The 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.”
People 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.
The 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.
Here’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.
While 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.
The 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.
Guess 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.
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.
Two 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:
It’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.
The evolution of relationships between the genders continues. Currently, in law firms, there is an interesting conundrum; balancing the desire for a gender-blind workplace where “the best lawyer gets the work and advances” and the reality of navigating the complicated maze created by the fact that, in general, men and women do possess differences in their work styles. These variations impact who they work with, how they work, how they build professional connections and how organizations ultimately leverage, reward and recognize the talents of all.
Henry Ford sat on his workbench and sighed. A year earlier, he had personally built 13,000 Model Ts with his own hands. Fashioning lugnuts and tie rods by hand, Ford was loath to ask for help. Sure, there were things about the car that he didn’t quite understand. This explains the lack of reliable navigation systems in the Model T. But Ford persevered because he knew that unless he did everything, he could not reliably call these cars his own.
“Unless my own personal toil is responsible for it, it may as well be called a Hyundai,” Ford remarked at the time.
The preceding may sound unfamiliar because it is categorically untrue. And also monumentally stupid. Henry Ford didn’t build all those cars by hand. He had help and plenty of it. Almost exactly one hundred years ago, Henry Ford opened up the most technologically advanced assembly line the world had ever seen. Built on the premise that work can be chopped up into digestible pieces and completed by many men better than one, the line ushered in an age of unparalleled productivity.
Today, an attorney refers business because he can’t do everything the client asks of him.
There are three reasons why this is way dumber than a made-up Henry Ford story…
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past six years. You can reach them by email: [email protected].
Since late last year, things have been booming in Hong Kong / China in cap markets, especially Hong Kong IPOs. M&A deal flow has recently been getting a bit stronger as well. Although one can’t predict such things with any certainty, all signs are pointing to a banner entire 2014 for the top end US corporate and cap markets practices in Hong Kong / China. This is not really new news, as its been the feeling most in the market have had for a few months now and things continue to look good.
The head of our Asia practice, Evan Jowers, has been in Hong Kong for about 10 days a month (with trips every other month to both Shanghai and Bejing) for the past 7 months, and spending most of his time there meeting with senior US hiring partners at just about all the major US and UK firms there, as well as prospective candidates at all associate levels and partner levels, and when in the US, Evan works Asia hours and is regularly on the phone with such persons, as our the other members of our Asia team. Our Yuliya Vinokurova is in Hong Kong every other month and Robert is there about 5 times a year as well. While we have a solid Asia team of recruiters, Evan Jowers will spend at least some time with all of our candidates for Asia position. We have had long standing relationships, and good friendships in some cases, with hiring partners and other senior US partners in Asia for 8 years now.