Biglaw, john quinn, Litigators, Partner Issues

New Partner Watch: The Quinn Emanuel Ten

In a recent ranking of the world’s most valuable law firms, the litigation powerhouse of Quinn Emanuel topped the chart in “value per partner” (total firm value divided by number of equity partners). For QE, the “VPP” figure came out to a whopping $17.7 million.

So you can understand why masochistic talented lawyers pursue partnership at the famously hardworking firm with such fervor. Sure, occasionally you’ll hear about a partner walking away from the riches. But for many a young lawyer, making partner at Quinn Emanuel is a dream come true.

Over the weekend, QE announced ten new partners. Who made the cut?

Here are the ten, from founding partner John Quinn’s Sunday night email (because of course he’s on email on Sunday night; everyone should be):

Jeremy Andersen (LA)
Carl Anderson (SF)
Linda Brewer (SF)
Justin Griffin (LA)
Christopher Kercher (NY)
Joseph Milowic III (NY)
Isaac Nesser (NY)
Steig Olson (NY)
Dan Posner (LA)
Audrius Zakarauskas (GB)

As you can see from the email, reprinted in full on the next page, apparently an earlier version of the email went out listing just six names — “through no fault of the author of that email.” At first we wondered whether John Quinn might have been the author of that email, but we’ve been advised that another partner sent it out.

Last year, Quinn Emanuel named eight new partners. The year before that, the firm named seven new partners. So ten is a robust number. Does that bode well for QE bonuses, just as Cravath’s bumper crop of new partners correctly foreshadowed CSM’s pleasing bonuses?

(On Quinn bonuses, “everyone’s waiting with baited [sic] breath,” one source texted us. “They have historically paid before the year [is over]. Will be pissed if they fiscal-cliff**k us.)

Here are some observations about the new partners at Quinn Emanuel, from sources at the firm:

  • The class size of ten is healthy.
  • In terms of offices, there’s a strong New York presence. Note the absence, though, of Silicon Valley partners. Did the firm’s defeat in Apple v. Samsung leave a sour taste in its mouth?
  • “Associates are overjoyed to see a number of real associates [i.e., not recent of ‘counsel’] promoted to partner.”
  • In terms of practice areas, “they made general litigators partners, which is very interesting.”
  • On the flip side of that, this crop of partners has fewer people with strong tech backgrounds compared to recent classes of new partners.
  • This year the firm continued its somewhat unusual two-step process. Lawyers who aren’t going to make the cut in December are notified of this in advance, in October or November, and asked to “voluntarily” withdraw from consideration. If they do withdraw, then they might be considered for partner next year — after another year of working (and billing) like someone up for partnership consideration. If they don’t withdraw, woe unto you, lawyers. It’s an odd practice, and it’s not clear what the point of it is.
  • The email snafu is also strange. Said one source, “It’s curious that they added four more names to the list, and how it happened.” Speculated a second, “One possible explanation is that there was some last-minute scrambling and four new partners were elected on Sunday. That would make it true that ‘through no fault of the author’ of the original email, the list of partners elected ‘this weekend’ was incomplete. But I guess there are other possible explanations.”

All in all, oceans rise, cities fall, Quinn REMAINS (making new partners). Congratulations to the Quinn Emanuel ten. For tips on how to deal with your new status, we refer you to Anonymous Partner, here (for personal advice) and here (for financial advice).

(Flip to the next page to see the full Quinn Emanuel new partner announcement.)

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