August 2007

Exchange Place 53 State Street Boston Goodwin Procter Above the Law blog.jpgLaw firm mergers have transformed the Biglaw landscape over the past decade. Several of the five firms in our latest open thread on Vault 100 firms have been involved in merger mania.
Here are the firms to talk about this morning:

56. Fish & Richardson P.C. (5.868)
57. Fulbright & Jaworski LLP (5.863)
58. Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP (5.825)
59. Goodwin Procter LLP (5.807)
60. Cooley Godward LLP (5.794)

Pillsbury Winthrop is the product of Pillsbury Madison & Sutro (San Francisco), Winthrop Stimson Putnam & Roberts (New York), and Shaw Pittman (Washington). Goodwin Procter swallowed up Shea & Gardner, just as Cooley gobbled up Kronish Lieb.
Please exchange information and opinion about these five firms in the comments. Thanks.
The Vault Top 100 Law Firms [Vault]
Earlier: Vault 1-5; Vault 6-10; Vault 11-15; Vault 16-20; Vault 21-25; Vault 26-30; Vault 31-35; Vault 36-40; Vault 41-45; Vault 46-50; Vault 51-55

droopy2.jpg* Atlanta seeks to ban droopy drawers. [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]
* Man, Paris got screwed; 1 day in jail for Lohan in plea deal. [CNN]
* It does seem anecdotally that more lawyers are making juries. I was not chosen my only time summoned as an attorney; it probably didn’t help that I was working for another judge in the same courthouse at the time. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Ummm…Pakistan has elections? [New York Times]
* Japan’s bar gets a little queasy about the death penalty. [Jurist]

Wan Kim Wan J Kim Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgWe’re deep into the lazy days of August — and today is Friday. So of course there’s news of a high-profile resignation from the Department of Justice.
From the New York Times:

The head of the Justice Department’s civil rights division announced Thursday that he was resigning, the latest in a long string of departures from the department in the midst of a furor over the leadership of Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales.

The department said that the resignation of the official, Assistant Attorney General Wan J. Kim, had nothing to do with the recent controversies over Mr. Gonzales’s performance, and that Mr. Kim had been planning his departure for months.

We can confirm that. Kim’s resignation, effective at the end of this month, does not come as a surprise to DOJ insiders. Recall what we wrote in these pages almost two months ago:

Assistant Attorney General Wan J. Kim, who oversees the Justice Department’s important (and controversial) Civil Rights Division, will step down from his post before the end of the year. He was sworn in as AAG in November 2005, so by this fall he will have held the job for two years — a long-enough stint in that position.

So stick with us, kids. We bring you the legal news as — and sometimes even before — it happens.
(Another DOJ departure: Bradley J. Schlozman, who preceded Kim in heading the CRD (on an acting basis). We hear that Schlozman won’t exactly be missed, even by fellow conservatives at Main Justice.)
Civil Rights Division Head Resigning at Justice Dept. [New York Times]
Statement of Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales on the Resignation of Assistant Attorney General Wan J. Kim [U.S. Department of Justice]
Earlier: Musical Chairs: Another Rumored DOJ Departure

Linda Greenhouse 6 New York Times Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpg* The best argument for immigration reform: qualified (i.e., hot) fashion models are being kept off American runways. [Fashionista]
* What rating does ATL get — e.g., G, PG, R, etc. — using this tool? To give you context, NBS is a PG-13. [Nasty, Brutish & Short]
* What blogs does Linda Greenhouse read? [My Times ("Journalist's Picks") via Romenesko]
* What blogs do judges read? [May It Please the Court]
* And what blogs should they read? [Blawg Review]
* Speaking of judges, here’s our Judge of the Day — possibly offensive, and wrong on the law too. [AP via NYT]
* The Weekly Standard’s Jonathan Last, on the Nixon Peabody non-theme-song: “Some things you just can’t un-hear.” [Galley Slaves]

eighty pine street 80 pine street Cahill Gordon Reindel Above the Law blog.jpgSadly, the music-loving law firm of Nixon Peabody is not on this afternoon’s list of five Vault 100 firms to talk about. And don’t hold your breath — we won’t reach NP until we hit the 70′s.
Here are the firms that are on the table:

51. Jenner & Block LLP (5.940)
52. LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae LLP (5.925)
53. Allen & Overy LLP (5.922)
54. DLA Piper (5.913)
55. Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP (5.913)

We note the presence of Cahill Gordon on this list. Even though Cahill routinely lands near the top of the profits per partner rankings of the American Lawyer — in 2006, they were #6, with PPP of $2.575 million — the firm’s prestige seems to lag behind its profits. Any thoughts on why?
Please chatter away about these five firms in the comments. Thanks.
The Vault Top 100 Law Firms [Vault]
Earlier: Vault 1-5; Vault 6-10; Vault 11-15; Vault 16-20; Vault 21-25; Vault 26-30; Vault 31-35; Vault 36-40; Vault 41-45; Vault 46-50

Nixon Peabody LLP horrible theme song Above the Law blog.jpgWe’ve been in touch with representatives of the Nixon Peabody law firm about the musical composition that we posted (mp3) and wrote about this morning. First they sent us a statement by email:

“This song was put together in celebration of Nixon Peabody’s Fortune 100 ‘Best Places to Work’ recognition. Nixon Peabody aims to be the best law firm to work with and the best law firm to work for. Fun is not prohibited here.”

Fair enough. But then we spoke with two firm spokespersons by telephone. They called us.

It wasn’t a very “[f]un” conversation. They weren’t happy campers. Even if they may be winners, since “everyone’s a winner at Nixon Peabody.”

this is not a pipe this is not a theme song Nixon Peabody NP Above the Law blog.jpgThey emphasized that the song was internal to the firm and is protected by copyright. They also insisted that it is NOT a “theme song” — in any way, shape or form.

They demanded to know who sent the song to us. We informed them that we don’t reveal our sources, unless served with a subpoena (and maybe not even then — a Judy Miller-style jail stint might be good publicity for ATL).

They asserted copyright over the song and asked us to take it down, from our site and from YouTube. We stated our view that posting and commenting on the song constitutes fair use. It also falls within our newsgathering mission as a media organization.

We explained that our site is all about law firms and the legal profession. They said: “We know what you’re about.”

They claimed the person who leaked this song is “in a fight” with Nixon Peabody, and menacingly stated that they (meaning NP) “don’t intend to let this thing lie.” We informed them that we have no desire to get involved in the firm’s purported dispute with this unnamed individual. And that’s where we left things.

More thoughts after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Nixon Peabody: This Is Not a Love Theme Song”

London Bridge small Tower Bridge of London Fergie Abovethelaw Above the Law online legal tabloid.jpgOur posts on the perks or fringe benefits of law firm life continue to generate interest and good comments. Here is today’s topic:

Why don’t you guys do an open thread on working abroad? I know of several firms that send their associates for some period of time to work [overseas].

For example, Allen & Overy has a program in which they send their senior associates to London to work for something around six months. A friend of mind who worked for Shearman went to Asia, and some others from Baker McKenzie have been sent to other offices around the world.

One advantage of working abroad: a generous cost-of-living allowance. Last month, Cravath raised its London COLA:

Cravath Swaine & Moore has raised the cost of its living allowance (Cola) for London office associates from $85,000 (£41,000) to $110,000 (£53,000), The Lawyer can reveal. The 30 per cent hike at the elite firm takes remuneration for the most junior lawyers in Cravath’s City office to potentially in excess of £150,000.

At current exchange rates, that works out to a starting salary of $300,000. Not bad. And a Cravath source tells us that the firm is eager for people to head over there: “[T]hey are super busy and trying to get more people to go and stay longer…. [T]hree hundred grand is a lot of dough, no matter how expensive London is!”
Your thoughts on overseas Biglaw gigs are welcome, in the comments.
Cravath hikes London cost of living allowance [TheLawyer.com]
Earlier: Biglaw Pay Raise Watch: Weil and Cleary to 180, Latham to 190!

Joel Klein Joel I Klein Nicole Seligman 565 Park Avenue Above the Law blog.jpgAs we have previously bitterly lamented observed, sometimes it seems like all the blessings of life are reserved for Supreme Court clerks. And they include not just $250,000 signing bonuses and top-shelf legal jobs, but luxury real estate, too.
This latest Lawyerly Lairs post looks at the expanding digs of Joel I. Klein (Powell) and his wife, Nicole K. Seligman (OT 1984/Marshall). From the New York Observer:

New York is a city of poshly-housed public servants.

The mayor owns two mansions in the East 70’s; the governor goes rent-free in a terraced Fifth Avenue apartment (it’s owned by his dad); development chief Robert Lieber has a new $7.25 million condo at Trump International; and even Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum is in the Beresford.

Now Schools Chancellor Joel Klein has bonus space on Park Avenue. He and his wife Nicole Seligman, a Sony executive vice president (and an ex-lawyer for both Oliver North and Bill Clinton) have paid $1.7 million for their second apartment at 95-year-old 565 Park Avenue.

Yes, that’s right — their second apartment in this venerable building. The couple already own the unit directly above their new acquisition. Hello, duplex!
(C’mon, get real: Did you really expect Klein and Seligman to slum it in a sub-$2 million apartment? As people have observed countless times in these pages, $2 million doesn’t buy you much in NYC.)
More details after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyerly Lairs: Joel Klein & Nicole Seligman’s Park Avenue Pad”

Dechert Cira Centre Cira Center 2929 Arch Street Above the Law blog.jpgWe’re surprised that the firms in this latest group of Vault 100 law firms aren’t ranked more highly. Some of them are quite profitable (Dechert),* prestigious (Munger), or high-profile (Boies Schiller, home of legendary litigator David Boies).
But who are we to argue? For communal discussion, here is this morning’s batch of Biglaws:

46. Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP (6.026)
47. Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP (6.004)
48. Dechert LLP (5.973)
49. Irell & Manella LLP (5.952)
50. McDermott, Will & Emery (5.946)

Please trade thoughts on these firms in the comments. Thanks.
* Dechert’s 2006 profits per partner clocked in at just under $2 million. But it should be noted that the firm has multiple partnership tiers and only 169 equity partners (out of 898 lawyers).
The Vault Top 100 Law Firms [Vault]
Earlier: Vault 1-5; Vault 6-10; Vault 11-15; Vault 16-20; Vault 21-25; Vault 26-30; Vault 31-35; Vault 36-40; Vault 41-45

Nixon Peabody LLP horrible theme song Above the Law blog.jpgThe horror! The horror! Multiple sources have forwarded us the MP3 of the frightening Nixon Peabody “theme song,” which is now making the rounds by email.
We didn’t receive it directly from a source at the firm, so it’s theoretically possible that it’s fake. We have contacted Nixon Peabody for comment and will let you know if and when we hear back from them. But in the meantime, we’re inclined to agree with this tipster:

“I wanted to believe it wasn’t real, but it’s so professional. Hard to believe that this wasn’t the product of a misguided recruiting effort and wasted bonus dollars.”

Update (12:05 PM): We’ve been in touch with a Nixon Peabody spokesperson about the song (which is real). We’ll be posting a statement from the firm shortly.
On the musical merits, the song itself is just as horrific as the idea of a law firm theme song. Yes, we miss the eighties, but not this much. The lyrics include such gems as “Everyone’s a winner at Nixon Peabody” (the chorus) and “It’s all about the team, it’s all about respect, it all revolves around integri-tee yeah.”
Check it out for yourself below. But we’re warning you: even though the Nixon Peabody anthem is dreadful, it’s as catchy as HPV. If that “everyone’s a winner” chorus gets stuck in your head for the rest of today, don’t blame us.
But if you’re a plaintiff’s lawyer who wants to file a class action against Nixon Peabody, on behalf of all listeners who do get earworm from this song, please include us in the plaintiff class. Thank you.
(The reason the screen says “Digital Media Converter Trial Version — Please Download” is because we converted the mp3 file to video using a free trial of this file conversion program.)
Update / Correction (2:55 PM): This song is NOT a “theme song.” It was prepared for internal use only, and it was sent to us without the firm’s prior knowledge or consent. The firm objects to all non-internal use of the song. More details here.
Further Update: The YouTube link below is now dead, but you can access the MP3 by clicking here. Or better yet, check out this awesome video.

Everyone’s A Winner at Nixon Peabody [MP3 file]
Nixon Peabody theme song [YouTube]

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