Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP: Dani Villoch
My name is Dani Villoch – I graduated from Penn Law in 2011 and am now an eighth year associate at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP in the corporate department, specializing in project finance and capital markets work. I am writing to share my experiences at Gibson Dunn with you, and to encourage you to interview with us when we come to Penn Law as part of OCI.
I originally lateralled to Gibson Dunn as a first-year from another New York firm, with a partner and team of other associates. I did not know very much about Gibson Dunn itself, the firm’s broader work (outside the partner I was moving with), or the firm’s culture. Despite it being a leap of faith, I have not regretted the decision to move to Gibson Dunn—what has followed has been a truly unique experience. I have had the privilege to work on rewarding matters and transactions as part of leanly-staffed teams. Due to that low leverage, I was given an immense amount of responsibility and substantive work early-on and have been able to really chart my own practice (and retain some work-life balance) in the big-law world. When I was in your position, not knowing enough to distinguish among the seemingly similar sea of firms that came to interview on campus, I chose a New York firm with an international presence, strong corporate practice, and an office in my hometown (Miami). The latter was probably the strongest distinguishing factor in my decision-making process. It haphazardly worked for me (at least in the short term) but I wish I had known more about what differentiates firms, in terms of substantive work and partner specialization.
Gibson Dunn is truly a unique place, boasting both strong litigation and corporate practices, (an anomaly among the larger New York firms), where no group within the firm serves as a service group to others. The free market system allows associates to learn skills across a variety of practice areas. This can be daunting but associates are supported and the system allows them to ultimately build a more well-rounded practice. Management is extremely transparent with associates regarding compensation and firm finances and monitors the market to make sure we’re competitive. Although originally an LA firm, our New York office is now our largest office, with about 375 attorneys working in a number of different groups, including Real Estate, Capital Markets, Global Finance, Energy and Infrastructure, Mergers & Acquisitions, Tax, Antitrust, Appellate and Constitutional Law, White Collar Defense, Securities Litigation, and Intellectual Property. Although Gibson Dunn, and our New York office in particular, has grown substantially in recent years, the firm has made a concerted effort to maintain the fantastic culture it prides itself on – a mix of associates who are deeply committed to their work, but who are also well-rounded individuals with a diverse set of interests and hobbies outside of work. For these reasons, and others, I have stayed at Gibson Dunn for all these years and I encourage you to interview with us during OCI.