We’ve received over 900 responses so far to Monday’s ATL / Lateral Link survey on bonuses, which is still open here.
Although ATL had predicted that bonus announcements may come later this year, McDermott Will & Emery actually announced the “December Bonus Advance” portion of their bonus plan mere hours after our survey went live, quickly proving a portion of us wrong, and rendering a portion of their associates reassured.
Overall, most respondents expect that their firms will pay bonuses on roughly the same schedule as they did for 2007:
Results: When Did, Or Will, Your Firm Pay Bonuses?
Bonus For 2007
Bonus For 2008
Bonuses weren’t paid.
Bonuses won’t be paid.
We don’t know.
The results above only include responses from people who were at firms last year, are still at firms now, and can actually remember that sweet, sweet day when their bonuses were paid for 2007. While the overwhelming majority of these respondents received a bonus last year, and expect at least the timing of bonuses to remain the same for 2008, a meaningful number are definitely concerned: roughly one in thirteen of these respondents either aren’t sure about when their firms will be paying bonuses or, worse yet, don’t think their firms will pay bonuses at all for 2008.
Find out which firms paid when last year, and see some preliminary results on whether your peers would trade their bonuses for better job security, after the jump.
On Monday, Sidley Austin held an all-associates meeting in the New York Office. The stated goal was to provide information to attorneys living in constant fear for their jobs.
The most important news to come out of the meeting was that no layoffs are planned or expected at Sidley. That’s the good news. A tipster reports on further details:
[T]hey did mention that the standards for performance reviews would be less lenient than in years past. The firm addressed the NY offices Structured Finance department in some detail. The market for Securitizations has slowed but is not completely dry, and it has meant a drop in revenue firmwide. The NY office has been hit particularly hard, as we did a lot of this work related to Mortgage Backed Securities. … With the lack of demand from the I-banks for people with these skills, it may be 2-3 years before the job market for these associates picks up again.
Many people expected Sidley to be hard hit by the meltdown in the financial sector. When the firm is expecting that it’ll be years before financial services practices pick up again, it’s a good time for those lawyers to start showing that there are other things they can do.
More nuggets from the meeting, and a Sidley associate with the right attitude after the jump.
Given the fear and loathing going on in the associate market, we’ve been overlooking the fact that support staffers are getting eviscerated thanks to the global financial crisis. The White & Case bloodbath yesterday also hit 100 staffers. We’ve also reported on Alston & Bird’s attempt to force out older staff.
Many people have heard reports that K&L Gates laid off a number of staff over the past week. The firm has refused to comment about these layoffs, so we don’t yet know the full extent of the damage. But we understand that it has hit many, many people, across all offices.
We don’t understand why K&L Gates is trying to keep these layoffs secret. As many smart attorneys know, competent support staffs are critical to excellent legal work. Right now, the market for paralegals is probably even worse than it is for attorneys.
Whether or not you have evolved to the point where you can appreciate the crucial role staffs play in Biglaw offices, most people can agree that they deserve to be treated with respect — even on their way out of the door. One report from a K&L Gates tipster is therefore particularly disturbing:
[T]hey watched [me] pack [my] office and I was not allowed to say goodbye to anyone including a senior partner [I worked for]. … Escorted out of the building … very undignified treatment of a 15-year employee.
If you want to treat a temp secretary like crap, that’s terrible etiquette. Treating a colleague who has dedicated decades of service to the company like an industrial espionage convict is a whole different level of “class.”
In September, Kirkland & Ellis partner Frederick Tanne sued his wife, her lover, and her father for giving him herpes. (We mentioned this lawsuit in passing in Morning Docket at the time of the complaint, and many of you complained about the item not getting its own post. Well, here you go!)
Tanne claimed to have discovered his wife’s infidelity when he found herpes-treatment medicine in their bathroom. According to the New York Post, Tanne got tested for herpes and “discovered he was infected with the incurable virus.” He sued his wife, accusing her of multiple extramarital affairs, and seeking compensation for medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering.
Mrs. Tanne’s dad is a doctor, and prescribed the herpes medication Valtrex to her. He denied his daughter had an affair. His explanation:
[Amy Tanne's father, Samuel] Messing denied that his daughter was infected.
“My daughter does not have genital herpes,” he said. “This is pure nonsense. I prescribed Valtrex for a cold sore on her lip. She never had a cold sore until she married him.”
He also denied that his daughter ever had an affair.
“He just wants to make things difficult for my family,” Messing said.
The doctor may be a reliable expert witness. The embarrassing twist in the case, after the jump.
I am entitled to my firm’s medical and dental benefits, subject to a max sum each year. Should I exploit these benefits, e.g. by going for regular check-ups and consulting a doctor even if it’s not a serious ailment? Do I cast myself in a bad light if I max out these benefits? Thanks.
Every policy has its limits, just like every night has its dawn. Most law firms buy health insurance policies for associates with a $500,000 limit and maintain separate million dollar policies for partners. Does that mean that partners are more worthy of health care than you? You bet. But does that mean you should book a vacation to Chernobyl to see if you can hit the $500,000 mark? That depends on whether it’s worth it to you to battle cancer to spite your firm. Which, now that I write it, actually doesn’t sound so bad.
For the sake of argument, I’ll assume that your policy limit is lower than $500,000 and that you can reach the max without having a devastating illness. Putting aside for a moment how UNBELIEVABLY alarming that is, you should by all means take advantage of the policy even if you’re not seriously ill. Get some Accutane for your zitty face or start the ball rolling on that three course cervical cancer vaccination, especially if you don’t anticipate catching leprosy before the policy limit refreshes.
In this economy, losing one’s job and health insurance is as common as a “performance layoff” at Shearman & Sterling, so get your doctor visits in now. Trust me, I haven’t had health insurance for the past 6 months and I would kill for a refill on my Lexapro Celebrex.
P.S. If you have extra, um, ceLebrEXAPRO, two-way me.
* A New York Times round-up of law firm troubles. (Regular ATL readers will find nothing new here.) Lawyers aren’t cockroaches anymore, thriving in good times and bad. Now, law firms are the canaries in the economic coalmine. [New York Times]
* Judge Judy gets political on Larry King Live. The joys of not being a real judge include opining on Proposition 8. [CNN]
* Canadian legal scholar Ronald Daniels chosen as new president of Johns Hopkins University. [Baltimore Sun]
* Same-sex marriage comes to Connecticut today. [Boston Globe]
* Obama wants to close down Gitmo. Here’s a look at the legal challenges involved in the endeavor. [Time]
AIG, the American taxpayers’ very own insurance company, has taken a lot of heat for their company retreat full of facials and frivolity.
But in our own world of dissolving law firms, Heller Ehrman’s actions before the end have gotten far too little scrutiny. Yesterday, American Lawyer ran a story (subscription) about Heller’s 2007 partner retreat:
When Heller Ehrman partners gathered at Santa Barbara’s Bacara Resort & Spa in March 2007, there was already reason to be concerned about the firm’s future. Several practice areas were slow. The firm’s national and global ambitions were in disarray. And partners were increasingly skeptical about management’s ability to address the problems. But that weekend they were determined to laugh at this somewhat worrisome predicament.
The final night of the retreat featured a $300,000 skit. Performers from the Los Angeles Opera, accompanied by a professional orchestra, portrayed Chairman Matthew Larrabee and other firm leaders frantically searching for a merger partner. “Some people were laughing, but I thought it was surreal,” says one former shareholder (Heller’s term for partner).
Heller people, here’s some free legal advice: if you can get from this post to Matt Larrabee’s house without thinking, it might be a crime of passion. But if you read through to the end of the post, you’ll have entered the cooling down period and you’re looking at murder 2.
Please, it’s not worth it. San Quentin is a bad place. Just click on the jump.
“My boyfriend summered at MoFo, and all I got was this lousy tote bag!”
These days are dominated by gloomy news: dissolutions, layoffs, rescinded offers. It gets depressing — and old. So let’s shift gears and talk about a happy topic: law firm offer swag.
Yes, America still has large law firms. They are still hiring summer associates. And these firms still woo prospective summers with fabulous prizes, to encourage acceptance of their offers. Word on the street is that S&C is once again plying offerees with its fabled bonsai trees.
And sometimes even editors of humble legal blogs get gifts in the mail. The good folks over at Morrison & Foerster sent us some lovely gifts, which we’re guessing they’ve also shared with offer recipients (although we’re not positive; please do let us know).
Update: A tipster tells us that, in addition to the items we received, MoFo also gave out 4G jump drives and universal outlet converters.
Check out a slideshow of the MoFo loot — and compare your Biglaw hauls, in the comments — after the jump.
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 seven years. You can reach them by email: email@example.com.
Please note that Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney are still in Hong Kong and will stay FOR THE REMAINDER OF THIS WEEK. We still have a handful of available slots for meetings with our Asia Chronicles fans. If we have not been in touch lately, reach out and let us know when we could meet! There is no need for an agenda at all. Most of our in-person meetings on these trips are with folks who understand that improving a legal practice through lateral hiring is an information-driven process that takes time to handle correctly.
Regarding trends in lateral US associate hiring in Hong Kong, we of course keep much of what we know off of this blog. Based on placement revenue, though, Kinney is having one of our most successful years ever in Asia. We are helping a number of our law firm clients with M&A, fund formation, cap markets, project finance, FCPA and disputes openings. These are very specific needs in many cases, so a conversation with us before jumping in may be helpful. As always, we like to be sure to get the maximum number of interviews per submission, using a well-informed, highly targeted, and selective approach, taking into account short, medium and long-term career aims.
Making a well informed decision during a job search is easier said than done – the information we provide comes from 10 years of being the market leader in US attorney placements at the top tier firms in Asia. There is no substitute for having known a hiring partner since he/she was an associate or for having helped a partner grow his or her practice from zip to zooming, and this is happily where we stand today – with years of background information on just about every relevant person in all the markets we serve, and most especially in Hong Kong/China/Greater Asia. So get in touch and get a download from us this week if we can fit it in, or soon in any case!
The legal industry is being disrupted at every level by technological advances. While legal tech entrepreneurs and innovators are racing to create a more efficient and productive future, there is widespread indifference on the part of attorneys toward these emerging technologies.
When the LexisNexis Cloud Technology Survey results were reported earlier this year, it showed that attorneys were starting to peer less skeptically into the future, and slowly but surely leaning more toward all the benefits the law cloud has to offer.
Because let’s face it, plenty of attorneys are perhaps a bit too comfortable with their “system” of practice management, which may or may not include neon highlighters, sticky notes, dog-eared file folders, and a word processing program that was last updated when the term “raise the roof” was still de rigueur.