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30+ days ago

Associate PhD

Cornerstone Research Washington, DC +7 locations

Cornerstone Research is involved in a broad variety of high-profile legal cases and disputes. Current matters focus on such topics as capital… Cornerstone Research

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Cornerstone Research President and CEO Michael E. Burton
Michael E. Burton
6 Ratings
  • Helpful (1)

    Rewarding if you're lucky or very persuasive.

    • Comp & Benefits
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    Former Employee - Senior Analyst in New York, NY (US)
    Former Employee - Senior Analyst in New York, NY (US)

    I worked at Cornerstone Research full-time (More than 3 years)

    Neutral Outlook
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    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO


    The other very positive reviews are correct, but I'll be slightly more negative to highlight the problems that Cornerstone should tackle as they move forward. This is definitely a 5-star start to your career, but you'll have to work hard to get everything out of this.

    1. You learn a lot of Excel, SAS, and other data processing and statistical software. You also generally learn how to analyze data and extract meaningful information from it.

    2. You're exposed to some interesting economic and financial concepts you will not find in banking or management consulting. The intuition gained from these concepts will help you think economics, stats, and finance on a higher level.

    3. You learn to be a perfectionist and you rapidly improve your capability of doing work - any work - simply based on the high caliber of expectations around you.

    4. There are some perks that aren't really relevant to your decision to work here, but are nice. A $75 gym stipend and cabs & meals when working more than 11 hours a day. Milk, beverages, fruit, and a few poorly-selected snacks.

    5. They generally care about your well-being. They recently passed out FitBits at big discounts. They are trying to get more standing desks. They have ergonomic consultations on demand and every 6 months.

    6. They are simply phenomenal at graduate school placement (MBA, law school, PhD, even med school). Excellent place to work if you want to pursue further education. Most people take this route, and end up being very successful.


    Everything #1 - #3 in the pros section (essentially everything that matters) is based on luck and politics. You really have to a) be lucky or, b) bargain a lot.

    1. Some people are really lucky, and get consistently placed on really interesting cases (I was one of them starting my second half of my career here). But others may be on a permanent loop of doing boring work, often based on their initial case. You may be put on a case where you're doing nothing but reading news articles or equity research reports, thus ensuring you do not have any competency in data analysis. When it comes to restaff you, they'll know that you're not talented at data analysis, so they'll staff you on another doc review case. This is a hard cycle to break out of.

    2. One way of breaking out of this adverse feedback loop is showing increasing levels of frustration, culminating with simply refusing to do work with managers that are bad at managing or are generally associated with casework too boring and unintellectual to add to your resume. This is what I did. You will have to sacrifice your reviews and receive a negative review or two when you do this, but if you passively antagonize the bad case managers, they won't want you on their cases and you're better off.

    2. If you're one of the rising number of people who don't want to go to further education (MBA or otherwise), you'll have a difficult time finding a job since the Cornerstone brand name is essentially invisible to the world outside of litigation consulting.

    Advice to Management

    I can see a dichotomy between case managers - managers that are excellent case managers, and managers that are excellent client attractors. People should be promoted on the basis of both of these. Even if they're great with clients, some managers are bad at managing cases (e.g., focusing on minutiae such as footnote formatting and color coordination while missing the big picture, then forcing 30 analysts to work 80 hours a week for 3 weeks to catch up). Be more diligent on choosing which staff to promote in the partner-track level.

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