Starting at these firms and then lateralling for partner...or advanced associate status?? I know this is a path many people end up taking, but is it really one you want to resign yourself to when you can see it coming already? I mean, if that's the case, these firms are truly like enormous, blue bug-lamps praying on the ambitious. It's good to be ambitious to an extent, until it becomes self-destructive. But I could be wrong, I mean, I've never worked at either of these firms.As to whether the other prestigious New York firms are the same way, perhaps... But I don't think any of the others have as low an associate satisfaction report. One of my professors used to talk about his old law school roommate who wound up in NY V10 law. He said the guy lived in his office, 2800 billables, and would even keep a pair of shoes and a change of clothes sitting at his office door in case he EVER had to leave the office, for any reason (so others would think he just popped down to the gym or to the crapper). I mean, let's not pull any punches here, that's ridiculous. That's worse than Tom Cruise in "The Firm" ridiculous. Partly because there's no hooker sex, but also because you will very literally not have a life, and very literally lose your sense of self, and very literally not have much to show for it after 8 years of practicing (probably not partnership - unless you turn up some really naughty files that your firm keeps down in the Caymans). On second thought, go work there. Hell. Why do I even bother?
If that's your strategy, go Cravath. Although when you lateral, filling out the clearing of conflicts paperwork will be an ABSOLUTE RIOT.
Now, the cons - 1) very low associate satisfaction levels at both Cravath/Cleary(http://www.judged.com/jdsearchfirm.php)