Biglaw

According to the latest Am Law 100 rankings, Wachtell Lipton had profits per partner of nearly $5 million in 2013.

Meditate on that for a moment. Breathe in through your nose. Breathe out through your mouth.

Five million bucks per year.

Breathe in through your nose. Breathe out through your mouth.

I lost the slidy-thing from my slide ruler so I have to do this in my head, but I think that’s about $100,000 per week per equity partner. A little less than a newbie associate makes in a whole year outside of the major metropolitan areas.

Imagine all the things you can buy with that kind of money. A mansion that looks somewhat familiar every time you visit it. Luxury vehicles for your nanny. Dream trips for your spouse. The finest private schools for your kids. An iPhone for your son so he can talk to you every day. A high-end camera your wife can take to your daughter’s soccer game so you can watch her play through live streaming video. Oh, the joy that kind of money you can bring your family. It’s not Powerball, but it’s most certainly a lottery win per year.

How much do Canadian law partners earn?

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I spent ten hours in a deposition on yesterday in the office of a large law firm in Los Angeles. Just looking around the room, I noticed two things: 1) they were better dressed than we were, and 2) our computers were so much better than theirs. I stepped out into the hallway and noticed that a lot of their hardware was stuff that a public school would auction off. It reminded me of the first few years of my legal career when I worked in a large law firm. We had all the amenities you could want. All of our legal pads were branded with our firm’s logo, and we wrote on them with pens that had our firm’s logo branded on them. I ate lunch every day in our break room that looked over the ocean. But, when lunch was over, I would go back to my desk and work on Office ’97 on my bulky CRT monitor. This is because large law firms are very big, slow-moving beasts, especially when it comes to technology.

My fellow columnist Nicole Black wrote an article last week about how a small firm is using technology to keep up with Biglaw firms. This is not a fantasy. When I was working at the aforementioned large law firm, my boss told me a story about a solo practitioner. By way of background, we represented a Fortune 500 company, had an army of Ivy League attorneys, and almost unlimited resources. Despite all that, this solo practitioner was able to run circles around us. He was better organized and was able to do things more efficiently. The case we had against him was before my time, so I had no idea if it was true, but the important thing was that, having seen how the sausage was made there, I knew it was absolutely possible.

Here’s why:

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “When Biglaw Firms Choke on Their Own Resources”

Does being a Biglaw partner mean never having to say you’re sorry… for annoying, rude, or stupid firm-wide emails? When associates hit “reply all” to firm-wide emails, they sometimes wind up in hot water. But when partners send their random musings far and wide, their colleagues often praise them.

Sure, occasionally “reply all” emails from partners don’t go over well. Sometimes the messages come across as lecherous: “I admire your gumption, especially when you’re in a tight dress.” Sometimes they sound disloyal: “Why are we both still at this firm?”

Today’s Biglaw partner “reply all” doesn’t rise to those heights of cringe-worthiness. But it’s still bad enough to be worth sharing with you….

(Please note the UPDATE added below, which puts the partner’s email in proper context.)

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Another Biglaw Partner’s ‘Reply All’ Misadventure”

There are certain legal skills of critical importance that receive the same level of attention as a mid-summer pilot for a sitcom not expected to make it to the fall slate. In fact, there is usually a disconnect, particularly in Biglaw, between what is “taught” and what lawyers really need to learn as they develop. A recent anniversary of sorts reminded me of an example. Let’s discuss the notably unglamorous, but often critically important, role of “second chair” at a hearing or trial.

For the uninitiated, the typical hierarchy on a litigation matter for lawyers is support (faceless associate research drones), team member (associate or higher who is “on the case” but may not even get to sit at counsel table), second chair (trusty lieutenant, perhaps content in the role, or perhaps gunning for more), and first chair (field marshal winning the war and the peace on behalf of a grateful if lighter-pocketed client.)

August is the anniversary of my first patent trial, well over a decade ago….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Beyond Biglaw: Warming the Chair (Part 1)”

It’s that time of the year when law students should start preparing for on-campus interviews. They’re straightforward, right? Wrong. ATL’s recruiting experts have designed this challenge to help you determine whether you really know how to nail the interview. Take the On-Campus Interviewing for Law Firms challenge and find out if you are truly ready for OCI season.

(This challenge is brought to you in partnership with our friends at CredSpark.)

Take the On-Campus Interviewing for Law Firms challenge here.

Woo, Biglaw! Being a summer associate is the best!

There are several things that we can learn from this year’s summer associate event contest, because our readers’ unique tastes manifested themselves in the results. Lawyers and law students really like pop music performed by some of the hottest acts in America, but they love liquor even more. They’re wishy-washy when it comes to sporting events, but they absolutely hate cooking. After all, cooking is a real non-sequitur when Biglaw attorneys survive on Seamless.

Keeping these facts in mind, which firm do you think we’ll crown as the winner of this year’s competition?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Best Summer Associate Event Contest (2014): The Winner!”

J.D. = Just Debt

* Baker & McKenzie was bumped from the top spot in the Global 100 last year when DLA Piper swooped in to steal the firm’s glory. This year, B&M is back with a vengeance, and richer than ever. Take that, DLA dopes. [Am Law Daily]

* “I’m pretty sure I just got fired.” Before the bud business was big enough for Biglaw, the mere suggestion of going green was allegedly enough to warrant some pretty major disciplinary action from a leading law firm. [National Law Journal]

* Judge Thomas Griesa is toying with holding Argentina in contempt for saying that it didn’t default. Argentina struck back with the social media hashtag #GrieFault. Clever. [DealBook / New York Times]

* Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s defense team has an expert who says that any jury in Massachusetts will be tainted because of the “inflammatory” news coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing. [WSJ Law Blog]

* The ABA’s new Task Force on the Financing of Legal Education held its first public hearing to try to figure out why law school tuition is high. The ABA is so late to the party it’s not even funny. [ABA Journal]

Woo, Biglaw! Being a summer associate is the best!

Summer associate class sizes may be smaller than they were back in the good old days, but Biglaw firms seem to have used the shrinking summer pool as an excuse to throw events that were overflowing with an abundance of awesomeness. Offers are still being tossed out like Mardi Gras beads, and life was very, very good for this summer’s crop of Biglaw initiates.

But just how good are we talking here? We think the fact that we received an overwhelming number of nominations for this year’s summer associate event contest speaks volumes. We managed to whittle down the list of 20+ gushing nominations we received to just eight of the most amazing. Some were cultural extravaganzas, others were athletic outings, but all were fun and absolutely fabulous. Thanks to everyone who submitted a nomination.

Did your firm make the cut this year? Take a look to find out…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Best Summer Associate Event Contest (2014): The Finalists”

* When it comes to all of the same-sex marriage cases that are currently before the Sixth Circuit, the deciding vote could be cast by Judge Jeffrey Sutton, a Republican appointee. [National Law Journal]

* Weil Gotshal snagged a partner from right under one of its largest competitor’s noses. Ray Schrock, formerly of Kirkland & Ellis, may someday co-chair Weil’s restructuring group. [WSJ Law Blog]

* “I got the reward that most volunteers get — which is I ended up having to read many, many hundreds of pages.” This Ogletree Deakins partner figured out how to undo Obamacare in his spare time, and all he got were these lousy bifocals. [Greenville News]

* On-campus interviewing season is almost upon us, so we’re going to give you all of the tips you can stomach. Here are a few more ways that you can hit all of your interviews out of the park. [The Careerist]

* Albany Law and the University at Albany are shockingly not already affiliated with each other, but they’re exploring an “operational alliance.” Will that mean fewer faculty buyouts, or…? [Albany Business Review]

Ed. note: This is the latest installment in a series of posts on lateral partner moves from Lateral Link’s team of expert contributors. Michael Allen is Managing Principal at Lateral Link, focusing exclusively on partner placements with Am Law 200 clients.

For senior associates up for partner, firms have become increasingly focused on business potential and less so on an associate’s ability to outclass others in the courtroom or at the negotiating table.

In the days of yore, the partner track in Biglaw was oftentimes a reward for consistent competence and professionalism. In an era of PPP and RPL, most firms (other than the Cravath, Quinn, or Simpson Thacher types) are less likely to promote associates unless they see real revenue-generating potential.

If you find yourself in your fifth to tenth year and are unsure whether you will make partner, here are four steps to help you steer your career…

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