* California’s Supreme Court agreed to hear the case against Prop. 8. [Reuters]
* For all the associates who go crazy working late into the night in dark conference rooms dreaming of embezzling money from the firm–let this be a lesson to you. Employee Angela Marie Dees was arrested for stealing 1.67 million dollars from the California law firm Moore and Waxler. The crazy thing? The firm didn’t even notice until they did an audit. [mysuncoast.com]
* “Stung by outsize investment losses, some of the nation’s biggest companies are pushing Congress to roll back rules requiring them to put more money into their pension funds, just two years after President Bush signed a law meant to strengthen the pension system.” [NYT]
* A jury heard opening statements yesterday in the MySpace hoax case, the one where the suburban mother used a fake alias to terrorize a 13-year-old who killed herself as a result. [ABC]
* Even though bankers basically caused a world-wide recession causing thousands of lawyers to lose their jobs (thanks a lot), at least Barclay’s is giving the litigators some love. Barclay’s is suing a hedge fund for hiding $150 million in investments. [Bloomberg]
* Yesterday was National Toilet Day. Everybody who works on Wall Street already knew that. [UPI]
Former Cadwalader chairman Bob Link is being left off of the firm’s 2009 management committee. The news was told to the partnership during a meeting today. Link himself confirmed the news to AmLaw Daily:
Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft’s former chairman and current managing partner Robert Link Jr. was not included on a recommended slate of candidates for the firm’s management committee given to partners today, a source at Cadwalader says.
The slate, recommended by the management committee, will not be acted on for another few weeks, the source says. Link, reached by phone, confirmed his name was not on the list.
“It really is part of our normal succession,” Link says. “It’s not something I’ve been part of planning for.”
Charlotte managing partner Jim Carroll is also out of the 2009 management loop.
The Lawyer, which first broke the news of Link’s ouster on Monday, reports that Cadwalader’s future is still very much up in the air:
But Link’s removal from power is far from the end of the story. Cadwalader has been reeling for months. Collapsed core markets, major lawyer layoffs and now a palace revolt, 2008 will go down as arguably the worst in Cadwalader’s 216-year history.
Inevitably, questions have been raised about the long-term future of the firm. How things play out later this week may offer some clues as to its shape, whatever that may be.
But one parting shot from CWT to the associates they laid off, after the jump.
The economy is in the toilet and law firms are scrambling to adjust. Usually this means “firing associates,” but DLA Piper has done something really interesting and brought changes to the partnership instead of firing associates:
Some 275 “income” partners who don’t have an ownership stake will be invited to join the ranks of 300 equity partners, provided each makes a capital contribution that could range up to $150,000, according to legal industry sources.
Look, for all we know associate layoffs could be right around the corner at DLA or any other Biglaw firm. But almost doubling the number of equity partners means that profits per partner will be squarely in the hands of each individual partner to generate business.
Legal industry recruiter John Cashman of Major Lindsey & Africa LLC says DLA’s move is unprecedented and likely to turn up the heat on attorneys to bring in clients — a crucial factor in partner compensation.
“It’s very clear to their (junior-level lawyers) it’s either up or out: We want business generators or worker bees. They want to send that message,” Mr. Cashman says.
* The ABA Journal bans a commenter and she immediately starts her own blog. I ban a commenter and he immediately sends me emails suggesting that I have an inappropriate relationship with my mother, but the grammar is perfect. Banned ATL commenters 1, banned ABA commenters 0. [Legal Blog Watch]
* Wow. I expect this from partners, but apparently clients also think that associates are fatted sacks of meat that are only good when they’ve been sliced, grilled, and served with a nice chianti. And that was before Skadden announced bonuses. [What About Clients?]
* Woman thinks women should stop acting like girls. [Law and More]
* Apple wins. ( /nods in silent deference.) [Legal Pad]
Look, I’m the last person on Earth to criticize somebody for getting out of the law firm life and following a dream. But I’m a little worried that “Jack,” who writes the blog Adventures in Voluntary Simplicity, might have lost a little bit of his grip on reality. I spent most of the morning reading Jack’s missives. It’s a bit like reading a Walt Whitman poem that’s been printed with letters cut out from various magazines.
But, despite his apparent madness, Jack is still gainfully employed as an attorney (he doesn’t say where). Law firm employment is of course something that Jack intends to discontinue. He’s got a whole plan he wants to execute so that he can leave his job by the end of 2009:
There is nothing inherently wrong with my job as a lawyer. In fact, for several years, I really felt that it was interesting and intellectually challenging. On the other hand, coming into work was a wonderful way to play adult and pretend that I knew all the answers that really mattered. Putting on expensive suits, traveling all over the world, representing important clients, knowing the location of expensive restaurants, etc…were all just a way for me to tie additional knots in an ever-expanding invisible chain of hopeless materialism. …
And then I started getting…well…bored. The mind-numbing effects of sitting in front of a computer for 12, 13, 14 hours a day 6, sometimes 7 days a week making very rich people even more rich definitely caught up with me. …
So here I am. Making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in a job that infuriates me and gets me no closer to fulfilling my potential.
We expected this. Skadden has announced that they will discontinue the “special” bonuses from last year. Instead, they’ll be giving out the 2006/2007 standard package. From the memo, sent out by executive partner Bob Sheehan:
[W]e will pay the year-end discretionary bonus at the same levels by class seniority which associates received in 2007 and 2006. However, we do not think it is appropriate to repeat the “special” supplemental bonus that was instituted last year. That bonus reflected a strong and growing economy that contributed to a record level of profitability.
The Firm has historically paid its associates at the “top of the market” in their respective local markets. While we do not know what other firms will do this year with regard to paying a supplemental bonus, we believe that our bonuses this year should be limited to the year-end discretionary bonus. What we will do in the future years, will, of course, depend on business conditions at the time and competitive compensation.
You will receive a memo early in December discussing your individual bonus. We appreciate the efforts you have all put in this year. You have contributed enormously to the success that we have achieved.
That should pretty much set the market.
The 2007 bonuses weren’t bad. And Skadden isn’t laying people off. It’ll be pretty hard to complain if this is where the market ends up.
And, not for nothing, it shows good form by Skadden for telling people what to expect before the holiday season starts. That winter vacation to the Dominican Republic can now proceed full speed ahead.
A tipster reported a rumor today that we’ve heard a couple of times over the past week and a half:
Word on the street is that Mayer Brown had big layoffs today.
The problem is, that was the word on the street yesterday. And Tuesday. And last week the word on the street was that Mayer Brown associates would be on the street by Friday.
We’ve spent a lot of time sleeping on the street. At this point, we haven’t yet talked to one associate who has actually been laid off from Mayer Brown. Still, there’s an awful lot of chatter out there.
The state of New Jersey has reached a settlement with the popular online dating website, eHarmony. Under the settlement, eHarmony agrees to provide its proprietary online matching service to same sex singles.
In return, the state of New Jersey will not pursue a civil rights action against eHarmony that the state would surely win:
The company also agrees to ensure that same-sex users are matched via the same or equivalent technology as that used for heterosexual match-seekers, agrees to charge same-sex users the same fees, and agrees to offer the same service quality and terms of service as heterosexuals.
Unless somebody wants to argue that eHarmony is a religious institution, I think the law is pretty clear on this one.
More information about the settlement 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 six years. You can reach them by email: [email protected].
Since late last year, things have been booming in Hong Kong / China in cap markets, especially Hong Kong IPOs. M&A deal flow has recently been getting a bit stronger as well. Although one can’t predict such things with any certainty, all signs are pointing to a banner entire 2014 for the top end US corporate and cap markets practices in Hong Kong / China. This is not really new news, as its been the feeling most in the market have had for a few months now and things continue to look good.
The head of our Asia practice, Evan Jowers, has been in Hong Kong for about 10 days a month (with trips every other month to both Shanghai and Bejing) for the past 7 months (Robert Kinney and Evan Jowers will be in Hong Kong again March 15 to 23), and spending most of his time there meeting with senior US hiring partners at just about all the major US and UK firms there, as well as prospective candidates at all associate levels and partner levels, and when in the US, Evan works Asia hours and is regularly on the phone with such persons, as our the other members of our Asia team. Our Yuliya Vinokurova is in Hong Kong every other month and Robert is there about 5 times a year as well. While we have a solid Asia team of recruiters, Evan Jowers will spend at least some time with all of our candidates for Asia position. We have had long standing relationships, and good friendships in some cases, with hiring partners and other senior US partners in Asia for 8 years now.
Are you challenged by the costs and logistics of maintaining your office, distracting you from the practice of law?
Many small firms are successfully moving part—or even all—of their practice to a virtual setting. This even includes multi-jurisdictional practice spanning several states and practice areas, although solo and small partnerships are still the largest adopters of virtual law.
Can you do the same? The new article Mobile in Practice, Virtual by Design from author Jared Correia, Esq., explores how mobile technology bring real-life benefits to a small law firm. Read this new article—the next in Thomson Reuters’ Independent Thinking series for small firms—to explore how a mobile practice:
Everyone is talking about the importance of Social Media in Corporate America. But it is relatively safe to say that most law firms and lawyers are slightly behind the social curve. Most lawyers, at minimum, use LinkedIn, for networking. Some even use Twitter for pushing out short, pithy content, while many have Blogs, where they write their little hearts out. The adage “it is better to give than to receive” is not always true though in the world of Social. In the Social World – it is best to listen, give back and engage.
Social Media is a communications tool that can deeply educate you about the needs and wants of your clients and prospects when used in conjunction social media monitoring and sharing tools.
Take this quick quiz and see if you know how to use Social to help you engage more with your clients or to better service the ones you have.