October 2014

Julian Assange looks way too much like Julian Sands.

* A Spanish woman has claimed ownership of the sun. Similarly, my father would womanize, he would drink. He would make outrageous claims like he invented the question mark. [Daily Mail]

* Yesterday, Eric Holder said that the Justice Department was conducting a “very serious” investigation into insider trading on Wall Street. Rachael Ray’s going down. [Bloomberg]

* The Justice Department is also investigating whether WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange violated the Espionage Act. The Espionage Act is, of course, a euphemism for “two Swedish ladies.” [Washington Post]

* Critics say the arrest of Mohamed Osman Mohamud was the result of entrapment. The government, however, says Mohamud was given several opportunities to scrap his War on Christmas Trees. [New York Times]

* Greenpeace has accused two chemical companies of corporate espionage. Make up your own joke. I don’t care about the environment. [WSJ Law Blog]

* A mortgage-fraud trial will be in recess next week so that a lawyer can attend his grandson’s bris. Hey circumcision warriors…you mad? [New York Post]

Martin Luther dropped out of law school -- and so can you.

Lat and I have already had a spirited debate about whether or not a 2L should drop out of law school. Predictably, Lat argued that the 2L should stick with it, while I extolled the virtues of running away and quitting. And the readers weighed in too: 66% of you said that the 2L should hang in there and finish law school.

Well, what if the student is a 1L? What if the student is just in his first semester of 1L year and can get out before incurring even another semester’s worth of debt? Does that change your opinion?

As I said earlier this month, I’m done worrying about the soon-to-be-failed careers of many prospective law students. If you won’t research basic employment information before you commit three years and $100K, nobody can help you.

But I guess I still have a soft spot for people who have to physically see law school for themselves before they realize the gravity of their choices. It’s taken this 1L less than four months to realize that law school / the legal profession presents a challenging value proposition.

Now that he has this information, albeit late, what should he do?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Should You Drop Out of Law School: The Sequel. A 1L Wants Your Advice.”

If you used your first chance to be a sadistic, evil bastard, then do you really deserve a second chance?

* Law firms that overwork their employees have higher turnover of employees. I’m sure law firms would care about this if the supply of fresh lawyers wasn’t seemingly limitless. [Going Concern]

* This is why in-house bonuses should be higher than the “don’t let the door hit you on the way out” bonuses Biglaw is paying. [Law Shucks]

* It’s time to sexually harass the women you work with… err, I mean, “it’s time to go to your holiday party.” [Connecticut Employment Law Blog]

* Lest you think xenophobia was a purely American invention, Switzerland moves to automatically banish foreigners who commit crimes. [Legal Blog Watch]

* Do you want to be a judge? Are you sure? It’s one of ten high-paying jobs that doesn’t have a future. [Money Watch via ABA Journal]

* Michael Vick’s second chance seems to be going quite well. Put me down as a “no” vote on the “should dog killers be allowed to re-enter polite society” referendum. Of course, reasonable people will disagree with my marginally hypocritical overreaction. [Simple Justice]

* In a matter of time, the legal battle about whether two men can marry will be concluded, and three men whom you’ve never met will try to offer you an explanation as to the constitutional validity of gay marriage. For my part, I’ve done as much as I can do to bring the truth to light. And the truth is this: gay marriage is only an open question because good people haven’t been strong enough to stand up for equal rights. Always, Lieutenant Colonel Matthew Andrew Mystal. [WSJ Law Blog]

Potential clients keep contacting me, almost daily. I’m going to have to take my number off our Web site.

– Maryland lawyer Daniel Whitney of Whitney & Bogris, aka “the bedbug attorney,” in an interview with the Washington Post.

Ed. note: This is the latest installment of Inside Straight, Above the Law’s new column for in-house counsel, written by Mark Herrmann.

Which lawyers are important at large law firms? Let’s set aside for a moment the guy who controls the tickets to the loge at the Lakers’ games, and think more generally. Who matters at law firms?

First, partners with big clients. Those folks have power. They influence decisions within the firm, have the capacity to push new people into the partnership, and have work to share with others, which keeps the others busy.

Partners with clients count. Who else counts?

Great lawyers. Sometimes, you just need a really smart person to help you solve a problem for a client. Good lawyers are generally adept at identifying great lawyers. If you’re a great lawyer, your colleagues at a big firm will come to you for advice.

(Sometimes, the lawyers with big clients are also great lawyers; sometimes, not. That should be self-evident. It is, in any event, grist for some other mill.)

Who counts in in-house legal departments?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Inside Straight: Vive La Différence, Part II”

A small law-firm bonus, or a small-law-firm bonus?

While Biglaw types may or may not have had something to be thankful for over the holiday weekend, many small firm lawyers were feeling the Thanksgiving love via the SoloSez list serve.

There were numerous magnanimous emails coming through about what small firm lawyers are thankful for. I found myself wondering whether these warm-and-fuzzy feelings resulted from pure happiness — or whether they might reflect cold hard cash, in the form of small-firm bonuses.

So let’s gather some data about bonuses at small law firms….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “(Hopefully Not Very) Small Law Firm Bonuses: Time for a Reader Survey”

There was a time in this country where the holiday season was a time to be rewarded for a good year of work. People received bonuses. People received pay raises, so their salaries could keep pace with their growing experience and maturity (or at least keep up with inflation).

The America where that kind of stuff happened now only exists in memory. In post-recession (or mid-double-dip-recession) America, the holidays are a time when the people at the top jealously guard their wealth, while everybody else tries to figure out how to make “sacrifices” for the greater good.

Usually, this type of thing can be seen most clearly in the private sector (click here for Above the Law’s coverage of bonus season). But today the Obama administration is getting into the holiday spirit by freezing salaries on federal employees for two years.

So, if you’re a J.D. holder who joined the Department of Justice or another federal agency to escape the Biglaw recession, the pay cut you thought you were signing up for just got bigger.

And it probably also means that a few federal attorneys will be trying to get back into the private sector — which will be great, because it’s not like the market for attorneys is oversaturated or anything….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Federal Lawyers: Hope You’ll Still Enjoy Your 2010 Salary in 2012″

The latest firm to announce that it’s matching the market — which, at the current time, is embodied in the Cravath bonus scale — is Weil Gotshal. According to the memo, from executive partner Barry Wolf, Weil associates “will be paid 2010 bonuses that are commensurate with bonuses paid by peer firms.”

We assume this is Weil-speak for Cravath bonuses — or higher, if another “peer firm” decides to best Cravath. The Weil bonuses will be paid on December 23.

The full memo — available after the jump, along with reactions from Weil sources — contains good news, and bad news….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Associate Bonus Watch: Weil Will Match”

It’s time for a brief postscript on one of this month’s juicier (and well-trafficked) stories: the dismissal of three women associates from litigation powerhouse Boies Schiller. We have a few additional tidbits that we can share with you.

But this is probably the last story we’ll be doing on this drama, since we don’t expect anything else to emerge. One piece of information we’ve received is that the associates were offered severance pay — “very generous” severance, in the words of one source — but had to release any claims against the firm in exchange. All three took the deal, including the expectant mother. So don’t expect any “Aaron Charney for pregnant women”-type lawsuits.

What other details can we reveal about the situation?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Boies Schiller Three: An Update”

Even the Grinch's dog knew when to take a break.

Welcome back from your long weekend. I trust everybody is ready to put in a lot of hard work through the holiday season in order to finish the year off strong.

Ah, what’s the point? Based on the early bonus news, it seems that Biglaw managers are going to go with stingy bonus payments for the second year in a row. And while we’ve reported that hours appear to be up this year over last year, hours aren’t back to 2007 levels.

If firms are going to keep bonuses at 2009 levels until their profits get back to 2007 levels, well, then maybe it’s time to kick back and do some shopping on Cyber Monday

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Staff Layoffs Could Happen as Firms Struggle to Pump Up Profits”

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