Conventional wisdom says you can’t compare apples to oranges. That’s stupid. Of course you can. Oranges are better. An orange is a delicious treat, while an apple is a healthy “snack” for people too embarrassed to have another bag of Doritos. Orange juice is also clearly superior to apple juice. The only people who truly prefer apples are those without the patience or dexterity to peel an orange.
Lots of people rank law firms. We even did it. And you can dice up law firm rankings in so many ways: most prestigious firm, safest firm, elite-est-ist firms, best firms in inter-coastal lowland regions.
That’s all great, but if you are going to work in a Biglaw firm, you are going to be working in a specific office. And not all offices are created equal, even within the same firm. There are firms that aren’t thought of very highly overall, but a specific office of their operation might be doing great work and be the place for your kind of thing.
And let’s drop the artifice that every graduating law student has a burning desire to work in New York or L.A. or Dallas. Some do. Some just want to work at the “best” firm they can, and they don’t really care which stop they have to take on the Acela. You think anybody wants to live in New Haven for three years? Come on. They go to Yale because it’s the best. And they’ll go to San Francisco or Chicago if there’s a better offer on the table out there than in New York City.
As usual, Above the Law wants to help you. So let’s look at some of the more interesting office disparities, and then look at our full list…
Today’s Lawyerly Lairs column is about a Skadden associate’s search for a home (other than 4 Times Square, where he surely spends most of his waking hours). The firm requires sacrifices of its lawyers, but it also offers rich rewards, including generous pay and ample prestige. There’s a reason that Skadden is a top 10 firm in our new law firm rankings.
Working at Skadden gives you the ability to buy a Manhattan apartment while you’re still in your early 30s. The home we’re about to view is not a lavish lawyerly lair, but it’s a perfectly respectable starter apartment.
* “There’s too much at stake—too much money and interest.” Biglaw firms in West Africa are surviving, nay, thriving, despite the fact that the area is afflicted by the terrors of Ebola. [Am Law Daily]
* “[T]ake a step back, to pause to consider, I hope, a change of course.” The head of the FBI is pissed about cell encryption, and he wants tech companies to cut it out with this privacy stuff. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney has a new chief financial officer. At Pittsburgh’s third-largest firm, the former litigation practice director could really make a name for himself. [Pittsburgh Business Times]
* According to NY AG Eric Schneiderman, 72% of Airbnb rental sites in New York City are operating illegally. This is going to be problematic for those who enjoy the services of faux hotels. [New York Times]
This is a continuation of the past three articles I published in ATL over the past month or so. My first article argued that Profits Per Partner is a great servant for a law firm but a bad master. In my second article, I set forth our Profits Per Partner Emancipation Plan as an alternative. In my third article, I set forth what I believe is the highest level in law firm profitability analysis, which is to “embrace” the volatility inherent in the practice of law. In this final article, I will give some thoughts on how a law firm could indeed Embrace Volatility.
Before getting to that, I will mention as an aside that I wrote a few weeks ago in this column an article entitled “Are Lawyers Only Happy When They’re Miserable?” That article largely dealt with how an individual might in fact Embrace Volatility. This article is directed not at individuals but at law firms.
If you have been reading my past articles, you may be open to at least considering how Embracing Volatility might be a good thing for a law firm. But is this whole concept just a fantasy, like it would be nice to not be afraid of snakes but you can’t help it and just reciting “I am not afraid of snakes” isn’t going to work? I don’t think so. I think the following simple steps would do it quite nicely:
* Dickstein Shapiro’s IP practice was raided by Manatt Phelps & Phillips, and now the struggling firm is down one practice group coleader thanks to its partner defections. [Am Law Daily]
* Contrary to popular belief, O’Melveny & Myers is not opening a Portland office. Instead, the firm is setting up a temporary shop to work on a local patent trial. [Portland Business Journal]
* You can turn an IPO into a gold mine for your firm using this one weird trick. Discover how you can turn that one deal into your future. Prepare to be shocked. [Law360 (sub. req.)]
* Now isn’t the best time to enroll in law school. It’s also not the best time to rank law schools as “top” schools based on enrollment alone. Seriously, have you even heard of all of these law schools? [Birmingham Business Journal]
* Thanks to this Georgia appellate ruling, parents may now be held responsible for what their silly little children who weren’t supposed to be on Facebook are posting on Facebook. Dislike. [WSJ Law Blog]
* John Grisham says not all consumers of child pornography are pedophiles. Here’s a story about one of his law school pals: “He shouldn’t ‘a done it. It was stupid, but it wasn’t 10-year-old boys.” [The Telegraph]
In my line of work, I sometimes end up as a career counselor of sorts. People talk to me about what’s going on at their law school or law firm and ask me for advice about what to do.
I recently had occasion to speak with a lawyer who was laid off by his Biglaw firm. He remains on the website, but he hasn’t been to the office in months; that was part of the deal they negotiated with issued to him. He has been looking for a new job for months but has been having difficulty. He blames this in part on a lack of specialization — he’s a generalist, not really marketable as an expert in a particular type of litigation or transaction.
This reminded me of a chat I was having with an old friend from my high school debate days, who has found great professional success in a focused practice area. I contacted him again and our chat turned into a full-blown interview about how to become (and remain) a partner at a major law firm by establishing expertise in a particular field of substantive law.
* The Fifth Circuit is allowing the Texas voter ID law to be enforced during the upcoming election, even though it was recently struck down by a federal judge. After all, “preserving the status quo” is very important down south. [Bloomberg]
* We suppose that’s why the Supreme Court stepped in to make sure that abortion clinics in Texas were allowed to reopen following their shut down. Take that, Fifth Circuit. [New York Times]
* AG Eric Holder is showing off some fancy legal footwork before he walks out the door. Federal prosecutors can no longer ask defendants to waive their IAC claims when pleading guilty. [WSJ Law Blog]
* It’s the debt: With headlines like “Law school applications plummet – at U of L too,” the University of Louisville School of Law can’t even convince alums from its undergrad school to attend. [Courier-Journal]
* Amal Alamuddin changed her name to Amal Clooney on her firm’s website. It’s as if she wants to rub the fact that she’s a human rights lawyer who just got married in everyone’s face. [New York Daily News]
Based on the traffic we’ve been seeing, there is considerable interest in the new ATL Power 100 Ranking of law firms. The Power 100 blends objective data with subjective feedback from over 20,000 law firm associates and partners. The result is a holistic picture of each firm, encompassing employee satisfaction, compensation, reputation, desirability as an employer, and data-driven measures of firm growth. The Power 100 offers a new perspective on how Biglaw firms stack up.
Today we share the leading firms in some of the individual categories of our rankings formula: Which firms have the highest growth rate? The lowest leverage? Which firms’ lawyers are happiest with their pay? Which firms are considered the most desirable employers?
Jiminy jillickers! ATL editors are going all over the place over the next month or so. Or at least all over the Eastern Seaboard. If we aren’t heading to your neck of the woods on these trips, never fear, we may hit you up on the next time around. We’ve already hit up Houston, Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles in the past year.
Kinney Recruiting’sEvan Jowers is currently in Hong Kong for client meetings and still has a few slots available through October 22. Evan will also be in Hong Kong November 14 to December 15. Further, Robert Kinney has been in Frankfurt and Munich this week and is available for meetings with our Germany based readers.
One of our key law firm clients has referred us to one of their important clients in the US, Europe and China – a leading global technology supplier for the auto industry – in order to handle their search for a new Asia General Counsel and Asia Chief Compliance Officer.
Kinney is exclusively handling this in-house search.
This position will have a lot of responsibility and include supervision of eight attorneys underneath them in the Asia in-house team. The new hire will report directly to the global general counsel and global chief compliance officer, who is based in the US. The new hire’s ability to make judgement calls is going to be as important as their technical skill set background.
The position is based in Shanghai and will deal with the company’s operations all over Asia and also in India, including frequent acquisitions in the region.
It is expected that the new hire will come from a top US firm’s Shanghai, Beijing or Hong Kong offices, currently in a top flight corporate practice at the senior associate, counsel or partner level. Of course, the candidate can be currently in a relevant in-house role.
The JOBS Act created new tools for companies to publicly advertise securities deals online. As a result, thousands of new deals have hit the market and hundreds of millions in capital has been raised, spurring a wealth of new business development opportunities for attorneys.
Fund deals, startup capital raises, PIPE deals and loan syndicates are just a handful of the transactions benefiting from the JOBS Act. InvestorID FirmTM is a platform designed to help attorneys equip their clients with the workflow, marketing and compliance tools to publicly solicit a securities offering online. By providing clients with the tools to painlessly navigate the regulatory landscape of general solicitation, InvestorID FirmTM helps attorneys add value above just legal services.
The Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (JOBS Act) went into effect in 2013 and permits Regulation D offerings of securities to be advertised publicly. This means that funds and companies can now use social media, emails and web sites to market transactions to new “accredited” investors.
However, with these new powers come new pain points. InvestorID FirmTM provides a secure, fully hosted, cloud-based platform with a breadth of tools for your clients, including: