August 2009

comparing.jpgAs we roll through the next segment of the 2010 Vault rankings, we get into some firms that have been caught testing the stealth layoff waters. To refresh your memory, here is the next list of firms:

31. Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy
32. Paul Hastings Janofsky & Walker
33. Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld
34. Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson
35. Winston & Strawn
36. Allen & Overy
37. Willkie Farr & Gallagher
38. Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
39. Baker Botts
40. Munger Tolles & Olson

Check out the big move by Munger. It’s up 11 spots on this year’s list. And let’s not forget about the firm’s #1 A-List ranking by Am Law earlier this year. Munger’s managed to do all of this without laying off a massive number of associates. Hopefully other Biglaw firms (and current 2Ls) will take note.
We know people have strong opinions about some of the firms on this list. Let’s get into them after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Fall Recruiting Open Thread: Vault 31 – 40 (2010)”

Chief illiniwek lawsuits stop.JPG* Don’t look for Chief Illiniwek on University of Illinois sidelines this fall. [My Law Life]
* Maybe becoming a law professor is just the tonic for the recession blues. [Tax Prof Blog]
* I had to duck out of the office this afternoon to continue the fight for a student loan bailout. I inadvertently slammed SEC lawyers in the process (sorry guys). There’s plenty of room left on this student loan bandwagon. [Fox Business]
* Lower associate salaries are a good thing? I suppose, if by “good” you mean “slightly better than cleaning car windows on the Long Island Expressway.” [TechnoLawyer]
* Companies are now soliciting resumes on Twitter. That knock you hear at the door is the Visigoths. Proceed with caution. [Young Lawyers Blog]
* On the one hand, this has nothing to do with the law. On the other hand … everybody should know that these 39 seconds of video exist. [Dealbreaker]
* Memes > Themes. [The Inspired Solo via Blawg Review]

Morris Manning logo.JPGThe well-known Atlanta based firm, Morris Manning, will be under new management in 2010. Louise Wells will be taking over the firm, making her the first woman to lead Morris Manning. The firm’s press release is understandably positive about the future of the firm:

The firm’s succession plan is being implemented to ensure that the firm is positioned to capitalize on ever-evolving market conditions for the continued success of its clients and the firm. As a critical component of the plan, the firm created an Executive Committee that will work closely with Wells. The Executive Committee members include litigation partner John P. MacNaughton, corporate partner David M. Calhoun and real estate partner Thomas S. Gryboski.

“I am honored to accept this responsibility,” Wells offered. “As a result of the firm’s unique culture and entrepreneurial spirit, we have been responsive to the challenging market conditions. We have made smart strategic decisions that build upon the firm’s solid platform, better positioning us to succeed and drive forward in the coming months and years,” she added.

Mmm … peaceful transition of power …

The current managing partner, Robert E. Saudek, will step down at the end of the year, but he will still be active with the firm.

Good luck with the transition.

Earlier: Nationwide Salary Cut Watch: Morris Manning Salary Cuts Based on Practice Group

Alice Clarke Sues Cardiff.JPGA former Cardiff (U.K.) law student sued her school for giving her low grades on two oral exams, and she won. The Times Online reports:

Alice Clarke was given low marks in two assessments for her Bar Vocational Course that all lawyers have to pass to practise as a barrister.
She claimed that the low marks for her oral examinations in advanced criminal law and legal negotiation were because of disagreements with her tutors and asked Cardiff University to reassess them. When it refused, she pursued her claim through the High Court.

Wow, it’s not too late for me to get my Sears Prize. It was unfairly denied me because my graders were too focused on form and substance instead of poorly thought out witty remarks!
Of course, to win a lawsuit and force your law school into court ordered grade inflation you need a couple of things: time and a complete inability to make sound economic decisions with your litigation dollar.
After the jump, it appears Alice Clarke had both.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawsuit of the Day: Don’t Like Your Grade? Sue Your School.”

Facebook logo MySpace Friendster Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgIs your Facebook page ready for your character and fitness exam? If you are applying to the Florida state bar, you might want to update your profile. Over on True/Slant, Kash examines employers who want to use Facebook against you:

[N]ot all legal types respect Facebook privacy. The Florida Bar Examiners, the group that decides who gets to become a lawyer in Florida, is considering forcing some wannabe lawyers to be subjected to a thorough social networking investigation prior to their being knighted esquires.

Florida bar examiners will look for evidence of substance abuse in applicants with a history of those problems, and will of course check to see if you would like to overthrow the government.
Click on the link below for Kash’s picture thoughts.
Should it be illegal for employers to check job applicants’ Facebook profiles? [True/Slant]
Earlier: What’s Up with the Flori-duh February Bar Exam?

grass always greener other side.jpgAs super-big law firms suffer through the recession, many midsize and small firms are thriving. Back in June, we discussed these firms as a viable alternative to Biglaw. (A number of smaller firms — e.g., Stone & Magnanini, Silver Golub & Teitell, and McKool Smith — are even hiring, with the help of job postings on Above the Law.)
But are smaller firms all they’re cracked up to be? We try to present both sides of the story. Check out this letter, from the ATL mailbag:

I’m an Ivy League law grad with a couple of years in big law. I got laid off and eventually found a job at a smaller firm. Like, way smaller. Unsurprisingly, I know a couple of people to whom this has happened (and a couple who haven’t found jobs as well, of course).

The commonly held wisdom is that the trade off in big law is money for your time and soul, while smaller firms pay less, but ask less. I’m not finding this to be really true, and neither are my friends.

So what exactly are we talking about, in terms of hours and compensation at small firms?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Small Law Firms: Is the Grass Really Greener?”

billable hours for 2009.jpgMany of our Biglaw friends have been biting their nails over hours this year. Lawyers are not worried about making bonuses at the end of the year. They’re worried about keeping their jobs. Last week, we invited you to share your hours’ outlook for 2009 and to see how you compare with fellow anonymous ATL readers.
One astute commenter pointed out:

Has it dawned on anyone that people billing solid hours aren’t taking the time to take ATL surveys?
This survey will be less reliable than my balls.

We’re not sure how reliable that reader’s balls are, but the poll results might shrivel them. The percentage of those looking at less than 1600 hours for the year is staggering. Check out the results after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Hours Follow-Up: If you’re looking at less than 1600 in 2009, you’re not alone.”

Fish Richardson logo.jpgAs a New Yorker, people often tell me that Austin is “the oasis of Texas.” I think they mean that Austin is a culturally progressive blue city in middle of a red state.
I hope they don’t mean that Austin is a great place to practice law.
On Friday, Fish & Richardson announced plans to close its Austin office. This marks the second major law firm to get out of Austin this summer. Weil Gotshal has already announced plans to close its Austin office.
The Austin Business Journal described the importance of Fish & Richardson to the local legal market:

Fish, which opened its Austin office in 2005, currently has 28 attorneys and a total staff of approximately 68 locally. A spokeswoman in the firm’s Boston headquarters confirmed the firm will close the office on Dec. 31.
According to Austin Business Journal research, Fish & Richardson is the 16th largest law firm operating in the city, ranked by number of attorneys. Fish reported firmwide revenue of $420 million in 2008. Some of the firm’s clients include Microsoft Corp., Google and Freescale Semiconductor Inc.

Are Austinites ready to make the move to “regular Texas”?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “A Fish Out of Austin: Fish & Richardson Closes Austin Office”

no offer factories.jpgLate last week, offer calls went out to those who summered at Cadwalader. We now have the firm wide offer rates. Compared to some other firms, it’s really not so bad.
Here is the information from a firm spokesperson:

Cadwalader made offers to approximately two thirds of our 2009 Summer Associate Class.

Cadwalader went through its layoffs early and often. People who summered at CWT had to know that the firm isn’t one to defer associates. Instead, Cadwalader recently asked some of its laid off associates to comeback … as contract attorneys.
Given all of that history, a 66% offer rate seems pretty good. In fact, even some of the CWT summers that were no offered didn’t sound too angry about the situation. One no offered summer described it this way:

The hiring partner was very nice about it, and offered to serve as a reference when I pursue other jobs, and I was repeatedly told that it was for purely economic reasons … I was upset, but I understand what the economy’s like right now, and I’ll be ok, may just take a while.

Things could be worse. Good luck with 3L recruiting, CWT friends.
Earlier: Cadwalader Is Hiring — Kind Of

Prior ATL coverage of no offers

sweet hot justice logo.jpg[Ed. note: The following piece was authored by The Legal Tease, of Sweet Hot Justice fame. Check out her other musings from Sweet Hot Justice here.]
I may not be a doctor, but I can spot a good epidemic when I see one. No, I’m not talking swine flu. Or Mad Cow. I’m talking about a bug that’s more contagious, more debilitating. A bug that seems to be tearing through scores of Big Law associates faster than you can say “stealth layoffs.” As much as I’ve tried to find one, there’s just no immunization you can get to ward this one off-and it looks like my fellow Big Law drones haven’t found one, either. The plague in question? Young female associates getting themselves embroiled in ridiculous sexual situations with vile, insane partners. And as far I can tell, a cure is still a long way off.
If you’ve spent any time clicking through the annals of humiliation catalogued on this site, you’ve probably noticed that I’m no stranger to this particular epidemic. The latest episode, though, focuses on my friend, Kirsten, a Big Law mid-level employment litigator trapped in the body of a hot stripper. You may remember Kirsten from her recent and unfortunate dip into married territory-as a visitor, not a local, alas. After that inevitably disastrous affair wrapped itself up, Kirsten did what any heart-bruised, if not quite heart-broken, Big Law associate would do: She planted herself at the office 24-7 and figured, hey, if I can’t get laid, I might as well get hours.
And she did. As luck would have it, she also got the attention of a new lateral employment partner to her firm, Martin. Now, let’s paint a quick picture here: When I say Kirsten is hot, I don’t mean lawyer-hot; I mean fantasy-league, blonde bombshell, silicone-enhanced hot-hot. Martin, on the other hand, could pass for Ben Stiller’s pudgy older cousin-on a good day. Still, when he began stopping by Kirsten’s office every night to chat, some combo of charm, partnership units and daddy issues sparked a crush in her. More than anything, though, after dating a string of unemployed aspiring man-whores, she cherished the attention. And when she found out that Martin had recently been handed divorce papers by his starter wife, she was smitten.
After a couple of weeks, the office pop-ins turned into weekly after-work cocktails. This was more than just flirtation, she told me; this was a real connection. They would have long, soulful talks about everything from firm politics to past relationships to the devastation of rejection. The only problem, though, she said, was that Martin was a supervising partner in her small department, and she felt he was holding back on making a move because he was, well, her boss…and an employment litigator. But when he asked if she wanted to accompany him to a black-tie fundraising event that the firm was co-sponsoring, she knew that they’d reached a turning point. This was his way of testing the waters, of stepping out with her in a formal, open setting. This was big.
Think you already know where this is going? Well, you don’t. Unless “meat” and “blood” are part of your prediction. Grab a napkin and keep reading, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Prelude to a Kiss”

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