A Legal Tabloid - News, Insights, and Colorful Commentary on Law Firms and the Legal Profession
Managing Editor: David Lat
Editor: Elie Mystal
Assistant Editor: Staci Zaretsky
Contributors: Kashmir Hill, Marin, Mark Herrmann, Jay Shepherd
David Lat is the founder and managing editor of Above the Law. His writing has also appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Observer, Washingtonian magazine, and New York magazine. 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." You can connect with him on Facebook or Twitter.
Sorry to leave you unattended for a while — we were off appearing on this panel. We left some items to be published in our absence, but unfortunately, continuing technical difficulties — which frustrate us even more than they frustrate you — prevented their posting.
In case you’re wondering, we have no confirmed Biglaw bonus news to report right now. It seems that nowadays firms are holding their bonus news until the end of the day, perhaps in the hope that it will be less disruptive to associates billing away hours. But that just means associates spend the mornings and afternoons wondering about their financial fates — and visiting sites like this one.
Anyway, we do have some bonus news, of a different sort. From a lawyer at the U.S. Department of Justice:
Any thought of doing a post on government attorney bonuses? Such as they are, that is. Might give some of the Biglaw associates who are wailing and gnashing their teeth a little perspective.
Just to get the ball rolling, my year-end bonus was $694.28. And as a special bonus, I got 8 hours of annual leave. Woot!
Are you at a firm that’s giving out standard year-end bonuses, but not “special” bonuses (or at least not across the board)? Well, look on the bright side: at least your bonus is denominated in the thousands.
Feel free to discuss your experiences with government lawyer “bonuses” in the comments. Thanks. Earlier: Associate Bonus Watch 2007 archives (scroll down)
In response to yesterday’s post about recent events in Emory Law School’s career services office (which has generated an insane number of comments), we received an email from Dean David Partlett. We thank Dean Partlett for his message. Here it is:
I write regarding questions surrounding Laurie Hartman’s resignation from Emory School of Law a few weeks ago. Given the level of discussion surrounding this topic, I feel a little clarification is necessary.
Laurie Hartman served as Assistant Dean of Career Services at Emory for three years. During that time, the law school underwent an extensive external review of the office and received high marks for the strength of the services provided by the office. Dean Hartman, after serving for three years, decided to resign from her position to pursue other career opportunities. Her resignation was amicable. As you know, there is never a good time for a staff member in an office as important as Career Services to leave. Given the critical nature of services provided by this office, the administration of the law school moved quickly to address the vacancy.
Read the balance of Dean Partlett’s message, after the jump.
If you’re looking for confirmation of the Clifford Chance bonus announcement we posted yesterday, check out this short article from Legal Week.
In other CC news, the firm is making overtures to LGBT lawyers, in the wake of its own Brokeback Lawfirm scandal. From TheLawyer.com:
Clifford Chance is setting up a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) network just months after settling a sexual orientation discrimination claim from former competition partner Michael Bryceland….
Clifford Chance tax partner Stephen Shea, who has been active in setting up the LGBT group, said the firm established the network to further foster diversity, but also to respond to client demand. As reported by The Lawyer (21 May), JPMorgan now asks prospective panel firms for diversity statistics and companies such as Transport for London are following suit.
On some days, the posts just write themselves. From Blogonaut:
James Michael Shull is no longer a Virginia Judge, thanks to the decision of the Virginia Supreme Court that unanimously upheld his removal from the bench.
Shull’s misconduct on the bench included ordering a woman to pull down her pants in open court during a hearing—ostensibly to view a claimed injury—exposing everything not covered by a pair of g-string panties the woman was wearing.
If she was humiliated, she deserved it. What was she doing in a g-string? Everyone knows that acceptable courtroom attire is a sober black skirt suit — with granny panties underneath.
Schull also decided child custody matters by tossing a coin in the air, initiated ex-parte contact with witnesses outside the presence of the attorneys for either side in a dispute, and was discourteous to litigants.
Okay, CLSers, so NYU Law School has surpassed you in the U.S. News rankings. But here’s some consolation: at least your law library is a zone of normalcy (as law libraries go, that is).
Late last year, NYU’s law library was taken over by a mystery smell. And now it has a new problem.
Check it out, after the jump.
We aren’t the only people with server problems. Earlier today, when we posted our last-minute plea for votes, the Weblogs Award site was also having difficulties.
As a result, we didn’t get the boost that we were hoping for. Eugene Volokh’s plug — which was better timed, coming after resolution of the server problems — was far more effective.
So let’s try this once more, with feeling. Please click here, and vote for your favorite law blog (hopefully ATL).
The contest is entering its home stretch, with the polls closing tomorrow at 5 PM, so we won’t bother you about this much more. Thanks! Best Law Blog [2007 Weblog Awards]
* Our DealBreaker colleagues receive email from William Unroch, the lawyer / ex-boyfriend of Maximilia (née Maximilian) Cordero, the transsexual model suing high-flying financier Jeffrey Epstein. Did you get all that? [DealBreaker]
* Congratulations to (soon-to-be-Chief) Judge Kozinski, who just won the Witkin Medal! [Blogonaut]
* Speaking of Judge Kozinski, here’s a counter-plea from perhaps his most famous former clerk. We may have to issue another bleg in response. [Volokh Conspiracy; 2007 Weblog Awards]
* “Uh, there’s no pot here, Beavis — just monkeys.” [What About Clients?]
Weil has announced special bonuses, to be paid at the end of this month, and year-end bonuses, which “will be paid at market to associates receiving an ‘Overall Strong’ rating and will be above market for associates receiving a ‘Distinguished’ rating in class years 2003 and above.”
Memo after the jump.
White & Case has announced special and year-end bonuses for its New York associates and counsel. They are at market levels, and will be paid to associates “who are performing at or above the level expected by the Firm.”
Memo after the jump.
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 six years. You can reach them by email: [email protected].
Since late last year, things have been booming in Hong Kong / China in cap markets, especially Hong Kong IPOs. M&A deal flow has recently been getting a bit stronger as well. Although one can’t predict such things with any certainty, all signs are pointing to a banner entire 2014 for the top end US corporate and cap markets practices in Hong Kong / China. This is not really new news, as its been the feeling most in the market have had for a few months now and things continue to look good.
The head of our Asia practice, Evan Jowers, has been in Hong Kong for about 10 days a month (with trips every other month to both Shanghai and Bejing) for the past 7 months, and spending most of his time there meeting with senior US hiring partners at just about all the major US and UK firms there, as well as prospective candidates at all associate levels and partner levels, and when in the US, Evan works Asia hours and is regularly on the phone with such persons, as our the other members of our Asia team. Our Yuliya Vinokurova is in Hong Kong every other month and Robert is there about 5 times a year as well. While we have a solid Asia team of recruiters, Evan Jowers will spend at least some time with all of our candidates for Asia position. We have had long standing relationships, and good friendships in some cases, with hiring partners and other senior US partners in Asia for 8 years now.
The evolution of relationships between the genders continues. Currently, in law firms, there is an interesting conundrum; balancing the desire for a gender-blind workplace where “the best lawyer gets the work and advances” and the reality of navigating the complicated maze created by the fact that, in general, men and women do possess differences in their work styles. These variations impact who they work with, how they work, how they build professional connections and how organizations ultimately leverage, reward and recognize the talents of all.
Henry Ford sat on his workbench and sighed. A year earlier, he had personally built 13,000 Model Ts with his own hands. Fashioning lugnuts and tie rods by hand, Ford was loath to ask for help. Sure, there were things about the car that he didn’t quite understand. This explains the lack of reliable navigation systems in the Model T. But Ford persevered because he knew that unless he did everything, he could not reliably call these cars his own.
“Unless my own personal toil is responsible for it, it may as well be called a Hyundai,” Ford remarked at the time.
The preceding may sound unfamiliar because it is categorically untrue. And also monumentally stupid. Henry Ford didn’t build all those cars by hand. He had help and plenty of it. Almost exactly one hundred years ago, Henry Ford opened up the most technologically advanced assembly line the world had ever seen. Built on the premise that work can be chopped up into digestible pieces and completed by many men better than one, the line ushered in an age of unparalleled productivity.
Today, an attorney refers business because he can’t do everything the client asks of him.
There are three reasons why this is way dumber than a made-up Henry Ford story…