It might not look like it, but there is a lot of carnage on this list. Orrick is down four spots. Proskauer is down four spots. King & Spalding is down 3 spots.
And many of the firms here that are marginally up or holding steady still went through significant layoffs.
After the jump, Law Shucks offers some stats.
Baker & McKenzie, which held the #2 spot in terms of revenue for 2008, has taken a dip in 2009. The firm’s fiscal year ended on June 30, and AmLaw Daily reports that global revenue fell by 3% for the firm.
As noted in Morning Docket, profits per partner took a bigger hit, plummeting 17%, thanks to the recession:
Baker & McKenzie reported Friday that global revenue declined 3 percent to $2.11 billion and profits per partner fell a more significant 17 percent to $992,000 in fiscal year 2009, bringing an end to a four-year period over which the firm experienced consecutive double-digit revenue growth and an 85 percent increase in profits.
While Chicago-based Baker & McKenzie, which generated 66 percent of its fees outside the United States, highlighted the role currency exchange rates played in the falling benchmarks for fiscal year 2009, management admitted the economic downturn negatively impacted the firm’s financial performance.
As we’ve previously reported, Baker has been a leader in terms of outsourcing legal work. The new profit numbers should mean that the trend continues. More details after the jump.
Which New York law firm, having already completed two rounds of layoffs, has hired the Five O’Clock Club to help it carry out additional layoffs (in August, October, and November)?
After we ran the item, several firms came forward to declare they’re not the firm in question. And now they’re joined by one more: Morgan, Lewis & Bockius.
A spokesperson for Morgan Lewis contacted ATL to say that it isn’t the firm with layoffs in the works. In fact, Morgan Lewis claims that it shouldn’t even be on the shortlist of contenders.
Read why — and check out the list of the Five O’Clock Club’s clients, including some very prestigious law firms that haven’t publicly admitted to layoffs — after the jump.
So far, salary cuts have been localized to mid-sized and regional firms. But it appears Baker & McKenzie has become the first national firm to slash associate salaries. A tipster reports that associate salaries have been cut between 10% and 25% for some associates at the firm.
As we understand it, associates are receiving individualized memos about their salary reductions. Salary cut decisions are being made on a case-by-case basis and it is difficult for associates to know what is going on with colleagues down the hall.
Baker McKenzie has been making all sorts of news lately. Two weeks ago, the firm laid off 124 people. Then the firm pushed back start dates until January 2010. But it is surprising to see the firm get out in front on cutting salaries while its peer firms are resisting salary cuts.
Is this another nail in the lockstep coffin? Additional details after the jump.
More firms are pushing back the start dates of incoming first year associates. This weekend, we learned that Winston & Strawn has pushed back start dates to January 19th, 2010. Deferred associates will receive an additional $15,000 on top of their $10,000 bar stipend. The firm is also picking up health care for its incoming associates, starting in September.
We learned today that Baker & McKenzie has also pushed back start dates to January 2010. As we understand it, the firm is not offering any additional stipend other than what they normally pay out for bar expenses.
WilmerHale also announced a start date push back. According to a firm-wide memo:
As is our normal practice, we will have more than one start date. A portion of the class will start on January 20 and the remainder will start on March 17. To determine the group that will start on each date, Legal Personnel and Recruiting will work with department and practice group leaders to balance the stated interests of the incoming associates with the various needs of departments, practice groups and offices.
Those starting in January 2010 will receive a $10,000 deferral stipend on top of a $5,000 bar stipend, while the March 2010 first years will receive a $15,000 bar stipend.
But WilmerHale is also encouraging associates to take a full year off:
We also informed our incoming associates that they may defer their start dates until the fall of 2010 for a stipend in the amount of $75,000. This deferral is entirely at the option of the individual incoming associate and is not tied to his or her ability to obtain a pro bono or other public service position.
The WilmerHale deferral stipend is right at the top of the Latham-led market for these optional year-long programs. But its stipend for people being forced to start in January or March is a little on the low end.
Baker, Winston, and WilmerHale are announcing their programs late in the game. We’ll have to see if the delay puts incoming associates heading to the these firms at a disadvantage in terms of post-bar exam options.
After the jump, we check in on Sonnenschein’s late breaking, long-term deferral.
The holidays are over. Now it’s time to get back to business, and in Biglaw these days that means getting back laying people off.
Multiple tipsters report that there were layoffs at Baker & McKenzie this morning. The firm just confirmed the news:
Therefore, consistent with our strategy and discipline, and in response to the economic conditions we are currently witnessing, we are taking proactive steps to ensure that we remain financially strong. In particular, we are proactively focusing on helping our clients manage through these turbulent times, and we are acting to reduce our own operating costs. These actions include, but are not limited to, slowing or deferring some long-term projects, travel and hiring restrictions, and some limited workforce reductions, including six associates in our New York office this week.
The laid off associates were given a 3 month severance package.
One tipster reports:
No one was safe from first years to senior associates to support staff which were terminated. … Those who are left are worried about more cuts.
Another tipster, who also claims that some first years were let go, adds this:
The reasons given were that not enough work was available.
Read Baker & McKenzie’s full statement after the jump.
The terrorist attacks in Mumbai reminded everyone that we live in a dangerous world. But as India takes the steps necessary to improve its homeland security, we shouldn’t expect the tragedy to stem the tide of outsourcing American legal functions to Indian companies.
The National Law Journal reports that firms are increasingly proud of their outsourcing initiatives:
As outsourcing becomes more commonplace and corporate counsel and law firms are under increasing pressure to reduce costs for clients, law firms such as Baker & McKenzie; Greenberg Traurig; Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy; and Shapiro Sher Guinot & Sandler are actually touting at conferences the benefits of outsourcing.
Baker & McKenzie was the last best hope for Heller Ehrman, Greenberg Traurig is conducting stealth layoffs, and Millbank just announced Half-Skadden bonuses. But their outsourcing operations are thriving.
And the wave of firms outsourcing legal services to India is only going to get bigger:
Forrester Research projects that legal outsourcing to India will reach $4 billion by 2015. Some experts, however, find that number too low and others too high. Regardless, other numbers don’t lie — there are an estimated 800,000 lawyers in India and nowhere near that many jobs. Attorneys there charge, on average, $35 an hour, or no more than half of what an upper paralegal or lower-level associate bills, and up to three times less than an upper-level associate’s time.
After the jump, will global terrorism have a chilling effect?
If any Heller Ehrman attorneys were hoping that a major firm would sweep in and hire a whole bunch of Hellerites, the Dissolution Committee is warning you not to hold your breath. The Recorder reports:
On Tuesday, Peter Benvenutti, the chairman of the dissolution committee now controlling the firm, confirmed whispers that Baker & McKenzie and Winston & Strawn, both one-time merger candidates, had withdrawn proposals to pick up large groups of lawyers and their expensive real estate. While Benvenutti would not say whether deals on this scale are being discussed with any other firms, he did say there’s interest in taking over certain of the firm’s leases, and “we expect to have clarity in a day or two.”
At this point, why would Baker or Winston Strawn take on expensive lawyers when they can just sit back and cherry pick the superstars they want? We haven’t heard any story of a Heller rainmaker saying “If I come, these 30 people are coming with me.”
We’re back with another installment in our series of open threads on the Vault 100. This is an opportunity for insiders to sound off on their firms for the benefit of wannabe potential first-year and lateral associates.
Here are the next ten on the Vault list, with prestige scores in parentheses:
The most interesting set of “notable perks” in this bunch can be found at Boies Schiller. On the upside, there is an annual trip to Jamaica for attorneys and their families — in December, no less — but on the downside, it’s a “sweatshop run by a genius.” This makes us think of David Boies as the legal profession’s Santa Claus — who likes to take the elves to Montego Bay.
We invite the curious to ask questions about these firms, and for those in-the-know to take pity. Earlier:Vault 100 Open Threads – 2009
In the immortal words of Roxette, “It must have been love; but it’s over now.” Last month, we marveled at all the law firm merger rumors making the rounds. These days, however, merger talks are falling apart, left and right.
As we first reported, the contemplated merger between Heller Ehrman and Baker & McKenzie is officially dead. For the skinny on their breakup, see Legal Pad. Apparently client conflicts were the deal breaker (as they so often are; they’re the law-firm equivalent of serious religious differences, or really bad STDs). Baker & McKenzie will have to settle for being a firm with a measly $2.2 billion in annual global revenue.
And now this, from the National Law Journal:
In the days that followed the joint announcement by Wolf Block and Akerman Senterfitt that their merger talks hit a snag over a conflict, sources have pointed to deeper issues affecting the drawn-out discussions…
One source aware of the merger discussions said the combination would be a good thing for both firms but said Wolf Block leadership is unwilling to work out certain tax and pension concerns.
There is concern among some of Wolf Block’s partnership over having to pay a significant amount in taxes upon merging with a corporation, the source said. There is also concern over having to make up for Wolf Block’s unfunded pension liabilities. Both of the issues could cause partners to “take a real financial hit,” the source said, adding that a loan could solve those problems, but firm leadership seems unwilling to go that route.
If your firm is in ‘go’ mode when it comes to recruiting lateral partners with loyal clients, then take this quiz to see how well you measure up. Keep track of your ‘yes’ and ‘no’ responses.
1. Does your firm have a clearly defined strategy of practice groups that are priorities of growth for your office? Nothing gets done by random chance, but with a clear vision for the future. Identify the top practice areas for which you wish to add lateral partners. Seek input from practice group leaders and get specifics on needs, outcomes, and ideal target profiles.
2. In addition to clarifying your firm’s growth strategy, are you still open to the hire of a partner outside of your plan? I’ve made several placements that fit this category. The partner’s practice was not within the strategic growth plan of my client, but once the two parties started talking with each other, we all saw how it could indeed be a seamless fit. Be open to “Opportunistic Hires.” You never know where your next producing partner might come from, so you have to be open to it. I will be the first to admit that there is a quirky element of randomness in recruiting.
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@example.com.
We currently have a very exciting and rare type of in-house opening in China at one of the world’s leading internet and social media companies. Our client is looking for an IP Transactional / TMT / Licensing attorney with 2 to 6 years experience. The new hire will be based in Shenzhen or Shanghai. Mandarin is not required (deal documentation will be in English) but is preferred. A solid reason to be in China and a commitment to that market is required of course. This new hire will likely be US qualified (but could also be qualified in UK or other jurisdictions) and with experience and training at a top law firm’s IP transactional / TMT practice and could be currently at a law firm or in-house. Qualified candidates currently Asia based, Europe based or US based will be considered. The new hire’s supervisors in this technology transactions in-house team are very well regarded US trained IP transactional lawyers, with substantial experience at Silicon Valley firms. The culture and atmosphere in this in-house group and the company in general is entrepreneurial, team oriented, and the work is cutting edge, even for a cutting edge industry. The upside of being in an important strategic in-house position in this fast growing and world leading internet company is of the “sky is the limit” variety. Its a very exciting place to be in China for a rising IP transactional lawyer in our opinion, for many reasons beyond the basic info we can share here in this ad / post. This is a special A+ opportunity.
The traditional job application and interview process can be impersonal, and applicants often struggle to present themselves as more than just the sum of their GPAs, alma maters, and previous work history. ATL has partnered with ViewYou to help job seekers overcome this challenge. ViewYou NOW Profiles offer a unique way for job seekers to make a personal, memorable connection with prospective employers: introduction videos. These videos allow job candidates to display their personalities, interpersonal skills, and professional interests, creating an eDossier to brand themselves to potential employers all over the world. Check it out today!