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    Hi guys,

    I have decided I want to work at a US firm rather than MC. I am trying to decide which ones I am going to apply for for vacation schemes once they open.

    Are there different tiers of US firms in London? You hear of different ranks and tiers for them in their US market (e.g. the Vault list which has Skadden, SullCrom, Davis Polk, Latham, Kirkland, Cleary, Gibson, Weil, Covington, Sidley in their top 15 ("V15" ).

    But are there firms in that V15 list which aren't as prestigious in London? Would Covington say have the same oomph as Latham, even though Covington is a smaller office?

    Are they all in the same general elite "tier" along with the MC firms?

    There are certain firms such as Dechert, Baker & McKenzie, Orrick, K&L Gates, McDermott which seem to be in a slightly lower "tier" than the ones listed above in the V15?

    Really finding it confusing how their reputations translate over the atlantic! Any help would be amazing!
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    Curious why you want to work for a US firm rather than MC?


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    (Original post by chalks)
    Curious why you want to work for a US firm rather than MC?


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    I love it when older TSR posters re-emerge

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    (Original post by chalks)
    Curious why you want to work for a US firm rather than MC?


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    1. Smaller offices and smaller intake which mean more responsibility and more ability to get involved with a variety of work in one seat (as opposed to MC where trainees don't just sit in "corporate" but they sit in a specialised section of corporate which means there's not much room to explore work outside that specialism and they're in a bit of a tunnel).

    2. Although the US firms are behemoths of law firms I won't feel like I'm a small part of a massive machine because I would be in a smaller office. However, I'll still get the same top-tier work as a MC firm. Also means I'll get to know the majority of people I am working with, and definitely know all the trainees in my intake.

    3. Same hours, better renumeration.

    4. Same ability for lateral further down the line.

    All this info from friends at MC and US firms.
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    Seems sensible. Have seen too many NQs and junior assocs blinded by the $ signs.


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    (Original post by MrLintonJones)
    1. Smaller offices and smaller intake which mean more responsibility and more ability to get involved with a variety of work in one seat (as opposed to MC where trainees don't just sit in "corporate" but they sit in a specialised section of corporate which means there's not much room to explore work outside that specialism and they're in a bit of a tunnel).

    2. Although the US firms are behemoths of law firms I won't feel like I'm a small part of a massive machine because I would be in a smaller office. However, I'll still get the same top-tier work as a MC firm. Also means I'll get to know the majority of people I am working with, and definitely know all the trainees in my intake.

    3. Same hours, better renumeration.

    4. Same ability for lateral further down the line.

    All this info from friends at MC and US firms.
    1) I'm not entirely sure this is true in most cases, unless it's a very small US firm. If you're put in leveraged finance at Weil for six months, that's going to be the bulk of what you do.

    2) Whether you get 'top-tier' work really depends on the firm. Going back to your first post, there's a world of difference between Latham & Sidley Austin with regards to their capabilities in London.Take a look at chambers partners ranking, Sidley is at the level of a mid-market UK firm, it does not compete with the MC.

    3) This is largely true, however, I think you'd have more quiet days in the MC, as in going home before 7/8. I think 12 hours day at Weil/Kirkland are par for the course, partly because of the work that they do.

    4) This is just my opinion, but the MC seem far pickier about who they recruit as trainees compared to associate recruitment. If you get to 2-3 years post qualification and want to lateral to the MC, it's possible. However, the question is why would you want to? This is usually the point when MC associates head for the exits.

    Having done vacation schemes at MC/US firms, I personally think there are benefits in both systems. However, I don't think you can truly understand the scale of MC operations, until you spend some time there. I didn't quite realise how big they are. It could have just been my firm, but I struggle to see how they claim to have a 'culture', most people didn't even seem to talk to the person in the office next door.

    I also felt that as a trainee, you'd be miles and miles away from the transactions. The 'rainmaking' partners rarely ever supervise trainees, I was surprised to see that trainees were supervised by junior associates who hadn't even trained at the firm. Compare that to US firms, where you could be supervised by the head of the practice area.

    Also, don't underestimate the value of having a big trainee network. I know you said that you would like to know your entire intake, but your TC could end up being pretty lonely, if you're in an intake of 5 and don't gel with anyone.
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    Undoubtedly biased on this being a trainee at an MC firm, but in comparison to friends training at American firms, I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that I'm where I want to be.

    I would agree with some of your points when you're slightly more senior, but I genuinely believe there is nowhere better than the MC to do you TC. (And the hours are most definitely worse at American firms :P)

    Not to say that American firms aren't good places to be, because of course they're great! Just don't write off MC too quickly!


    EDIT: I also disagree with the post above about being miles away from transactions - I have never not felt like a key part of transactions. Admittedly, all 3 of my seats so far have been in finance, which generally have smaller teams than the big corporate deals, but on the whole I have been very pleased with the responsibility, client contact and involvement in overall transactions that I've had so far.
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    (Original post by Dewsy)
    Undoubtedly biased on this being a trainee at an MC firm, but in comparison to friends training at American firms, I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that I'm where I want to be.

    I would agree with some of your points when you're slightly more senior, but I genuinely believe there is nowhere better than the MC to do you TC. (And the hours are most definitely worse at American firms :P)

    Not to say that American firms aren't good places to be, because of course they're great! Just don't write off MC too quickly!


    EDIT: I also disagree with the post above about being miles away from transactions - I have never not felt like a key part of transactions. Admittedly, all 3 of my seats so far have been in finance, which generally have smaller teams than the big corporate deals, but on the whole I have been very pleased with the responsibility, client contact and involvement in overall transactions that I've had so far.
    Could you elaborate on why if that's okay?
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    (Original post by erj2018)
    1) I'm not entirely sure this is true in most cases, unless it's a very small US firm. If you're put in leveraged finance at Weil for six months, that's going to be the bulk of what you do.

    2) Whether you get 'top-tier' work really depends on the firm. Going back to your first post, there's a world of difference between Latham & Sidley Austin with regards to their capabilities in London.Take a look at chambers partners ranking, Sidley is at the level of a mid-market UK firm, it does not compete with the MC.

    3) This is largely true, however, I think you'd have more quiet days in the MC, as in going home before 7/8. I think 12 hours day at Weil/Kirkland are par for the course, partly because of the work that they do.

    4) This is just my opinion, but the MC seem far pickier about who they recruit as trainees compared to associate recruitment. If you get to 2-3 years post qualification and want to lateral to the MC, it's possible. However, the question is why would you want to? This is usually the point when MC associates head for the exits.

    Having done vacation schemes at MC/US firms, I personally think there are benefits in both systems. However, I don't think you can truly understand the scale of MC operations, until you spend some time there. I didn't quite realise how big they are. It could have just been my firm, but I struggle to see how they claim to have a 'culture', most people didn't even seem to talk to the person in the office next door.

    I also felt that as a trainee, you'd be miles and miles away from the transactions. The 'rainmaking' partners rarely ever supervise trainees, I was surprised to see that trainees were supervised by junior associates who hadn't even trained at the firm. Compare that to US firms, where you could be supervised by the head of the practice area.

    Also, don't underestimate the value of having a big trainee network. I know you said that you would like to know your entire intake, but your TC could end up being pretty lonely, if you're in an intake of 5 and don't gel with anyone.
    I'd have to disagree with your "top tier" work comment. Certainly if you look at Chambers or Legal500 US firms such as Sidley Austin don't seem very impressive.

    However, having had experience of those sort of US firms, almost every one of their transactions I saw in the London office was with a MC or US firm on the other side of the deal. That wouldn't be the same case for the majority of mid-market UK firms.

    I think Chambers etc. can only go so far, and US firms who have much smaller offices and who's orientation is completely different to UK based firms slightly lose out on those "rankings" (as much as you can rank firms... they're not universities!!).
 
 
 
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