Biglaw

Evans.jpgWhile we anxiously await word of new associate bonus announcements, it is in the meantime a quite slow news day. For those of you tired of talking about the New York Bar Exam Results, here is a brief diversion in the form of full-length attorney bio photos from the firm Fox Rothschild. Our tipster quips:

It’s back-to-school-photo time for law firms. What’s up with this Fox Rothschild’s cruel and unusual full-body photos?

We had a look at a few of the sampling of photos provided by the tipster and we totally get what he’s saying (Samantha Evans, pictured at right, is an exception). Interesting experiment, but stick with the head shots next time guys, alright? You don’t want opposing attorneys sizing you up that much.

Any other firms doing wacky things with attorney photos? Maybe some more artsy-fartsy stuff, a la Gibson Dunn’s Peekaboo? Send us anything strange that you come across.

Links to a few more examples of the full length photos are after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Fox Rothschild to Full Length Photos!”

associate bonus watch 2007 law firm Above the Law blog.jpgThe latest Biglaw bonus announcement to cross our desk is that of Proskauer Rose. The firm is paying year-end and special bonuses, according to the familiar scale, consistent with the firm’s “established merit and hours guidelines.” The non-New Yorkers among you will be pleased to see that the Proskauer bonuses are the same across the New York, Boston, and Los Angeles offices.
Also, congratulations to Proskauer’s eleven new partners (and four senior counsel), whose promotions were recently announced. A special shout-out to Jon Oram, our law school classmate, and a leading young sports lawyer. Jon’s clients include the NBA, the NHL, Major League Soccer, the Philadelphia Eagles, and the New Jersey Devils. Congrats, Jon!
P.S. For the record, Jon was not our source for the Proskauer bonus memo — which we’ve posted for your reading pleasure, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Associate Bonus Watch: Proskauer Shares the Wealth With Boston and L.A.”

associate bonus watch 2007 law firm Above the Law blog.jpgGuess it’s “Magic Circle” night here at Associate Bonus Watch. Fresh on the heels of Freshfields, we’ve confirmed the Allen & Overy bonus announcement.
Check out the memo, announcing year-end and special bonuses at market rates, after the jump.

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associate bonus watch 2007 law firm Above the Law blog.jpgFrom the London Times:

Lawyer aims for KO

A City solicitor who swapped the boardroom for the boxing ring is to make her professional debut. Laura Saperstein, 36, from Tottenham, North London, was a mergers and acquisitions lawyer with Freshfields, earning £75,000 a year. Three years ago she left to train full-time and won the British lightweight amateur title. Her bout, against a Swedish opponent at Tooting Leisure Centre, will be on November 18.

We’re guessing that Ms. Saperstein is enjoying her new career, in which she’s already encountered significant success. But perhaps she misses her old job, or at least the paycheck of her old job, this time of year.
Her former employer, the Magic Circle firm of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, just announced bonuses for its New York and D.C. “fee earners.” The memo appears after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Associate Bonus Watch: Freshfields Matches”

associate bonus watch 2007 law firm Above the Law blog.jpgTwo major law firms with origins outside New York, Sidley Austin and Covington & Burling, have announced special bonuses for their NYC associates. What bonuses they will pay to their non-New York associates is not yet clear. But we’re guessing that, at the end of the day, the New York associates will take home considerably more pay than their counterparts outside Gotham.
In the comments, debate has raged over whether or not it’s appropriate to pay bigger bonuses to New York associates. The trash talking can be fun to read. But we’d like a more systematic assessment of public opinion.
Please take our reader poll about bonuses. It’s rather unscientific, and it makes no assumptions about billable hours, cost of living, etc. That’s okay; interpret the question in whatever way you wish. We’re just trying to get a very rough sense of reader opinion. (We might run more specific polls later.)
Here’s the poll:

associate bonus watch 2007 law firm Above the Law blog.jpgIt’s good to be an associate at Covington & Burling these days.
There’s the cleaned-up Wikipedia entry. There are, for New York associates, spiffy new offices in the Renzo Piano-designed New York Times building. One Covington associate describes the new digs as “spectacular,” with views of the Statue of Liberty, George Washington Bridge, and Empire State Building. “They are a bit cold and impersonal, but we are a law firm, after all.”
Also for New York associates: special bonuses. Check out the Covington (New York) bonus memo, after the jump.

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associate bonus watch 2007 law firm Above the Law blog.jpgSorry, we were out drinking (more than we should). That’s why we didn’t immediately post the bonus memo for Sidley Austin (New York).
Now we’re back — and tipsy. Fortunately, posting a bonus memo is not like operating heavy machinery.
The email announcing New York bonuses was forwarded to Sidley associates outside of New York, with this intro:

For your information, please find the message below to New York associates announcing a special bonus being provided in New York. As noted, the special New York bonuses are in addition to year-end bonuses, which will be the subject of a Firm-wide announcement in the coming days and which we expect will generally follow the pattern of prior years. We appreciate and value the work of all our associates.

But the work of non-NYC associates, not so much. Not surprisingly, Sidley associates outside of New York are not happy campers:

“Chicago morale should be wonderful after this…”

“Management committee forwarded the email to all other offices — how considerate.”

“Note that the Management Committee sent the bonus memo to the NY office only, and it took them an hour before they realized they’d better circulate it to all associates (so we don’t learn about it from you first). There’s going to be significant grumbling in DC, Chicago and LA about the yawning chasm between the bonuses we’ll likely get compared to the apparent total bonuses in NY.”

For the curious among you, the full Sidley Austin memo appears after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Associate Bonus Watch: Sidley Austin (New York only)”

paralegal Biglaw Big Law firm paralegals Above the Law blog.jpgHere is today’s law firm perk post. From a devoted ATL reader:

Here’s an idea for perkwatch: paralegals. As I’m sure most people can attest to, a good stable of paralegals can be invaluable in systematizing some of the more mundane routine tasks.

One of my old firms had a majority of snippy, incompetent paralegals in Corporate, which often led to first years needing to, for instance, directly call to order good standing certificates. A good paralegal is certainly a “perk” in my mind.

Indeed. Especially when you get to make out with them at the firm holiday party!
Please discuss your paralegal experiences, good and bad, in the comments. Thanks.
P.S. A shout-out to the paralegals at our former firm, who are widely regarded as some of the best paralegals anywhere. You get what you pay for, and Wachtell Lipton pays its paralegals very well.
(Also, they’re really good at Scrabulous.)

associate bonus watch 2007 law firm Above the Law blog.jpgWhere have all the bonus announcements gone? Have firms stopped issuing them? Or have you stopped sending them to us? For information about the many ways you can submit bonus memos to us, see here.
In the meantime, we bring you another bonus non-announcement, similar to those previously issued by Kirkland & Ellis and McDermott Will & Emery. This one is from Morgan, Lewis & Bockius.
Check it out, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Associate Bonus Watch: Morgan Lewis’s Non-Announcement”

McKee Nelson LLP AboveTheLaw Above the Law blog.jpgWe previously commended the firm of McKee Nelson for the steps it’s taking to accommodate its associates in the wake of the credit crunch. Credit market woes have significantly affected the firm’s once booming capital markets practice, but the firm is bending over backwards not to do layoffs.
So far backwards, in fact, that we’re going to go even farther: we wish we worked at MN. To paraphrase Crazy Eddie, the offers they’re making to associates are INSANE.
On Friday, the firm offered these options to its associates:

(1) a full bonus, and four months’ pay, to anyone willing to depart from the firm; or

(2) the option to take a year-long sabbatical, at 40 percent pay, AND with a full bonus for 2007.

Wow. How is option (2) — or even option (1), for people who wanted to change jobs or career paths anyway — not the sweetest deal ever? You get a year off from the Biglaw grind, at 40 percent of your pay (McKee is on the $160K scale), AND with a year-end bonus? (Their bonus table appears here — the firm is paying standard year-end bonuses, although not “special” bonuses.)
There are some caveats, according to our tipsters. First, there’s no guarantee of a job at the end of the sabbatical — whether you can return to the firm will depend on what the business climate looks like in a year. Second, you’re supposed to do something public-interest-oriented during that year — or, as the managing partner put it, “something that makes the world better.” So you can’t just go to Ibiza and party for twelve months (although cynics claim that turning lawyers into layabouts “makes the world better”).
On the other hand, there’s no requirement that you work for a 501(c)(3) during your sabbatical; the concept has some flexibility. Could you perhaps use the year — and the money — to study painting, or to finish the novel you started writing back in law school?
So many lawyers talk about the dreams that died when they went to law school. How is the McKee Nelson sabbatical program not a great opportunity to resurrect those dreams, with the luxury of free time and financial security?
Earlier: Nationwide Personnel Reconfiguration Watch: McKee Nelson

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