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Most Feared and Most Beautiful

Vivia Chen

September 12, 2012

Snowwhite_EvilQueen_©DisneyAlways better to be feared than to be loved: How do you know you are working at the most awesome litigation shop in America? Is it because it boasts an unbelievably high number of Harvard Law grads? Or handles the sexiest legal challenges in the land? Or has been anointed as litigation department of the year by The American Lawyer?

No, silly. The highest honor for a firm (or lawyer) is to be feared.

There are apparently a handful of firms that corporations dread to see on the other side during a big litigation. According to a new survey of 240 corporate counsel by The BTI Consulting Group (hat tip: Tex Parte Blog), this year's "Fearsome Foursome" are: 

    1. Boies Schiller & Flexner

    2. Jones Day

    3. Kirkland & Ellis

    4. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom

If you aren't litigating at one of these four firms, don't worry. According to ABA Journal Blog, "BTI also listed 15 'awesome opponents' selected by the in-house lawyers, as well as more than three dozen 'honor roll' firms." We'd like to give you more names and details, but Law 360, which has the full report, declined our request to take a peak, as only subscribers are allowed access. (Yo, whatever happened to professional courtesy?)

There's always physical beauty. If you're not working at a scary firm, don't despair. You can always try to get a job at a firm that's known for its design. Above the Law recently released its selection of the best (looking) law offices in America, and most of the firms on that list aren't nearly as stuck-up as those Fearsome Foursome!  

Anyway, without further ado, here are the eight hot-looking law firm offices as voted by readers of ATL :

1. 1-800-LAW-FIRM

2. Bouhan, Williams & Levy

3. Proskauer Rose

4. Edelson McGuire

5. Greenberg Traurig

6. MoloLamken

7. Calfee, Halter & Griswold

8. Fish & Richardson

1-800_Law_FirmWhoa—did you catch number one on the list--1-800-LAW FIRM? From what I can tell, it's a personal injury firm with a rotating cast of lawyers. Judging by the photos (see one on left), it looks more like a Silicon Valley incubator than a slip- and-fall factory. Who would have guessed?

The only office on that list I've seen is Proskauer, and let me tell you, it is spectacular. Sleek and minimalist, it looked more like a museum or art gallery. I hate to say this, but it is much too stylish for a bunch of lawyers.

Anyway, may I propose another contest? How about high-powered firms with incredibly shabby offices? Wouldn't that be fun? Let me start the ball rolling by nominating Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, where profits per partner exceed $4 million. (You'll recall that Quinn lawyers wear flip flops too.) I was at its New York office a year ago, and I recall seeing tired-looking furniture, a plethora of boxes and files strewn about in the hallways, and oddly shaped offices. It reminded me of the common rooms at my college during final exams.

Who's on your list?

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Hey Vivia! Don't dis our alma mater's common rooms!!!

Weil Gotshal is worst without a doubt. Halls are lined floor to ceiling with corrugated paper boxes, paralegal desks are in a 3-foot corridor between backing rows of filing cabinets, conference rooms are filled with discarded printers, associate offices are tiny, and even junior partner offices are squeezed.

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About The Careerist

The Careerist takes an inside look at how lawyers shape their careers and manage their lives. The blog aims to dissect developments in the profession, provide useful information and advice, and give lawyers a platform to voice their views. The goal is to provide a fresh, provocative take on the state of lawyering.

About Vivia Chen

Vivia Chen

Vivia Chen, The Careerist's chief blogger, has been covering the business and culture of law firms for a decade. A former corporate lawyer, Chen is fascinated by those who thrive (as well as those who don't) in the legal profession. Her take: Success in the law (and life) doesn't always travel a linear path. If you have topics you'd like to discuss or information to share, contact her: [email protected]

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