The 2011 Vault prestige rankings are out, giving meaning and purpose to those whose firms ranked in the top 20, and giving those further down the list inferiority complexes. (We’re talking to you, #21-formerly-#18.)

This thread covers the firms ranked #11 through #20. This is your chance to discuss these firms — their upsides and downsides and whether Vault got their rankings right. The Vault site has entries for each firm, similar to the Firm Snapshots in our own Career Center.

The “downers” category for most firms tends to be rather general: they treat me like a number, “long hours,” “unfun,” etc. But someone at #20-ranked White & Case had a very specific complaint about the firm’s lack of tech savvy: “The technology is very outdated. We still run Outlook 2003 and are not allowed to use iPhones. The blackberries we are given are over 2 years old and do not work well at times. The firm is not receptive to these issues.”

Little known White & Case perk: every new associate gets their own Commodore 64 for home use.

What are the reviews for the other firms in this bracket?

Here are the firms that round out the top 20 most prestigious in the land:

11. Kirkland & Ellis
12. Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison
13. Debevoise & Plimpton LLP
14. Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP
15. Latham & Watkins LLP
16. Sidley Austin LLP
17. WilmerHale
18. Jones Day
19. Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan
20. White & Case LLP

We have to be careful what we say about Kirkland around these parts. Their defenders tend to be aggressive in our comments. Apparently, when they’re in the office, they’re passive aggressive.

Paul Weiss has a vanilla entry. A sample of its “buzz”: “A fine-tuned machine.” Sounds like a boring machine though there is talk of a “Friday happy hour.”

Debevoise and Gibson Dunn both got dinged for being political. Latham got dinged for being fratty — is that a bad thing? — and for being a verb.

WilmerHale and Jones Day, on the other hand, aren’t fratty enough — their downers include being “super stuffy” and “unfun,” respectively. Apparently, you don’t have to go to a white shoe firm for a buttoned up culture.

Associates at Sidley, like those at White & Case, had tech complaints: “My first laptop and Blackberry were from the Cretaceous Period.” That’s weird. We thought Sidley didn’t like to keep old things around.

You can tell that Quinn Emanuel is the youngest firm on the list — young and hungry. The “buzz” there is that they’re “sharks and proud of it” and that the firm has a “cool, offbeat culture.” We know they do like summer associate who go off the beaten trail.

What do you think about these firms? Can you chime in with wisdom that didn’t make it into their profiles?

Earlier: Fall Recruiting Open Threads: Vault 1 – 10 (2011)
The 2011 Vault Rankings Are Out!


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