Orrick logo.JPGLast week we wrote about the move of prominent D.C. lawyers Lanny Davis and Eileen O’Connor from Orrick to McDermott Will & Emery. Am Law Daily described the jump as follows: “Lanny Davis, a longtime Washington, D.C., lawyer who supported Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid and was a fraternity brother of George W. Bush, is taking his unique practice from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe to McDermott, Will & Emery.”

It’s not the case, however, that the entire practice moved. As noted by one commenter, the rest of the legal strategic and crisis management practice remained with Orrick. Consistent with this, an Orrick spokesperson issued the following statement to ATL:

We wish Lanny and Eileen well, but Orrick’s law, policy, media, and crisis management practice remains vibrant and strong with continuing plans for expansion and will keep delivering its unique blend of legal, public relations and government affairs counsel to our clients around the world.

Remaining at Orrick are partners Adam Goldberg, who was co-chair of the practice with Davis, and Joshua Galper. Goldberg and Galper will head the practice going forward. In addition, the associates who work in and with the law, policy and media group are staying at Orrick.

As for clients, it’s not yet clear which ones will stay with Orrick and which will move to McDermott. “Thankfully, this is a practice where we’ve always had plenty of work, so that’s not an issue,” Galper said. (We’d guess, however, that certain clients closely tied to Davis — like CEAL, the Honduras business group supporting the coup in that country — will travel with him.)

Get to know Messrs. Galper and Goldberg, and read more about Orrick’s very interesting and unusual practice area, after the jump.

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Minority lawyers diversity hours.JPGIn an environment where hours are scarce, a new report shows that white attorneys are coming out on top. A new survey suggests that African-American attorneys — and minority attorneys in general — are experiencing a greater pinch for hours than their white counterparts. The Minority Law Journal reports:

[M]inority lawyers surveyed said they posted fewer billable hours on average last year than their white counterparts. The average hours billed figure in 2008 was 1,862 for black midlevels, 1,925 for Asian Americans, 1,965 for Hispanics, and 1,976 for whites. And minority lawyers are unlikely to boost their relative output much in 2009. Projected billables for this year were just under 1,825 hours for Asian Americans and African Americans, about 1,840 for Hispanics, and roughly 1,890 for whites.

Hours are low all over, but these numbers indicate the pain is not being shared equally.
Are minority attorneys being “out-hustled” for work, or are these numbers just another manifestation of the old boys’ network?
More numbers from the report after the jump.

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Bingham logo.jpgWe’ve devoted a lot of coverage to the few firms that are moving away from a lockstep compensation system. One consistent theme has been that the move away from lockstep appears to be an attempt to reduce overall associate compensation.
Not so at Bingham McCutchen. The firm just released its new compensation plan. Calling it a hybrid approach, Bingham is keeping lockstep compensation for base compensation but make bonuses heavily merit based. Our sources tell us that while nothing has yet been finalized, the firm’s intention is to hold the line on base compensation.

“Merit Lockstep” Base Salary Structure
After significant review, we have decided to modify our current associate base compensation lockstep structure slightly, moving to what we are calling a “merit lockstep” approach. We intend to retain a salary class level system. All salary class levels will remain subject, as always, to future market changes as well as our own internal determinations.

I’ve been critical of firms that announce they are moving to a merit-based system, without actually explaining what merit-based means. But at Bingham the firm seems to have a concrete plan for its new merit bonuses.
Details and a reader poll after the jump.

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Blackballed Blacklist laid off attorneys.JPGWe know it’s difficult for laid-off attorneys to find new Biglaw jobs. Very few firms are hiring — and many of the firms that are hiring do not want to look at résumés from associates that have been previously laid off.
RollOnFriday has the news from London:

RollOnFriday can reveal that there is blatant and widespread discrimination throughout the City against lawyers who have been made redundant.

Last week’s report that a recruitment consultant wouldn’t consider redundant lawyers who for a job seems to be the tip of the iceberg. Readers deluged RollOnFriday Towers with complaints about both rec cons and law firms. All had the same experience: their attempts to apply for a job had been stymied when they revealed they’d been made redundant. The firms who came in for the most criticism were American, with several big names being accused of discrimination.

Legal Blog Watch asks if the same phenomenon is happening here in the states. Recruiters we have spoken with say that it is.
Reports from recruiters and tipsters in the U.S., after the jump.

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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.


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.

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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.

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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.
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.

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