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Author Topic: biglaw-differences between firms  (Read 1302 times)

ruski

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biglaw-differences between firms
« on: August 28, 2009, 06:16:36 PM »
so i am a 1L and had some questions about biglaw firms. now you always hear pple talking about the top 10 firms like skadden, white & case, etc., but what about the firms ranked like 90-100 on vault. after digging around, i found those bottom firms pay 160,000 (or very close to it) as well.  do these guys work the same hours as the guys at skadden?

also, how easy (or hard) would it be for a student at a t5 or t14 school to get into one of these bottom firms that still pay160k. would a student around the median at a top school have trouble getting in there, or are these the firms that pple refer to as backups?

nealric

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Re: biglaw-differences between firms
« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2009, 08:27:38 PM »
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The difference is prestige, not compensation (although skadden's bonuses are probably considerably higher than a v100 firm).

This is only true at lower associate levels. Top firms tend to have much less compression in salaries.

For example, A Skadden 7th year in the boom times was making 300k+ after bonus, while a Venable (v80-100) 7th year might be making 200k. Differences become more extreme at the partnership levels. A Skadden partner will make 1-4 million, while a Venable partner will make 300k-1M. However, there are outliers at the lower ranked firms (major rain makers).

Additionally, the incentive to go to a higher ranked firm is exit options (better in-house positions, etc.) Keep in mind that Vault does not always track prestige/selectivity/compensation accurately. White and Case, for example, is not considered terribly selective. There are many lower vault firms that are more difficult to get.


In this economy, all bets are off in terms of what it takes to get into a firm. Two years ago, all but the bottom 1/3 at the T14 had a solid shot of landing a 160k job. Now, it's looking like only the top 20% or so at the T14s and the tippy top of class at lower ranked schools are getting love. Of course, the recruiting cycle is still young.
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Angry Gorilla

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Re: biglaw-differences between firms
« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2009, 09:33:26 PM »
Some lay off more than others.

FlyFish

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Re: biglaw-differences between firms
« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2009, 11:12:36 PM »
nealric, totally disagree with the last part.  Times are tough no doubt, but firms are still going far deeper into T14 than the top %20.  At my T14, well over the top half got offers to summer at V100 firms.  True, I don't know offer rates yet, but I think once your in there is a lot that goes into an offer beyond where you stack up in your law school class.  IMO it just can't be said that only those in a certain percentage of the class get jobs.  It can be said that only a certain percentage get offers for the summer (way higher than 20 though) and from there, I bet the full-time offer rate is scattered a bit (i.e. people at the top might not get a full time offer because of a lack of maturity, etc. whereas people in the middle will).  It all depends, especially in this market, but I don't think the doom and gloom is as bad as only the top 20% from the T14 get jobs. 

nealric

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Re: biglaw-differences between firms
« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2009, 12:10:16 AM »
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At my T14, well over the top half got offers to summer at V100 firms. 

I was just talking about those who have callbacks from OCI so far. Sorry if I was unclear.

Quote
At my T14, well over the top half got offers to summer at V100 firms. 

Same goes for GULC... Last year.
This year is a completely different ball game.

But like I said, hiring season is still young. A lot could happen- but the start isn't encouraging for most.
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Burning Sands, Esq.

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Re: biglaw-differences between firms
« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2009, 11:44:33 AM »
so i am a 1L and had some questions about biglaw firms. now you always hear pple talking about the top 10 firms like skadden, white & case, etc., but what about the firms ranked like 90-100 on vault. after digging around, i found those bottom firms pay 160,000 (or very close to it) as well.  do these guys work the same hours as the guys at skadden?

Comparable but not the same hours, no.  I started at a V-50 law firm, and had friends who started the same time at shops like Cravath and Skadden, etc.  My hours and their hours were definitely different.  For example, when we met up for drinks somewhere in the City let's say around 7ish, after we were done at say 9pm I would go home while they would go back to their respective firms.  And that's if you could get them to come out in the first place.  And, as you noted, we all made the same salary.

Now their bonuses were slightly larger than mine but not large enough that I would trade my lifestyle for theirs just to get an extra few thousand bucks at the end of the year (taxed at 40% btw).  No thanks.




also, how easy (or hard) would it be for a student at a t5 or t14 school to get into one of these bottom firms that still pay160k. would a student around the median at a top school have trouble getting in there, or are these the firms that pple refer to as backups?


I have to concur with Nealric - in this market all bets are off.  We used to be able to answer this same question with near perfect precision.  Now....who knows?  People don't really have "backups" anymore. Not like it used to be.  It used to be you went to a good law school, you got good grades, you got a good job and lived happily ever after.  Now...not so much.

Like one poster said, if you get a job offer in this market for $160k, I'd advise you to grab on tight with both hands and don't let go.

That said, people are still getting jobs (obviously).  But to answer your question with more accuracy at this point in the hiring season is impossible.  We're all finding out the answer together as we go along.
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