We have to step away for a bit. But we’ll leave you with some food for thought (and argument): a piece we just wrote for the New York Observer, timed to coincide with fall interview season, about New York law firms. Here’s a brief excerpt:
“[J]ust as certain sleeve cuts are all the rage at Fashion Week, some law firms are “hot”—and some are not. Having interviewed with firms exactly 10 years ago, I was curious: Who is this fall’s “It” Firm?”
We expect that many of you will disagree with our conclusions, condemn us as ill-informed or biased (or both), etc. That’s okay. Our point is to provoke. We’d like to become for the law firm world what Michael Riedel is to theatre: “Post columnist Michael Riedel’s gleeful skewering of Broadway’s shows and personages has made him a must read—and a must-hate—on the Great White Way.”
You can read the full column over here. It’s the first in what’s going to be a semimonthly column we’ll be writing for the Observer on New York lawyers and law firms. Enjoy (we think). Polish Those Portfolios! Legal Eaglets Seek Their Nests [New York Observer]
Our series on the perks or fringe benefits of large law firm life has become somewhat sporadic, partly because we’ve covered so many of the biggies. To review our past posts, click here, and scroll down.
Today’s perk: prizes for big billers. If you really kill yourself during a particular month, racking up 250 or 300 hours on some monster deal or litigation, do you get rewarded for it? Of course you might see your crazy hours reflected in your year-end bonus check. But might you get some other, non-monetary benefit? (And we’re not counting being able to show up after 10 on the morning after an all-nighter.)
We don’t know if this policy still exists, but a source sent us this interesting information:
When I was at Clifford Chance (f/k/a Rogers & Wells), a legacy Rogers & Wells program was that if you billed 250 in a month, the firm covered dinner for you and a guest (spouse, date, friend, etc…) with no questions asked. It was an amazing program. Historically, the Firm had no limit, but assumed associates would “just exercise the judgment expected of them.”
It worked for years until a few “exceptions” decided to add very, very expensive bottles of wine to their orders. I think eventually the limit was set at $500. I know more than a handful of “superstars” tanked their careers by “not exercising the judgment expected of them” and submitting dinner bills for several thousands of dollars.
Anyone know if Clifford Chance still has this special dinner benefit?
We also hear that at WilmerHale, “super-super high billers” get vacation vouchers. Can anyone confirm and/or provide more details? Update/Correction: Or maybe the WilmerHale workaholics get gift cards? See this comment.
Please discuss, in the comments. Thanks!
Yesterday we posted an open thread on law firms that screw over no-offer lots of their summer associates. This post is about the flip-side: firms that dole out summer associate bonuses.
This topic has been raised by two tipsters, in two different contexts. First, this tipster reports on two firms that pay bonuses to summer associates, regardless of whether you previously summered with them:
I’m just starting to get offers, as callbacks are rolling along. I have offers from Baker Botts and Fulbright & Jaworski, both in Dallas — and both are offering a week’s pay ($3077 and $2700, respectively) as a bonus! Baker pays out on the start date, and Fulbright pays if you spend the first half with them.
And from a second source, news of bonuses paid to 1L summers who return to the same firm:
I received an offer to come back for a second summer at Foley & Lardner… with a catch: If I come back for the whole summer, and do not split or spend time anywhere else, I receive a $5,000 bonus. The bonus pays out when I accept this fall, not next summer. I have no idea if all the offices do this, but I should add that I am not at all in a major market.
Interesting. Are you aware of other firms that either (1) pay bonuses to summer associates or (2) pay bonuses to 1L summer associates who return for a second summer (and don’t split)? Please discuss, in the comments. Thanks. Earlier: Fall Recruiting Open Thread: No-Offer Factories
In case you’re not familiar with it, Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione is an intellectual property law firm headquartered in Chicago, with approximately 150 lawyers firmwide. A tipster recently wrote to us: “Word on the street is that Brinks no-offered half their SA class.”
Here’s the posting on Greedy Chicago cited by this source:
To confirm, I was in their 2007 summer class that included 16 people in Chicago, and at least 8 of us, perhaps more, did not get offers to come back. I’m probably biased towards myself, but I can honestly say that the other people who did not get offers are very competent people who worked very hard during the summer.
The reasons that we all received for not receiving offers were absolutely ludicrous and obviously cooked up. What’s worse is that we were all told throughout the summer that we were doing a great job (some of us did not hear a word of “constructive criticism” all summer). A lot of shady stuff took place over the summer, and I’m happy to provide more info to anybody who is interested
From our source: “I want to know what other firms are cutting back!”
You’re not alone! Here’s an open thread for discussion of firms that (1) “no-offered” sizable portions of their summer classes or (2) didn’t extend offers to summer associates for dubious reasons.
Please discuss, in the comments. But please do NOT identify any individual summer associates by name. Thanks. Re: Brinks troubles? [Greedy Chicago / Infirmation]
Greedy law firm associates view ATL as a helpful resource. But what about Biglaw partners? They’re greedy too, y’know.
Well, here’s something for all you partners out there. A tipster alerted us to this audio conference, taking place later this month:
Pretty much every time there’s a mainstream or legal media article about associate pay raises, we’ll link to it. So of course we’re linking to this article, from the Texas Lawyer, which reports as follows:
All levels of associates at Houston- and Dallas-based Locke Liddell & Sapp may start their holiday shopping early since receiving news that their compensation just rose significantly. First- and second-year associates at the 403-lawyer firm already knew their salaries increased as of Aug 1. But, according to an Aug. 28 memo Locke Liddell managing partner Jerry Clements sent to associates, more-senior associates also are receiving pay increases retroactive to Aug. 1.
Locke Liddell first-year associates in Texas earn a $160,000 base annual salary, and second years earn $170,000. Third-years earn $172,500; fourth-years $175,000; fifth-years $180,000; sixth-years $185,000; seventh-years $190,000; and eighth-years $195,000. The firm has 138 associates in its three Texas offices.
“How about a story on REAL perks? It’s football season, and Foley & Lardner has a suite at Camp Randall, home of the No. 5 Wisconsin Badgers.”
“Can we compare the perks at The Garden, Fenway, Yankee Stadium?”
You can get tickets to sporting events from your friends at the printers. Or you can pay for them out of your ample salary (if you’re in Biglaw).
But what firms, in addition to Foley & Lardner, have suites at stadiums, or season tickets to top sports teams? And if your firm does have these perks, how can you avail yourself of them?
Please discuss this subject in the comments. Thanks. UW football: Suite seats for charity [Wisconsin State Journal]
Maybe we should feature stories about the full-time associates who mistreat summer associates. For one such story, involving a senior associate in New York who’s an a**hole of Ari Gold proportions, see here.
Or maybe we should feature stories about partners who, despite being partners, comport themselves in a manner that would make Aquagirl blush. For one such story — from a few years ago, and from the other side of the pond, but trust us, it’s good — see here.
We’ll tell you that the two naughty female partners were from Shearman & Sterling. But please respect the house rules and don’t identify them further. Considering the great nicknames developed for partner #2, including “The Human Stain” and “The Sprinker,” it’s just not necessary. Thanks. Stories from the Belly of Biglaw: Curious George [Urbanagora] Yank skanks [TheLawyer.com]
Hey, have you read Above the Law for like one single minute in the past month? If so, you probably know that we’re having this big blogger conference on March 14th at the Yale Club. Yeah, the Yale Club. You’ll be able to recognize me: I’ll be the only big… blogger guy surreptitiously holding a can of crimson spray-paint.
Speaking of coming, you should come. We’ve got CLE and all that. Click here to buy tickets to get CLE credit for listening to bloggers scream about stuff on the internet.
To refresh your memory, details on the panel that I’m moderating — almost entirely sober, mind you — follow.
My panel is called Blogs as Agents of Change, and we’re going to talk about whether all of these spilled pixels are actually making a difference. You know my view… just ask Lawrence Mitchell, but here are the panelists:
So you spent a considerable amount of time courting, selling and maybe even doing some friendly stalking of that attractive lateral partner candidate with a sizable book. After he or she ignored your emails and didn’t return your calls, a few weeks go by and you read a press release in the legal media announcing the recent move to a competing firm.
Rats. Another one got away from you. You cringe when you consider how much time was spent in meetings that did not bear fruit. Your heart aches when recall how you were led to believe this was a marriage made in heaven.
You have been rejected.
The sting of rejection is painful, even for fancy law firms. But you need to find a way that you can turn this disappointment into a legitimate learning experience.
No, this isn’t a pre-party before we come back next fall for the real thing. This IS the real thing. Quinn Emanuel is pushing the envelope on recruiting. The party is now. This is when you meet the partners and associates face to face. This is when we begin the dance that could land you an offer for your second summer BEFORE school starts in the fall.
First: You come to the party. Second: If you like us, you send your resume after June 1, 2014. Third: If we like each other, you get an offer.
We’re not waiting for fall. We’re not doing the twenty minute thing. This party is the real thing!
We hope you’ll join us, and look forward to meeting you.
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