Biglaw

Wildman Harrold logo.jpgWildman Harrold has decided to give a majority of its incoming associates the Fox. Am Law Daily reports that the firm has rescinded offers to 10 of its 14 associates. Unlike Arent Fox, Wildman will not be giving its would-be incoming associates any stipend.

On the Wildman Harrold career page, they really like numbers. They evidently haven’t had a chance to update their summer associate page; they’re probably busy with fall recruiting. So I figured I’d give them a hand.

Wildman, by the numbers:

* 10 – Number of offers rescinded to class of 2009 associates (out of 14).
* 4 – Number of offers extended to 2009 summer associates (out of 17).
* 10 – Number of lawyers laid off in January 2009.
* 10 – Number of lawyers laid off in April 2009.

HTH.

Wildman is a Chicago based firm. Yesterday, we told you that the Illinois bar results were out. You don’t think that Wildman rescinded offers right after the bar results came out do you? More details after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Wild News From Wildman Harrold”

Female partner bending over backwards.JPGThere are firms that want to make more female partners (and minority partners for that matter), but honestly do not know how to make that happen. Retaining top female associates through a couple of years of around 3,000 billable hours is just difficult, especially if those women want to have a family.
Over on the WSJ Law Blog, Ashby Jones explores the female partner problem facing Clifford Chance:

The issue was the topic of an interesting article this week in the UK’s The Lawyer. The focus of the article was Clifford Chance, which has pledged to increase its percentage of female partners to 30 percent.
As the Lawyer reports, however, “the firm has a long way to go.” Currently, only 15 percent of its partnership is female.

The Lawyer article explains that there is no quick fix to the problem:

“There’s no one thing that will solve the problem,” says Childs. “There’s no quick fix. It’s a long-term goal that we’re very focused on. It’s something that all firms face and there are many ways you can approach it.”
Aggressively pursuing a dramatic increase in female partners is problematic, Childs argues. Firms need to find creative ways to change their cultures and encourage females to strive for partnership.

Give Clifford Chance some credit here. You aren’t going to fix this issue without confronting it head on.
While firms contemplate their cultural impediments to dramatic growth in female partnership , Patricia Gillette — who is a partner at Orrick — sees one simple change that could make eating the hours a little easier for all attorneys.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Can Remote Access Help Firms Make Female Partners?”

Federal Trade Commission logo.JPGI’m not particularly interested in the history of the Titanic, but my cursory understanding of the tragedy tells me that there were not enough life boats for all of the passengers. That seems like a basic design flaw to me.
As clear as I can tell, current law students are suffering from a similar lack of suitable escape options. Future lawyers are responding to the difficulty of getting a job in private practice by bombarding government agencies with applications. But the sheer number of applicants is flooding the market for government lawyers, leaving many students out in the cold.
Applications are going far beyond obvious options like the Department of Justice. Yesterday, the Federal Trade Commission decided it couldn’t even take on any more resumes:

Thank you for your interest in the Federal Trade Commission, Bureau of Competition. Due to a record number of applications, we have ended our application period in advance of the September 30th deadline.
Again, thank you for your interest and please keep the Bureau in mind for future opportunities.
Sincerely,
Bureau of Competition Hiring Committee

When we’re at the point in the movie where the government is locking the doors to steerage, you know things are bad.
In response, Cornell Law School is urging students who want to work to move even more quickly. Details after the jump.

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Angry clock.JPGDo you have any friends who used to work with you at your Biglaw firm before moving on to a sweet in-house position? Do you complain to them about the financial problems at your firm?
If so, you should probably stop — because your colleagues turned clients really do not care about your problems. Bisnow hosted a conference about the future of the billable hour (gavel bang: ABA Journal). Washingtonian reports:

Michael Helfer, general counsel of CitiGroup and a panelist at the Bisnow event, put it bluntly when he said CitiGroup’s inhouse legal department has been reduced during the past few years by nearly 300 employees, many of whom were laid off. The lawyers who are left have had their compensation slashed by as much as 60 percent. Helfer says he’s consequently lost his patience for paying his company’s outside lawyers premium fees. “The amount of sympathy I have for the argument that $1,000 an hour is a reasonable rate . . . is nil.”

This is why firms like O’Melveny are putting together five-year strategic plans that contemplate alternative billing structures. But will these new fee arrangements still lead to enormous profits? Some D.C. details, after the jump.

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Arent Fox logo.JPGWe have done a lot of reporting on firms that have deferred their incoming class, and then extended the deferral period. At some firms, it has been an indefinite deferral extension.
So give Arent Fox a little bit of credit. Instead of continuing to string the class of 2009 along, the firm has cried “no más” and just revoked offers to several of its incoming associates.
Arent Fox has confirmed to Above the Law that it has decided to revoke offers to some 2009 graduates who have not yet started at the firm. The firm is giving them $20,000 for the inconvenience of believing they had already successfully secured post-graduate employment.
Maybe Arent Fox read Morning Docket today. We linked to a story in the Atlantic that asked why firms were doing deferrals instead of revoking offers outright.
There has been much gnashing of teeth and rending of garments by would-be Arent Fox first years on Facebook this morning. But we think this comment on a status update captures the general feeling:

I just sent them an envelope with powder in it. Don’t worry, I wore a ski mask when I walked to the mailbox so they can’t trace me.

Please, Arent Fox friends, do not blow your $20K on terrorist activities. Instead stock up on Ramen and a buy a good sleeping bag. It’s going to be a long winter.
UPDATE: We assume the Facebook commenter was joking. Clearly. The wearing a ski mask to the mailbox line is clear parody.
FURTHER UPDATE: Arent Fox Chairman Marc Fleischaker shared some numbers with the BLT:

In all, Fleischaker said, about 12 incoming associates were affected. Washington, which has the firm’s largest office, had “about eight,” New York had “between two and three,” and Los Angeles had one, Fleischaker said. The news was first reported on Above the Law.

Read Arent Fox’s full statement after the jump.

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Career Center AboveTheLaw Lateral Link ATL.jpg

We received over 1300 responses to last week’s Career Center survey on how lawyers feel about their careers in light of the recession.  Despite economists’ encouraging words about the light at the end of the tunnel, respondents across the country remain deeply concerned for themselves and the legal industry as a whole.  Although the economy has pulled out of its tailspin, recovering financial institutions and businesses are no longer generating the same level of legal work they once did, making it extremely difficult for major corporate law firms to stage their own comebacks.  With business stagnating, several major law firms have gone out of business , and waves of layoffs have left thousands of big firm attorneys without jobs and countless others thinking they could be cut next. Check out the Career Center, powered by Lateral Link, for more on which firms are starting to recover from the downturn and which firms continue to struggle.

Check out the survey results, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Career Center: Attorneys Aren’t Seeing Green Shoots”

Pittsburgh G20.JPGYesterday, we mentioned that attorneys in the great city of Pittsburgh are worried about being confused with corporate elites during the G-20 summit. I was skeptical whether the dress code advice given to K&L Gates attorneys would actually help people avoid the scorn of protesters.
So we kicked the question to our friends at Fashionista. Here are some suggestions on what female attorneys should be wearing in the ‘Burgh this week:

My first thought for the ladies was to definitely keep it simple: a dark fitted jean (I’m currently obsessed with my “Curvy” style from the 1969 collection at the Gap), maybe a cool not suit-y black blazer, with a striped tee underneath and a simple black boot. Subtle, professional, but not too corporate lackey.
Or throw in a little retro vibe plus color, like this look from Chris Benz. Maybe I’m wrong, but brights don’t scream Big Law to me. The other option I came up with was to go luxe boho, like you’re part of the professional counterculture, if you will. Maybe something along the lines of this Anna Sui print with some black tights and a slouchy bag.

Click over to Fashionista for advice for the fellas. Or check out what their couture conscious commenters have to say about the conundrum.
Okay, I’m out of alliterative examples. Hop on the hyperlink below.
A Sartorial Conundrum [Fashionista]
Earlier: K&L Gates Tells Lawyers to Go Incognito During G20 Summit

Career Center AboveTheLaw Lateral Link ATL.jpg
Over the last month, we’ve seen a significant spike in the number of ATL readers making use of the information on the Career Center. With hundreds of thousands of visitors to the law firm snapshots and tens of thousands of law firm comparisons generated on the Career Center, we want to know what is on our readers’ minds when it comes to your careers.
Could it be that a year after Lehman’s collapse, and with Bernake’s reassurances that the recession is "very likely over," attorneys feel it is safe to go back on the job hunt? Perhaps the recent layoffs are creating concern that things are getting worse, and people want to know their options? Either way, the good news is that our friends over at Lateral Link tell us that hiring is starting to pick up and they have dozens of attorneys interviewing, so options are out there.

If you have information about your firm that you want to share with other career center users, please email us at careercenter@abovethelaw.com. Thanks.
ATL Career Center [powered by Lateral Link]

OMelveny Myers OMM logo.jpgThere has been so much talk about the death of Biglaw that the term has become a cliché. These are challenging times, to be sure. But many firms are in the process of adjusting to the market, by making long-term plans to revise their business models so they can thrive in the future.
One such firm is O’Melveny & Myers. About a month ago, the firm released a five-year strategic plan to its associates and counsel. At a time when some firms are keeping their employees in the dark about long-term issues, O’Melveny — to its credit — decided to let its people know what management is thinking.
Above the Law has obtained a copy of this five-year plan. The document outlines how O’Melveny intends to compete going forward. Instead of aiming for marginal cost savings by making a few cutbacks here and there, the O’Melveny memo tries to rethink the firm’s overall business model — and gives us a chance to talk, once again, about the long term viability of Biglaw.
Let’s take a look into the O’Melveny’s — and perhaps Biglaw’s — future, after the jump.

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A tipster has pointed out an interesting Google trend to us:

A sign of the times in the legal industry that I thought you might find interesting: if you have Google’s search suggestion turned on, and begin to type in virtually any law firm’s name, one of the top suggestions that comes up is that firm’s name followed by “layoffs.”

Indeed, type in “law firm” and this is what Google suggests you might be searching for:
law firm google.jpg
We played the “Google game” with a bunch of law firm names. Only one of the firms we tried was free of layoff association in Google search results.

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