Do you remember the scene in the Amityville Horror House movie where the toilet says to the family, “Get out”? That seems to be what firms are telling incoming associates when they defer first-years until 2012.
Today, we’ve got another firm that has decided to put some of its incoming associates on the long march towards nowhere in particular. Missouri Lawyers reports:
St. Louis-based Bryan Cave is among the firms that have pushed off start dates on new associates to 2012.
The firm’s St. Louis office made 14 total offers last fall to 2010 law school graduates, but told seven of them at the time that they wouldn’t be starting until January 2012, said managing partner Peter Van Cleve. The other seven were extended offers to start in January 2011.
Remember, Bryan Cave is still trying to absorb the members of the class of 2009 — at least the ones who didn’t already take the firm’s offer to split…
Every now and then, we like to offer our readers some career alternatives — things you can do with your law degree and legal training that don’t involve, say, working in a large law firm or as a contract lawyer. We’ve profiled a wide range of individuals, from lawyers who have left the law for everything from football coaching to CEO-ing to therapy (giving, not receiving).
Today we continue down the path of attorneys who have gone from representing companies to launching them. Our latest interviewee has started a company, Urban Interns, that might be of interest to any ATL readers who are looking to hire interns — or any ATL readers who are looking for internships, which can provide valuable experience and/or a paycheck (of great value during these times of still-high unemployment).
When a big group of attorneys leave, it sometimes spooks those left behind. We hear that one partner at Bryan Cave was really spooked.
The attorneys that left had all been on the 22nd floor, the main floor of the Phoenix office on which clients are greeted. Their departure left the floor eerily vacant, so the firm asked some partners and attorneys to move into the empty offices. One of those asked to move was longtime partner Bob Shely. He felt his new office was tainted, though; according to reports circulating widely at the two firms, he said it had an “evil feeling.”
I see defected people?
According to the rumor mill, he wanted the carpets torn out and the office renovated. But a recruiting coordinator at the firm offered a cheaper solution: a do-it-yourself spiritual cleansing kit….
Way back in November 2008, Bryan Cave became one of the first firms to freeze associate salaries. At the time, the firm said that it was only delaying its planned salary increase by three months. But firms said a lot of things back in 2008 that proved unworkable in 2009.
A tipster reports that the freeze is on again at Bryan Cave for 2010. The firm hasn’t made a formal announcement about it or issued an internal memo, nor has it responded to our multiple requests for comment. But a few people have been informed internally that the freeze is on again for 2010 — and we have not heard from anyone who has had a pay raise so far in the new year. If you have additional information on how widely this “no pay raise” message has been disseminated, let us know at email@example.com. UPDATE: Although there was no memo, there were meetings at which a continued salary freeze was announced.
But that’s not all. If you look at the full scope of Bryan Cave’s actions, the firm appears to be in some very special company.
Ed. note: Above the Law has teamed up with Law Shucks. Law Shucks has done excellent work translating all of the layoff news into user-friendly charts and graphs: the Layoff Tracker.
We’ll actually be hitting a week and a half in this roundup, going back to August 1. As we’ve been saying for a while, September is not likely to be as tranquil as August was (3 layoffs, 126 people in total), and the layoffs have already started. Eleven days in, and twice as many firms have laid off almost twice as many people.
Let’s step back and start with the big picture.
The really bad news came just before the Labor Day weekend, as unemployment hit 9.7%, a 26-year high. If you really want to find a silver lining, the net job loss for August was less horrible than expected, coming in at 216,000 jobs lost for the month. The decrease in total unemployment in July is now just a blip on a 16 out of 17 month streak of worsening employment numbers. It’s not even like the improvement in July was a result of actual new jobs, either — it came from people becoming so disaffected that they stop looking for jobs entirely, which takes them off the rolls of the unemployed. Hurray for government math!
Overall, 6.9 million jobs have been lost since the beginning of 2008 — which, coincidentally, is also the beginning of the Law Shucks layoff tracker (we count from Cadwalader’s first round). Major firms account for just over 13,000 of those.
So what has been going on so far this month? After the jump, we analyze the looming surge.
My friends, we have a trend. Bryan Cave has become the third firm we know of to offer its incoming associates money to simply go away instead of starting at the firm.
Tipsters report that the firm is offering some associates $70,000 to “walk away” instead of showing up for work. That’s the carrot. This tipster reports the stick:
[A Bryan Cave letter] stated that they are unable to guarantee a start date at this time .. The letter [also] said was that they are unsure if they will need any first year associates before 2011. Shady, shady, shady…
Stroock — the first firm to offer incoming associates go away money — offered $75,000. Pillsbury offered $60,000. So Bryan Cave is keeping up with the market for these kinds of things.
After the jump, a reader poll, and Bryan Cave’s strategy for incoming associates.
At least the salary cutting craze is staying localized in the lower echelons of the Vault 100. But that probably doesn’t mean very much to associates at Bryan Cave. Today, the firm announced that it was cutting salaries. The cuts were announced via firm wide email from firm chairman, Don Lents:
Annual compensation levels for existing associates will be reduced by 10% across the board (but where applicable to not less than the newly established entry-level compensation). Annual compensation levels for certain other lawyers (e.g., certain staff lawyers) will also be reduced. Information regarding your new annual salary will be available under the Comp Adjustments tab in the “My HR Information” section of eCave by 12:00 noon EDT today. The reductions will become effective in all of our U.S. offices other than those located in the State of Missouri on July 1, 2009. Due to legal notification requirements in Missouri, the reductions will become effective in our Missouri offices on July 13, 2009. In the U.K., a one month consultation period will commence immediately with a view to implementing the proposed 10% reduction to compensation with effect from July 13, 2009.
Bryan Cave is ranked #77 in your Vault Guide. But at #76, Chadbourne & Parke has already cut salaries. At #78, Thacher Proffitt & Wood no longer exists. So at some level Bryan Cave is keeping up with the competition.
The new base salaries for all offices after the jump.
Earlier today, we reported that Bryan Cave laid off 58 attorneys.
The firm just released a statement with the official numbers. In addition to the 58 attorneys, 76 staffers were also let go today. The numbers account for 5% of the firm’s attorneys and 6% of the firm’s support staff:
We have regretfully now concluded that we must reduce our attorney and staff ranks, by 58 attorneys and 76 staff. These reductions represent about 5% of our attorneys and 6% of our staff. The attorneys and staff affected have been advised of this decision.
Bryan Cave also took this opportunity to inform the survivors that salaries will be frozen for all of 2009. Previously, the firm indicated that raises would be made in April, 2009.
Read the full statement from firm Chairman Don Lents after the jump.
I hope this actually means no layoffs, though, as many junior associates have been really hurting for work. I also hope it means they won’t have to be too stingy with raises when the deferral period ends, since Bryan Cave is not lockstep with the Simpson 160k scale after the first couple years.
Well, today layoffs have come to Bryan Cave. The news first started leaking out on Tuesday. As we understand it, Bryan Cave is letting people go today. Our sources report that 58 attorneys have been laid off.
Watch to find out what some of our subscribers received in their May box!
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We currently have a number of active openings for associate roles at US and UK firms in HK / China, Singapore and two new in-house openings. As always, please feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org in order to get details of current openings in Asia, as well as to discuss the Asia markets in general and what we expect for openings later this year. Our Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney will be in Beijing the week of March 25 and Evan Jowers will be in Hong Kong the week of April 1, if you would like to meet them in person.
The US associate openings we have in law firms are in the usual areas of M&A, cap markets, FCPA / white collar litigation, finance, and project finance. The most urgent of our top tier (top 15 US or magic circle) law firm openings in Asia (among many other firm openings that we have in Asia) are as follows:
• 2nd to 5th year mandarin fluent M&A associates needed in Beijing and Hong Kong at several firms;
• Korean fluent 2nd to 4th year cap markets associate needed in Hong Kong;
• 2nd to 5th year Japanese fluent M&A associates needed in Tokyo;
• 4th to 6th year mandarin fluent cap markets associate needed in Hong Kong;
• 2nd to 4th year M&A / cap markets mix associate needed in Singapore.
The last time I flapped my wings your way, I tried to make at least enough noise about your mobile phone to make you more than a little bit uncomfortable. I hope I did. If enough of us become anxious enough about the known and unknown unknowns and knowns in our mobile phones, then we can start making wise decisions about how to manage that information and its resultant investigations.
Today, I’d like to put a finer point on the last installment’s topic by asking a question that seemed to catch most attendees off-guard at a conference panel that I moderated last week: is there discoverable personal information in a mobile app? Our panelists’ answer was a uniform “yes” with one stating that, if he had to choose only one type of data that he could discover from a mobile phone, he’d choose app data. Why? Because there’s simply so much of it and because almost all of it is objective – not just user-created like an email – but machine-tracked like GPS, usage duration, log in and log out times, browsed web addresses, browsed actual addresses. Also, most of us seem to have the idea that data doesn’t actually “stick” to our mobile devices the way it “sticks” to our hard drives. Maybe there’s a disconnect based on the fact that our phones are mobile so we assume the data is mobile to?
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