We’re pressing on with our series of open threads on Vault 100 law firms. We know that some of you are eager to discuss firms ranked in the 70′s, and we don’t want to disappoint you.
And a quick word from one of our sponsors, ATL’s Career Partner, Lateral Link:
“Lateral Link provides free access to the Vault firm information/career guides. Readers can get free access to the full information on our site as part of our career center.”
Without further ado, here are the five firms for this afternoon (in Vault 100 order, prestige scores in parentheses):
A few weeks ago, we were getting bombarded with rumors of supposedly imminent New York pay raises. Davis Polk to $180K! Simpson Thacher to $190K! The gossip was runningrampant.
But in the last two weeks or so, with all of the turmoil in the stock market and tightening in the credit market, pay raise rumors have died. And now we’re hearing very different things. Like this:
[Y]ou are missing one of the bigger stories of the past week or two: to a large degree, the corporate departments of many of the major NY law firms have basically come to a halt. Plenty of people have nothing to do – at all.
At my firm, in the top 5 of the Am Law 100 rankings, things have gotten really slow. So far, few think it will be a long term problem, but people are beginning to wonder.
Why is this so big? If the corporate departments of these firms go downhill, everybody can kiss their pay raise to $190,000 goodbye. Will we go from 190 rumors to lay-off rumors?
That, dear friends, is the $160,000 question. More after the jump.
Bruce Masterson, chief operating officer of Socrates Media LLC, asked his outside counsel to customize a residential lease for all 50 U.S. states in 2003. The firm’s estimate: about $400,000. He rejected that price tag and hired QuisLex, in Hyderabad, India, which did it for $45,000.
“It was good quality,” said Masterson, whose Chicago-based company publishes legal forms on the Internet. “We’ve been working together ever since.”
Clients are pushing law firms like Jones Day and Kirkland & Ellis to send basic legal tasks to India, where lawyers tag documents and investigate takeover targets for as little as $20 an hour. The firms are reacting to a trend that will move about 50,000 U.S. legal jobs overseas by 2015, according to Boston- based Forrester Research Inc.
Biglaw partners may soon be telling associates: “If you don’t think $160,000 is enough to review documents for 2200 hours a year, fine. We’ll just ship your job off to India, where ‘Biff’ and ‘Jenny’ will be happy to be document drones — for under $9,000 a year. And if I have a problem with my laptop, they can help me with that too!” Jones Day, Kirkland Send Work to India to Cut Costs [Bloomberg News]
We’ve now covered over a third of the Vault 100 law firms in open threads. But that means we still have two-thirds to go (assuming we follow through to the end).
The next five firms are colorful. They include one firm that was featured in the Transformers movie, and another that used to employ a high-priced escort.
For your consideration (in Vault 100 order, prestige scores in parentheses):
Sadly, we’ll probably never learn whether former Clifford Chance partner Michael Bryceland was asked to “bend over” (a la Aaron Charney). Unlike Sullivan & Cromwell, CC settled the case quietly, for an undisclosed amount.
Of course, if you have any details, please feel free to send them to us by email (subject line: “Clifford Chance”). Thanks. Revealed: CC pays out in sexual orientation claim [TheLawyer.com]
Can you wear white after Labor Day? Or drink a gin and tonic? Or tell a summer associate story?
August is almost over, and our series of SA stories is winding to a close. If you have an anecdote to share, please review our submission guidelines, and then email us.
1. Superhero name: Loose Lips
2. Special power(s): Ability to broadcast his sexual misadventures from coast to coast — in the pre-internet age.
3. Summered: A Los Angeles Biglaw firm, summer 1988. (As we’ve said before, we’re happy to post old stories; this is a “greatest hits” compilation.)
4. Claim to fame: From our tipster:
“Two summers from top-10 east coast schools, one female, one male, were working at the main office of an LA Biglaw firm. The firm had just installed an elaborate door-locking system. When the office door was locked, a red ‘Do Not Disturb’ light appeared outside the office. An unlocked office, door closed or open, had a green light.”
“Late in the day, after the support staff had left, these two associates slipped into the office of one of them. (They had private or semi-private offices.) After they closed (but didn’t lock) the door, the female associate began pleasuring the male associate.”
“A senior associate, seeing the green light, walked into the office — and got an eyeful.”
Learn the fate of our star-crossed lovers hook-up participants, after the jump.
Many of the hours that Biglaw attorneys are familiar with are of the billable (and unhappy) variety. But some firms try to make up for the misery by plying their employees with alcohol. Welcome to the latest perk to be discussed in these pages: happy hours. [FN1]
A few questions, from an associate-to-be:
This fall I’ll be starting at a firm that advertises the fact that it has regular happy hours. Do these things actually occur? Does anyone go to them? Will I look like a boring schmo if I don’t attend?
We know of a number of firms that have happy hours (although we’re missing some of the specifics). For example, Cahill Gordon in New York is said to have monthly happy hours. Here in Washington, DC, Kirkland & Ellis has happy hours at Old Ebbitt Grill. At least during the summer, Arnold & Porter has a weekly happy hour each Friday, on the premises — they have an on-site bar set up in one of their conference or reception rooms.
Does your firm sponsor a “happy hour”-type gathering? Will this associate “look like a boring schmo” if he skips out on them? Please opine in the comments.
[FN1] We previously had an open thread about firm retreats and “other company-sponsored social events,” but in the ensuing discussion, only one comment mentioned happy hours.
It’s fall recruiting season, and rumors are flying about every law firm under the sun. Here’s something from the ATL mailbag about Linklaters:
I’m going through [the on-campus interview program at my law school] and each day I kept hearing the same thing. Apparently Linklaters’s summer associates had such a terrible time the last few months that many of them have not yet accepted their offers.
Despite the salary, they are going through EIW hoping to get hired by someone else, because they
hated being at Link. Can you confirm this?
We hadn’t heard about this. We do know that morale in the Stockholm office of Linklaters is pretty high (in an “I’ll have what he’s having” kind of way).
Anyway, we contacted the firm for comment. Josh Berick, Co-Hiring Partner in New York, had this to say:
In 2007, Linklaters had its largest and strongest summer associate class ever. The firm is thriving, and many of our summer associates have been able to work on some of the largest cross-border transactions of the year.
It is anticipated that all of our summer associates will receive offers to join us, once the program is concluded. Linklaters traditionally has had a very high acceptance rate, and we are confident that the vast majority of our 2007 summer associates will accept their offers.
As always, we welcome any tips by email (subject line: “Linklaters”). Thanks.
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.
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…