary has successfully been able to promote to the rest of the world that it is a quirky, lifestyle firm, is just not true.
    If you like litigation with a relatively heavy Latin American leaning to it, then I would pick it. Quite a lot of the associates speak spanish or can at least handle themselves ok. quite a bit of international arbitration going on at the moment as well if you like that sort of thing.
    like any litigation practice at a big firm, chances are you will get stuck on a huge doc review at some point in your first couple of years.

  15. guest says:

    I used to be a litigation para at S&C. If you like short, doughy, greasy attorneys, come to S&C.

  16. guest says:

    13, without disclosing more information than you would like, why did you turn them down? Where did you end up? What did you see in the firm you chose that was missing from Latham and Kirkland?
    Also, congratulations on getting offers at both. What were your grades like? That is, if you don’t mind my asking.
    Thanks again,
    9

  17. guest says:

    Skadden & Latham interview oncampus at Syracuse..

  18. guest says:

    Don’t listen to the Clearly litigation trolls. It plays second fiddle to the corporate group, as you should expect.

  19. guest says:

    Weil New York?

  20. guest says:

    At Cleary a lot of the work for the first couple years involves working on and managing large-scale document reviews, including quality controlling the contract attorneys first-level review, privilege review, and document pulls at the client’s offices. More senior associates get more responsibility, but like most top law firms involved in litigation involving hundreds of millions or billions of dollars, they’re not letting associates defend depositions and argue motions or examine witnesses on the stand.

  21. guest says:

    15 = troll from other t10 firm trying to smear CGSH again. This is the oldest recruiting trick out there: if your department sucks and your people suck (or has nothing else to make itself stand out), just smear the place with friendlier people and more interesting work. CGSH’s litigation is as good as any (if not better) of the other top shops.

  22. guest says:

    Hello 9/17, this is 13.
    I am pretty sure I had a 3.8 when I interviewed as a 1L, from a T14 school (I hate that term, but I don’t want to give too much info).
    I picked a different Chicago “BigLaw” firm, one that is lower on the Vault list.
    There were lots of reasons that into my choice, but two main ones.
    First, I was interested in a specialty practice area and the firm I chose is really good in that area. I was not at all interested in Latham’s two-year rotation thing (which may have changed since I interviewed so check on that).
    Second, I didn’t want to work so many hours. It seemed to me that associates were expected to work more than 2000 hours, and that 2200 or even 2300 was not considered unusual. I didn’t want to be the lowest billing associate by far. The firm I picked firmly said that 2000 is the goal and no more is expected, and that has turned out to be true.
    I hope that helps!

  23. guest says:

    If you’re interested in truly top notch work in ligitation, IP, or bankruptcy – Kirkland is your best bet. But definitely do your research with respect to the offices. While you’re going to work VERY hard at any of their offices, the environments can differ vastly.

  24. guest says:

    Which of these firms is best in SF? in DC? for IP?
    My view of the V6-10
    Simpson – best for NY corporate, transactional
    Latham – best overall corporate on the west coast, fun place to work, big bonuses
    Cleary – best international, good character, good overall in NY
    Weil – meh
    Kirkland – best litigation, IP, best pay (2nd only to Wachtell) especially if you’re outside NY since Kirkland seems to use the same generous bonus system across offices, so no special NY bonuses

  25. guest says:

    22 – 15 here. i am a Cleary litigation associate and i am simply telling the truth – you can’t honestly say that Cleary litigation (and Cleary generally), is the law firm equivalent of the land of milk and honey – it is like any other large corporate firm – long hours, some good colleagues, and some difficult colleagues.
    apart from Cravath, and maybe Kirkland, the top ten firms really are firms that rely on their corporate departments and their litigation departments come second in terms of revenue raising importance etc. It is only once you get to the Vault 10-20, and you have firms like Paul Weiss and Williams and Connolly, that you really get to strong litigation firms.

  26. guest says:

    Calling Latham’s first two years a “rotation” is a misnomer. It’s a rotation only if you want it to be. If you arrive knowing you want to do tax, then just do tax. If you know you want to do 100% litigation, then you can do 100% litigation. But if you are not sure yet, and want to try some things out, you have to years to try things without needing any department head’s permission, or worrying about how supervisors will read your interest in other areas.

  27. guest says:

    I love how naive people are when they say “X firm is really good because the people are really nice there.” What the hell does that even mean – most of these Biglaw shops have hundreds of lawyers in each office and the ONLY thing any incoming associate should care about is whether the partner he/she will work with the most is “nice.” That’s it. Which is why it is absolutely irrelevant whether the people are nice at X firm or Y firm. Not to mention, it is impossible to reasonably generalize like that – each law firm and each office of each law firms are filled with d-bags and genuinely nice people…

  28. guest says:

    Any comment on which of these places offers (1) highest partnership chances, (2) most early responsibility (i.e. not doing doc review for the first few years)?

  29. guest says:

    6–
    Kirkland’s NY Corporate and Litigation practices, while top notch, are not quite at the level of some of the other big name firms in NY. So if you’re going to NY and you really care about the level of the sophistication (for lack of a better term) of the work, you might choose a NY-based firm (e.g., Cleary, DPW, Paul Weiss) over Kirkland, even though Kirkland’s bonuses are higher.
    Incidentally, Kirkland knows this about its NY practice, which is precisely why it chooses to pay higher bonuses.

  30. guest says:

    Just how big are Kirkland’s bonuses? Are they really uniform across offices? How much do non-equity partners make? What % of associate make non-equity and what % of non-equity make equity?

  31. guest says:

    About Latham’s first two years program:
    Attorneys are generally considered “unassigned” for their first two years, which means they can work on anything and for anyone. Typically associates will start out doing a wider variety of work and narrow it down as they go, ultimately picking a practice area after about two years. Having said that, however, you certainly can (and many do) chose a practice group earlier. For instance, if you know you want to do one particular thing, you can stick to just that (even as a summer). It’s up to you what you want to do, but the option to try things out is open if you aren’t quite sure yet.

  32. guest says:

    Is Kirkland planning on boosting its NY practice? Considering how NY-centric Vault is, if Kirkland cared about boosting its Vault ranking, I’d imagine putting their NY corporate practice on par with the rest of the V10 would put them in the V5 since the are probably the best firm nationally outside NY (good argument for Latham though).

  33. guest says:

    29: Up at the top end of Vault, partnership numbers are so far against you that there is probably no legitimate or realistic separation among the firms. If you want firms where you have a good shake at sticking around for partnership, you probably need to look significantly further down vault, or even outside of the AMLAW 50 range.

  34. guest says:

    15 – 22 here. I also work in litigation at Cleary. Given your point at 26, I think we are in agreement more or less. I agree that there are shops out there in the t11-20 range with a stronger focus on litigation generally (though how does that really help a junior though how many cases your firm has in total?). However, if you’re going to be a litigator AND you just have to be at one of the t10 shops (for the “prestige” or whatever), then you might as well go to our firm for the more varied type of work and interesting clientele.

  35. guest says:

    28 = trying to justify working at a firm with not very nice people

  36. guest says:

    ATL is great! I, an ignorant law student, can rely on anonymous comments from other ignorant law students for my future career moves.
    Perhaps I should also use Yahoo Answers for my other important decisions.

  37. guest says:

    13/23 here. Thanks for the Latham 2-year program clarifications. I had a feeling there was more to it.
    I still wonder if young associates end up doing work in areas they don’t want to work in? For example, can a first year associate interested in corporate could turn down a document review project for litigation, claiming that he or she only wants to do corporate? What if it is an emergency and they really need people just for a few weeks (which then turns into months). And if you can turn it down, do you end up making an enemy or being seen as not a team player? These were some of my concerns with the unassigned system.

  38. guest says:

    28 = I can tell you that I’ve worked at a firm with God-like Partners (ahem, V2) and also at Latham. My day-to-day life is 100% more pleasant working with reasonable people.
    For instance at V2 firm, I once had a medical emergency and was rushed to the emergency room. All the partner on the HY deal said to me was, “Get to the Printer as soon as you can.” Not, “Are you OK?” I know that at the other firm (which is V10), the Partners would have restaffed the deal, because they are reasonable, nice people.
    If you want to work with the equivalent of Lettermen’s Clubbers who $hit on you because you are a freshman, go to a firm with “not nice people.” If you want a firm where you ACTUALLY genuinely have colleagues that you would enjoy having a beer with, go to a firm that’s known for nice people.
    Lastly, as someone who’s worked in biglaw for a while, know that very few firms trot our their biggest a-holes for recruiting. So when you hear “The people at X firm were so nice during recruiting,” know that it’s unlikely that you’d find differently. The recruiting attys and the trolls lurking in corner offices are different people.

  39. guest says:

    28 = I can tell you that I’ve worked at a firm with God-like Partners (ahem, V2) and also at Latham. My day-to-day life is 100% more pleasant working with reasonable people.
    For instance at V2 firm, I once had a medical emergency and was rushed to the emergency room. All the partner on the HY deal said to me was, “Get to the Printer as soon as you can.” Not, “Are you OK?” I know that at the other firm (which is V10), the Partners would have restaffed the deal, because they are reasonable, nice people.
    If you want to work with the equivalent of Lettermen’s Clubbers who $hit on you because you are a freshman, go to a firm with “not nice people.” If you want a firm where you ACTUALLY genuinely have colleagues that you would enjoy having a beer with, go to a firm that’s known for nice people.
    Lastly, as someone who’s worked in biglaw for a while, know that very few firms trot our their biggest a-holes for recruiting. So when you hear “The people at X firm were so nice during recruiting,” know that it’s unlikely that you’d find differently. The recruiting attys and the trolls lurking in corner offices are different people.

  40. guest says:

    28 = I can tell you that I’ve worked at a firm with God-like Partners (ahem, V2) and also at Latham. My day-to-day life is 100% more pleasant working with reasonable people.
    For instance at V2 firm, I once had a medical emergency and was rushed to the emergency room. All the partner on the HY deal said to me was, “Get to the Printer as soon as you can.” Not, “Are you OK?” I know that at the other firm (which is V10), the Partners would have restaffed the deal, because they are reasonable, nice people.
    If you want to work with the equivalent of Lettermen’s Clubbers who $hit on you because you are a freshman, go to a firm with “not nice people.” If you want a firm where you ACTUALLY genuinely have colleagues that you would enjoy having a beer with, go to a firm that’s known for nice people.
    Lastly, as someone who’s worked in biglaw for a while, know that very few firms trot our their biggest a-holes for recruiting. So when you hear “The people at X firm were so nice during recruiting,” know that it’s unlikely that you’d find differently. The recruiting attys and the trolls lurking in corner offices are different people.

  41. guest says:

    sorry about the multiple posts, kids. Lots of error messages.

  42. guest says:

    42 = fail.

  43. guest says:

    Of these firms, Latham’s probably the most attractive. Great lifestyle, flexible system, excellent quality of work especially in the west.
    Plus they reputedly have the best looking lawyers.

  44. guest says:

    37, you are so clueless.
    ATL may be (nay, actually really, really, very depressingly is) overrun with students – not all of them of the law variety – but what happens is the few of us who are lawyers read and comment every once in a while. On a topic like this the recruiting person from each firm finds out about the posts and then, in a rather obvious effort, attempts to paint a flattering picture of work at their firm. Also, some drones, like meself, also write flattering profiles while on our work computers. So there are actually two sets of ignorent people on the board, those who pretend to be lawyers and those who pretend to be objective.

  45. guest says:

    Back when I went through the OCI process, Cleary made me an offer. Considering I was interested in litigation, I spoke with a friend’s father who is a litigation partner at a prominent, similarly-ranked NY law firm. When asked about Cleary, he said:
    “Sure, you could go there…if you want to learn to litigate like an asshole.”
    I turned them down, and have since gone up against them in practice. Truer words were never spoken.

  46. guest says:

    #30 – Sorry, but you’re just wrong with respect to Kirkland’s litigation practice. They have been rated the top litigation practice by the American Lawyer as well as Chambers and Partners for several years running. Additionally, it’s litigation practice has been rated in the top 5 in Vault for several years running as well.
    You are correct, however, with respect to the corporate department.

  47. guest says:

    I find Chambers and AmLaw more helpful than Vault in determining which are the better litigation departments.

  48. guest says:

    46 – you’re a fool, of course a partner at another firm will have nothing good to say about their competitors.

  49. guest says:

    47–
    30 here. I specifically limited my comments to their NY litigation practice, and I speak from first hand experience, not from magazines. But if you want to cite rankings, then you should get your cites right. Chambers ranks Kirkland’s NY commercial litigation practice in Band 3, tied with the likes of Fried Frank, Kaye Scholer, Proskauer Rose (all great firms), but behind 9 other (all NY based) firms. This is consistent I believe with my comment that their litigation group, while “top notch”, is “not quite at the level of some of the other big name firms in NY.”
    http://www.chambersandpartners.com/usa/resultseditorial.aspx?cid=392&pid=70&solbar=1&grouptype=2

  50. guest says:

    47 may be right, but Cleary and K & E do have something in common – – see 46 – – If K & E’s NY litigation practice is anything like the LA litigation practice, then go there…if you truly “want to learn to litigate like an asshole.” And I’ll add: and like fcking lying, two-faced, scheming bunch of pricks. (including the women).

  51. guest says:

    Blogs like this one seem to be swamped with those who have an agenda and/or law students who have little actual knowledge of law firms. However, during my experience as an associate at a top 10 firm I have found that the best information on firms out there still is the vault guide, as flawed as it is.

  52. guest says:

    Blogs like this one seem to be swamped with those who have an agenda and/or law students who have little actual knowledge of law firms. However, during my experience as an associate at a top 10 firm I have found that the best information on firms out there still is the vault guide, as flawed as it is.

  53. guest says:

    53 – no one gives a sh*t about your “experience as an associate at a top 10 firm” That is…except you.

  54. guest says:

    18 – LW recruits @ the Big Orange because the NY Office Managing Partner is an alum. See http://www.lw.com/Attorneys.aspx?page=AttorneyBio&attno=01533. They don’t often hire from there though.

  55. guest says:

    Latham’s unassigned system sounds nice, but when the economy gets slow, you have an entire summer class of people all vying for the same litigation work… and no one is making their hours because of it.
    being assigned to a group helps divvy up the work and eliminates competition for good work in the first years. other than that tho, latham is a really great place.

  56. guest says:

    What does all this “the people were nice” during the interview stuff even mean? How can you tell during a 20 minute interview if you’d want to spend your non-billable time having a beer with them? How can you tell that they’re “nice” at 4am while trying to meet a deadline?

  57. guest says:

    38 – you’re right to be concerned. a ton of latham first years, including those who wanted to do corporate work, got stuck on a massive doc review last fall/winter (8 hours a day x 6 days a week). they had no option to turn it down for other work.

  58. guest says:

    46 – you’re a fool, of course a partner at another firm will have nothing good to say about their competitors.
    Are you a lawyer? Do you have any experience? That’s a moronic comment. I (and other lawyers I know) are constently saying positive things about partners/associates at other law firms. Truth is, when you’re up against good lawyers, your experience is much better than when you’re up against people who don’t know what they’re doing. There is generally a hell of a lot more respectful and cordial behavior in the law than you would think.

  59. guest says:

    But 50. who cares about Kirkland’s New York office? Nobody has even asked about it. The Chicago office is on par or better than everyone else, plus you get better than most of those jokers in New York with Chicago COL. Going to Kirkland New York would just be silly.

  60. guest says:

    “46 – you’re a fool, of course a partner at another firm will have nothing good to say about their competitors.”
    You must work for Skadden. Partners and associates at my v10 have lots of great things to say about our peer firms.

  61. guest says:

    50 – you make band 3 sound really bad (“the likes of…”).
    these are the band 3 firms in comm lit. you are right that 10 nyc firms are ahead, but these are still very top firms to grouped with:
    Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP
    Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft
    Cahill Gordon & Reindel
    Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton
    Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson
    Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher
    Kaye Scholer
    Kirkland & Ellis
    Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel
    Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy
    Proskauer Rose
    Shearman & Sterling
    White & Case LLP
    Willkie Farr & Gallagher
    WilmerHale

  62. guest says:

    62 is grasping for straws.
    Kaye Scholer? Shearman? please.

  63. guest says:

    Stay away from Kirkland LA. That place is a sinking ship nightmare.

  64. guest says:

    K&E only gets 3 weeks vacation. Latham has a minimum billables requirement. The rest are NYC based and get 4 weeks vacation with no billables requirement for a bonus.

  65. guest says:

    58 — That’s actually a great sales pitch. If 8 hours per day, 6 days a week is hard work at Latham, I wish I worked there. I rarely bill under 50 hours per week at my v10 firm, and I’ve had more 70-hour weeks than 50-hour weeks.

  66. guest says:

    Response to 66 – Don’t forget that this 8 hours a day/6 days a week was just on one document review assignment which was given to associates who did not want to do litigation. Associates who wanted to build skills and learn about other areas probably ended up working much more than that.

  67. guest says:

    64
    any reason why Kirkland LA is sinking?

  68. guest says:

    Having worked against Cleary on a large, long litigation, I was impressed — although, admittedly, the strategy of their litigation appears to have been directed by a single partner, so this might be a minor data point. They were crafty, but that’s not the same as litigating like an asshole. Conservative lawyers (like my former firm) try to protect the firm’s white shoe reputation. Asshole lawyers break the rules and often get away with it. Crafty lawyers do all they can within the boundaries of the rules to win for their client. Cleary seemed to be the latter (and yes I know about the sanctions). Anyway, all the associates seemed pleasant, fourth and fifth years defended and took depositions, but junior associates appeared to get chewed up and spit out. I wouldn’t have a problem with litigating with or against them again. It is much more difficult to litigate against incompetent jackasses.

  69. guest says:

    The Kirkland art budget is only for certain offices. You don’t get it in SF, for instance.

  70. guest says:

    70, well I guess I’m cancelling my Kirkland SF callback :)

  71. guest says:

    Speaking of which, what are the best corp. finance/M&A firms in SF (as a lateral attorney)?

  72. guest says:

    Is there much difference in terms of culture/QoL/people at Latham NY, DC, K&E DC, NY, Weil NY, or Cleary DC?
    Can a first-year get good antitrust work at all of them?

  73. guest says:

    So here’s a question from an ignorant law student. Do I have to go to all of the cocktail receptions the night before my OCI interview? Do I wear a suit if I go, or is b/c appropriate (that’s what all of the dress codes say). Thx

  74. guest says:

    74 – Here’s my advice (take it with a grain of salt obviously).
    If you wear a suit, make sure it’s a well fitting suit and not an off the rack bag suit. Nothing makes someone look more un-professional than the “I just got out of college and don’t know anything” look, which is exactly what the ill-fitted bag-suit says.
    Also, if you go business casual or put on a sport coat or something, it says you are confident and mature (seems like backwards logic, but it’s true).
    Oh, and I would go to the cocktail reception before your interview. It’s just good form.

  75. guest says:

    73, dont know about firm cultures
    But Cleary (according to Chambers and Vault specialty rankings, and hearsay which probably results from the rankings) is tops in Antitrust.

  76. guest says:

    69 – just curious (as a former Cleary litigator), what partner it was? Moloney, Gitter, Lowenthal?

  77. guest says:

    73: I’ll say this – several years ago, I turned down an offer from Weil because during my interviews, I met some of the most egotistical, shallow people I’ve ever come across, and that’s not what I wanted for colleagues (I still remember one attorney’s comment when I asked him why he picked Weil: “Because when I tell my friends from law school I work here, they’re all impressed”)
    I’ve since met some very nice Weil lawyers, so maybe they just did a horrendous job picking people to interview candidates back when I was a law student. But its something to be aware of.
    And 75 – the off the rack suit also says “I can’t afford to buy tailored suits”. For most students, thats usually true, and anyone who expects more as an interviewer probably works at a place with a culture I wouldn’t want to be a part of anyway.

  78. guest says:

    concur with 78 on suits/attire
    all firms expect is a neat professional look. They realize you’re a student and dont expect 2k Armani, cufflings, etc. The content of the interview is infinitely more important

  79. guest says:

    13/23 – In the Latham unassigned system , all projects and assignments are run through a central “book” which sends out notices of available work that unassigned associates can then express interest in. You may or may not get the work if you express interest, but you can try. If you’re not interested in litigation, you don’t express interest in a doc review, and if you’re not interested in corporate you don’t ask to be put on a deal. I’ve never heard of anyone being pressed into service – I’m sure it’s possible if there’s a huge case going, but it’s unusual. Of course, if your hours are down and you need work, you might sign up for something that’s not normally your cup of tea, but that’s your choice. There’s a lot of freedom to choose your own work in the first two years, and while there are certainly people who head straight for the department they want, there are plenty of others who don’t.

  80. guest says:

    75 – I’d automatically reject anyone who was stupid and immature (see: your definition of “confident and mature”) enough to show up in a sports coat or business casual for a law firm interview. It’s an interview; wear a suit. Also, no one cares what kind of suit you’re wearing, so long as it’s not filthy or hot pink. You’re not expected to be wealthy, just to have common sense.

  81. guest says:

    75 – I’d automatically reject anyone who was stupid and immature (see: your definition of “confident and mature”) enough to show up in a sports coat or business casual for a law firm interview. It’s an interview; wear a suit. Also, no one cares what kind of suit you’re wearing, so long as it’s not filthy or hot pink. You’re not expected to be wealthy, just to have common sense.

  82. guest says:

    74, you should definitely wear a tux with a dinner jacket.

  83. guest says:

    75 – I’d automatically reject anyone who was stupid and immature (see: your definition of “confident and mature”) enough to show up in a sports coat or business casual for a law firm interview. It’s an interview; wear a suit. Also, no one cares what kind of suit you’re wearing, so long as it’s not filthy or hot pink. You’re not expected to be wealthy, just to have common sense.

  84. guest says:

    Sorry for the repeat posts. Error message here too.
    -81/82/84

  85. guest says:

    81, 82, 84–I’d automatically reject anyone who didn’t catch on to the fact that he was aksing about a cocktail party, not the interview. I would not reject someone who posted three times.

  86. guest says:

    Only thing is, 85, the OP was asking about what to wear to a pre-interview reception. HTH.
    -Not 75

  87. guest says:

    74 here–we’re talking about the evening cocktail receptions, not the interview.

  88. guest says:

    46: where was your friend’s Dad a partner?? I’d like to work for him!

  89. guest says:

    I turned down a summer position in Kirkland’s NYC office to do IP work because I wanted to remain in Boston. Whoops.

  90. guest says:

    Right on 81. 75 is a tool box re: comment on bag-suit. Even David Boise wears suits from Lands End. So long as you look neat and clean (pay for a nice shirt, shoes & tie) you’ll be fine. Content of interview counts for so much more.

  91. guest says:

    75 (or others):
    What do you do if two firms you’re interested in have receptions at the same time?

  92. guest says:

    Right on 81. 75 is a tool box re: comment on bag-suit. Even David Boise wears suits from Lands End. So long as you look neat and clean (pay for a nice shirt, shoes & tie) you’ll be fine. Content of interview counts for so much more.

  93. guest says:

    With respect to suits, one can wear an off-the-rack suit (I agree with posters who point out that most law students can’t afford bespoke suits), but for the love of God spend the $50 to have it altered. If you can, splurge on a $150 – $200 custom tailored shirt, which may be expensive but will look great with an altered off-the-rack suit.

  94. guest says:

    92,
    I’d suggest either cloning yourself or filling out an application to work at Jacoby and Meyers or CWT because your fuct.

  95. guest says:

    Wear a really low slung dress to the reception, after all, the partners who volunteer their time to fly out to some campus and drink with a bunch of ignorant social climbing kids are usually the partners most intested in student bodies.

  96. guest says:

    78 — I am a first year at Weil (NY) and I can tell you without hesitation that you just had a bad interview. The people at Weil are outstanding — social, fun, and genuinely nice, and definitely not egotistical. It’s a great place to work. Partners are very respectful of associates, and our hours are not bad by biglaw standards. And the work is amazing. I’m extremely happy with my choice.

  97. guest says:

    Maybe I’m generalizing, but aren’t all the K&E big dogs based in Chicago? If you have the choice between a branch office (even if it is NY) and the home office in another city, I’d go with the home office, especially if that is where the power resides. And K&E Chicago (for litigation anyway), is probably the most prestigious firm in town, bar none. Although certain types of work are not done at K&E because of conflicts.

  98. guest says:

    Kirkland is a highly regarded firm in both NYC and Chicago. The private equity work that Kirkland gets is phenomenal and comparable to any prestigious NYC law firm where I worked. Also, Kirkland’s former head of their bankruptcy practice now works at Goldman Sachs. As for comment 97, my friends who used to work at Weil hated the firm and the people especially in private equity.

  99. guest says:

    98,
    You’ve obviously never heard of Barlitt Beck for litigation. They are, however, former K&E partners.

  100. guest says:

    Kirkland’s former head of bankruptcy now works for Goldman Sachs? Holy crap!
    My 22 year old pimply faced cousin works for Goldman as well. Maybe they know each other.

  101. guest says:

    98,
    You’ve obviously never heard of Barlitt Beck for litigation. They are, however, former K&E partners.

  102. guest says:

    101, he works for GS as a partnered MD.

  103. guest says:

    64-
    What is going on at Kirkland LA? I am interviewing with them and was seriously considering going there if offered because of the bonus money and training etc… Can you be more specific about why someone in my position should avoid it?

  104. guest says:

    102, I guess I was speaking in the context of places where law students could actually land jobs out of law school. From what I understand, Bartlit Beck is not one of those places. Isn’t that place really only accessible to former a) SCOTUS clerks or b) COA clerks from a very prestigious circuit/judge? If we throw boutiques like Bartlit Beck into the mix, then there are a fair number of firms, across the country and in all practice areas, that are more “prestigious” than those in the V10.
    -98

  105. guest says:

    68 — Kirkland LA is VERY slow, but not sure if that’s more just the market. My friends at Latham, Paul Hastings, OMM, all seem to be extremely slow in LA.
    As for Kirkland litigation (excluding IP), at least in NY, it’s true they don’t get as many super high-profile cases (though it still gets more than I would like). There’s definitely an inverse relationship between quality of work and the size of the case. Kirkland NY gets a lot of mid-sized cases staffed with 2-4 people, which means a much bigger role for junior attorneys.

  106. guest says:

    25, it depends what type of IP practice you’re interested in. If you are leaning toward litigation then K&E is great choice, also don’t be so quick to blow off Weil either. Weil has been involved in many large stakes IP cases. That said, if IP litigation is your desire than those two firms are where you want to be. If you’re interested in more of a IP prosecution type of practice than certainly K&E is not where you want to go.

  107. guest says:

    105,
    Point well taken.
    -102

  108. guest says:

    I concur with the 2nd paragraph of 106.
    -50 (and 30)

  109. guest says:

    Latham must have the most perfectly run public relations machine. For whatever reason everyone believes it’s the greatest place to work at with the friendliest, super-duper nicest colleagues you could have ever imagined. I can’t exactly explain why, but I start having this hunch that it’s all a bunch of bull.

  110. guest says:

    110,
    I only consider Latham to be a “fun” place to work relative to massive biglaw V20 megafirms (Skadden, Sullivan, Weil, Simpson, KE). I’d imagine, if you “fit” and have the qualifications, that smaller shops like Munger, Irell, Williams and Connolly, Finnegan, Fish, etc. are better places to work. Also, my uninformed impression is that Cleary and Davis are relatively enjoyable places to work as far as biglaw goes, probably more so than Latham.

  111. guest says:

    21: Yikes. I think you may [understandably] be in a bit of denial about what associates are doing at other V10 firms. If you really want to be a litigator you should not settle for managing doc review for two years or more.

  112. guest says:

    106 – pardon me for being “slow”, but by SLOW do you mean that there is a lack of work in LA? If that’s the case, plus what you also described in your post, then shouldn’t almost all LA shops be sinking?

  113. guest says:

    I agree with 106. The mega-cases/famous cases tend to be handled out of our (K&E’s) Chicago office (which is 2-3x larger).
    However, that’s not where all of the talent is. There are several big general lit partners here at K&E NY (Putnam, Pratt, Riemer, Bernick) that I would never, ever want to see on the opposite side of a case.

  114. guest says:

    I spent three years at Cleary Corporate at the turn of the century. For what its worth, I found the firm to be an incredibly decent and welcoming place to work quite hard (but not, on average, as hard as its “peers”). It was also a place where people, including partners, had some perspective on the need for a life outside of the office. I left the firm clear in the notion that the practice of corporate law is not for me, but I also left convinced that Cleary presents one of the most humane (its all relative) places to practice this form of law.
    Also, in my time, Cleary was definitely more selective in its hiring at my law school (HYS) than S&C, Simpson or Skadden .

  115. guest says:

    #105, please indulge me–these top-notch litigation boutiques totally fly under the radar, yet they seem like the great destinations for someone with the right lofty credentials. I should be within striking distance (competitive COA clerkship and the right school)–will they come find me, or do I need to hunt these boutiques down?

  116. guest says:

    104 – Don’t get scared by ATL trolls. Work in LA has slowed down everywhere. Kirkland LA is far from a sinking ship and I think it’s telling that the person who said that didn’t actually back it up with anything.

  117. guest says:

    97 – HAHAHAHAHA. Weil people not egotistical douchebags?? You’re either so high on coke that your sense of reality is skewed, or you’re just as egotistical as all the rest and to you egotistical = genuinely nice.

  118. guest says:

    111 – more so than latham? hardly. former dpw associate who moved to LW and so much happier here. people at DPW were very passive-aggressive. genuinely like the people here and doing as good or better deals than i was doing there. couldn’t be happier with the move.

  119. guest says:

    STB litigation – Great place if you are interested in insurance coverage disputes. Also, reinsurance coverage disputes.

  120. guest says:

    Whats the word on Simpson? I hear its an incredibly fun place to work

  121. guest says:

    78 — I am also an associate at Weil as well (in the Corporate Group) and completely agree with you. Apparantly associates at the other V6-10 firms have nothing better to do than bad mouth eacho ther on ATL.
    There’s a reason Weil has become top 20 in associate satisfaction and the A-List; the firm has decided to focus on retaining associates (especially mid-levels). Keeping associates happy means you can’t have insensitive, screamer partners around (they were purged) and you need some awareness that associates are people with lives beyond their job. We work hard and have long hours at times, but if I have an emergency the firm acts supportive and concerned.

  122. guest says:

    104 — the difference between Kirkland LA and CA-based firms that are slow due to the general LA market being slow is that people are leaving, including partners. Tony Richardson, a fairly senior partner who was practically the face of the minority recruiting effort left. Considering K&E as a whole doesn’t have that many black partners to begin with, I doubt they would let him go unless things were bad. There seems to be a problem there in general with partners who are struggling to bring in business. This is all through friends who work in the LA office (I’m in another K&E office).

  123. guest says:

    Does anyone have any info about the Kirkland DC office? How does it compare to the NY office? Same bonus grid? Better/worse people? Thanks!

  124. guest says:

    116, not really sure since I’ve never really looked into working for one of those places and don’t imagine I would get hired even if I did. But I’d guess if you work for a well regarded judge, they should be able to open plenty of those doors for you. Here is something to beware of though. Some of these boutiques have really unorthodox billing structures, which may affect compensation. For example, I know Bartlit Beck is on record as saying it uses all sorts of value billing structures for certain types of commercial litigation. I’m not sure how that affects the bottom line and, thus, associate comp. It may mean more bonus (read: contingent) based comp as opposed to firms with the traditional billable hour model. Worth checking into. Then again, the mentoring and work at a place like that may be far and away superior to that of a large firm. Trade-offs . . .

  125. guest says:

    77– got it in three, it was TM.

  126. guest says:

    Re: IP Litigation. It doesn’t get any better than KE SF. The clients, the above-NY-market-bonuses, early responsibility, the brilliance of (most) of the partners and associates, and frankly, relatively reasonable hours. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a top notch law firm, you’re going to work. But the hours are not as bad as their NY or CH counterparts, and the pay is the same, and most of them come during trial crunch periods.

  127. guest says:

    @ 124:
    Kirkland DC bonuses are the same as the other offices. Everyone I met there were very nice, and litigation group is great.

  128. guest says:

    K&E has a top-notch bankruptcy group. We work hard, but we get the best work. And at K&E, unlike many firms, bankruptcy is well respected among the other groups and not considered just a fringe practice group…

  129. guest says:

    @ 97 & 122 – 78 here, and glad to hear it. And like I said, I’ve interacted with some really good Weil folks since (mainly people in DC), so I wouldn’t be surprised if the folks I met actually were outliers (or have since been kicked to the curb :)
    @ 118 – maybe. On the other hand, I’ve usually found that people who post things like “HAHAHAHAHA” and leap to make ad hominem attacks on people they don’t actually know tend to be bad judges of character. But maybe you’re the exception . . .

  130. guest says:

    1) K&E no doubt pays superior bonuses (excluding WLRK), especially given that they do so everywhere. That’s of particular importance in Chicago, which gives it the five-spot national rankings lead over its only real peer firm in Chi, and a massive lead over firms 3-5 in the Chi rankings.
    2) K&E is highly regarded for “bet-the-company” lit and bankruptcy.
    3) K&E corp practice, especially private equity, is top notch. (Whether that is a good area in which to be top notch at this particular time might be the subject of debate.)
    4) K&E’s new offices will be very nice.
    5) For the rare few who make equity partner, K&E PPP’s rival many top NY based firms. (And for some, the income partner level is an attractive feature.)
    With all of the above having been said, prospective recruits should know that K&E’s infamous “eat what you kill” system might not be for everyone. That system has a very real influence on its culture, which, again, is indeed a goof fit for some, but not for all.
    Note that K&E types (i.e., prospects, summers and new associates) tend to be most obstreperous about K&E’s alleged superiority (e.g., all too predictably, we saw comments regarding K&E in the V 1-5 thread and will surely see them in the V 10-15 thread).

  131. guest says:

    Can anyone compare E&Y TARAS vs Deloitte TMAS groups? Thanks.

  132. guest says:

    i dont work there, but i have heard some very negative things about kirklands summer program- very boring, lots of dull people. they apparently had their end of summer party in the same building as another top firm and the contrast was remarkable.
    they also had something like 40 male summers, and 5 female summers. awkward?

  133. guest says:

    129,
    I’m looking at K&E’s restructuring group. “Work hard” means how many billables? 2200? 2300? 2400+?

  134. guest says:

    @133
    Sorry, but you sound pretty misinformed. Kirkland’s summer program (especially for the NY office) was pretty extravagant and a lot of fun. I am sure there are plenty of other firms with even more extravagant programs, but I can assure you that K&E’s summer was not boring and the people were not dull! Everyone was very nice, and very outgoing.
    This summer’s NY class had more males than females, but I can assure you it was not a 40 to 5 ratio. Considering all the splits (which meant that at some points in time, the ratio of males to females in the office was skewed), it was probably around 60% male and 40% female (that was just NYC). Normally the numbers are closer to 50/50, but for whatever reason the people that accepted summer associate gigs in NY came out differently this year.

  135. guest says:

    134–you may need to re-define “work hard” if 2200 is your first guess, particularly if you’re looking at restructuring.

  136. guest says:

    131 is right, the eat-what-you-kill, up-or-out system has its effects, and it goes all the way down. There are, from what I can tell, three ways to make equity partner here:
    1. Have CEO/GC friends
    2. Work insane hours (and sometimes that’s not enough)
    3. Kiss ass
    If you’re #1, the world is your oyster, and life sure is great. If you’re #2, your wife and kids hate you, and you’re probably not the friendliest guy in the office. If you’re #3, you’re probably outwardly friendly but a real douche.
    You’ll find people in your summer class that you really like. But those people will filter out, as they get sick of giving up their nights and weekends (and maybe the worst part is that no one seems to appreciate it…it’s expected). By the time you hit your 4th-5th year, everyone that’s left is actually going to take a shot at partner, which means they fall into one of the three categories (or they’re naive). Worse yet, there’s only so many seats at the table, so it’s all viewed as a competition. Non-equity is easier than equity (and significantly so), but it’s no given. So all these gunners (which defines at least 50% of the workforce here) go into overdrive. Furthermore, the reward for the years of hard work only for the firm to determine you’re not going to ever make equity? A recommendation that you seek employment elsewhere (which isn’t that hard to do with “Kirkland Partner” on the resume).
    Which is really the point. For all of these firms, it’s all about exit options. It’s best to admit that from the get-go, because it’s by far the likeliest outcome. Ask yourself where you want to be in 10 years. If you need to be a partner at a V10 firm – yes, by all means, go to one of these places. If you want to go in-house, well, V10 places are good for that too (but in some practice areas, it’s actually easier from a smaller shop). If you want to be a partner somewhere, at some firm, well, maybe you should look somewhere else. Sure, you can lateral, but that 3 interview process is no substitute for an entire summer of feeling the place out. And you get only so many lateral attempts before no one will touch you for fear that you’re simply a jumper. And hey, maybe you just want to pay off loans quick because you realize law was a mistake and you really just want to fix up old cars. In that case, head to the big bonus firms and turn off your social life for a couple years.
    Me? Well, I wish that I knew what I know now, when I was younger.

  137. guest says:

    I second 115, as a current Cleary associate. It’s a good shop.

  138. guest says:

    137–
    EXCELLENT summary–probably the most honest assessment of K&E I’ve read here. Only one addition–one must be prepared to fend off backstabs from basically anyone, at anytime, once you make partner.

  139. guest says:

    139 –
    Yes, that’s true. Though I have yet to venture into the partner meeting where they split up all the dough, from what I understand that’s not a fun place to be. I’ve heard from more than one partner that it’s a bit of a money grab, and a disappointing experience for them (though I struggled not to blurt out “what the hell did you expect at this place?!?”)

  140. guest says:

    can somebody comment on simpson v. dpw v. weil silicon valley?

  141. guest says:

    140-
    Then I’m sure you’ve been told (or more likely, pieced together from a couple of sources) how a certain someone currently at the top of the food chain got his by shiving the only ex-partner I never heard a bad word about (who retired promptly after said shiving). It’s the most illuminating story about the culture and almost no one really gets what it means.

  142. guest says:

    78 & 97: I also encountered the most arrogant and abrasive interviewers from Weil. They were absolutely horrendous.

  143. guest says:

    If I’m doing a callback at an office that is business casual (Palo Alto) should I wear business casual or still play it safe and pack a tie? Don’t want to be under-dressed but I also don’t want to be the douche who was the only person in the office with a tie.

  144. guest says:

    144–wear a tie. You will stand out, but that’s a small price to pay. Better to appear overly formal than as though you don’t care.

  145. guest says:

    I too had a horrendous callback at Weil.

  146. guest says:

    I have been at Weil for a number of years now, and the people are absolutely fantastic. Sure there are some with whom I’m sure an interview experience was less than pleasant, but if you believe that those people don’t exist at every firm, you are kidding yourself.
    These are all top-notch firms. At any one of them, you will work hard (but not really any harder at one over the other), you will get paid great (probably about the exact same), and you will work on fantastic cases. Anyone who tries to sell you on anything different is full of it. Those who bad mouth a firm on these boards are likely bitter and have nothing better to do.
    I have nothing bad to say about any of the firms, but Weil is a fantastic place to work. Sure, your experience is going to vary by group/department and who you work with, but that is the case at any one of these firms. The key is to find somewhere you feel like you fit in with the culture. Weil has a very laid-back culture, whereas a place like Skadden is more of a high-energy place. I don’t think you are going to work harder at either place, its just a different atmosphere. (Disclaimer: I summered at Weil and have been here ever since, so my comparison to Skadden is based on conversations with friends who work there.)
    Your job as an interviewee is to meet as many people as you can and try to figure out where you fit in best, because if you are going to any of these firms, you are in a great position. If you leave your future up to bitter posters who have nothing better to do than complain about Weil or any other firm, then good luck.

  147. guest says:

    I am a rising second year work ing in NY interested in practicing soft IP exclusively. Any hope for me? Also, anybody have any insight on Patterson Belknap?

  148. guest says:

    148- I met a number of PB attorneys this summer through my public interest job… they were really great, friendly people. Went above and beyond to help us out.

  149. guest says:

    I’m interested in litigation and staying in Los Angeles. I’m considering the following firms: Latham, K & E, Paul Hastings, and Gibson Dunn – any thoughts?

  150. guest says:

    134 — “work hard” — in BK, in this market, expect more like 2700-3000

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