David Lat

David Lat is the founder and managing editor of Above the Law. His writing has also appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, New York magazine, Washingtonian magazine, and the New York Observer. Prior to ATL, he launched Underneath Their Robes, a blog about federal judges. Before entering the journalism world, he worked as a federal prosecutor in Newark, New Jersey; a litigation associate at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, in New York; and a law clerk to Judge Diarmuid F. O'Scannlain, of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. David graduated from Harvard College and Yale Law School, where he served as an editor of the Yale Law Journal. He has received several awards for his work on ATL, including recognition as one of the American Lawyer’s Top 50 Big Law Innovators of the Last 50 Years; one of the ABA Journal’s Legal Rebels, a group of pioneers within the legal profession; and one of the Fastcase 50, "the fifty most interesting, provocative, and courageous leaders in the world of law, scholarship, and legal technology." His first book, Supreme Ambitions: A Novel, will be published in 2015. You can connect with David on Twitter and Facebook.

Posts by David Lat

Following in the footsteps of Latham & Watkins and Simpson Thacher, whose moves were first reported in these pages, Davis Polk has just adopted a new and improved “Primary Caregiver Leave” policy.
We predict that, with respect to maternity leave for birth mothers, 18 weeks will become the new “market rate.” One tipster quips: “Four and a half months of paid time off almost makes me want to have kids.”
Here’s the email, which went out around half an hour ago:

From: **** On Behalf Of Management Committee
Sent: Thursday, December 20, 2007 3:07 PM
To: all.lawyers
Subject: Primary Caregiver Leave Policy

We are pleased to announce that, effective immediately, the firm has adopted a new Primary Caregiver Leave policy, which will provide lawyers who are primary caregivers to a newborn or newly adopted child with up to six weeks of paid leave within the first six months of the birth or adoption of a child. This leave is in addition to the other parental and disability/maternity leaves offered by the firm. For example, a Davis Polk associate who gives birth and is the child’s primary caregiver will now be eligible for up to 18 weeks of paid leave.

For additional information about the new Primary Caregiver Leave policy and the policies on Parental Leave and Disability/Maternity Leave, please consult the Lawyers’ Handbook.

Thank you.

So far we’re up to around 1,200 responses to Monday’s ATL / Lateral Link survey, which asks you how big your bonus was (or is going to be).
So far we’ve told you about New York and Washington, DC. Today, we’re adding a third city. It was a close call between L.A., San Francisco, or Chicago, but we got a few more responses from Chicago, so it’s today’s new city.
We’re still accepting responses to the survey, and the more (valid) responses we get from your city, the more likely it is to be the next city we reveal. To participate, click here.
Check out the results, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Featured Job Survey Results: Bonuses (Chicago)”

Mayer Brown new logo Above the Law blog.jpgStill no bonus announcement from Mayer Brown. But check out this intriguing email, sent out in the last hour:

From: D’Esposito, Jr., Julian C.
Sent: Thursday, December 20, 2007 12:41 PM
To: FW-Assocs; FW-Cnsl
Cc: Holzhauer, James D.; Geller, Kenneth S.; Maher, Paul; Favoriti, Gail A.; Pepper, Margery; Madden, Emilie S.; Dabrowski, Heidi M.; Reichert, Kathleen S.; Harris, Robert; Staiano, David; Couleur, Nancy Jo; Belic, Indira; Burdett, Shannon T.; Burkes, Eugenia; Corby, Candice; Harris, Russell; Holthaus, John H.; Kennedy, Clinton D.; Kislow, Connie; Ku, Alice; Loessl, Angela-Katrin; Tulic, Vesna; Watson, John; Wells, Stephen R.

Subject: Firmwide Meeting on Friday, December 21

Please plan to attend a Firmwide video presentation by the office of the Chairman on December 21 that will describe an exciting, transformational event for the Firm. The meeting will begin promptly at 8am PST, 10am CST, 11 am EST, 2pm BRST, 4 GMT, 5 CET and 12 am Saturday HKST. The Director of Administration will inform you of the location of the meeting in your office. If you are out of the office, there will be a limited number of dial-in lines, the number for which can be obtained from the DoA. You should receive an Outlook calendar notice of this meeting later today.


Julian C. D’Esposito

Mayer Brown LLP
71 S. Wacker
Chicago, IL 60606

What could this “exciting, transformational event” be? We assume it’s not the recent indictment of partner Joseph Collins, since that’s already public.
Maybe a merger is in the works? It wouldn’t be the first in the firm’s history. The firm’s former name, Mayer Brown Rowe & Maw, reflected the merger of U.S.-based Mayer, Brown & Platt with U.K.-based Rowe & Maw.
Update: One tipster speculates:

I have no idea, but it is of course intriguing. Maybe we’re going public. (That would apply only to the English LLP of course. I think that it may be possible in the future but hadn’t seen any change in the law that would allow it now.)

So maybe it’s a merger. Or possibly the “exciting” change is that they are not going to give bonuses any more.

That would be “exciting” news — to rival firms, looking to raid the ranks of Mayer Brown lawyers.
Further Update: We’ve learned that tonight is the holiday party for the New York office. And still no word about bonuses…

The judicial fiefdom of Chief Judge Alex Kozinski is about to expand. From today’s Recorder (via How Appealing):

An extra seat for the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals cleared Congress on Tuesday and is headed to President Bush’s desk.

The U.S. Senate unanimously passed the Court Security Improvement Act on Monday night, and the House of Representatives approved it on a voice vote Tuesday. Buried in that bill is language that removes one seat from the D.C. Circuit and moves it to the 9th.

Makes sense to us. Any court that takes the summer off, as the D.C. Circuit essentially does, isn’t exactly overwhelmed. Meanwhile, the Ninth Circuit is by far the nation’s largest and busiest federal appeals court. It’s so huge that it has been the subject of repeated attempts at a split (so far unsuccessful, perhaps because of the Ninth Circuit Curse).
As Dan Levine’s article notes, “the seat won’t materialize until Jan. 21, 2009 — the day after President Bush leaves office.” We have no doubt that President Hillary Clinton will be able to fill it with a distinguished jurist.
Indeed, President Clinton may be able to reshape the Ninth Circuit, in the same that President Carter reshaped it — in a way that still endures today, as reflected in the court’s strong leftward tilt. Many of the liberal lions who are eligible for senior status but have declined to take it, such as Judges Harry Pregerson and Stephen Reinhardt, may finally be willing to do so, once they know that the court’s future is in President Clinton’s capable hands.
Congress OKs Extra Seat for 9th Circuit [The Recorder via How Appealing]

S&C swag 1 small.jpgOur earlier open thread, about exam time “care packages” from law firms, remains active — over a week after it was posted. So we thought we’d do a follow-up, on what law firms are sending recruits for holiday gifts.
From one tipster:

How about a piece on what law firms are offering law students as Christmas gifts? I received a package from Nixon Peabody (where everyone’s a winner). It was a gray scarf, made in the USA with imported polyester (no s**t!) — and, of course, Nixon Peabody’s logo imprinted on it. I can always use a scarf, even if it is polyester, and the logo comes off with a knife (scraping).

And, of course, the market leader in swag — Sullivan & Cromwell, provider of the famed bonsai trees — is getting into the holiday spirit:

Attached are some pictures of the S&C holiday / exam swag (above right; thumbnail image, click to enlarge). It all came in a comically large box which I was hoping would lead to much jealousy from my roommates. Unfortunately, inside was a quite standard mug, hot chocolate, cookie combo – and, in a box of its own, a large, reversible fake wool blanket. On the reverse the blanket is a kind of synthetic raincoat material. Strange.

So what did your law firm, a former and/or future employee, send you to welcome the holiday season? Feel free to share in the comments.
(A picture of the “comically large” packaging, after the jump.)
Earlier: Does Your Law Firm Love You? An Open Thread on Exam Time Swag

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Law Firm Holiday Swag: What Did You Get?”

associate bonus watch 2007 law firm Above the Law blog.jpgInformation is now trickling in about bonuses at Kirkland & Ellis. Last week we had heard — through the grapevine, from a social acquaintance of a K&E share partner — that they would be good. It appears that the scuttlebutt was correct.
A K&E source in Chicago, class of 2006, reports hours of 2050 and a bonus of $45,000. That would be market in New York ($35K year-end + $10K special). But in Chicago, it’s definitely above market.
A K&E source in New York advises as follows about New York bonus levels:

Overall bonuses were well over market. Exact numbers are hard to give… but about 60% were over market, with the rest mostly being with the market.

Out of the first years (class of 2006), 21 out of 36 people were above the market. After that, the ratio really increased as to the number of people who beat the market.

Congratulations, Kirkland associates, on your bountiful bonuses!
If you work at K&E, feel free to provide your bonus info in the comments. When it comes to bonus data points, the more the merrier. Thanks.
Earlier: Associate Bonus Watch: A Pre-Announcement from Kirkland & Ellis

* If you want to run a “pump and dump” scheme, this is how you do it. [DealBreaker]
* She was only carrying the knife to defend herself — from the bullies who would beat her up for having a brown bag lunch containing steak. [Overlawyered]
* If you ditch the law for the lucrative land of private equity, maybe you too can someday plunk down $21.3 million for a copy of the Magna Carta. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Blawg Review 139, this week replete with “sphincter-tightening.” [Legal Literacy via Blawg Review]
* A shout-out to ATL form the ABA Journal, in an item about lowball bonuses. [ABA Journal]
* Speaking of the ABA Journal — we don’t want to get complacent, lest we get ambushed. Please vote for ATL! Thanks. [ABA Journal]

Monday’s ATL / Lateral Link survey, which is still open, asks you how big your bonus was (or is going to be).
We’re still accepting responses to the survey — to participate, click here — and now we’re at around 1,100 participants. So we’ve made slight updates to the New York numbers to reflect fresh data.
After New York, the most responses have come from Washington, DC, so today’s chart includes that city. Not surprisingly, the bonus ranges in Washington generally fall somewhere between New York and the national average.
Check them out, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Featured Job Survey Results: Bonuses (Washington, DC)”

Kwanzaa Happy Kwanzaa Above the Law blog.jpgWe see that the WSJ Law Blog has beaten us to this subject. We’ve had this post ready for a while; unfortunately, technical difficulties have prevented us from posting for the past hour.
The WSJ folks have already presented some of the cards that we were going to cover. But here are a few firm holiday greetings not on their list (click on each firm name to see their card):

1. Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft: Trying too hard, sort of like their Wild West-themed holiday party? Then again, it must have been fun for those underemployed structured finance associates to try their hand at web design.

2. Dewey & LeBoeuf: Not trying hard enough? This may take subtlety and understatement too far, to the point of banality. But at least the card’s not signed “Sieg heil.”

3. Schottenstein Zox & Dunn: This firm, which has about 110 lawyers in three Ohio cities and Raleigh, NC, explains in its cover email that it “strive[s] to approach life and law from a different perspective.” So they designed not one but TWO holiday videos. You can view them, and vote for your favorite, over here. We’re partial to the video of the skateboarding attorneys, which must have been a challenge to film.

For each vote, the firm will donate $1 to Project Mentor Big Brother Big Sisters of Central Ohio. How nice! (But it’s too bad you have to provide your name and email address to vote, which will probably depress voter turnout.)

Update: It appears that the WSJ’s link to the holiday card of Grodsky & Olecki, an entertainment law boutique, is broken. We’ve posted the card, which we also received, after the jump.

Law Blog Law Firm Holiday Cards Of the Day [WSJ Law Blog]

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “A Few Law Firm Holiday Cards”

Holy Grail Biglaw Partner Law Firm Partnership Above the Law blog.jpgIt’s the end of the year, and the partnership announcements are trickling in. Some are being made externally, on law firm websites. Others are being made internally, with external announcements to follow in January.
Although many of them are sent to us, a specific firm’s partnership announcement isn’t typically of interest to us (unless there’s something independently interesting about the person making partner — drop us a line a few years from now, when Aquagirl or Loyola 2L makes partner). But we are interested in what people think generally about partnership prospects these days. So here is an open thread for discussion of the subject.
To kick off the discussion, here’s a tip we received about Paul Weiss, which recently announced its new partners:

You should do an open thread about associates who have been told year after year that they were “on track” and then were totally screwed and passed over for partner. For example, for the second year in a row, Paul Weiss passed over people who were the “shoe-ins” for partner and told for years that they would make it. Two of the most egregious examples in the past two years involve women. Both women are extremely talented and have outstanding track records so it came as a complete shock to the associates. In fact, as a female mid-level associate, it makes me think, why the hell am I staying here?

(We contacted the firm for comment, but they did not get back to us.)
We’re also curious about how many associate readers of ATL think they’ll make partner. So here is today’s featured survey, brought to you by ATL and Lateral Link:
Update: This survey is now closed. Click here for the results.

Page 355 of 21021...351352353354355356357358359...2102