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.
Information 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.
* 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.
We 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.
It’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.
Last week, the ABA Journal named former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales its 2007 Lawyer Legal Newsmaker of the Year. Now we bring you news of two more Lawyers of the Year.
The National Law Journal went highbrow and international. The NLJ selected Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, the former Chief Justice of Pakistan, as its Lawyer of the Year:
Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry is not exactly a household name to the legal profession in the United States. We think he should be.
Chaudhry, the chief justice of Pakistan who was dismissed from office by President Pervez Musharraf after the imposition of emergency rule, has been a strong voice for the preservation of the rule of law in Pakistan — one of the United States’ key allies in the war on terror.
Meanwhile, the WSJ Law Blog stayed domestic. Their honoree may be, for better or worse, more well-known that former Chief Justice Chaudhry (at least to readers of ATL). Their pick: celebrity commenter Loyola 2L!
[W]hen the nominees were put to an unscientific vote, Loyola 2L won in a landslide…. And before you start whining, “But he’s not even a lawyer!,” we never said we were strict constructionists!
So who — or what — is Loyola 2L? For the non-cognoscenti, he, or she, is purportedly a second-year student, or “2L,” at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. And his claim to fame? For over a year, Loyola 2L has beaten a loud and consistent drum of discontent around the Web by posting in online forums about the job prospects for graduates of nonelite law schools.
If you’re hoping that this honor will bring Loyola 2L to unmask himself (or herself), don’t hold your breath:
[W]hile he’s presumably a “3L” by now, he still clings to the moniker. And anonymity. In responding to a call to identify himself he said, “Outing myself . . . would only add to the current difficulties in my life.”
Okay, she didn’t quite say that. But, for the record, the woman accused of groping Santa Clause denies the allegations, claiming that she never ever sat on his lap:
“I don’t know what’s going on. I don’t know if he was confused, it was a false report,” Sandrama Lamy, 33, said this morning.
Lamy said she was window shopping at the mall Saturday with a friend when she decided to get a picture with a man playing Santa Claus.
A woman — apparently working with the mall Santa — made a comment after the picture was snapped, Lamy said.
“I did not sit on his lap. A woman there said ‘Be careful, that’s my husband.’ I said ‘What does that have to do with the picture?’” Lamy said. “That’s all I said, and I left.”…
“Why would I do this? There were so many people there. If he (Santa) needed a few extra bucks I would have given it to him,” Lamy said. “I’ve never been involved in a crime or anything. This is shocking to me.”
Selected amusing comments from readers of the Danbury News-Times, after the jump.
Every now and then, we like to highlight super-crappy especially unappealing job opportunities. See, e.g., this one (perfect for those of you who think sleep is overrated).
A reader at the University of Texas Law School recently sent a great job posting our way. A teaser:
Where to begin? First, what the heck is “Associate Attorney II”? Second, workday commences at 8 AM, and work week is 50-60 hours, Monday through Friday (not including possible weekend and holiday work). Third, anyone who cannot sit for two hours, or requires use of any ADA accommodations, need not apply. Fourth, everything is at the partners’ discretion. Oh, and just in case you thought otherwise, “[t]his description is for recruitment purposes, only, and does not constitute a contract.”
We noticed a few other less-than-appealing aspects of the job:
1. Pay is $4K a month. (This is a lawyer’s job, right? At a law firm?)
2. The job requires a current Texas driver’s license and “the ability to drive long distances unaccompanied during daylight and nighttime hours.”
3. One of the practice areas is “water / wastewater / solid waste” law.
4. The job requires the ability to “carry loads of up to 35 pounds (such as books, binders, and files).” (To repeat: this is a lawyer’s job, right?)
5. Yes, there are bonuses — for associates who “produc[e] stellar work product and exceed billable hour goals,” and “at the discretion of the partners.”
Well, at least they’re honest. No pretending to match the Cravath bonus scale, while in reality giving market-level bonuses to only a handful of associates.
Read the full job listing, after the jump.
O’Melveny & Myers just announced associate bonuses for its offices in California and Washington, DC. One of the tipsters who sent us the memo is not pleased:
Attached is the memo that O’Melveny & Myers associates just received. The figures for the “class bonus” appear to be far below the standard bonus at other comparable firms such as Gibson Dunn.
Memo after the jump. Update: Based on the reactions thus far, this announcement is not going over very well. But maybe OMM is okay with that. Opines one commenter: “Expect a big exodus. It’s probably what they are hoping for.”
Colorado judge Grafton M. Biddle has been the subject of a prior ATL shout-out. But he has never been officially named a Judge of the Day. We think it’s about time.
From the Rocky Mountain News:
A former Douglas County judge who had an affair with a prosecutor that included a rendezvous in his chambers and in the women’s courthouse showers was suspended for three years Monday.
Grafton M. Biddle’s punishment comes almost a year after he resigned his judgeship in a short Dec. 18 letter signed simply, “With regrets,” that gave no reason for his decision.
But by then, rumors of his affair with Deputy District Attorney Laurie A. Hurst — who used the last name Steinman at the time — had been circulating in the courthouse.
From one of the paper’s online commenters:
“Just another black mark on the Colorado Judicial System…… Would this be prostitution??? You know, lawyers have billable hours for everything they do… Screw the judge or screw the neighbors… Someone is paying the price for getting screwed, and an attorney is involved.”
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For most attorneys, time spent managing the books is a necessary evil at best. Yet it is undeniably a crucial aspect of running a successful practice. With that in mind, we invite you to view or download a free webinar by Above the Law and our friends at Clio to learn how to better manage your finances.
Take this opportunity to learn what it takes to streamline your accounting and get the most out of your time. The webinar agenda:
● The basics of accounting for lawyers.
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Do not miss this crucial chance to optimize your accounting practices. Save time and get back to billing!
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past seven years. You can reach them by email: email@example.com.
Please note that Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney are still in Hong Kong and will stay FOR THE REMAINDER OF THIS WEEK. We still have a handful of available slots for meetings with our Asia Chronicles fans. If we have not been in touch lately, reach out and let us know when we could meet! There is no need for an agenda at all. Most of our in-person meetings on these trips are with folks who understand that improving a legal practice through lateral hiring is an information-driven process that takes time to handle correctly.
Regarding trends in lateral US associate hiring in Hong Kong, we of course keep much of what we know off of this blog. Based on placement revenue, though, Kinney is having one of our most successful years ever in Asia. We are helping a number of our law firm clients with M&A, fund formation, cap markets, project finance, FCPA and disputes openings. These are very specific needs in many cases, so a conversation with us before jumping in may be helpful. As always, we like to be sure to get the maximum number of interviews per submission, using a well-informed, highly targeted, and selective approach, taking into account short, medium and long-term career aims.
Making a well informed decision during a job search is easier said than done – the information we provide comes from 10 years of being the market leader in US attorney placements at the top tier firms in Asia. There is no substitute for having known a hiring partner since he/she was an associate or for having helped a partner grow his or her practice from zip to zooming, and this is happily where we stand today – with years of background information on just about every relevant person in all the markets we serve, and most especially in Hong Kong/China/Greater Asia. So get in touch and get a download from us this week if we can fit it in, or soon in any case!