Biglaw

Morris Manning logo.JPGThe well-known Atlanta based firm, Morris Manning, will be under new management in 2010. Louise Wells will be taking over the firm, making her the first woman to lead Morris Manning. The firm’s press release is understandably positive about the future of the firm:

The firm’s succession plan is being implemented to ensure that the firm is positioned to capitalize on ever-evolving market conditions for the continued success of its clients and the firm. As a critical component of the plan, the firm created an Executive Committee that will work closely with Wells. The Executive Committee members include litigation partner John P. MacNaughton, corporate partner David M. Calhoun and real estate partner Thomas S. Gryboski.

“I am honored to accept this responsibility,” Wells offered. “As a result of the firm’s unique culture and entrepreneurial spirit, we have been responsive to the challenging market conditions. We have made smart strategic decisions that build upon the firm’s solid platform, better positioning us to succeed and drive forward in the coming months and years,” she added.

Mmm … peaceful transition of power …

The current managing partner, Robert E. Saudek, will step down at the end of the year, but he will still be active with the firm.

Good luck with the transition.

Earlier: Nationwide Salary Cut Watch: Morris Manning Salary Cuts Based on Practice Group

handshake with fingers crossed behind back.jpgLast recruiting season, Above the Law was the first publication to warn law students to accept their offers for summer employment as soon as possible.

This year that advice is so obvious that even law school career service professionals are telling students to accept offers quickly. William A. Chamberlain, assistant dean for law career strategy and advancement at Northwestern, wrote an article for the National Law Journal this week, strongly urging students to make decisions rapidly:

Our message to students about how to handle offers has been straightforward — accept your offer quickly. The key is to get a job for next summer. Smart students will not rely on NALP’s 45-day guideline but rather accept their offers as soon as humanly possible. [W]e have dealt with all sorts of reactions by firms to the economy and are urging our students to be risk-averse. Any sense of entitlement will be fatal this fall.

Relying on NALP guidelines = fatal?

You know, when the career services dean is directly warning students not to rely upon the NALP rules, I am forced to ask why students should heed the NALP rule limiting the number of offers students can accept….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Accept Your Offers: All of Them”

Law librarians got miffed at Westlaw this week, after the legal research company sent out the following advertisement via e-mail:
offensive westlaw ad.jpg
Law librarians across the land were appalled and voiced their displeasure on this list-serv, among other places. From a librarian at a large southern law firm:

[Apparently] the folks at West think that attorneys shouldn’t know their librarians’ names. I’d love to see ATL’s snarky humor sticking it to West (or, Hell, stick it to us law librarians if you think we’re being too sensitive.)

We don’t think you’re being too sensitive. In fact, we have a great appreciation for law librarians.
We know that law librarians are hot. We know that librarianship is a good career alternative. We know that law library staffers save lives, literally. And we think knowing their names is not something to mock.
While the folks at LexisNexis are doing a little happy dance, what does Westlaw have to say for itself?

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wall street bull backside.jpgWill the mainstream media ever hold law firms accountable for their roles in the global financial crisis? Probably not. Relatively speaking, only a small sector of society understands that Biglaw firms played a significant role making “toxic assets” lucrative and legal. Without attorneys, bankers wouldn’t know their tranches from their enhancements.
Too few people can get their head around what actually happened to cause the market crisis. But the public — the average American citizen — can wrap its mind around the concept of bonuses. I think it goes something like this:
Bonuses, BAD. Wall Street, BAD. Pitchforks and Torches, GOOD.
Can the mainstream media latch onto that?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Mainstream Media Is Aware That Law Firms Exist, Right?”

Angry clock.JPGIs there really blood in the water around the billable hour? Or are we simply hearing an updated version of a familiar refrain? This morning the Wall Street Journal took another look at killing the billable hour (subscription):

People who follow the world of law firms know, among so much else, two things: 1) that billing-by-the-hour has long been the way law firms get paid and 2) companies have over the years had only limited success in getting firms to agree to do it any other way.
That’s changing. In a big way. Companies are starting to ditch the hourly structure — which critics complain offers law firms an incentive to rack up bigger bills — in favor of flat-fee contracts and other types of arrangements.

Of course, we’ve heard all that before. Heralding the death of the billable hour is much like predicting the end of the world: eventually somebody is going to be right.
Has anything fundamentally changed this time around to make the billable hour more susceptible to death? Here’s the best argument.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Under Attack, Should the Billable Hour Be Concerned For Its Safety?”

Don’t get too comfortable with that shiny new #6 Vault ranking, Weil Gotshal. The firm just got served, Texas-style. The ABA Journal reports:

The Texas judge who ordered Microsoft to pay $290 million for infringing a patent included a $40 million enhancement that he said was partly justified because of alleged trial misconduct by a lawyer from Weil, Gotshal & Manges.

U.S. District Judge Leonard Davis tacked on the $40 million penalty because of evidence of willful infringement. But also “favoring enhancement,” he said in an opinion, was trial conduct by lawyer Matthew Douglas Powers, a Weil Gotshal partner.

Matthew Douglas Powers is a big name in IP circles. And he’s the co-chair of Weil’s litigation department. But he’s not going to comment on Judge Davis’s $40 million critique of his trial performance.

What were the judge’s reasons for admonishing Powers? Check after the jump.

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Gen Y lawyer.JPGNow that the new Vault rankings are out, it seems appropriate to reflect on the common refrain from senior lawyers about their colleagues under 30. Last Friday, Idealawg kicked off another round Gen Y bashing. The issue this time was whether Gen Y’s supposed obsession with work-life balance was harming client services.
Here are the last two of four pointed questions posed on Idealawg:

As I said above, one thing that troubles me deeply in this ongoing discussion about the generations is the important matter of client service. In the millennial cries for work-life balance, I seldom hear the client mentioned. (I have posted about this absence before.) Third question: Has there been a shift in what is considered the lawyer’s responsibility for client service?
Work-life balance (could someone come up with another phrase? this one’s getting very old) and client service are not either/or. Both can, often do, and most often should co-exist. Both are important. But both do not seem to hold the same weight in the hearts of at least some millennials. Last question: Why then did they become members of a service profession?

I think I can answer both of these questions:
* Answer to question 3: No.
* Answer to question 4: Money.
Cool? Okay, my turn to ask some questions.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Old People Attack Gen Y’s Work Ethic, Again.”

Vault logo law firm rankings career guides.jpgThe official Vault law firm rankings for 2010 are out today. This list will define law firm prestige for the year to come. Many law students, associates, and partners — especially partners involved in the recruiting process — care greatly about these influential rankings.
Here are the top five most prestigious law firms, according to Vault. This year’s top five is substantially similar to last year’s:
2010 Vault final top5.jpg
Skadden has flipped-flopped with Sullivan & Cromwell. Otherwise the top five remain unchanged from last year.
After the jump, the rest of the brand new Vault top ten, and a note from Vault’s managing editor about what’s new in this year’s rankings.

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Best Law Firms BG.gifWorking Mother magazine has released its annual review of law firms and named the 50 Best Law Firms for Women. No shame on these firms (unlike the one in our caption contest), at least when it comes to “flex-time, reduced-hour and other family-friendly policies”:

[O]ur winning firms have more lawyers working reduced hours (8 percent versus 5 percent nationwide) and also employ more female equity partners, who share in their firm’s profits (20 percent versus 16 percent nationwide)–and that’s just for starters. We salute these firms for recognizing that making the legal profession work for women is good business for everyone.

As pointed out by the ABA Journal:

A bad economy may be hurting law firms, but it’s opening up more flex-time opportunities for male as well as female lawyers.

Only one firm from the top five most prestigious — as ranked by Vault last year — made the cut.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “No Shame On These Biglaw Firms XX: Working Mother’s 50 Best Law Firms for Women”

taking some names off above the law.jpgYesterday we wrote about Gina Rubel’s suggestion in the Legal Intelligencer that law firms namechecking multiple founding partners drop a few for shorter, easier, and more memorable names. ATL readers who voted in our poll were split down the middle on whether bigger is better. Over 800 votes were cast: 52% said they like a short firm… name and 48% said they prefer it long.
A Davis Polk & Wardwell spokesperson ATL commenter pointed out that the firm recently trimmed its name (in connection with its hottie-friendly website revamp):

DavisPolk has just changed its name for marketing purposes and has dropped Wardwell out – mention of DPW should have been made in this article. I am disappointed.

In yesterday’s post, we took the shortening advice a step further and suggested firms cut their names down to a couple of syllables, like Morrison & Foerster’s embracing the name MoFo. We recommended a few other (humorous) possibilities: ClearGo, SuCro, CoBu, WilCo, etc. As sometimes happens usual, ATL readers impressed us and made us chuckle with some of their responses. We’ve culled the over 100 comments for the best suggestions; here are our top ten favorites:

10. Haynes & Boone = HayBoo
9. Fulbright & Jaworski = FulJaw
8. Sullivan & Cromwell should change its name to “Sully”. It would make it sound more “heroic”.
7. King & Spalding = KingS
6. Willkie Farr & Gallagher = WILF

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