Arnold & Porter

champagne glasses small.jpg
We suppose it’s fitting that on Yom Kippur, when our Jewish friends are fasting at home, today’s Legal Eagle Wedding Watch is a total WASP-fest. (Last weekend was Rosh Hashanah, which explains the unusual dearth of Jewish nuptials in the NYT announcements.) We look forward to receiving plenty of tasteful feedback about how there are “too many gentiles” this week.
Here are your six finalists — all Biglaw associates, as it happens:

1. Elisabeth Madden and Wesley Mullen
2. Ann Parker and Robert McKeehan
3. Emily Harris and Matthew Mauney

Read all about these couples and evaluate their credentials, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Legal Eagle Wedding Watch 9.20: Maddening”

Arnold Porter logo.jpgReports are circulating today of staff cuts at Arnold & Porter. Here is one account from a tipster:

44 staffers laid off yesterday at A&P – 24 from the DC office.

Arnold & Porter confirmed the new to Above the Law a short time ago:

[Arnold & Porter] can confirm that as of yesterday our firm had a reduction in force affecting 44 staff positions in the firm’s domestic offices. These positions are mostly administrative assistant/secretarial positions; no associates or attorneys were involved in the reduction.

Ranked #18 in you Vault guides, Arnold & Porter has weathered the recession better than some other firms. The firm is actually up two spots from its #20 Vault position last year. The firm froze salaries at the beginning of year, but hasn’t resorted to cutting salaries.
But no firm is immune to the economy. Good luck, laid off staffers.
Earlier: Updated Salary Freeze Round-up: Even More Firms on Ice
Fall Recruiting Open Thread: Vault 16-20 (2010)

comparing.jpgLet’s finish off the prestigious Vault 20. Here we have some firms on the rise, and some firms that are … not.
Here is the next batch of firms:

16. WilmerHale
17. Latham & Watkins
18. Arnold & Porter
19. Jones Day
20. White & Case

Okay, before we discuss Latham and White & Case, let’s give a good cheer for WilmerHale (up one spot from last year), Arnold & Porter (up two spots from last year), and Jones Day (up four spots from last year).
The Jones Day surge is particularly impressive. You’ll remember that the firm slammed its competitors earlier this month. But it seems like the firm is walking the walk as well as talking the talk.
After the jump, you know what happens next.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Fall Recruiting Open Thread: Vault 16-20 (2010)”

pay freeze salary freeze pay cut law firm.jpgAs we noted in yesterday’s Morning Docket, even the New York Times has taken note of the salary freeze trend at law firms. The Times reached out to Above The Law’s own David Lat for the story:

Although many associates are angry about the freezes, others are relieved, said David Lat, founding editor of, a blog about law firms and the profession.

“There is this sense that firms didn’t act prudently during the boom and now they are getting religion, and that it’s better late than never,” Mr. Lat said. “Many associates we have spoken to think the freeze probably saved jobs.”

At the beginning of the month, we did a round-up of firms that have frozen 2009 salary rates at 2008 levels. That list was 16 firms long. Since then, quite a few other firms have announced freezes. Due to frequent requests, we’re updating the round-up list since the number of firms with freezes (that we know of) has more than doubled, to 33 32. Check out the as-comprehensive-as-we-can-make-it list, after the jump.

Recently announced salary freezes include “solid ice freezes” at Blank Rome and Townsend and Townsend and Crew; and “Slurpee freezes” at Bingham McCutchen, Fish & Richardson, and Texan firm Andrews Kurth.

Memorandums, as well as a new list of all firms with “solid ice” and “Slurpee” freezes, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Updated Salary Freeze Round-up: Even More Firms on Ice”

Happy workers.JPGFortune has released its annual list of the top 100 companies to work for. Despite the general feeling of malaise in the legal industry, a few law firms made the cut.

The highest ranked law firm (number 21 overall) is Arnold & Porter. Fortune reports:

Law firm offers world-class benefits to staff and attorneys: 18 weeks’ paid leave for maternity and adoption, $5,000 for adoption fees, $30,000 for fertility services, free onsite fitness center, on- and off-site child care.

I guess a salary freeze that their peer firms in the Vault 20 are largely avoiding doesn’t trump a free gym.

Fortune also released a list of the top 20 companies that are great places to work and still hiring. No law firms made that list.

So I guess we’ll focus on other law firms in the top 100 after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Fortune Lists Top 100 Companies to Work For”

pay freeze salary freeze pay cut law firm.jpgThe new year is shaping up to be a cold one. As we noted in our 2008 Year in Review series, one of the biggest stories heading into 2009 has been that of the salary freeze. Rather than instituting lock-step raises for associates entering a new class year, a number of firms have informed associates that their salaries will remain at 2008 levels.

There have been two types of freezes: the “Solid Ice freeze”–with salaries frozen through all of 2009–and the “Slurpee freeze”–where firms are sticking with 2008 levels for now, but promise to revisit the decision later in the year.

Many an ATL reader has requested a round-up, and we aim to please. So find your pleasure, after the jump. Some of the firms have been reported on before, and some are new.

If you know of other frozen firms, send us an e-mail at with the subject, “Salary Freeze: FIRM NAME.” Also, if your firm has raised salaries as expected, feel free to send us the news, with the subject “Salary Raise: FIRM NAME.” While freezes are news, raises as expected aren’t, so we will not be covering firm by firm, but we may do a round-up.

Find the list of the sixteen firms that have frozen, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “ATL Salary Freeze Round-up: The Firms on Ice”

law firm associate bonus watch 2008 biglaw bonuses small.jpgA few bonus announcements trickled in over the holidays. Here’s a round-up of recent bonus announcements that have not yet been covered in these pages. If you have new news, e-mail us at

1. Sheppard Mullin (New York): Sheppard Mullin is paying above market rate for attorneys who racked up the hours this year. Baseline hours are 2000 in New York (and 2100 outside of New York, see below). Bonuses range from $20,000 to $70,000, plus discretionary bonuses of $20,000 to $50,000. Reaction at the firm, after the jump.

2. Sheppard Mullin (outside New York): Associates in California and D.C. had to rack up a few more hours than their NY brethren to qualify for bonuses, with 2,100 as their baseline. And their lockstep bonuses for additional hours are not as generous. Details after the jump.

3. Akin Gump (outside New York): We posted on the New York market/ half-Skadden bonuses for Akin New York associates, announced on New Year’s Eve. Associates outside of New York received an e-mail saying that “merit bonuses” will be given based on “productivity, quality of work and Firm citizenship.” Check out the e-mail, and news of a freeze watch there, after the jump.

4. Linklaters (all U.S. offices): This Magic Circle firm announced bonuses and salary increases for U.S. associates right before Christmas. The London-based firm is following Cravath’s lead, paying half-Skadden bonuses to all U.S. associates, with no hours requirement. The firm will have normal class-year raises. Per our tipster, “the firm had a good first half, including in NY, so a Latham-style salary freeze would have been pretty shocking.”

5. Arnold & Porter (New York): Associates outside of New York got individualized bonus memos last week. New Yorkers got their bonus announcement on Jan. 2. Per our tipster, “the scale was as expected, the half-Skadden, which is significantly less than the bonus in non-NY offices, but at least is “market,” unlike our salaries.” Our tipster says the first A&P paycheck of the year remains at 2008 levels.

Bonus memos galore, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Associate Bonus Watch: A Post-Holiday Round-Up”

pay freeze salary freeze pay cut law firm.jpgJust before Christmas, Arnold & Porter sent around an intriguing memo. The firm refused to make any decisions regarding pay in New York at all in 2009:

Associate Bonuses for Associates in All Offices Except in New York

Those of you who met the previously announced thresholds and other criteria for 2008 bonuses will be advised today (by individual e-mails) that you will be receiving these bonuses. The amounts paid will be in keeping with the levels paid in 2007.

Associate Bonuses for New York Associates

We will be announcing our 2008 bonuses for our New York associates after the first of the year. Consistent with past practices, these bonuses will be paid in 2009.

A tipster begs to differ with A&P’s institutional memory of “past practices.”

Despite his wording regarding timing of payment, the bonuses were announced in early December last year.

Just to be clear, A&P announced bonuses on December 12th last year.

Why can’t A&P make a decision on New York bonuses right now like other top 20 firms? Another tipster opines:

It is generally agreed that not announcing the bonuses in NY is totally asinine.

A&P can’t pull the trigger on associate salaries either. More on that after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Nationwide Pay Freeze Watch: Arnold & Porter & Scarlett O’Hara Decide ‘I’ll Think About it Tomorrow’”

good news bad news.jpgIt’s been a dark week on ATL. Layoff news has been pouring in: 21 attorneys cut at Katten, up to 60 at Sonnenschein, and 20 at Clifford Chance.

To prevent you from jumping out your windows, we’re revisiting a Wall Street Journal article from earlier this month on the silver lining for law firms during the economic crisis.

Firms with relatively strong balance sheets are hiring lawyers from competitors that are hurting from the dropoff in mergers, debt offerings and other staples of the legal business. Leaders of these firms figure that being bigger and more geographically diverse will help them weather downturns in particular market sectors and capitalize on complex business opportunities that require a variety of specialties. In most cases, they’re even giving the new hires raises.

Did you hear that, despondent ones? Raises!

Many firms have been feasting on the remains of Heller Ehrman (R.I.P.). Heller partners and attorneys have been snatched up by Hogan & Hartson; Orrick; Sheppard Mullin; Arnold & Porter; Covington & Burling; Jones Day; and Cooley Godward Kronish. Other firms have been poaching partners from struggling Thelen.

Some firms are buying on the cheap, while others are giving new attention to more resilient practice groups:

K&L Gates LLP has acquired medium-size firms in Texas and North Carolina this year and hired 45 partners from other firms. “We have no debt — no long-term debt, no short-term debt — and therefore have a balance sheet that allows us to grow aggressively into a downturn,” says Peter Kalis, chairman of the 1,700-lawyer firm…

But many law firms believe that they have no choice but to expand specialties, such as restructuring, intellectual property, securities litigation and antitrust, that are generally believed to remain steady — or even pick up — during down cycles. Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP in New York laid off 131 lawyers — nearly 20% of its staff — earlier this year because of the implosion in the mortgage-backed securities market, a key practice area for the firm. But it has hired lawyers in other practice areas, including financial restructuring.

Chins up.

Some Law Firms Hire in Slump [Wall Street Journal]

As Heller is sliced and diced, many associates are out in the cold [National Law Journal]

Earlier: ATL Layoff Coverage

republican not gop.jpg* President Bush wants lawmakers to hurry up and pass the $700 billion bailout plan. Sounds like taxpayers are going to be paying back those $600 economy stimulation rebates and then some. The Dems agree to drop the provision giving greater authority to bankruptcy judges. [New York Times]

* Democrats sue in Washington to force “G.O.P.” gubernatorial candidate to embrace his “Republican” identity. [New York Times]

* Guantanamo prosecutor quits, citing ethical concerns. [Washington Post]

* Kudos to these four law firms. Covington, Arnold & Porter, Katten, and Pillsbury make Working Mother magazine’s best employers list. [National Law Journal]

* Who would have thought a gas mask would be needed for a DUI arrest? [WSAZ]

* Gibson Dunn’s Ted Olson will appear before SCOTUS for the 50th time this fall. One secret to his success: St. Michael the Archangel. [Legal Times (subscription req.)]

* ATL’s former bling-bling lawyer of the day, Gabriel Schwartz, was robbed of property worth only $63,000, by his random-lady-friend-turned-thief. [Associated Press]

Page 4 of 6123456