Litigation powerhouse Quinn Emanuel is known for many things, perhaps the most important of which is making money hand over fist. In the latest Am Law 100 rankings, the firm grew its gross revenue by 17.8 percent, posting revenue per lawyer of about $1.2 million and profits per partner of $4.4 million. That’s certainly a selling point — but perhaps what the firm is best-known for is its quirkiness. Quinn Emanuel is a firm that does things a little differently than any of the competition.
You may recall that starting in 2012, the firm did away with Biglaw’s tried and true method of summer associate recruiting — interview, check pulse, make offer — in favor of “fun, freewheeling ‘get to know you’ parties.” The firm apparently likes attorneys with social skills. Quinn Emanuel has thrown formal workplace fashion to the wayside and actively encourages its associates to dress casually because it “improves [their] creativity.” It’s no surprise that QE made our list of the 12 top rated firms last year.
This is a firm that likes to have fun, and say what you will about its most recent bonuses, but its fearless leaders want its associates to be happy. We think that Quinn Emanuel’s latest initiative may keep the firm at the top of our rankings for years to come….
The winter months are tough for everyone, including Quinn Emanuel’s rock stars. Last night, John Quinn, a managing partner known for his tireless opposition to capitalization, sent out an all-lowercase, firm-wide email, announcing a new QE program:
its january and its dreary in most places of the qe world, and next month it will be february, and then march, promising more of the same. hard working qe lawyers need a break for sure. so we are introducing a new program. we haven’t really come up with a cool name for it yet–maybe “qe work away week”? the idea is this:
the firm will give associates $2k to go work anywhere in the world they want to work for one week. all expenses above $2k are your responsibility.
The firm will assign associates to groups of 6-10 other lawyers, and they can go anywhere they want, anywhere in the world. This seems like it could be pretty cool, and with the assistance of the the internet’s many travel deal websites, associates might not have to blow their entire firm-sponsored wad on plane tickets alone. And if these associates should happen to get lost, Quinn Emanuel would probably be willing to airlift them out (as it has done in the past for lost lawyers).
Of course, this is still a law firm, so there are rules to follow — lots and lots and lots of rules:
there are rules: there must be 24/7 connectivity wherever you go. you must be available at all the hours you would be available if you were in your home office. you are expected to continue working and be available just as you would if you were home. if your work assignments are such that you really can’t do them remotely, then wait until next year. client confidentiality must be maintained at all costs. and we expect that you will be working, just as if you were in manhattan, paris or wherever, even if u are wearing a bathing suit. we need to know how to reach you at all times, instantly. partners may or may not go–it depends how cool the places are that you pick. travel should be arranged so that you are open for work monday morning thru end of day friday. in other words, do your traveling on weekends.
Not for nothing, but this thing about being available during the same hours you’d be working at your home office sounds
crazy potentially challenging. John Quinn surely doesn’t want his firm’s California associates who travel to Bangladesh to be working from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. to keep their availability the same — or maybe he does? Are we having fun yet? Either way, you better CHECK YOU EMAILS OFTEN, no matter how far you’ve flung yourselves across the globe. You’re still on call, wherever you are, because even though you’re being given free money to have fun at presumably odd hours, you’re still on QE’s dime.
Will you be participating in Quinn Emanuel’s “latest adventure”? What places are on your list of dream destinations? Let us know what you think, in the comments or via email.
P.S. Did you think you could join in, silly first year? Too bad, you haven’t billed enough.
(If you’re interested, the full memo from John Quinn is available on the next page.)