Troubling rumors are circulating about Chicago-based Kirkland & Ellis. Tipsters say that: (1) layoffs are happening in the firm’s New York office, and (2) the start date for incoming associates is being pushed back to the end of the year.
The firm laid off 15 to 25 non-equity partners in January. Now it appears to be moving on to associates. A source says the firm started conducting layoffs of mid-levels in its New York office on Wednesday, and that they are still going on, writing this morning:
The layoffs are continuing today (mostly in the litigation and private equity departments). I’m not sure about the veracity of this, but I also heard that K&E’s NYC litigation department lost one or two big clients because they refused to lower their fees.
The firm spokesperson has not responded to our inquiries. If you have more information, please contribute to the comments, or send us a tip.
We’re also hearing that start dates for incoming associates at the firm have not been announced yet, but one 3L bound for Kirkland has gotten news that the start date will be December 2009 at the earliest.
Was told in writing that I won’t be starting until the end of the year for sure, and they left open pushing it back even further…. Guess my loans will have to wait….
Update: A 3L bound for Kirkland’s D.C. office questions the report of delayed start dates:
I am a graduating 3L that will be starting in the fall at Kirkland’s D.C. office. When I accepted the offer, K&E told me I would hear back in the spring about start dates, bar expenses, etc. I am not sure what 3L can have a “letter in hand” about start dates, I have not received any start date information, nor has a fellow incoming K&E associate whom I just asked.
A round-up of the firms that have pushed back start dates, after the jump.
The world is obsessed with celebrity professors Cass Sunstein and Samantha Power, who recently left the ivory tower to take high-ranking positions in the Obama Administration. He might someday sit on the Supreme Court; she’s a winner of the Pulitzer Prize; and together, as we previously reported (see the update), they’re creating the World’s Smartest Baby.
If The Chronicle of Higher Education had paparazzi, a few of them would be camped outside this office right now.
The office is in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and inside are two Harvard professors. The first — a tall woman in her thirties with long red hair — is wrapped in a wool blanket…. The second — a slightly older man who looks a bit like William Hurt — wears a dark suit and is twirling a Wilson tennis racket, a favorite habit of his. They’re talking about the usual — Obama, the fight against extremism, the future of the Supreme Court. And also, who should order flowers for the priest who helped them out with wedding plans.
In a week, they’re getting married in a small church in Ireland — a fact that, if those paparazzi did exist, would send them into a Brad-and-Angelina tizzy.
Oh, but such paparazzi do exist. Harvard Law School student “Percy Thrillington” snapped a few photos of the happy couple, in an HLS parking lot — the small parking lot just off Mass. Ave., next to the International Legal Studies library. They were unloading what said tipster described as “a rather dorky-looking red PT Cruiser.”
(Hey, Percy, lay off the PT Cruiser. If it’s good enough for Chief Justice John Roberts — see photo at right — then it’s good enough for Cass and Sam.)
After a heated bidding war between top tabloid publications — bids climbed well into the six figures, allowing Percy to pay for his law school education — ATL emerged victorious. We now proudly present exclusive photographs of the world’s leading legal-academic couple.
Check out paparazzi pics of the Power couple, after the jump.
When it comes to lateral movement of lawyers from one firm to another, things seem pretty dead. If you’re an attorney with a job, you’re probably just holding on for dear life. Latham, holla.
But it’s important to distinguish between lateral partner moves and associate moves. The latter are becoming increasingly rare, but the former continue to happen with regularity. As various firms founder and flounder, partners with business think: “I have a portable book in the eight figures. Why would I want to go down with these clowns?”
Of course, not every lateral partner move arises out of a rainmaker seeking greener pastures. Economic instability has resulted in some partners being prematurely put out to pasture, perhaps because they don’t generate enough business in these tough times, or perhaps because their firms went under. The American Lawyer refers to such lawyers as “accidental laterals”: they never intended to be on the lateral market, but they wound up there anyway.
We suspect that this latest lateral move, however, is not accidental. Superstar IP litigator Dale Cendali — who has been quite busy in the past year, representing the likes of Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling — is leaving O’Melveny & Myers for Kirkland & Ellis. Joining her at K&E are current OMM partners Claudia Ray, also based in New York, and Diana Torres, in Los Angeles. The exact timing is unclear, but look for a move sometime next month.
O’Melveny confirmed the news to ATL and issued this statement, through a firm spokesperson:
While we regret losing a talented group of lawyers, we are fortunate to have an exceptional team and deep bench of IP litigators specializing in patents, trademarks, copyrights, IP antitrust, computer hardware and software, media & entertainment, and life sciences. Our IP lawyers have national practices and have appeared in courts across the country.
Records are being set this morning at Latham & Watkins. At 8:00 a.m. Eastern time, managing partner Bob Dell sent out an email announcing that the firm is laying off 190 associates and 250 staff. These numbers are on top of any “stealth layoffs” that may have previously occurred at the firm in the past year.
Four hundred forty employees — 190 associates, 250 staff — is, as far as we know, more than any one law firm has ever laid off (not counting dissolutions). Latham is also the first Vault top ten firm to conduct major layoffs.
But Latham is also setting another record, of a more positive nature. Consistent with what we reported yesterday, the firm is offering “a comprehensive separation package, including payment of six months salary (up to total severance of $100,000) plus six months of continued medical coverage (through August 31, 2009).” This is the most generous severance package that any major law firm has given departing employees (see this table).
That will definitely soften the blow. But one LW source has a question:
No mention on any partner shifts — did they really grossly overshoot the number of associates and staff they needed for the economy we ended up with, but nail the number of partners needed just right?
According to Dell’s email, the cuts constitute approximately 12 percent of associates and 10 percent of paralegals and support staff. One LW tipster, however, tells us that in terms of U.S. associates being laid off, the number may be closer to 20 percent.
The full email from Robert Dell, plus more, after the jump.
The firm is not calling these cuts “layoffs.” Instead, the firm is finishing up semi-annual performance reviews and making cuts along those lines. The firm provided ATL with this statement:
Dewey & LeBoeuf maintains a semi-annual performance review process and we are currently in our year-end cycle. We do not comment on the specific outcomes of our performance review process or individual review conversations.
Some explanation about the Dewey & LeBoeuf review system, plus thoughts from tipsters, after the jump.
* Yes, the Philadelphia D.A. did rescind offers to 12 incoming attorneys. With fewer prosecutors, now is the time for Mets fans to go to Citizen’s Bank Park and “appropriate” some hardware. [The Legal Intelligencer]
* Are you an attorney worried about the economy? Legal bloggers feel your pain. [Law and More]
* Yo, I heard Calvin got a job at WacArnolds. Yeah. Lets rob that n***a. [ABC]
* Could somebody please stop the national embarrassment that is Roland Burris? Right now, even Chris Rock would rather have Flavor Flav in the U.S. Senate. [Law Dork 2.0]
* You gotta check out the headlights on this story. [My Law Life]
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Management at Latham & Watkins continues to be incommunicado regarding the firm’s impending layoffs that we reported yesterday. Nonetheless, Above the Law has come by some information that could be positive for sleepless Latham associates.
Multiple sources have told ATL that Latham could be offering a six month severance package to the attorneys the firm is about to fire.
Of course, we don’t want to get everybody’s hopes up. As one source says:
I’d be shocked if that actually happens, given how bastard-y Latham been lately, but who knows?
But there are persistent rumors that Latham will try to combat the overwhelmingly negative press the firm has received by offering a soft (ish) landing to the departed.
Of course, the most humane thing to do at this point would be for Latham to make a public announcement and euthanize terrified associates.
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When Chintan Panchal decided to leave a global BigLaw partnership to start his own firm, he could only hope that he would face the high-quality problem of firm building that many had cautioned him about. Focused on the uncertainty surrounding of a new firm launch, he decided to tackle staffing needs, IT challenges, and financial planning requirements after he had built up his legal practice.
Panchal Associates LLP–a corporate/finance and outside general counsel boutique–was quickly off to a great start. Clients and matters were flying in the door, and Chintan soon had a team of lawyers and staff with a variety of operational needs. To continue building an excellent team and provide them with a competitive benefits package, to expand his physical presence to include a European practice and additional partners, and to scale his operations and IT capabilities to support this growing enterprise brought with it demands of time, money, and expertise. Chintan knew he needed help.
“With the assistance of NexFirm, we have upgraded the capabilities of our firm to meet, and in some cases exceed, the standards we were used to at our former BigLaw firms. Operationally, we can now attract and service clients we didn’t have the bandwidth to support in the past, and continue to build our team with the best and brightest legal talent in the industry,” said Chintan Panchal, adding “It has worked out quite well in our case; NexFirm is an essential partner for us.”
The holiday season is upon us, and yet again, you have no idea what to get for the fickle lawyer in your life. We’re here to help. Even if your bonus check hasn’t arrived yet, any one of the gifts we’ve highlighted here could be a worthy substitute until your employer decides to make it rain.
We’ve got an eclectic selection for you to choose from, so settle in by that stack of documents yet to be reviewed and dig in…
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