Boogie, Counselor! Which Law Firm Gives Best Party?

The festivities are held at the firm’s Four Times Square headquarters, with a conference room floor given over to the occasion. Skadden associates never leave the building (see, e.g., freshly laundered workout gear, emblazoned with the Skadden logo, in the firm’s gym), so why let them out for the holidays?

Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft

Like Skadden, Cadwalader hosts its own holiday party. If the premises are good enough for Cameron Diaz, who recently filmed a movie there, surely they’re good enough for America’s top securitization lawyers. Unlike most firms, which imbue their events with generic holiday cheer, Cadwalader picks a nontraditional theme for its festivities (which a lawyer at a rival firm dismisses as “very high-school prom”).

This year’s inspiration: the Wild West. Yee-haw? “I will be offended if they play country music the whole night,” says one associate, who may trot out a rhinestone-studded cowboy hat for the occasion.

But will this year’s party be as much fun as last year’s, with its Carnivale theme? It will be hard to top drag-queen party girls, silver-clad dancers and albino boa constrictors.

“I wasn’t really aware how over the top it would be,” reports a guest at last year’s party, “until during my work day, when I walked into the women’s bathroom and saw a shirtless man putting makeup on. Imagine my surprise! We had a good conversation, though, so it was cool.”

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson

Catering by Cipriani appears to be the holiday-party equivalent of a $160,000 starting salary, or a “special bonus” for 2007: Everybody’s doing it. In addition to S&C, Simpson Thacher, and Cravath (the Rainbow Room is operated by the Cipriani family), Fried Frank holds its holiday party at a Cipriani venue. (The firm also turns to Cipriani for a holiday mixer, held one week earlier, attended by a sizable chunk of the New York real estate industry.)

This year the firm’s holiday party is taking place on Dec. 13 at Cipriani on Wall Street. But will it suffer a Cadwalader-esque letdown from last year’s event? The jury is out.

“This year’s invite was a bit lacking,” reports one past and future guest. “Last year the party was also at Cipriani, but the invite was pretty cool. It had plastic poker chips attached to it, which were exchanged for more chips at the party. These were used to play at the gambling tables that were set up, and there were prize giveaways. This year it doesn’t seem like they are doing anything like that.”

No surprise there. In light of the uncertainty taking hold of the economy, who’s in the mood for gambling?