Law School Discussion

Headquarter office vs. secondary

intel

Headquarter office vs. secondary
« on: July 22, 2008, 05:00:39 PM »
In regards to competitiveness and prestige what it the relationship between a firm's secondary office and its headquarter office? In particular, I am talking about firms that are headquartered in NYC but have their second largest office in DC. I am most concerned with the exit options after working in a secondary office. So, let's say I have the chance to work at Simpson, Thacher (V#6, headquartered in NYC) in their DC office, OR at Arnold & Porter (V#21, headquartered in DC) in their DC office. Which is the better option given my priorities (i.e. exit options after a few years).

Re: Headquarter office vs. secondary
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2008, 05:20:24 PM »
tag.  I would also like to define "exit options" once and for all.  Do you want to work in management consulting after leaving the firm?

intel

Re: Headquarter office vs. secondary
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2008, 05:44:48 PM »
tag.  I would also like to define "exit options" once and for all.  Do you want to work in management consulting after leaving the firm?

I was actually leaning more towards in-house counsel, though maybe that falls under the umbrella of management consulting?

intel

Re: Headquarter office vs. secondary
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2008, 10:31:21 AM »
no one has any insight on this?

Veil

Re: Headquarter office vs. secondary
« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2008, 05:30:24 PM »
I'll weigh in...with the catch-all answer of "it depends." Namely, it depends on what practice area you're interested in (if any) and what kind of "exit opportunities" you hope to have after x years.

I don't know much about A&P, but if you have no preference between transactional and lit and have no idea as to what kind of exit opportunities you hope to have in the future, I would aim for a firm that would give you broad exposure to a number of practice groups. Some secondary offices of full service firms tend to specialize in certain practice areas, and they therefore present limited opportunities for a summer associate or young attorney.

Both Simpson and A&P are strong firms and any perceived prestige difference between the two would likely come down to practice group. Thus, you are likely better off being in Firm X's top flight Tax group over Firm Y's mediocre Antitrust group, even if Firm Y is more highly ranked overall on Vault.

Re: Headquarter office vs. secondary
« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2008, 08:39:24 PM »
I can't see geography making a difference in the scenarios you gave because D.C. and NYC are both good/competitive legal markets. 

However, if you were working, for example, in a good firms Minneapolis office (assuming that exists, not to knock Minnesota) then it might be viewed as less prestigious. 

If you know the “exit option” you are hoping for, maybe try using geography to your advantage (i.e. you want to be in-house at Exxon, work at a firm's Texas office and network; want to try investment banking, work in NYC; want to be a lobbyist, choose DC).

Re: Headquarter office vs. secondary
« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2008, 08:57:43 PM »
On the question of headquarter office v. secondary, in a bad economy is it safer to try and get a SA position in the headquarter office?  Some secondary offices only take 1-2 positions, and i would worry that in a lagging economy those positions would be the first to go.  Anyone have any insight?

Thanks!

Re: Headquarter office vs. secondary
« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2008, 11:34:04 AM »
In regards to competitiveness and prestige what it the relationship between a firm's secondary office and its headquarter office? In particular, I am talking about firms that are headquartered in NYC but have their second largest office in DC. I am most concerned with the exit options after working in a secondary office. So, let's say I have the chance to work at Simpson, Thacher (V#6, headquartered in NYC) in their DC office, OR at Arnold & Porter (V#21, headquartered in DC) in their DC office. Which is the better option given my priorities (i.e. exit options after a few years).

depends on the office, hard to generalize. Kirkland has a great DC office, for instance.

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Re: Headquarter office vs. secondary
« Reply #8 on: August 06, 2008, 04:07:21 AM »
DC is still considered a primary market, so you should be fine. If you were talking about Boise or some place like that, it would be a different story, obviously.