Let’s close the day where we started, with EAPD. We reported this morning that the firm laid off 60 people. Over the course of the day, the firm made additional plans to cut back on its 2009 costs.
The firm will be delaying the start dates for its incoming first year associates. The new date is March 1, 2010. According to a firm spokesperson, deferred first years will receive a $10,000 stipend on top of the normal bar exam expenses. The Red Sox should be good this summer, Brady should be healthy, and the Celtics still have the big 3. Maybe that will help pass the time for a year?
But sadly there is more bad news for law students scheduled to work at EAPD. The firm informs Above the Law that it has canceled its 2009 summer associate program. The decision affects nine would-be summers. Edwards Angell will be paying $5,000 to the displaced summers.
“It looks like I picked the wrong day to stop sniffing glue.”
* For a little background on what AIG is looking at in Connecticut, here’s some perspective on how the state has historically treated employers who failed to pay wages. [Connecticut Employment Law Blog]
* How to design an effective strategy once you’ve been laid off. [Edificial]
* Ira Lee Sorkin gets scammed by …? My money’s on Mrs. Madoff. [Dealbreaker]
Almost a month ago, Latham & Watkins set the market in terms of incoming first year deferral programs Latham offered $75K to associates who saw their start dates with the firm pushed back for a year.
Many firms have followed, but none have topped. Today, Weil, Gotshal & Manges is taking a run at Latham’s high water mark.
A tipster reports sent us a Weil memo that announces the firm’s new deferred start date program. It’s a bit complicated. Weil is pushing back the start date for all incoming associates until January, 2010. But, in addition to bar expenses, the firm will be paying associates $15,000 in September 2009. That is more than anybody else who has deferred start dates to the first of the year.
But Weil is also asking associates to volunteer for have their start dates pushed back until January, 2011. Yes, I said “2011.” That would be longer than any firm (at this point) is asking its incoming first years to wait. However, if associates push back until 2011, Weil will give you $75,000 — if you work for a firm approved public interest organization — on top of the $15K they will receive in September, 2009. Should an associate choose not to work for that time, Weil will offer $60,000 (on top of the initial $15K).
That is not all that is happening over at Weil today. More details after the jump.
As we mentioned earlier today, there is significant variation among firms offering some sort of deferral stipend or public interest externship. Should the money from the firm be contingent upon finding employment in a public interest organization? Should it be paid out monthly or up front? And of course, how much money is on the table.
The difficulty facing firms — and incoming associates who thought they had jobs lined up for the fall — is that management is trying to make the rules up as they go along. Law firms want to be competitive with peer institutions, but each firm has its own bottom line that can’t be ignored.
At the same time, public interest organizations are flush with resumes of highly qualified people who can work for free. But they must also be concerned with the fact that these new recruits likely never wanted to do any public interest work, and will be desperate to go back to their Biglaw jobs (if available) in a year’s time.
And there are still so many options that have not been tried. As one tipster pointed out to us today:
Wouldn’t this be a good time for all these young lawyers to take two years off to serve their country.
You can’t get more “public interest” than serving your country. And if patriotism doesn’t motivate you, just think about how “JAG Corps” will look on your resume when this recession is all over. We’re living in a bizzaro “Hey, you never know” kind of world.
These are all complicated issues, and all of the players seem to be doing the best they can with them. After the jump, we take a look at Ropes & Gray, which is trying to balance the new issues associated with its “new alternatives” program.
Tonight, the “real” Sweet Sixteen games will play out on NCAA courts. Here at ATL, the NCAA-styled ATL March Madness for Law Firms continues. Sixteen firms remain in the tournament hoping to be crowned Biglaw’s safest — the place where you’re least likely to get laid off.
Thirty-two firms entered the tournament, based on Vault prestige rankings. Thousands of ATL readers voted to eliminate sixteen firms in the first round. There was only one upset of a higher-ranked seed: Linklaters (V26) beat Latham (V7). The Magic Circle firm’s magic run may not last though. Kirkland has a solid lead over the UK-based firm at the moment.
A fun part of traveling is observing “cultural differences.” It’s okay to pick your nose in public in some parts of Kenya, to comment on someone’s significant weight gain in the Philippines, and to burp mid-meal in India. The practices may not be your cup of tea, but that’s the fun of exploring other cultures. But what about a culture of gender discrimination in the workplace?
A group of female hospital administrative staff have filed a lawsuit in Ohio against Summa Health Systems and Dr. Santosh Potdar alleging gender discrimination. Among their allegations against the doctor, from the complaint:
Potdar referred to them as a “Bunch of B*tches,” “Hormonal Messes,” and a “F*cking Lesbian.”
Potdar “[made] gender-based, derogatory and offensive statements and display[ed] gender animus by stating, among other things, that ‘women should not work outside the home’ and by telling one Plaintiff that ‘he feels sorry for her husband that he has to deal with you’ and ‘he feels sorry for her father that he had only daughters.”
Potdar “subject[ed] Plaintiffs to verbal attacks, insults, degradation and humiliation, including, among other things, calling them a ‘Bunch of Monkeys.’”
So we assume Potdar would prefer to have the hospital populated with Gaylord Fockers.
Our favorite part of this lawsuit is the defense put forth by the hospital, according to the plaintiffs. From the complaint:
Summa’s Human Resources Department told Plaintiffs that they were “working on it” and, at one point, they attributed Dr. Potdar’s treatment of women to “cultural” differences.
We’re unsure where Potdar is from — according to the press release announcing his arrival, he was previously head of a medical center in Pennsylvania — but apparently he’s been listening to too much Jay-Z. Summa has not yet filed an answer, but we do hope the hospital’s lawyers come up with a better defense than “cultural differences.”
Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge had a round of staff cuts back in November. That seems like ancient history. But it looks like the firm could not hold its fire forever. Today, both attorneys and staff were informed that EAPD would have to cut back. Above the Law obtained this statement, from an Edwards Angell managing partner Walter Reed, and COO Jeff Hunter, explaining what has happened today:
After careful consultation with the Firm’s Department Heads and governing committees, we have reached the difficult decision that the Firm must reduce the size of its workforce. Today we will inform about 25 lawyers and 35 staff that their employment with the Firm is ended, and will offer them severance arrangements similar to those offered by the many other firms that have also made these difficult decisions.
According to the latest NALP numbers, that is over 15% of the firm’s associates. We understand that the cuts hit the firm’s offices in Providence and New York, as well as Boston. The severance package should be the market standard.
Read the full firm statement after the jump.
We’ve collected a number of layoff reports coming out of Quinn Emanuel the past couple of days. Overall, the numbers are a lot lower than what we’ve been seeing coming out of California. But it appears that some layoffs have occurred.
Our sources report that 6 people from the firm’s Silicon Valley office have been informed that they will be let go in the next couple of months. Multiple independent sources also report that 20 – 25 people have been let go from the firm’s Los Angeles office since the first of the year.
But when we reached out to John Quinn, he adamantly denied the reports from our tipsters:
A handful of people have been let go for lack of work. 25 is wildly inaccurate.
The sources we spoke with report various reasons for the layoffs. Some cite performance, others claim to have made their hours, still others said they were casualties of the economy.
Whatever the official number of layoffs, it does appear that Quinn has kept the amount of cuts down as compared to other firms headquartered on the west coast. You’ve got to take the good news where you can get it.
Earlier this month, lawyers for a building products company asked an Arkansas judge to overturn a $12.6 million judgment because “Juror Johnathon” had been sending out tweets on Twitter about his thoughts on the trial. Here are our thoughts in Twitter fashion:
atlblog: Everyone’s talking about Twitter these days and the ability to broadcast your thoughts continuously in 140 character tweets.
atlblog: We really should have done a full post on it last week when that NYT story about twittering jurors and mistrials made its way around the Web.
atlblog: Jurors aren’t supposed to talk about a case outside the courtroom. Twittering is talking. What will judges do about this?
atlblog: We wonder which firms will go to the Final Four in the ATL March Madness contest… Oh. Sorry. Off topic.
atlblog:@WSJ’s Ashby Jones. We liked the headline for your piece: Twelve Twittering Men? Very clever. We imagine Henry Fonda with a BlackBerry.
atlblog: That WSJ article has a weird Bob Dylan non-sequitur at the end. Apparently, Dylan’s outhouse stinks up his neighborhood… Sorry. Off topic.
atlblog:@davidlat. Please stop twittering about the recession and how the ship be sinking. It depresses us… Sorry. Off topic.
atlblog: Why are we so addicted to broadcasting our thoughts that we can’t not tweet and update Facebook statuses during jury duty?
atlblog: Jurors doing their own online research is the more serious problem. Lots of good letters to the NYT editor from lawyers & one law student.
atlblog: Please feel free to tweet your thoughts about jurors, social networking, technology, and twittering in the comments.
We regularly receive tips about free events that might interest our readers. Because we don’t have the ability to give shout-outs to all, and to ensure equal treatment, we direct everyone with events to promote to mention them in our Community section. If your event is more commercial in nature, you can advertise it on ATL; if your budget is limited, consider a quicklisting.
Our rule against event promotion admits of exceptions. We will mention events featuring significant participation by Above the Law editors (e.g., a speech by one of us). We’ll also mention selected events sponsored by our advertisers (like the happy hour sponsored by Major Lindsey & Africa, and the launch party of Practical Law Company).
If you’ll be in or near Morgantown, West Virginia — which isn’t far from Pittsburgh, and which happens to be one of the few cities that’s doing well in the downturn — you might be interested in this event, featuring your above-signed editor (see the 9:50 a.m. panel):
DIGITAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP: INCENTIVES AND LEGAL RISKS
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: email@example.com.
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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