We’ve discussed that under Barack Obama’s plan, taxes on Biglaw associates are likely to go up. But a cursory glance over on Open Secrets shows that many law firm partners are contributing towards the Obama campaign.
One associate we’ve talked with has a pretty interesting idea on how to deal with Biglaw partners that support Obama’s plans to take extra money away from “greedy” associates:
So a sixth year associate, who currently makes $250k and will receive a raise to $265k in January will see a larger chunk of that extra $15k disappear to taxes (via the new 39% tax bracket and and the 6.2% FICA tax). This will probably amount to a couple of thousand dollars per associate. I know this has been a lot of information, so bear with me …
My challenge to the lawfirm partnerships who are voting for Obama: bump senior associate salaries to compensate associates for the tax hike/salary cut they favor. This will no doubt be portrayed as the greediest of greedy associate complaints, but why should I pay for their preferred social policies?
Baseball teams do this all the time. New York and Boston often bump up players’ salaries to compensate them for the high state tax rates in New York and Massachusetts (as compared to places like Florida or Texas).
Of course, there are many (many) flaws with this idea. If you are angry about having your taxes raised, the preferred outlet for redress is the polling booth (or Boston Harbor), not your boss. And (ahem) associates are probably more worried about keeping their jobs right now than making their salary “whole” depending on the presidential administration.
But we take the point. Senior associates are likely to get hit under the Obama tax plan, and some people still vote their pocketbook. But look on the bright side. At least we are not staring into the abyss of a socialist nationalization of the private banking industry.
The latest analysis of Obama’s and McCain’s tax plans show that both candidates will likely raise the marginal tax rate paid by most Americans:
Senator Obama’s tax plan includes a number of proposals for new or expanded tax benefits that are generally targeted to low- and moderate-income taxpayers. Many of these additions to the “skyline” change taxpayers’ effective marginal tax rates in important ways, lowering or raising them, sometimes significantly. …
Senator McCain’s tax plan also affects marginal rates, but for very different reasons. His tax plan includes only two individual tax proposals and only his health tax credit has a material effect on effective marginal tax rates.
For those of you who slept through Tax, the marginal tax rate is the tax you pay on your last dollar of income. A high marginal tax rate (generally) represents a direct disincentive to making more money.
The marginal tax rate will increase to 50% under Obama’s plan, 40% under McCain’s plan. For the visually inclined, TaxProf Blog has charts that show the effects of both plans — thankfully based on double income homes.
Does anybody still believe anything they hear? After the jump.
Back in February, our ATL / Lateral Link survey on politics in the workplace found that 74% of you were discussing politics in the workplace, but less than 3% of you felt any need to conform to a particular political view.
At the time, 20% of respondents said that their fellow associates had tried to convince them to vote for someone, and about 15% said that an associate had asked them to contribute to a campaign.
But those were the days of Hillary and Huckabee.
Now that we’re down to John McCain and That One, what do office politics look like today? Is there more pressure to attend events? Vote a certain way? Make a contribution?
Let’s find out.
Update: This survey is now closed. Click here for the results.
Some of you might remember that there is a presidential election going on. Turnout is expected to be high and many voters will be participating for the first time.
However, if you are a federal clerk you had better keep your political opinions to yourself. Free speech does not exist for you. One of our readers pointed out:
I just accepted a position as a federal law clerk for the 2009-10 term. I also have an Obama sticker on my bumper and an Obama sign in my yard. According to Ethics for Federal Judicial Law Clerks (p.20), I would be violating Canon 5 of the Code of Conduct for Judicial Employees if I were currently clerking.
Pretty much. The scope of political activity is curtailed not just by the canons of judicial ethics, but also by the Hatch Act. As a clerk, you are discouraged from giving money, attending events, you’re not even allowed to wear a campaign button to work.
We’re all for judicial impartiality, but making clerks say “I don’t know nothin about birthin’ no babies” seems a bit undemocratic (small “d”) to us. Federal clerks participate in some of the most important decisions about how we live, and we expect them to be able to weigh both sides without passion or prejudice. But a bumper sticker removes the veil of ignorance and reduces clerks to partisan hacks? A legal fiction is one thing, this is a legal farce.
Luckily for new clerks like our reader, this is not a problem for 2009-2010 clerks. They can go nuts until they are “official” federal employees. But current clerks can attest to the exact moment where free speech falls to the illusion of impartiality.
Update: If you’re interested in learning more about clerkships, and if you’ll be in Washington on Saturday, October, 4, this free event may be of interest to you.
It’s been a tough week for Camp Obama. We’ve learned that it is not cool to compare Sarah Palin to a pig, but empowering to compare her to a pit bull. But this news should brighten their day, and prove everybody’s suspicions about liberal bias at the nation’s top law schools.
According to the Huffington Post, 635 law professors have contributed to the one of the presidential nominees, with a whopping 95 percent of those contributions going to Obama. Paul Caron at TaxProf Blog has the full breakdown here.
You can’t get 95 percent of law professors to agree on the definition of the word “law.”
Does Obama have a secret plan to raise the salaries of law profs or lower the cost of white poster-board seating charts? At 95 percent, you’d expect Obama to have promised something very specific that is important to academia, and since the only important thing in academia is how much b.s. class-time they have to put in while they struggle to publish enough to make tenure, I don’t know what Obama could have offered them.
Did Obama somehow meet all of them while he was a professor?
Maybe it’s not surprising for the Democratic nominee to garner broad support from law professors. But I’ve got to think that 95% of any subset of the legal profession thinking the same way is unprecedented and slightly frightening.
But I don’t know what it means. Law Prof Presidential Campaign Contributions: 95% to Obama, 5% to McCain [TaxProf Blog]
Did you watch Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin’s speech last night? Of course you did; it was a must-see. And regardless of your politics, you can’t deny that she delivered it superbly, with polish and poise. In short, at least as a stylistic matter, it was the Best Speech Ever.
But how was the Palin speech as a matter of substance? The AP fact-checked it and identified some issues:
PALIN: “The Democratic nominee for president supports plans to raise income taxes, raise payroll taxes, raise investment income taxes, raise the death tax, raise business taxes, and increase the tax burden on the American people by hundreds of billions of dollars.”
THE FACTS: The Tax Policy Center, a think tank run jointly by the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute, concluded that Obama’s plan would increase after-tax income for middle-income taxpayers by about 5 percent by 2012, or nearly $2,200 annually. McCain’s plan, which cuts taxes across all income levels, would raise after tax-income for middle-income taxpayers by 3 percent, the center concluded.
Who cares about Kansas — what about Biglaw associates (and partners)? How would they be affected by Obama’s tax plan? With their six- and seven-figure salaries, some are doing a lot better than “middle income.”
Check out some surprising numbers, after the jump.
Clark was a community organizer for three different townships in Bucks County, a county Hillary Clinton carried with over 60 percent of the vote. He felt that his Cleary litigation experience helped him in his campaign stint organizing local volunteers: “Volunteers are kind of like junior associates in that you have to clearly articulate what needs to be done so that everyone is on the same page.”
Also don’t make any sudden movements. Be firm, yet gentle.
Clark credits Cleary for allowing him the opportunity to work in rural Pennsylvania….
Authorities are investigating whether men threatened to kill Senator Barack Obama, or if they were just trying to get a date with Jodie Foster. Either way, U.S. Attorney Troy Eid is certain that the potentially meth-addled gunmen posed no credible threat to Obama or the Democratic National Convention.
We have explored the colossal idiocy of making threats against the President before. However, in a news flash to, you know, Germans, Obama is not the president yet. He is not even the nominee of a major party.
What he is, is a “major candidate” and 18 U.S.C. § 3056, authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury to grant him Secret Service protection and all the other trappings of “dude, not to be messed with.”
Obama has received protection for well over a year, earlier than any other presidential candidate in history.
So, here’s an important safety tip: don’t threaten to harm Obama or McCain or Bob Barr or whomever. Register your displeasure in the traditional way, anonymous comments on various blogs that showcase your cutting wit and deep respect for democracy. The Secret Service doesn’t have a sense of humor. U.S. attorney ‘confident’ Obama not threatened [Rocky Mountain News]
Although Barack Obama is just days away from accepting the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination (acceptance song speculation here), some Hillary Clinton supporters refuse to give up. From the Philadelphia Daily News:
Barack Obama’s presidential campaign has faced so many false rumors about his family history that it has put his birth certificate on the Internet: he was born in Honolulu, nearly two years after Hawaii became a state, making Obama a U.S. citizen by birth.
But that hasn’t stopped Montgomery County lawyer Philip J. Berg from challenging Obama’s qualifications to be president.
Berg, a Hillary Clinton supporter, announced he’s filing a federal lawsuit today, claiming that Obama lost his citizenship when his mother relocated the family to Indonesia when Barack was a boy.
Under the law, however, moving to a foreign country does not negate an American’s citizenship.
Bad enough for Rule 11? In Berg’s defense — or maybe not — he makes other claims, too (e.g., that Obama was actually born in Kenya). You can check out the full complaint by clicking here. Raining on Barack’s Parade [Philadelphia Daily News (fourth item)] Berg v. Obama: Complaint (PDF)
In a text message sent out at around 3 a.m. today, Senator Barack Obama announced his running mate: Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., of Delaware.
Lawyers should be happy with Obama’s veep pick. There are lots of legal angles to Senator Biden:
like Obama (Harvard Law ’91), Joe Biden is a lawyer by training (Syracuse Law ’68);
he practiced law in Wilmington, Delaware, for a few years (before being elected to the U.S. Senate in 1972, at age 29);
since 1991, he’s taught a seminar in constitutional law at Widener University School of Law; and
The holiday season is upon us, and yet again, you have no idea what to get for the fickle lawyer in your life. We’re here to help. Even if your bonus check hasn’t arrived yet, any one of the gifts we’ve highlighted here could be a worthy substitute until your employer decides to make it rain.
We’ve got an eclectic selection for you to choose from, so settle in by that stack of documents yet to be reviewed and dig in…
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.
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.
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.
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!