Earlier this week, we reported on the unexpected early promotions of four corporate associates at Cahill Gordon. According to various comments, the four soon-to-be partners, whose promotions will take effect in July, are Doug Horowitz, Corey Wright, Bill Miller, and Jonathan Frankel.
As some speculated, this quartet was promoted early to prevent them from leaving for greener pastures. Here are more details:
The way it apparently went down is that all 7th and 8th year litigators were sat down individually by a partner and told, a week or so ago, that 7th and 8th year corporate associates — corporate associates only — were going to be voted on this summer. The given reason was to prevent these people from leaving to go to i-banks.
Litigators were apparently told that they should not consider this to be a negative commentary on their value to the firm, and that they would be considered in the normal course, either end of this year (8th years) or end of next (7th years). Their chances of making it were described as “the same as they were yesterday.”
It’s my understanding that there is a growing rift between corporate and litigation at the firm. Each group — partners included — increasingly resenting the other. Corpies think litigators are lazy, don’t have to work nearly as hard for the same amount of money. Litigators resent being treated as second-class citizens.
Very interesting. Some food for thought:
1. Several top law firms have struggled to deal with the problem of star associates leaving for investment banks, hedge funds, and other opportunities in the world of finance. Will other Biglaw shops start employing this strategy of early promotion to retain their best associates? Could we be witnessing the start of a trend?
2. According to conventional wisdom, corporate lawyers generally have “better” — or at least more lucrative — exit opportunities than litigators. As a result, law firms face more outside competition for them. Could we eventually see a system in which partnership tracks are shorter for corporate associates than for litigation colleagues, in reflection of the different markets for the two practice areas?
Please feel free to discuss in the comments.
Earlier: Some Premature Promotions at Cahill Gordon?