Biglaw

Latham Watkins LLP Above the Law blog.JPGTo all of you who have been complaining about the clerkship bonus policy of Latham & Watkins, the firm has heard your pleas. And it has taken action. But if you’re starting at the firm in 2007, you might not reap the benefits of your whining advocacy.
An LW offeree passed along this information to us:

Beginning in 2008, L & W will award on year of partnership progression credit plus $50,000 to clerks at federal court, the highest court in any state and the District of Columbia, and Delaware Chancery Courts. The firm will pay $70,000 to attorneys who clerk for more than one year in eligible clerkships.

We contacted a firm spokesman for confirmation. His comments appear after the jump.
Update: Also after the jump, for those of you who are curious: Latham & Watkins’s Policies, Benefits & Compensation for US-Based Associates.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Clerkship Bonus Watch: Latham Joins the $50K/$70K Club (For Real)”

Sutherland Asbill Brennan LLP Above the Law blog.jpgThe person maintaining this Atlanta List of Shame needs to update it. The starting salary in the Atlanta office of Sutherland Asbill & Brennan is now $145,000 (effective January 1, 2008). The firm has also raised first-year salaries to $160,000 in Houston and Washington, DC (effective September 1, 2007).
For more senior associates, things are a little trickier. The firm will be using a “deferred salary” model, a la Vinson & Elkins.
For details, consult the memo, which appears after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Nationwide Pay Raise Watch: Sutherland Asbill & Brennan”

pro bono work reach for the stars Above the Law blog.jpgThe subject of today’s perk post may not jump to mind as a perk or fringe benefit, but we think it’s important and worthy of inclusion here. From a reader:

Please do a “perks” thread on pro bono work. What kind of opportunities are presented? How are the hours counted (if at all), both de jure and de facto?

Speaking for myself, it’s the main thing that makes White & Case different from other firms. The hours are counted 1:1, without limitation. I am permitted to seek my own pro bono assignments, and function at a very high level on those cases. I have “billed” 200-300 hours to pro bono every year I’ve been here, and received no feedback but encouragement (although my “real” hours have always been in the defensible range without consideration of the pro bono).

That’s impressive. We had a friend at a top 10 firm who spent hundreds of hours on pro bono work (which got the firm some nice publicity in the New York Times). But at a certain point, she got called in for a talk about how she was spending too high a percentage of her time on pro bono.
More discussion after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Biglaw Perk Watch: Pro Bono Work”

Paul Weiss 1285 Avenue of the Americas Above the Law blog.jpgSince our last two threads on Vault 100 law firms have generated healthy (and generally enlightening) discussion, we’ll continue to move on down the list.
Please pose questions about or share insights into these five law firms (in Vault 100 order, with prestige scores in parentheses):

11. Kirkland & Ellis LLP (7.492)
12. Debevoise & Plimpton LLP (7.468)
13. Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP (7.444)
14. Shearman & Sterling LLP (7.240)
15. Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP (7.237)

Please discuss them in the comments. Thanks.
The Vault Top 100 Law Firms [Vault]
Earlier: Vault 1-5; Vault 6-10

Jones Day Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgA source at Jones Day has confirmed for us the rumor that the firm’s Atlanta office has raised starting salaries to $150,000. Here’s more detail:

First years are at $150,000, and senior classes are to be paid commensurate with Jones Day’s goals to pay at the top of each market in which it operates. There is also a bonus available starting in 2008, which is allegedly not to be based on hours, but is performance based.

I think it’s a nice move in this market. It doesn’t necessarily address compression, but I still think I am and will be paid pretty well for a great quality of life, relatively speaking. I’ve got no complaints.

But we’re sure that other Atlanta associates have complaints. You can voice them in the comments.
Jones Day to $150k + new merit bonus plan [Greedy South / Infirmation]

Simpson Thacher Bartlett LLP 425 Lexington Avenue Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgWe were pleasantly surprised by the robust and intelligent discussion in the comments to our earlier open thread, Fall Recruiting Open Thread: Vault 1-5. There were over 100 comments, and many of them were quite informative. So we will press on.
The next five firms up for bids, in Vault 100 order (prestige scores in parentheses):

6. Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP (8.116)
7. Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton LLP (7.759)
8. Latham & Watkins LLP (7.712)
9. Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP (7.672)
10. Covington & Burling LLP (7.510)

Please compare and contrast these firms, and discuss what it’s like to work for them, in the comments. Thanks.
The Vault Top 100 Law Firms [Vault]

Worldwide Plaza World Wide Plaza Cravath Swaine Moore Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgHere’s an idea that we liked, from a thoughtful and helpful reader:

I was a big fan of your recruiting threads by city. Same goes for the firm benefits/perks threads. One problem, however, is that people often say what it’s like at their firm but fail to mention which firm those perks apply to. I understand the need for confidentiality, but it defeats the purpose of finding out what certain firms are like.

One possible way to remedy this is to do similar posts, but to list just a handful of firms to discuss for that day. Probably the best way would be to go down the Vault 100, since most people consider this gospel. For instance, the first day you could start a thread about the top 5 firms on Vault, to discuss perks, hours, recruiting, firm life, etc.

This way, if someone who posts does not want to discuss which firm they are at, people can still have a general idea [of what firms in that tier are like]. There aren’t too many differences between the top 1-5 firms, and same goes for the next five and the next five.

We like this idea, and we like Vault. They publish a great guide to law firms, they advertise on ATL, and they have a shout-out to us in their write-up of Wachtell Lipton (which you can see after the jump).
So we’ll give this a try. If the discussion is anemic and/or insipid, then we’ll just write it off as a failed experiment. But if the discussion is robust and informative, then we’ll keep on going. Here is today’s quintet of law firms (with Vault prestige scores indicated parenthetically):

1. Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz (8.780)
2. Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP (8.732)
3. Sullivan & Cromwell LLP (8.224)
4. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP (8.197)
5. Davis Polk & Wardwell (8.126)

Please discuss and compare these firms in the comments. Thanks.
The Vault Top 100 Law Firms [Vault]
Vault Guide to the Top 100 Law Firms (2008 Edition) [Vault]

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Fall Recruiting Open Thread: Vault 1-5″

chair massage chair Sidley Austin Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgThe individual who ran this Google search presumably isn’t at Sidley Austin. Because if he were, he wouldn’t have gotten fleeced on his massage. From a tipster:

Sidley is now going to have chair massages every Friday. They come by on Fridays for 5 hours; you have to make an appointment.

While it’s not free, $1/minute isn’t a bad price at all. I can see myself having a regular 20 minute massage to end my week.

We agree. A dollar a minute, or $60 an hour — not that you’d have a 60-minute chair massage, it’s just for purposes of comparison — is much cheaper than what you’d pay at a halfway decent day spa.

A dollar a minute is also less expensive than calling a 900 number (which Cravath lawyers are known to do). But then again, the Sidley chair massages probably don’t include happy endings.

Does your firm offer massages or other forms of stress relief? Please discuss, in the comments.

Earlier: Best Conference Call Screw-Up — EVER

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver Hedges associate salary Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgIn case you’re wondering what happened to the litigation support guy at Quinn Emanuel, who sent around an office-wide email reprimanding an associate for allegedly rude treatment, here’s an update:

The lit support guy got his walking papers almost immediately. The litigation associate to whom he directed the email was baffled by the entire event.

Apparently, he just told the guy that there was a mistake and that it needed to be fixed ASAP. Knowing this associate pretty well, I say it’s pretty inconceivable that he would treat someone like a “dog,” or even unprofessionally.

So maybe the associate didn’t do anything wrong, and the litigation support guy was just a bit unhinged — a beleaguered support staff member, on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Cf. The Patton Boggs librarian.
Since the litigation support guy got fired over his email, we hope he derived a lot of satisfaction from sending it.
Earlier: ATL Practice Pointers: Be Nice to the Support Staff

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver Hedges associate salary Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgFirst, it’s the right thing to do. Second, if you’re mean or rude to support staff members, they might start talking trash about you behind your back — not good for your reputation at the firm. They might also handle your projects with less care or speed in the future.
If you REALLY piss them off, they might tell you off directly. And cc everyone at the firm, just to make you look like a total d-bag (even if you’re generally known as a nice guy among your colleagues).
The following email was sent out this morning by a litigation support team member at Quinn Emanuel to a litigation associate. Copied on the message were (1) the entire New York office and (2) litigation support firm-wide.

From: [Litigation Support Guy]
To: [Litigation Associate]
Cc: [New York Office]; [All Litigation Support]
Date: Wed, 15 Aug 2007 09:15:46 -0700
Subject: Respect

[Litigation Associate],

I don’t care who you are and what your title is…

Have respect for people when you speak to them. Education should teach you such life lessons. No one is your dog. If you want a dog go buy one or visit the zoo.

Sorry I did not see your wonderful screen shot as Trial Graphix did not see it either. People are human and make mistakes and I am sure you have made a few such as not providing the Bates number for us to cross reference.

Enjoy,
[Litigation Support Guy]

We like this cheeky message, but we have a quibble. The zoo? Dogs aren’t really exotic enough to be in the zoo. Maybe try Michael Vick’s house?
Oh, sorry — you want a live one…
(The usual rules apply. Please don’t identify either the sender or the recipient of this message. Thanks.)

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