July 2014

Team AIG takes nut shot from Congress.JPG* Could the United States Congress just get over itself with this AIG “outrage?” Enough already. Look, I’m a Democrat. I’d slap a progressive tax on nuns if they’d let me (more pious and virtuous = more tax, if you’re playing along at home. Eye of a needle baby). But this breathless “they tuk urrr jaaabs!” crap over people getting compensation has got to stop. If we keep on AIG like this, soon redheaded step-children will think they are allowed to speak in public. [Dealbreaker]

* We need to come up with another phrase for “drink the Kool-Aid.” I used to think “It’s. People.” would work, but apparently not enough of the kids have seen that movie. Whatever we’re going to call it, don’t forget to do it, if you want to keep you job and actually add value. [What About Clients?]

* There were a lot of reactions to the Travis the Chimp story yesterday. One really good question emerges from all of the coverage. How is it possibly legal to have a freaking chimpanzee in Connecticut? I mean, I’ve speedily driven through been to Connecticut. That state is barely capable of providing a suitable home to humans. [Law and More]

* I’m pretty sure this ad is racist, I’m just not sure how. Oh well, it’s from Russia so it’s likely that some of the offensive racial stereotyping that I would normally be all over got lost in the translation. Good thing too. It’s too nice a day in NYC to feel oppressed. I’m just going to hop in this cab here and go to the .. hey, HEY, I’m not even heading to Harlem right now you freaking jerk! [Copyranter]

* Don’t forget to join our Above the Law bracket challenge on ESPN (Group name: Above the Law. Password: abovethelaw). It’s free, we have over 300 entries, and somebody will be getting some ATL attire (unless I trounce all of you, which is a distinct possibility). You’ll have to put in your bracket before the games start tomorrow. [Above the Law Tournament Group]

* I don’t know any named plaintiffs that act this way, but I sure have met some named partners who do. [Litination]

Loyola logo.JPGIs it right for a law school to discourage students from transferring? Is it right for a law school to deny services to students who are considering transferring? Because it looks like that is what happening at Loyola (L.A.) Law School right now.
Loyola has moved up its on-campus interview season; it now starts in late July. Unfortunately, that is too early for most students who are transferring to have received notice of whether or not their applications have been accepted. But now, at Loyola, students who have outstanding transfer applications are no longer allowed to participate in OCI. A tipster makes the situation clear:

Many schools have had similar policies for students who have accepted a position at another school, but Loyola’s policy is targeted at students simply applying for a transfer. This puts students in the very real position of applying, missing out on OCI, and then possibly not getting in at the higher ranked schools. Basically f*cking their chances at BigLaw.

Our tipster confronts the dean, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Are Top Loyola Law Students Getting Poor Services?”

Above the law march madness.jpg[Ed. note: To catch up on the latest round of the tournament, check out the March Madness 2009 category thread.]

The NCAA basketball tournament starts up this week. If your team is already out, or you’re only half-heartedly rooting for your team (Sigh. Go Duke.), we are offering you a different contest to take part in. And this is better than the NCAA tournament, because you’re not just a sixth man watching from the sidelines; you get to determine the course of the tournament through voting.

We’ve held March Madness NCAA-tournament style competitions before. UVA won the 2007 competition for coolest law school, and last year Latham eked out a victory over Cleary for coolest law firm.

Since Latham recently, um, cut a number of players from its team, we don’t think we can let it keep its crown, so we’re revisiting Biglaw firms with the 2009 ATL March Madness tournament. But rather than comparing “cool,” in a nod to the current climate, we are comparing “safe.” We bring you….

ATL MARCH MADNESS FOR LAW FIRMS!!!
WHICH FIRM IS THE SAFEST???

We’ve set up brackets based on Vault seeds. Thirty-two firms are entering the tournament. We invite you to vote on which firms are better at lay-ups than layoffs. At which firm are you least likely to lose your job?

After the jump, we give you the brackets, and the first eight match-ups. Look out for the next eight match-ups on Thursday. The polls close Sunday at midnight.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “ATL March Madness for Law Firms, Round 1 (Part 1): Which Biglaw Firm is Safest?”

Emperor Ends associate lockstep.JPGThere is a report in Bloomberg today, about the attempts some firms are making to end lockstep associate salaries:

The firms are responding to the plunge in corporate, real estate and finance work by overhauling compensation for associates, who often total as many as two-thirds of a firm’s lawyers. Some, like Orrick, are beginning to reward lawyers based on performance rather than seniority. Others plan to cut salaries for starting associates, just two years after top firms raised pay to compete for talent.

It looks like associates are dispirited, disorganized, and desperate to hang on to their jobs. If I was a professional business consultant, I’d think now is the perfect time to start stomping on dirty “workers” while they are down:

“In the current economic crisis, we see the final demise of the Medieval guild in the American legal profession,” said Joel Henning, a law firm consultant at Hildebrandt International Inc.

I am unarmed. Strike me down! Give in to your anger! With each passing moment, you make yourself more my slave.

Law firms have operated for decades with associate pay structures that don’t reward performance, Henning said…. “One of the best things firms are doing is breaking the ridiculous lockstep structure of associate compensation,” Henning said. “There is no other profession that operates that way.”

Young fool … Your feeble skills are no match for the power of the Dark Side. You have paid the price for your lack of vision!

But isn’t there something missing from this story? More after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Ending Lockstep Salaries, But What About Billing?”

Letter from London Queen.JPGEd. note: The legal world is much bigger than New York, or Washington, or even the United States. Welcome to the inaugural installment of “Letter from London,” a weekly dispatch from the other side of the pond. Our U.K. correspondent, Isaac Smith, will expose ATL readers to the latest goings-on in the London legal world. You can reach Isaac by email, at isaacsmithlondon@googlemail.com.

Firms in the U.S. often try to keep their layoffs nice and quiet, with instructions not to communicate with the media or the odd scare tactic… Cousins, you’re not alone.

A recent meeting between DLA Piper’s UK management team and employee reps over its stingy redundancy package got off to a bad start when London Managing Partner Catherine Usher pleaded for “ideas on how we can keep the information confidential” — words which were leaked, along with the rest of the minutes, to just about every legal news publication in London last week.

Some quick background: DLA, which launched its second redundancy consultation in January (with criteria including number of sick days taken), is paying out the statutory minimum to UK-based lawyers who get the chop. This equates to one week’s pay (capped at £350 a week) for each year’s service. By way of comparison, Linklaters is said to be offering three weeks’ pay (at the full rate, without any cap) for every year with the firm, plus three months’ notice. DLA’s US arm is also being considerably more generous.

More of the DLA minutes:

Meeting begins with Usher urging associates to stop leaking things to the press.

Employee rep points out link between firm’s less-than-generous redundancy package and press leaks.

Heated exchanges ensue.

Hapless HR manager tries to pacify the crowd, but her misguided recommendations that (a) associates go out for some morale-boosting team drinks and (b) the fired ones use an “an advice line” which provides “guidance about the impact of redundancy and what to do next” only make situation worse.

Anger boils over and Usher and HR Manager set upon by frenzied mob.

Ok, that last bit may not have happened.

Addition London news, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Letter from London: U.K. Confidential”

Dewey LeBoeuf logo D&L DL Above the Law blog.jpgThe American Lawyer reports that Dewey & LeBoeuf is taking money out of the pockets of under performing partners:

Dewey & LeBoeuf has confirmed that 66 partners — about one in five of the firm’s 350 partners — have seen their compensation reduced by as much as 80 percent over the past 15 months. The reductions are meant to weed out less-productive partners, firm Chairman Steven Davis tells The Am Law Daily.

According to the report, some Dewey partners are now taking draws as little as $10,000 a month. That’s good money for a lot of people, but for a partner in a major American law firm? There are Dewey partners that are making less money than first year associates.

Both Davis and executive director Stephen DiCarmine characterize the recent actions as an intensification of the firm’s long-term strategy of replacing poor performers with higher-producing laterals.

AmLaw has more bad news for D&L partners, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Dewey & LeBoeuf: Partners, It’s Your Turn”

Law Shucks layoffs layoff tracker.jpg[Ed. note: Above the Law has teamed up with Law Shucks. Law Shucks has done excellent work translating all of the layoff news into user-friendly charts and graphs: the Layoff Tracker.]

The trend for this week is returning to the well. We’re seeing a number of firms that have had previous layoffs trimming further.

White & Case was one of the first top-tier US firms to do a massive layoff back in November. At the time, everyone was shocked by the numbers: 70 lawyers, 100 staff. The bar has been substantially raised since then, but W&C continues to surprise.

Round 2 was far worse: 200 lawyers, 200 staff. That vaulted the firm back to the top of the table. In fact, White & Case has completed a trifecta: #1 in total layoffs, layoffs of attorneys and layoffs of staff, an ignominious feat.

It’s on to Round 3 for Baker & McKenzie, one of the few US firms larger than White & Case, which has announced further cuts in London. The firm laid off 20 staff in London in January, and is now seeking to sever up to 85 more in the office. Bakers was the first to announce layoffs in calendar 2009, when six lawyers were fired in New York.

Paul Hastings is also on Round 3, following an unknown number in Atlanta in early February, and stealth layoffs in Los Angeles and Shanghai later in the month, the firm laid off 131 – 44 attorneys, 87 staff.

None can compete (yet) with Halliwells, a UK Top 50 firm that is on its FOURTH round of redundancy consultations. The firm has fired 40 people already and 30 are in scope of the current activity – 15 lawyers, 15 staff. I can’t imagine how horrible morale must be over there.

More trends and analysis after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “This Week In Layoffs: 03.14.09″

Happy Days are Here Again.JPG* Okay, I don’t want to jinx anything or anybody. I really don’t. But, as clear as I can tell, today is the first business day this month that no major law firm announced layoffs. In fact, I believe that it is the first day since Monday, February 16th that no major law firm announced layoffs. Between that and the fourth straight day of gains on the DJIA, I think it’s safe to say that the recession is over, America is back on track, and they might as well start outlining Obama’s face on Mount Rushmore. Nationwide Hiring Watch to start shortly. [The Street]

* I’m not a fan of all of this morbid Ruth Bader Ginsburg deathwatch thing. [ABC]

* I mean, Barbie is 50 and she’s still going strong. [What About Clients?]

* With all the A-Rod stuff, I almost forgot that Clemens was still hanging around being a huge tool. [Washingtonian]

* A contract written in blood is unenforceable. See, blue pen is still the only way to go. [Legal Writing Prof Blog]

* Finally, Ontario is getting its act together with a reasonable animal cruelty law. We’re one step closer to a civilized society. [Animal Law Blog]

* Students learn better via podcasts. Maybe so. But true scholars learn better via thinking. [TaxProf Blog]

Pillsbury logo.JPGWe have extensively covered the comings and goings at Pillsbury Winthrop. Last Thursday, we told you that 14% of the firm’s associates has left — either voluntary or involuntarily.

Unlike many of the firms that have laid off people this month, Pillsbury left open the question of what would happen with its incoming first years. It’s been over a week now, and still no word from the firm. A tipster reports:

Last week when the layoffs happened, PWSP had a town hall meeting … a few associates asked what they would be doing about incoming first years. They said they weren’t sure. The associates said it would probably be nice if they let us know, so we can plan our lives, apply for other work, higher education etc.

On the one hand, after the firm’s infamous Acela gaffe, it makes sense if Pillsbury gets all of its ducks in a row before it tells first years when (if ever) they can start.

But with associates at Latham, Orrick, a host of other firms, and maybe even Skadden already

competing for the public interest jobs, it would be good if Pillsbury could share some more information with its incoming associates.

Earlier: Nationwide Layoff Watch: Pillsbury’s Voluntary Departure Numbers

champagne glasses small.jpg

Just two lawyer weddings show up on the Legal Eagle Wedding Watch this week, but both are vigorous, Ivy-licious contenders. There’s even a juicy clerkship in the mix to herald the approach of spring!

Here are our finalists:

1. Allison Podell and Bradley Saft

2. Dina Mishra and Benjamin Shultz

More about these couples’ qualifications, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Legal Eagle Wedding Watch 3.8: Upper Register”

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