August 2014

For our latest caption contest, we gave you this photo:
Law Studying in the toilet bathroom stall.jpg
And you responded by taking a massive dump on us. Almost 500 entries were submitted.
We waded through all your s**t, like Hercules cleaning the Augean stables, and came up with ten finalists. View them and vote, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “ATL Caption Contest Finalists: Study Stall”

funny-pictures-facebook-library-cat.jpg* “Did Facebook break the law when it changed privacy settings?” Quite possibly. [True/Slant]
* Former Congressman claims “common law copyright” in his name, and wants the news media to pay him $500,000 to license his name. I have the perfect solution: How about we all agree to never mention him? We know how much politicians love to be ignored. [The Legal Satyricon]
* Don’t apply to law school, kids. It’s not going to work out well for you. [Lawyerist]
* Who says law professors and lawyers don’t know how to dress? [New Haven Review]
* Is making money through teaching social media a form of snake oil, peddled by unsuccessful lawyers who can’t do anything else? [The Cuban Revolution]
* Car salesmen should fear Twitter. [TCPalm]

2009 Associate bonus watch above the law.JPGStroock’s bonus news is out. The firm will be paying the Cravath scale, if you hit 1900 hours. If you missed that target, you’re out of luck. Here’s the statement from the firm:

2009 bonuses are consistent with the “Cravath scale” with a presumptive threshold of 1900 hours to qualify for consideration. Merit has always been a factor in our bonus program and plays a significant part in determining the level of bonus awarded. In addition, associates who have made extraordinary contributions to the firm in 2009 will be getting more than the Cravath scale.

Our tipsters seem satisfied with the bonus. They are more concerned about Stroock’s pay scale.
Details on that, after the jump.

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Elizabeth Fontaine Howrey LLP.jpgIn yesterday’s post regarding the tragedy that left a Howrey associate, Elizabeth Fontaine (pictured), and three of her family members dead, we promised to keep you posted on new developments. We now bring you this update, from the Orange County Register:

Sheriff’s investigators believe they know how four people, including two young sisters, died in a bloody heap Monday inside a million-dollar home in Talega.

Grandmother Bonnie Hoult, 67, fired the gun that killed her daughter and grandchildren before turning the .357 magnum on herself, a senior homicide investigator told the Register, citing the department’s prevailing theory behind the killings that rocked a gated community.

He said her daughter Elizabeth Fontaine, 38, appeared to have been a willing participant in the killings, with both she and her mother choosing death for themselves and the girls instead of allowing the sisters to be sent temporarily into the custody of a sister of their father.

More about these modern-day Medeas, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Update: Grandma May Have Been Triggerwoman in Howrey Associate Murder-Suicide”

Susan Finkelstein Phillies sex.JPGIn October, we told you that a Philadelphia Phillies superfan, Susan Finkelstein, allegedly attempted to trade sex for World Series tickets. Her preliminary hearing was yesterday, and … well, I’ll let the Philadelphia Inquirer explain it to you:

“I admit it. I’m a prostitute. I love sex. I’m a whore,” the Bensalem police officer testified that Finkelstein had told him as he posed as “Bob” at Manny Brown’s in Bensalem.
She talked about “how much she loved anal sex,” he said, alleging later that she pulled up her denim skirt to expose her genital area and asked, “You wanna touch it?”

Hey now. That might be even too much drama for TNT. Who does she think she is, Eddy Curry?
Finkelstein denies all of it. Her side after the jump.

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start dates being pushed back to 2010 2011.jpgThe big day is almost here for many young lawyers. Recent law grads nestling up in their beds have visions of Blackberries dancing in their heads.
January 2010 will bring start dates for many bound for Biglaw firms. But some firms have had second thoughts. Winston Strawn and Nixon Peabody recently informed incoming associates of more deferrals.
This has made lots of young lawyers nervous. Brian Baxter at AmLaw Daily wants to help calm your nerves, so he surveyed over 40 top firms to ask whether their little associates can count on start dates coming down the chimney. Over half responded.
We’ve noticed that Paul Hastings-bound associates have been especially vociferous in our comments section. They can stop flipping out. According to a spokesman there, the firm plans to start them “on time” in January.
Given recent news and the AmLaw survey, we’ve decided to update our start date round-up. After the jump, we’ve got a new list of start dates at firms nationwide, sorted two ways: alphabetically by firm name and chronologically by start date.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Nationwide Start Date Round-Up: Who’s making contact in 2010?”

2009 Associate bonus watch above the law.JPGBonuses at Sidley Austin are out, and they are all individualized. Perhaps Sidley doesn’t want its associates to know what their colleagues are making.
Which might be a smart move. Above the Law sources report that there is significant variance in the Sidley bonus. We’ve heard of bonus payouts as high as $90,000 for associates. That’s the kind of payment that blows Cravath and S&C out of the water.
But we’ve also heard about associates who received nothing at all. According to our sources, some Sidley associates received a bonus of squat (though none of the people who allegedly received nothing spoke with us directly; all of our tipsters received at least something).
Still, with a big bonus disparity, you can understand why the firm might want to keep the information hidden from its own people. You don’t want these kinds of conversations at the holiday party:
SIDLEY: Look, no large purchases, okay? Don’t draw attention to yourself. Nothin’ flashy.
WINNER: Check out this new coat I bought for my girl! Ain’t it beau-ti-ful ?
SIDLEY: Whatta you, stupid? You’re gonna get us all pinched!
WINNER: I’m sorry, Sidley, I just thought ..
SIDLEY: Get it outta here, get it outta here!
LOSER: Ahh, ahh, Sidley, umm, we’ve got to talk. I ain’t got paid yet.
SIDLEY (to winner): Keep that guy away from me.
WINNER (to loser): Why are you coming in here bustin’ balls? C’mon, it’s Christmas.
LOSER: Look, I see guys with fur coats, guys with fancy Christmas trees, and I ain’t got paid yet. I want my money, I want my money.
WINNER: And you’re gonna get it. Trust me. But right now let’s relax and have a good time.
LOSER: I want my money Sidley.
After the jump, we have a couple of reports on how Sidley chose its winners and losers.

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Career Center AboveTheLaw Lateral Link ATL.jpgWith the holidays approaching, associates find themselves facing a quandary. Since work is still slow at many firms, associates may be tempted to take vacation before the economy bounces back and brings 70 hour work weeks with it.
On the other hand, does taking vacation in a recession send the wrong message?  This week, our ATL / Lateral Link survey asks what you think about using vacation time while the chips are still down.  We’ll use the information to update the ATL Career Center and bring you the results next week.

If you have information about your firm that you want to share with other career center users, please email us at careercenter@abovethelaw.com. Thanks!

the outlook for holiday parties.jpgLast month, we wondered if law firm holiday parties would be happening this year, in light of the Great Recession and the difficulties it has created for Biglaw. Sure, the economic situation seems to be improving — but is there really that much to celebrate as 2009 draws to a close?
Based on our informal survey of a few leading law firms here in New York, it seems that Christmas / holiday parties are happening, but have been scaled back from prior years. For example, take Weil Gotshal. The firm weathered 2009 better than most other top shops, thanks to its booming bankruptcy practice, but didn’t go all out in the party department. From Am Law Daily:

[Weil] held its holiday party [last] Thursday night on a semi-abandoned floor in its Manhattan headquarters. Instead of a live band, someone brought an iPod for background music. And the firm turned to its regular cafeteria catering service — Sodexo — for the food, though the menu (which included sushi and other goodies) was high-quality, says Barry Wolf, the firm’s newly elected executive partner.

“It was appropriately scaled down and it was fantastic,” says Wolf, who confirms descriptions of the party we heard from several Weil sources earlier today. “And it was convenient. Attendance was better.”

Weil isn’t alone in toning down the holiday glitz. Let’s look at what other New York firms are up to this season.

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Seyfarth Shaw logo.jpgSeyfarth Shaw held its firm wide meeting on Monday, and we (finally) know what went down. The top line news is that Seyfarth will be moving to a pure competency based associate compensation system. But it won’t be fully up and running until 2011. Seyfarth’s managing partner, Steve Poor, issued this statement to the firm after the meeting:

We all recognize that the profession of law is changing in some profound and fundamental ways. Our Firm is making strong strides to align our services with changing client needs through initiatives like Seyfarth Lean, which are gaining strong recognition and support from many of our clients. We discussed another key change that we will introduce more formally in January — one that will change the way we train, develop, recognize, reward and promote our associates. We will be moving to a full competency-based talent system that will be phased in over the course of 2010. We believe this effort will benefit our clients, our Firm and each of you individually. Promotions and compensation will no longer be tied to class years, so that you will be able to excel and be recognized based on your individual skills and accomplishments. Enhanced training will help you develop broad-based skills to add greater value and meet changing client needs, like those being evaluated in the ACC Value Index. More information will be coming to you next month and throughout the year.

So, like Sonnenschein and WilmerHale, Seyfarth will be changing associate compensation, but it’s not yet prepared to tell its associates (or its recruits) how much they’ll be making under the new model.
Despite not being ready to roll out its new program, Seyfarth will still be taking a look at associate costs for 2010. Details on Seyfarth’s 2010 structure after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Seyfarth Shaw Mystery Meeting Follow Up: Another Firm Moves to Kill Lockstep”

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