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.
We’re all very familiar with the average profits-per-partner figures that are published as part of the AmLaw 100 law firm rankings. But since they’re just averages, they do raise some obvious questions:
– What’s the average take-home pay for a typical Biglaw partner?
– How much do newly minted, junior partners earn, compared to the most senior or most highly compensated partners of a large law firm?
– How much can superstars with enormous books of business rake in?
Information that goes a significant way towards answering such questions appears in this fascinating article, by Andrew Longstreth for the American Lawyer. You should read the whole thing for yourself; it’s socioeconomic voyeurism at its best.
A few excerpts, and some quick thoughts from us, appear after the jump.
Hampton Inn is the dumpy and unacceptable no frills, budget-oriented brand within the Hilton Hotel family. But compared to the Century Regional Detention Facility in Lynwood, California, where Paris Hilton will be serving out a 45-day sentence for violating the terms of her probation, a Hampton Inn looks like the Waldorf Towers.
At this grim county jail, don’t look for a mint on your pillow. Expect some pubic hair from a “very masculine lesbian,” and you’re less likely to be disappointed.
From the New York Daily News (which could barely conceal its glee over Hilton’s upcoming jail stint):
Hilton will have to say “goodbye” to dye jobs and cosmetics and “hello” to five-minute showers once a day. Her friends and family will only be able to talk to her through glass and her phone calls will be made on the jail’s closely monitored pay phones.
Purse-pooch, Tinkerbell, will not be allowed to visit. And forget those designer duds she bought on Rodeo Drive. In the big house, Paris will have to make two pairs of socks, one bra, two pairs of panties and two blue jumpsuits last for a week.
Eh, no big deal — Paris prefers romping around in the buff anyway. And she won’t be fazed by the loss of privacy, since all the other inmates have already seen her naked.
More discussion, after the jump.
As previously discussed, Matthew Waxman — a member of the Elect (OT 2000/Souter), and a law school classmate of ours — is headed for academia. He recently accepted an offer to join the faculty of Columbia Law School. Congratulations, Matt!
But in the meantime, Waxman is pretty busy over at the State Department. Steve Clemons of the Washington Note writes:
Policy Planning Director Stephen Krasner has now officially departed for Stanford — and “Acting Director Matthew Waxman” is in place.
Waxman is an ideas entrepreneur with character (he is one of the real insider heroes who while at DoD fought against the erosion of the Geneva Conventions on torture). He also gets strategy and knows that water wars, transnational disease transmission, environmental challenges posed by climate change dynamics, massive refugee crises, and other non-traditional problems must be dealt with as well as thinking through how a superpower manages its interests in a world where other superpowers — and even not so super powers — aren’t the overriding security challenge.
Clemons shares our high opinion of Waxman — and thinks that his appointment as Policy Planning Director should be made permanent:
[P]erhaps State should remove the “acting” from Matthew Waxman’s title and roll the dice on someone who appears to many to be a 21st century “young Yoda.” Waxman, who I have met on occasion, reminds me of a hybrid of strategic wunderkind Paul Nitze and Eisenhower acolyte Andy Goodpaster.
One senior State Department official believes that Condi Rice “wants a name” heading Policy Planning — someone “with more stature.” But this is a pivotal time in American history and foreign policy. Not a lot of what we did yesterday will be that helpful in thinking through what we need to do tomorrow. Everything needs to be rethought.
As reflected in the base salary table above, all of MoFo’s offices are now on what might be called a “New York” or “$160K” pay scale. The same is true of O’Melveny, but not of Orrick (which raised starting salaries in its Sacramento and Pacific Northwest offices, but not all the way to $160,000 — just to $145,000).
With respect to the MoFo news, there’s a catch (which the Recorder fails to mention). As noted by this comment:
MOFO eliminated the “contribution bonus” payable upon hitting 1950 [hours]. More or less took the 1950 bonus, which almost everyone earns, plus a few grand more and spread that over a 12 month period. NY lawyers still get bonuses like all other NY attorneys.
MoFo announced that it’s matching OMM and Orrick, but then anounced that it’s rescinding its previously-announced hours-based bonus that kicks in at 1950 hours. The salary increase, pro-rated over 8 months, is essentially of equal value as the now-rescinded bonus. In other words, the only real difference for people meeting their minimum hours requirement is that they get that portion of their bonus up-front. Is OMM or Orrick also playing the “give with one hand while taking with the other” move to “increase” salaries?
As always, your breaking comp announcements are always appreciated. In response to these recentdevelopments, I whipped up a couple of “lolcats” style graphics in my office this morning. Please feel free to use or enjoy as you see fit.
No animals were harmed, and no clients were billed, during the making of these graphics. Enjoy!
(Our default rule at ATL is anonymity for tipsters. We asked Mr. Brown if we could credit him by name for these pics, and he agreed.)
Here are two quick updates to our earliercoverage of Akin Gump, the prestigious D.C. law firm, where an assistant to alleged D.C. madam Deborah Jeane Palfrey worked as a legal secretary. The second of these updates is nothing short of mind-blowing.
1. As a commenter pointed out, Tom Goldstein, the head of Akin Gump’s Supreme Court practice, just posted an “opening” for a “special assistant.” This led some to wonder: Could the madam-in-training have worked for the Supreme Court superstar?
It wouldn’t be THAT suprising. The job announcement (PDF) mentions that an appreciation for poker is helpful. And we’re guessing that the secretary-cum-escort has some familiarity with that game — or a certain variant thereof.
Sadly, however, it turns out that there is no relation between these two events. According to a source at the firm, “this opening is completely unrelated to that situation..”
2. We believe our source. We’ve learned that the Akin Gump temptress worked for someone even more senior at the firm — and even more powerful.
We have confirmed, with knowledgeable sources, what was previously rumored in readercomments. The Akin Gump Escort worked for John M. Dowd, the high-powered head of the firm’s criminal litigation group. From his firm bio:
Mr. Dowd has prosecuted and defended significant criminal matters at trial and in parallel proceedings before Congress and regulatory agencies for more than 30 years. His practice focuses on the trial of complex civil and criminal cases.
Mr. Dowd is noted for his representation of a U.S. district judge, a former U.S. attorney and two U.S. senators. In addition, he represented a U.S. governor in a lengthy, high-profile criminal trial involving 23 counts charging false statements, wire fraud and attempted extortion.
A judge, a U.S. attorney, some senators? YAWN. John Dowd currently represents one of Above the Law’s favorite celebrities: MONICA GOODLING!!!
Does this mean that telephone and/or face-to-face conversations took place between (1) the Magnificent Monica Goodling, of U.S. Attorneygate fame, and (2) the Akin Gump Escort? Presumably Monica Goodling had to interact with the Akin Gump Escort, whenever she called John Dowd on the phone, or came to his office for a meeting.
Please excuse us for a moment. Our head is about to explode, due to fabulosity overload!!!
More discussion, after the jump.
A draft copy of Don Imus’s complaint indicates that the fired radio show host will be suing CBS, his former employer, for $120 million. Details here.
That’s a hefty chunk of change. It’s three times the total value of his $40 million contract.
But look at it another way. A hundred and twenty mil is still less than the cost of two pairs of pants. If you’re an exalted Administrative Law Judge, for the District of Columbia. Exclusive: Imus Says CBS got what it bargained for [ABC News] Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of Don Imus (scroll down)
Former Justice Department lawyer Monica Goodling has gotten a raw deal.
From the media. From the blogosphere. And now, from the DOJ itself. According to the Washington Post’s Andrew Cohen:
[B]ack at the ranch, the Justice Department managed to tick off former high-ranking official Monica Goodling and her attorneys by going public with allegations against her (allegations that she broke the law by giving out jobs based upon political affiliation) before notifying Team Goodling about the matter as a professional courtesy.
Given how vital Goodling’s testimony will be — she’s been given use immunity and will almost certainly testify before Congress about her role in the U.S. Attorney scandal — the Justice Department’s faux pas is as inexecusable as it is unsurprising. The Department is merely now doing to Goodling what Goodling and Company did to the fired prosecutors (and, for that matter, what the White House did to George Tenet when it was through with him).
We’re glad to see that someone else — namely, Andrew Cohen — realizes that Goodling is being dealt with unfairly. And we will not rest until the Magnificent Monica Goodling stands vindicated in the court of public opinion. How An Attorney General Should Act (and Monica’s Mad) [Bench Conference / Washington Post]
In our recent post about an alleged D.C.-madam-in-training — a legal secretary at the powerhouse firm of Akin Gump, who allegedly serviced clients and worked the phones for Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the alleged D.C. madam — we asked you for more information about this hardworking and multitalented young woman.
We are still accepting your tips. We’ll kick things off with this info, from a source who knows the alleged junior madam:
First, she’s not a paralegal. She’s just a legal secretary.
This answers the question we raised yesterday about whether she might be a paralegal rather than a secretary. In one of her emails to Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the Akin Gump employee said it would be easy to balance her work for Palfrey with her “paralegal duties.”
Our tipster continues:
Second, she has the ‘tude in the office that she’s better than the rest. Most people don’t like her.
Third, in terms of her appearance, she has the typical Barbie look: blonde, shapely, busty.
Based on this description, we’re guessing that this individual worked for a high-powered partner at Akin Gump. In our experience, legal secretaries fall into two categories: the total hotties, and the total notties, with precious few in between. They’re straight out of either (1) the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue or (2) a bingo hall.
The top dogs — name partners, major rainmakers, etc. — got the hottie secretaries. Everyone else had to just cross their fingers. So if Palfrey’s right-hand-woman is blonde and busty, she probably had a powerful boss at the firm.
More discussion, after the jump.
We have confirmed, with sources at the firm, the news that O’Melveny & Myers has raised associate base salaries in its California offices. The firm’s California and New York offices are now on the same salary scale.
The O’Melveny & MYers news was conveyed through a firm-wide voice-mail. The message said: “Over the past 24 hours, we’ve detected a movement in the associate and counsel compensation marketplace.”
(The “movement” referred to in the voicemail is presumably the bump in California salaries that was just announced by Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe.)
So here’s the new OMM pay scale:
Effective May 1, for all US offices (includes all CA offices and the DC office, and obviously NY):
If you are considering a virtual law practice, you know that many of today’s solo firms started that way. But why are established, multi-attorney law firms going virtual?
Many small firms are successfully moving part—or even all—of their practice to a virtual setting. This even includes multi-jurisdictional practice spanning several states and practice areas, although solo and small partnerships are still the largest adopters of virtual law.
Can you do the same? The new article Mobile in Practice, Virtual by Design from author Jared Correia, Esq., explores how mobile technology bring real-life benefits to a small law firm. Read this new article—the next in Thomson Reuters’ Independent Thinking series for small firms—to explore how a mobile practice:
Reduces malpractice risk
Enables you to gather the best attorneys to fit the firm, regardless of each person’s geographic location
Leverages mobile devices and cloud technology to enable on-the-spot client and prospect communication
Transitioning in-house is something many (if not most) firm lawyers find themselves considering at some point. For many, it’s the first step in their career that isn’t simply a function of picking the best option available based on a ranking system.
Unknown territory feels high-risk, and can have the effect of steering many of us towards the well-greased channels into large, established companies.
For those who may be open to something more entrepreneurial, there is far less information available. No recruiter is calling every week with offers and details.
In sponsorship with Betterment, ATL and David Lat will moderate a panel about life in-house and we’ll hear from GCs at Birchbox, Gawker Media, Squarespace, Bonobos, and Betterment. Drinks, snacks, networking, and a great time guaranteed. Invite your colleagues, but RSVP fast, as space is limited.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s that time of year again when JDs are starting to apply for 2L summer jobs and 2L summers are deciding which practice area to focus on.
For those JDs with an interest in potentially lateraling to or transferring to Asia in the future, please feel free to reach out to Kinney for advice on firm choices, interviewing and practice choices, relating to future marketability in Asia, or for a general discussion on your particular Asia markets of interest. This is of course a free of cost service for those who some years in the future may be our future industry contacts or perhaps even clients.
For some years now Kinney’s Asia head, Evan Jowers, has been formally advising Harvard Law students with such questions, as the Asia expert in Harvard Law’s “Ask The Experts Market Program” each summer and fall, with podcasts and scheduled phone calls. This has been an enjoyable and productive experience for all involved.