Law 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:
* 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]
We’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.
* 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]
Sadly, 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:
We’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 Fortune100 ‘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.”
They 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.
Our 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.
As we have previously bitterly lamentedobserved, 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.
We’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:
The 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.
A college graduate without student loan debt is akin to reading a kind quote about Kim Kardashian in a tabloid—it’s rare.
In the past eight years, student loan debt has nearly tripled to a whopping $1.1 trillion, and in the past 10 years, the percentage of 25-year-olds with such debt has risen from 25% to 43%
It’s gotten so bad, in fact, that New York Fed economists warned last month that the burden of student debt could stilt consumer spending by twentysomethings, as well as further hamper the recovery of the housing market and economy.
To get a better idea of what massive student loan debt (we’re talking over $100,000 massive) looks like, we talked to an attorney who graduated with a large student loan debt. We also consulted LearnVest Planning Services CFP® Katie Brewer to see just how their repayment plans stack up.
S. Fischer, 36, Attorney Graduated: 2001
How Much I Borrowed: $100,000
What I Still Owe: $45,000
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Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past six years. You can reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deal flow has clearly picked recently up for most US associates, counsels and partners in Hong Kong/China and Singapore. We are on the phone with a lot of these folks on a daily basis, many of whom we have known for years. Further, the head of our Asia team, Evan Jowers, and Kinney’s founder and president, Robert Kinney, frequently meet in person with leading US partners in Asia to assess their needs and keep on top of the inside scoop at as many firms as possible. The need for legal recruiting help in Asia from experienced recruiters appears to be live and well. In March, Evan and Robert were in Beijing at such meetings, in April, Evan was in Hong Kong, and for half of June Evan will be in Shanghai and Hong Kong. Thus its pretty easy for us to tell when there has been an across-the-market pick up in capital markets and corporate work.
On an average day in Asia when Evan and Robert visit firms, they typically have 5 to 9 meetings a day, mostly with US partners in the market. The reason they have these meetings is not simply because Kinney makes a lot of US attorney placements in Asia and that a particular firm may have openings; instead these are just visits with friends. After years of working together as business partners, the folks at Kinney are actually these peoples’ friends. The firms Kinney work closely with in Asia (which is just about every law firm – call us if you want to know the one firm in the world we will never place anyone with again, ever, and why) look forward to the visits, or at least act like they do. After seven years in the market, many of the client partners are former associate candidates. Also, these US partners see Kinney as a very good source of market information as well, because they know how deep their contacts are in the market and how frequently they are speaking to counterparts at peer firms.
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