August 2014

Angry clock.JPGIs there really blood in the water around the billable hour? Or are we simply hearing an updated version of a familiar refrain? This morning the Wall Street Journal took another look at killing the billable hour (subscription):

People who follow the world of law firms know, among so much else, two things: 1) that billing-by-the-hour has long been the way law firms get paid and 2) companies have over the years had only limited success in getting firms to agree to do it any other way.
That’s changing. In a big way. Companies are starting to ditch the hourly structure — which critics complain offers law firms an incentive to rack up bigger bills — in favor of flat-fee contracts and other types of arrangements.

Of course, we’ve heard all that before. Heralding the death of the billable hour is much like predicting the end of the world: eventually somebody is going to be right.
Has anything fundamentally changed this time around to make the billable hour more susceptible to death? Here’s the best argument.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Under Attack, Should the Billable Hour Be Concerned For Its Safety?”

Career Center AboveTheLaw Lateral Link ATL.jpgThe Vault survey rankings may have created buzz last week, but we’re going to kick off the buzz this week by unveiling our first annual review of the summer associate experience at the major law firms. With information based on surveys conducted by Lateral Link and tips we’ve gathered at ATL, the summer program snapshots give you an insiders perspective on each firm. So if you are heading into OCI and want the scoop on what 2009 summer associate class felt about their experience, check out the ATL Career Center, powered by Lateral Link.
The Summer Associate Program review is located within each firm snapshot. Surf over there to find out:

  • Which firm received high marks for being “open and honest” with summer associates “at every juncture of the law firm strategy in this economic climate?” Click here.
  • Which firm gives summers an $85 dinner budget and does a two day retreat for all summers at Catalina Island? Click here.
  • Which firm’s summers report that the firm is “fantastic” when it comes to summer salaries and offers “job security” that is hard to find elsewhere? Click here.
  • Which firm had summer associates go head to head in a “Roc the Guac” guacamole-cooking contest? Click here.
    More after the jump.

    double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Career Center: The 2009 Summer Associate Survey Results”

  • Covington Burling LLP logo Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.JPGYolanda Young is back with a vengeance, and an amended complaint against Covington & Burling.
    The brief synopsis on Young is that she was a Covington & Burling staff attorney who sued the firm for racial discrimination. Covington has denied the charges at every point. The firm briefly got the suit tossed, but it was reinstated.
    Young’s basic allegations remain the same:

    Through its pattern and practice, Defendant, Covington & Burling LLP, systematically relegates its black attorneys to its lowest rung of practicing attorneys — the position of staff attorney. Firm policy bans the promotion of staff attorneys to the position of associate and, ultimately, to partner. This prohibition adversely impacts Defendant’s black attorneys by consigning the majority to earning less money, performing less challenging work, and enjoying less opportunity for professional growth than Defendant’s nonblack attorneys.

    This time around, Young argues that black staff attorneys at Covington are more qualified than their white colleagues:

    Young points out that while Covington uses a combination of law school grades, journal membership, and clerkship experience to determine the assignment of its attorneys, many of their partners — who decide how an attorney should be assigned — lack such credentials, but presumably are able to perform adequately at partner-level.
    Young also asserts that black practicing attorneys, as a group, typically graduated from higher ranked law schools than their white colleagues and that, more often than their white counterparts, black staff attorneys attended law schools from which Covington’s partners, counsel, and associates graduated.

    I think I know what is going on here. See, this is a revenge fantasy lawsuit. And Covington has been typecast in the role of Major King Kong.
    After the jump, Young brings charts to back up her claims, and announces her full intentions exclusively to Above the Law.

    double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Yolanda Young Amends Complaint, Intends To Seek Class Certification Against Covington”

    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.]

    It seems so good, doesn’t it? According to the lead of a recent AP story, "The unemployment rate fell in 17 states and the District of Columbia last month, a positive sign even as the pain of joblessness remains widespread."

    Don’t believe the hype. Even lawyers can subtract when it’s only double-digit numbers. Are we not supposed to notice that that must mean the unemployment rate increased, or at best was flat, in more than 30 states? In fact, it was up in 36 states and territories, more than twice as many as it was down in, but the AP is just drunk on White House Kool-Aid apparently, how else to explain that spin?

    Other outlets aren’t so optimistic (or bedazzled, depending on your level of cynicism). Initial jobless claims were actually higher than expected for the week, at 576,000, and the overall unemployment rate was flat at about 9.4% (we touched briefly last week on why that number is particularly misleading right now). That rate is still expected to hit the psychologically-dreadful 10% level by early next year. Still, the S&P 500 had a nice little run for the week, finishing up about 40 points.

    Law-firm news wasn’t terrible this week, although the "week without a layoff" streak ended at one. Details after the jump.

    double red triangle arrows Continue reading This Last Week in Layoffs: 08.24.09″

    cohen port skanks in nyc.jpg

    * More on the skanks. ‘Skanks in NYC’ blogger plans to sue Google for $15 million for disclosing her identity. [New York Daily News via Gothamist]
    * A Michigan attorney has filed an age discrimination lawsuit against the University of Iowa College of Law, claiming that the school wouldn’t put him on faculty because he’s the ripe old age of 56. [Chicago Tribune]
    * The Justice Department may prosecute CIA employees for torturing detainees. [New York Times]
    * Child molester hatched a bizarre $3 million defamation suit against his victim. And won, but only for one day. [Washington Post]
    * Gerber Baby Foods doesn’t like women or minorities. [Courthouse News Service]
    * As we’ve noted before, prospective law students tell Kaplan the economy is motivating them to head to law school. Obviously, they haven’t done their due diligence here at Above The Law. [Oregon Daily Emerald]

    champagne glasses small.jpgEd. note: As previously mentioned, LEWW is on vacation this week. Regular weekly posting will resume with a double issue on Friday, August 28.
    Today we ask readers to choose the most impressive lawyer newlyweds of the past two months. Early summer traditionally represents the height of the wedding season, and this year’s June and July couples have not disappointed. Below the fold, you’ll find two SCOTUS clerks, a Harvard JD/MD, the GC of a major corporation, a Google millionaire, and two managing editors of the Harvard Law Review, plus the typical amount of prestigious Biglaw employment.
    Click on the link below to review our prior write-ups of the Couple of the Week winners and vote for your favorites. (And remember: The two lucky couples who are selected will be eligible for Couple of the Year consideration.)

    double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Legal Eagle Wedding Watch: June and July Couples of the Month”

    • 23 Aug 2009 at 2:01 PM
    • Uncategorized

    Last Week on Above the Law

    Last week, Above the Law was dominated by the Vault rankings. But we still had time to expose scandal and poke a little fun. This week’s top three stories:

    1. Vault Rankings:
      The list which all prestige-based conversations will have to reckon with was released this week. Vault is so exciting that we even published an incomplete list earlier in the week to whet people’s appetite.
      2010 Vault final top5.jpg
      The big news from the rankings has been that Weil Gotshal surged to #6, while Latham & Watkins fell ten sports to #17.
      We’ve also started our open threads to allows attorneys and law students to discuss the firms on the list. Click here and here for our first two open threads.
    2. Trial Lawyers for Justice:
      Happy Family Photo.jpgNot every lawyer is obsessed with prestige of course. Some are just concerned about family. Really concerned. Check here for a law firm’s strange request that new applicants submit a family photo with their application. Here, the firm’s managing partner defends the request.
    3. Moritz College of Law Scandal
      Moritz College of Law logo.JPGThis week, Above the Law was able to expose a scandal at the Moritz College of Law at The Ohio State University. It appears that the school’s Student Bar Association President embezzled student funds for private use. Now, he might not be able to get his diploma. Check out our full coverage here.

    Comment of the Week:
    One young attorney had some choice words for baby-boomers partners who question the work ethic of today’s “Generation Y” lawyers.

    Ok Partner, I will bust my butt for you, I will sacrifice my physical and mental well-being, and I will not complain. And in return, you will mentor me, show me the ropes, introduce me to clients, help develop my business, and reward me with a partnership down the road if I do all you ask of me. You know, the same deal that YOU had when you were an associate. Wait, you won’t do that? You have no interest in mentoring, teaching, or grooming me as a future partner?
    Well then, you can suck it. I will continue to care about my “work-life balance,” collect a paycheck for a few years, and then get out of here while I’m still young and marketable.

    no offer factories.jpgFirms have been making offers this month. The good news came first, leading us to ask at the beginning of the month: Summer Offer Rate Open Thread: Are We Back to 100%?
    We’re such optimists here at ATL that we followed that thread with this one: Summer Offer Rate Open Thread: Happy Happy Joy Joy!.
    This week, a number of recent summer associates have asked us to take off the rose-colored glasses. On Monday, we reported that Paul Hastings would have a 75% offer rate, leaving a quarter of its summers with no offers.
    We’re now getting reports of no offers at other firms. Two examples are after the jump. But tell us what you are hearing in the comments or send it into tips@abovethelaw.com.

    double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Summer Offer Rate Open Thread: Here Come The No Offers”

    paul glad girl scout accident.jpgWe have an update on former Lawyer of the Day and Sonnenschein San Francisco partner Paul Glad. Glad was sued earlier this year by a Girl Scout and her mother after running into them with his Lexus.

    We wrote in June:

    According to the San Mateo County Times, [Glad] had stopped to pick up some delicious Girl Scout cookies. But in his excitement to get his Samoa and Thin Mint fix, he neglected to shift his car into park. His Lexus then rolled into the cookie table. The car pinned Girl Scout mother, Holly Rogers, to a wall, causing her to lose her leg. Her daughter, then 6, suffered multiple leg fractures.

    Did we mention that Glad had parked in a disabled spot? And that he was on prescription painkiller OxyContin on the day of the accident?

    Glad got some pain relief this week…

    double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Only Crime: Sonnenschein Partner Paul Glad Can Never Eat Girl Scout Cookies Again”

    man blames cat for kiddie porn.JPG* Maybe this dude thought that displaying the mental aptitude of child would make it okay for him to look at pictures of naked children. He was wrong. [Roll On Friday]
    * Facebook — good for cheaters and divorce attorneys. [Long Island Press]
    * If you want to shoot at beautiful wild animals for “sport,” there’s a lawyer willing to help you. [Legal Blog Watch]
    * Maryland’s chief Public Defender might want to get an employment lawyer. [Underdog]
    * Are “wimpy local counsels” out for themselves more than their clients? [What About Paris?]
    * If you take away the color of her skin, is Sonia Sotomayor still “diverse”? [Blackbook Legal]
    * Notes from the late Justice Rehnquist’s poker buddy. [BLT: Blog of the Legal Times]
    * Open Letter to VH-1: Please familiarize yourselves with the term “vetting.” That is all. [Popsquire]
    * More about skanks, from Kash! [True/Slant]

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