Biglaw

Ladies (and gentlemen — manicures have gone manly, dontcha know):
Please see below. A picture is worth a thousand words — and this picture explains, better than any recruiting brochure or Vault write-up, why you want to work at Latham & Watkins.
Latham Watkins in house nail salon small.JPG
P.S. Why wasn’t this quirky perk wasn’t featured in the recent New York Times piece on the blessings of Biglaw?

It’s the Friday after Thanksgiving. The stock market is now closed — and so are we. We’ll be back with new posts on Monday, barring a surprise weekend announcement of “NY to 190.”
In the meantime, here’s some fodder for possible discussion, for the unfortunate few who are at work today (or were at work yesterday). From a reader:

cranberry cranberries Above the Law blog.jpgI thought it might be interesting to get the best/worst stories from associates that had to work over the Thanksgiving holiday. I fortunately don’t have a terrible story to share that happened to me personally, but I have heard of bad things happening to others. For example, I heard of opposing counsel on the East Coast that scheduled a deposition on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, knowing that the counsel from California will likely have Thanksgiving plans torpedoed.

I also heard of a partner who told an associate that a party was moving for a TRO on the Monday following Thanksgiving. The associate worked on the case on Thanksgiving and the weekend. The associate later found out that the partner learned on Wednesday that the TRO was off-calendar, but the partner neglected to tell the associate — because the partner was preoccupied with getting out of the office for his own Thanksgiving plans.

These aren’t the greatest stories I realize, but I’m sure plenty of readers have some.

Have a tale of your own to tell? Please share it in the comments.
Happy Black Friday! And enjoy the rest of the holiday weekend.

Guess what’s at the top of the New York Times Most Emailed Articles list today? A piece entitled For Lawyers, Perks to Fit a Lifestyle, by Lynnley Browning.
We’re pleasantly surprised that an article about law firm perks, a niche topic that we cover obsessively around here, is so popular with readers of a general-interest publication. Or is it just that lawyers are the only poor saps at work today?
Kelis Milkshake boys to the yard Above the law blog.jpgAmong the more notable perks mentioned in the article:

1. Milkshakes and candied apples — yum! (Perkins Coie) [FN1]
2. Mortgage guarantees for the first $100,000 of associate mortgages (Sullivan & Cromwell)
3. Reimbursements for associates who buy a hybrid car or a certain brand of car (DLA Piper; Fulbright & Jaworski)
4. On-site yoga classes (O’Melveny & Myers)

It’s an interesting article; read the whole thing here. There’s additional commentary on the piece over at the WSJ Law Blog, by Jamie Heller (filling in for Peter Lattman, who is on his honeymoon).
P.S. Looks like an NYT correction may be in order, due to a slip-up concerning the amount of year-end bonuses:

The perks come on top of higher salaries and larger bonuses — this year, the top-offs have been doubled at some practices. At the New York office of Cravath, Swaine & Moore, an old-line firm, associates will receive special payouts of $10,000 to $50,000, in addition to their year-end bonuses up to $35,000.

Our suggested rewording: “At the New York office of Cravath, Swaine & Moore, an old-line firm, some associates will receive special payouts of $10,000 to $50,000, in addition to year-end bonuses up to $60,000.” (The word “some” is needed before the word “associates,” because class of 2007 or “stub year” associates don’t get special bonuses.)
[FN1] The Perkins Coie milkshakes come from Potbelly Sandwich Works. Coincidentally, we enjoyed a PSW milkshake for the first time on Wednesday. It was Oreo, and it was delicious!
Update: One of you sent us this great comment, by email:

I thought the most poignant perk was Fried Frank’s: they offer psychotherapy (through what sounds suspiciously like a bulk discount deal) to help associates deal with stress, anxiety, depression, and divorce. I love it!

I can imagine the therapist’s notes: “Patient distressed re: possibility of negative performance review. Says he has not seen wife or child since, “let’s see … when was that holiday with the fireworks?” Is in constant pain from chronic papercuts and verbal caning associated with ongoing case. Patient noted gratefully that firm is paying for therapy. Possible diagnoses: Stockholm syndrome?”

For Lawyers, Perks to Fit a Lifestyle [New York Times]
Law Job Perks v. Law Job Woes [WSJ Law Blog]

associate bonus watch 2007 law firm Above the Law blog.jpgWe’re sorry we don’t have more associate bonus news to report. Unfortunately, we have to wait for it to happen; we can’t just make it up.
So while we wait for more announcements — it’s the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, so we’re hoping for some announcements in the afternoon — let’s talk about a related subject: staff bonuses.
In its bonus memo from earlier this month, Willkie Farr & Gallagher announced that it would be paying a special bonus to its administrative staff as well as its associates. And it turns out that Willkie is not alone. We’re hearing that Weil, Gotshal & Manges is paying its support staff a special bonus as well.
The Weil special bonus equals one week’s base salary. It will go to all support staff: “secretaries, paralegals, litigation support — the whole nine yards.”
The amount is not life-changing; at a week’s salary, the bonus equals about 2 percent of base. But it’s still a nice move, and something else for Weil paralegals to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.
What other firms besides Willkie and Weil are paying special bonuses to staff? Feel free to discuss in the comments.

associate bonus watch 2007 law firm Above the Law blog.jpgWe’re sorry we don’t have more associate bonus news to report. Unfortunately, we have to wait for it to happen; we can’t just make it up.
So while we wait for more announcements — it’s the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, so we’re hoping for some announcements in the afternoon — let’s talk about a related subject: staff bonuses.
In its bonus memo from earlier this month, Willkie Farr & Gallagher announced that it would be paying a special bonus to its administrative staff as well as its associates. And it turns out that Willkie is not alone. We’re hearing that Weil, Gotshal & Manges is paying its support staff a special bonus as well.
The Weil special bonus equals one week’s base salary. It will go to all support staff: “secretaries, paralegals, litigation support — the whole nine yards.”
The amount is not life-changing; at a week’s salary, the bonus equals about 2 percent of base. But it’s still a nice move, and something else for Weil paralegals to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.
What other firms besides Willkie and Weil are paying special bonuses to staff? Feel free to discuss in the comments.

associate bonus watch 2007 law firm Above the Law blog.jpgSorry, we don’t have any memo (and we don’t know if there will ever be one). But we can confirm for you that the New York office of WilmerHale announced bonuses yesterday.
We’ve been informed that the bonuses are at market levels (year-end and special). The announcement was made yesterday at a live meeting.
One tipster tells us that making the announcement at a meeting, rather than via memo, is firm tradition. But taking the meeting route does lend itself to this speculation:

I can only imagine WilmerHale didn’t distribute memos because they don’t want to create enmity in their DC/Boston offices.

The D.C. and Boston associates are going to find out anyway. So why not bite the bullet, and make a firm-wide announcement (a la Sidley)?
Earlier: Associate Bonus Watch 2007 archives (scroll down)

American Lawyer summer associate survey Above the Law blog.jpgThe American Lawyer just announced the results of its 2007 summer associate survey. Interestingly enough, the highest-scoring firms weren’t necessarily the biggest firms with the most lavish programs. From Paul Jaskunas’s article:

Small is beautiful, at least in the eyes of 2007′s summer associates. While respondents to our Summer Associates Survey liked big firms, they liked life at small to midsize firms even better. Students craved juicy assignments, friendly offices, and lots of attention, and the firms that best satisfied these needs tended to be medium-sized shops with relatively small summer programs.

Of the top 20 firms, only four had summer programs with more than 100 clerks, while nine hired 30 or fewer summer associates. Students most commonly cited firm reputation as a factor influencing their clerkship decision, but that doesn’t mean that the behemoths of the legal world always have the upper hand in winning over law students.

“They go out of their way to make you feel like a part of the family from day one,” wrote an enthused summer at first-ranked Nutter McClennen & Fish, which had only 11 clerks…. One of the 17 summer associates at second-ranked Fox Rothschild called it “a big firm where you can live a small-firm lifestyle.”

And a full-length firm photo, too!
Based on the proliferation of reader comments on today’s Morning Docket, where we linked to the survey in passing, it’s clear that many of you are dying to discuss the rankings. So here’s an open thread for that purpose. Have at it!
Size Does Matter [American Lawyer Student Edition]
National Rankings: Summer Associate Survey 2007 [American Lawyer Student Edition]
Results By City: Summer Associate Survey 2007 [American Lawyer Student Edition]

associate bonus watch 2007 law firm Above the Law blog.jpgPeople who practice intellectual property law tend to be really, really smart. This is a good thing, since you’d have to be a genius to understand the new associate pay plan just announced by Fish & Richardson.
Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration. But we just couldn’t bother reading a document as long and complex as the Fish & Richardson memo, at least this early in the day; the caffeine from our morning coffee is still working its way through our system.
Fortunately, our sources offered some explanation:

“Attached is the new Fish & Richardson compensation plan. The basically cut salraries by taking around 20k of salary away from each year and then giving it back when you make 2000 hours. Pretty sh**ty for patent prosecutors. Everyone is pretty pissed off about this.”

“I am pissed. Not only are they effectively taking 10k from my pocket because I always bill over 2000 hours, but we don’t get the target bonus or the special bonus. In short, someone from my year will make at least $80,000 more at another firm for hitting 2000 hours.”

To see what’s causing such bitterness, check out the memo, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Associate Bonus Watch: Fish & Richardson Screws Associates Announces New Compensation Plan
(And Open Thread for Discussion of Bonuses at IP Shops)”

associate bonus watch 2007 law firm Above the Law blog.jpgThe rumors that we mentioned from this morning are true (as rumors so often are). The firm of Schulte Roth & Zabel has made its bonus announcement.
Schulte will pay year-end and special bonuses, according to the now-familiar scale, to associates with 2000 or more “Target Hours.” It will pay additional bonuses to associates who hit 2300 and 2500 Target Hours ($10,000 for the former, and $20,000 for the latter). As the SRZ memo notes, these overworked associates “will, therefore, be paid above market” — which is as it should be, for suffering that is extraordinary even by Biglaw standards.
Update: Okay, as some of you suggest in the comments, 2300-2500 hours may not be “extraordinary.” But it’s certainly higher than average, even in New York. Our basic point is that at least Schulte is providing additional compensation to associates who work longer hours than usual. It’s a nice move.
Check out the memo, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Associate Bonus Watch: Schulte Roth”

associate bonus watch 2007 law firm Above the Law blog.jpgHere’s an open thread for discussion of law firm bonus news (and rumor). Our last bonus post has scrolled off the front page of ATL, leaving it bereft of bonus coverage — which is unacceptable, given the many firms that have not yet announced.
We’re hearing rumors of an announcement by Schulte Roth & Zabel. If they’re true, can someone please send us the memo?
Also, you can still vote in our poll about whether New York associates should receive higher bonuses than their non-NYC counterparts. We’ll keep the poll open through the weekend. To vote, click here.

Page 326 of 4291...322323324325326327328329330...429