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, David 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 book reviews editor of the Yale Law Journal. David has received several awards for his work on ATL, including recognition as an ABA Journal Legal Rebel, a group of innovators within the legal profession, and inclusion as a member 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 follow him on Twitter.
Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell isn’t the only discrimination lawsuit against a large law firm kicking around New York Supreme Court these days. Earlier this month, a complaint was filed in the case of Yasmin Marinaro v. Greenberg Traurig LLP.
Meet Harley I. Lewin (at right), a shareholder (partner) in the New York office of Greenberg Traurig LLP. According to his firm bio, he’s the head of their trademarks and global brand strategies practice.
And according to allegations made by Yasmin Marinaro, a Latina female who previously worked as his administrative assistant, Harley Lewin:
– described her to two male clients, within her earshot, as a “hot tomato”;
– told these two clients that they should “check her out,” then called her into his office, “whereupon Lewin and his male guests ogled her”;
– referred to her by the nickname “Chiquita Banana”;
– ordered her into his office, “whereupon he would instruct her to view sexually explicit and inappropriate emails”;
“encourag[ed] her to gain weight so that she would be more sexually attractive”;
– attempted to intimidate her into not coming forward with her allegations by sending her an email entitled “Be Careful,” in which he urged her to “keep [her] own counsel”; and
– played a role in her allegedly retailatory firing from Greenberg Traurig.
Juicy allegations — and there’s more in the full Complaint.
Alas, we don’t have enough time to do it justice right now. But we’ll surely have more to say next week about the case of Marinaro v. Greenberg Traurig LLP. If you’d like to read the Complaint for yourself, we’ve provided a link below. Yasmin Marinaro v. Greenberg Traurig LLP [New York Supreme Court (PDF)] Harley Lewin bio [Greenberg Traurig]
It was sent around about ten minutes ago. A source at the firm helpfully provided it to us, along with this exultant cry:
“And they said we weren’t vault top 20! HAH!”
From: Tvetenstrand, Paul D.
Sent: Friday, January 26, 2007 9:58 AM
To: NYC Associates; DC Associates
Subject: 2007 Salary Increase
Consistent with our efforts to make certain that you are paid in accordance with the top of the market, we are pleased to inform you that we are increasing annual base salaries for our Associates. The classes of 2006, 2005 and 2004 will receive $15,000 increases. The classes of 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999 and 1998 will receive $20,000 increases. We are also raising the base salary for the members of the Class of 2007, who will arrive in the fall, by $15,000.
These increases will be retroactive to January 1, 2007 and will be reflected in your February 15, 2007 paycheck. The increases will be paid to those Associates who are in good standing and with the Firm as of February 15. Increases for those Associates who work part-time or joined the Firm after January 1, 2007 will be prorated. Increases for associates more senior than the class of 1998 will be determined on an individual basis.
On behalf of the Firm, I would like to personally thank you for all of your dedication and hard work.
PDT Earlier: Previous announcements of law firm associate salary increases (scroll down through “Skaddenfreude” archives)
California may be the Golden State — but not when it comes to the handcuffs placed on Biglaw associates.
On the West Coast, the handcuffs are silver rather than golden. We previously posted the compensation memo for Morrison & Foerster’s New York office. Now, for comparison purposes, here’s the memo for the firm’s associates beyond the Big Apple:
From: Wetmore, Keith C.
Sent: Thursday, January 25, 2007 3:05 PM
To: LIST/Non-Partner Atty/SF; LIST/Non-Partner Atty/PA; LIST/Non-Partner Atty/SA; LIST/Non-Partner Atty/WC; LIST/Non-Partner Atty/LA; LIST/Non-Partner Atty/OC; LIST/Non-Partner Atty/SD; LIST/Non-Partner Atty/DN; LIST/Non-Partner Atty/DC; LIST/Non-Partner Atty/VA
Cc: LIST/Partner/SF; LIST/Partner/PA; LIST/Partner/SA; LIST/Partner/WC; LIST/Partner/LA; LIST/Partner/OC; LIST/Partner/SD; LIST/Partner/DN; LIST/Partner/DC; LIST/Partner/VA; List/Patent/Agt/All; Office Managing Partners-US; Directors of Administration-US; Herman, Janet Stone (PA); Moser, Cheryl L.; Nashelsky, Larren M.; Reed, Pamela J.; White, Anna Erickson
Subject: 2007 Associate Compensation Announcement
I am pleased to announce our 2007 compensation for associates located in our DC, Denver, Los Angeles, Northern Virginia, Orange County, Palo Alto, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco and Walnut Creek offices. Base compensation increases will be implemented for each class as noted below:
Class of 2006 – $145,000
Class of 2005 – $155,000
Class of 2004 – $170,000
Class of 2003 – $190,000
Class of 2002 – $210,000
Class of 2001 – $230,000
Class of 2000 – $245,000
These adjustments to base compensation will be reflected in your February 15 paycheck retroactive to January 1, 2007. If you are not in one of the class years noted above, or you are Of Counsel or a Patent Agent, we will be following up with you separately in the next few weeks. The 2007 bonus schedule will be finalized and distributed in the near future.
On behalf of the Firm, thank you for your part in making 2006 a great year for the Firm and for your hard work and commitment to the Firm and its clients as we look to the future.
Keith C. Wetmore | Chair
Morrison & Foerster LLP Earlier: Skaddenfreude: Morrison & Foerster (New York only)
Los Angeles-based O’Melveny & Myers just raised base salaries for its associates in D.C. And it’s talking smack to Washington law firms that are too cheap to follow its lead:
“D.C.-area firms will have a difficult time competing for talent if they don’t move off the $135,000 number,” says Brian Brooks, O’Melveny’s recruiting partner. “National firms have moved. And because we want to attract the best talent to D.C., we now look at the market as being set at $145,000.”
As we recently noted, both Sen. Barack Obama and former Sen. John Edwards are distinguished lawyers and public servants.
But it’s time for them to bow out of the 2008 presidential race, in recognition of the inevitable: Senatrix Hillary Rodham Clinton is UNSTOPPABLE!
Divas of Yale Law School, represent!!! Update (3:48 AM): Now running at the top of the Drudge Report:
Here’s the King & Spalding memo. As our source points out, “King & Spalding matched — but NYC only, which leaves an 8th-year in their Atlanta office making less than a 1st-year in their NY office.” Correction/Update: This is actually a disputed matter. According to this comment, a first-year in New York ($160K) makes more than a sixth-year in Atlanta ($155K), but not an eighth-year ($170K). The point remains, however, that K&S’s New York associates earn significantly more than their colleagues at the Atlanta mother ship. KING & SPALDING LLP
From: Hays, Robert
Sent: Thursday, January 25, 2007 6:32 PM
To: [New York associates]
Subject: Increase in Salaries for New York Partner-Track Associates
Please see the attached announcement regarding changes to base salaries for our New York partner-track associates.
We received this memorandum indirectly (i.e., not from a source at Hogan & Hartson). But we have no reason to question it, since it’s consistent with the firm’s publicly declared intention to stay at $145,000 in D.C., at least for the time being. HOGAN & HARTSON
As several commenters mentioned, Proskauer Rose has raised associate salaries. Here’s the announcement memo (originally posted by an anonymous commenter, but subsequently confirmed for us by multiple Proskauer sources).
To: New York, Los Angeles and Boston Associates
CC: Partners, Senior Counsel
From: The Executive Committee
Date: January 25, 2007
Re: 2007 Salaries
We are pleased to announce that we have increased compensation effective January 1, 2007, as follows:
Class Year Adjusted Base Salary
1998 and earlier $290,000
This increase is retroactive to January 1, 2007, and will be reflected in the February 15, 2007 payroll. Bonuses for 2007 will be determined at year-end, as usual.
Base salaries and compensation for Senior Counsel will continue to be determined on an individual basis.
We continue to highly value your contributions to the Firm and thank you for your dedication and hard work. We look forward to another successful year.
Here’s the verified Davis Polk memo (which we received by email; it was also previously posted in the comments):
From: Ferrell, Kathleen L. On Behalf Of Management Committee
Sent: Thursday, January 25, 2007 5:33 PM
Subject: Associate Salaries
We are pleased to announce that associate base salaries will be increased as follows, effective January 1, 2007:
Class of 1998 – $290,000
Class of 1999 – $280,000
Class of 2000 – $265,000
Class of 2001 – $250,000
Class of 2002 – $230,000
Class of 2003 – $210,000
Class of 2004 – $185,000
Class of 2005 – $170,000
Class of 2006 – $160,000
Entering Class of 2007 – $160,000
As always, we appreciate your efforts. Earlier: Previous announcements of law firm associate salary increases (scroll down through “Skaddenfreude” archives)
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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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deal flow has clearly picked recently up for most US associates, counsels and partners in Hong Kong/China and Singapore. We are on the phone with a lot of these folks on a daily basis, many of whom we have known for years. Further, the head of our Asia team, Evan Jowers, and Kinney’s founder and president, Robert Kinney, frequently meet in person with leading US partners in Asia to assess their needs and keep on top of the inside scoop at as many firms as possible. The need for legal recruiting help in Asia from experienced recruiters appears to be live and well. In March, Evan and Robert were in Beijing at such meetings, in April, Evan was in Hong Kong, and for half of June Evan will be in Shanghai and Hong Kong. Thus its pretty easy for us to tell when there has been an across-the-market pick up in capital markets and corporate work.
On an average day in Asia when Evan and Robert visit firms, they typically have 5 to 9 meetings a day, mostly with US partners in the market. The reason they have these meetings is not simply because Kinney makes a lot of US attorney placements in Asia and that a particular firm may have openings; instead these are just visits with friends. After years of working together as business partners, the folks at Kinney are actually these peoples’ friends. The firms Kinney work closely with in Asia (which is just about every law firm – call us if you want to know the one firm in the world we will never place anyone with again, ever, and why) look forward to the visits, or at least act like they do. After seven years in the market, many of the client partners are former associate candidates. Also, these US partners see Kinney as a very good source of market information as well, because they know how deep their contacts are in the market and how frequently they are speaking to counterparts at peer firms.
In a land that is right here and in a time that is right now, a technology has arisen so powerful that it can replace basic human document review. Is it time to bow down before our new robot overlords?
First, here’s a little story about me: my life in the legal world began as a paralegal. My first case was a GIANT patent infringement case that was already six years old and had involved as many as five companies, multiple US courts, the ITC and an international standards committee. I knew nothing about any of this.
On my first day, my supervisor (a paralegal with at least eight other cases driving her crazy) sat me down in front of a Concordance database with a 100,000+ patents and patent file histories. “Code these,” she said. I learned that “coding”, for the purposes of this exercise, meant manually typing the inventor’s name, the title of the patent, the assignee, the file date, and other objective data for each document. I worked on that project – and only that project – for at least the first six months of my job. After a week or so, time began to blur.
What I know, in retrospect and with absolutely certainty, is that as time began to blur, so did my judgment. So did my attention to detail. If you could tell me that I did not make at least one mistake a day – one inconsistent spelling, one reversed day and month, one incorrectly spaced title – I frankly would need to see your evidence. I would not believe it. The human mind is trainable but it is not a machine.
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