YouGov poll reveals US firms lack pulling power

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  • US firms or not

    It depends what you mean by US firms. Are Baker & Mackenzie a US firm or are they English? Doesn't the same go for Richards Butler as well now?

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  • US firms

    It could once be said that there was much more of a focus on the bottom line at US firms but I don't see there is much of a difference anymore, with UK firms adopting a similar attitude. If you are working in a busy firm and a busy department, it doesn't matter whether it's a US or a UK firm, you just get the work done. I think UK firms tell people that US firms are not good to work but this is to be expected.

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  • US not so bad

    A lot of associates in this survey of course wouldn't be of interest to the US firms. I do think the old preconception that associates work harder at US firms is historic, if ever it was true. Certainly associates from magic circle firms shouldn't expect to work any harder coming to a US firm.
    I think what is different is that at a magic circle firm or City firm, there are more people to work on a deal whereas at a US firm when it's busy you'll be working flat-out as there is not the depth of lawyers. I'd also question whether or not it's harder to make partner at a US firm.
    If you ask me if I'd rather, in boom times, be one of six associates in the banking team at a US firm, or one of 15 at a magic circle, then I think I'd take my chances at the US firm.

    A Dewey Ballantine partner

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  • US firms bigger & better

    The magic circle never appealed to me because it just seemed so many people wanted to do it. The key advantages of a US firm are that you get a better
    quality of work and more responsibility sooner. That's definitely true. The upshot of that is you definitely do work harder, but that's not something that bothers me. And to be honest, the chances of partnership are slim everywhere. At magic circle firms, it seems that there is more hierarchy: you have have salaried partnerships, for instance. At Cleary, I know only the most brilliant get made partner, but they do go straight into the equity. Some of the perceptions in this survey do have some substance. But if you're one of the best people at a magic circle firm and you don't mind working hard, then the rewards are definitely greater moving to a US firm.

    Associate, Cleary Gottlieb

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  • There is no difference

    I don't think there has been a difference between US and UK firms for some time now.
    I have experience of both types of firm and it isn't relevant anymore. Most London-based US firms are populated by a high number of UK lawyers so you cannot highlight a real divide.
    It could be that lawyers at some of the US firms based in small UK offices have to work longer hours but that is because there are fewer people to get the work done. I'm sure this would be the case for London firms with smaller offices in other jurisdictions.

    Stephen Peppiatt, Bingham McCutchen

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