Last week, the American Lawyer shined a spotlight on extensive partner departures from McDermott Will & Emery. According to Brian Baxter of Am Law Daily, a whopping 38 partners have left MWE in 2011 so far.
But that explains just a quarter of the year-to-date partner departures from McDermott. Let’s look at some of the others, explore possible implications for the firm, and discuss what might be motivating the movement toward the exits….
The law firm of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe continues to do battle with its former client, MGA Entertainment. It seems that the maker of Bratz dolls is still acting in bratty fashion, by not paying its legal bills, and Orrick has moved to withdraw from representing MGA. (This is not the first time that Orrick has tried to fire its difficult client.)
Fortunately, things are happier on the transactional side for Orrick. The firm just announced that it’s picking up five bank finance and high-yield partners, for its New York office.
The new arrivals come from four different places, including three firms whose names you will definitely recognize….
Big news out of New York today: Dennis Block, a leading mergers and acquisitions attorney, is on the move. Known for being extremely successful — but notoriously difficult to work with — Block is stepping away from Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft and bringing his huge book of business to Greenberg Traurig.
This Brooklyn Law School graduate proves that you don’t need to go to a T-14 school to have a great career. Block has served as counsel on several big time affairs, including Pfizer’s $68 billion Wyeth takeover, and JPMorgan’s Bear Stearns buyout.
Let’s learn more about Block’s past, and see what Cadwalader has to say about this partner’s defection….
* Bob Morse announces that new jobs data may be used to change the methodology for calculating law school employment rates. Because Bob Morse has to do the ABA’s job for them. HIYOOOO! [U.S. News & World Report]
* And speaking of employment (or lack thereof), it looks like UDel and SUNY Stony Brook have given up their plans to build new law schools. Did they smarten up and start worrying about jobs like we do? [Washington Post]
* Joran van der Sloot: rolling his eyes at murder charges since 2005. More than a year after his arrest, he’s been charged with the murder of Stephany Flores. [CNN]
* Representing a private company, Cadwalader’s antitrust case against Google got tossed. Even Biglawyers can fail to meet their burdens of proof. [CNET]
* ‘Cause tonight we’re robo-signing like it’s 1999? Mortgage paperwork screw-ups aren’t as new as you think – they’ve been around since flannel was still cool. [Associated Press]
* Remember that Oscar de la Hoya lawsuit? The settlement allegedly included $20M in exchange for getting his heels and fishnets back. You can’t keep a good crossdresser down. [New York Post]
One of my favorite law firm names is Freshfields — Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, to be precise, but I prefer Freshfields. It makes me think of rolling green hills, crisp laundered linens, or a dairy, producing the creamiest milk in all the land.
As it turns out, Freshfields is a law firm — a top international law firm, a member of the elite Magic Circle. And this Freshfields is rolling out the green, doling out crisp bills, and ladling out the cream — to its associates. As reported earlier today by Am Law Daily, yesterday Freshfields announced spring bonuses, on the top-of-the-market Cravath scale.
Freshfields isn’t alone. This afternoon, Cadwalader, which was publicly toying with the idea of spring bonuses, announced that it too would pay them, again on the Cravath scale.
These two moves are significant — far more significant than the earlier spring bonus announcements….
Fact: Spring bonuses have been announced at Cravath, Sullivan & Cromwell, Simpson Thacher, and Cleary Gottlieb.
Fact: It’s February 7th.
Fact: Skadden, Davis Polk, Weil, and Debevoise should be ashamed of themselves.
Honestly, I don’t know what the top-tier firms that haven’t announced spring bonuses think they’re doing. Do they hope that no one is watching? Everybody is watching.
You want proof? Last week, at a “state of the firm” meeting, Cadwalader announced that it is considering spring bonuses. If Cadwalader goes with spring bonuses, it puts a whole host of other firms in play for the big payout…
Sometimes lawyers at Cadwalader are the victims of theft. And sometimes they’re the ones doing the stealing.
Here’s the promised follow-up to yesterday’s post about Cadwalader’s successful raid on the energy law practice of McDermott Will & Emery. It’s big news in Biglaw. As of now, nine partners are moving — Paul Pantano, Karen Dewis, Greg Lawrence, Greg Mocek, Tony Mansfield, Ken Irvin, Rob Stephens, Daryl Rice and Doron Ezickson — but if they’re followed by associates, a few dozen lawyers could be involved.
In an email sent out on Wednesday by MWE leaders Jeff Stone and Peter Sacripanti, reprinted in full after the jump, McDermott tried to minimize the losses. Stone and Sacripanti pointed out that “[t]his group of partners focused mainly on one aspect of our overall energy practice, which was commodities and derivatives trading for financial clients,” and that “the departing partners’ total collections in 2010 amounted to about three percent of overall firm revenue.”
Still, three percent of total MWE revenue is nothing to scoff at. In 2009, McDermott had total revenue of $829 million, according to the American Lawyer. Assuming that 2010 revenue is similar (the Am Law numbers aren’t out yet), three percent amounts to $24.87 million. Dividing that out over nine partners yields revenue per partner of about $2.8 million — not a bad book of business.
A new year, a new job. That seems to be the thinking of many within the legal profession, based on the proliferation of professional moves we have to report (and not just out of Howrey).
We’ll start with one move that’s aspirational rather than actual. Legal and political superstar Ted Cruz — the Morgan Lewispartner who heads the firm’s Supreme Court and appellate practice, and who was recently named one of the 25 greatest Texas lawyers of the past 25 years — will run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by the good senatrix Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX). Check out the announcement on his website, or read this BLT post.
Like many lawyers turned politicians, including our current president, the 40-year-old Cruz is a Harvard Law grad (and one of The Elect — Rehnquist / OT 1996). Graduates of HLS’s rival to the south, Yale Law School, tend to take more quirky paths.
That brings us to the second move of the day. YLS grad Yul Kwon — a former Second Circuit clerk and McKinsey consultant, the first Asian-American winner of Survivor, and one of People’s “sexiest men alive” (in 2006) — has left the Federal Communications Commission. Kwon served as deputy chief of the consumer and governmental affairs bureau at the Commission.
Just like last year, we’re late in covering the bonus announcement of Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, which apparently happened a few days after the Cravath announcement. But just like last year, the Cadwalader bonus news is nothing to write home about.
We haven’t seen the memo — please feel free to send it our way — but multiple sources advise us that Cadwalader basically matched Cravath. We say “basically” because there was an hours requirement, which we understand was essentially the same as last year’s (i.e., around 2000 hours, 1900 of them billable).
If you have additional information or background about bonuses at CWT this year, we’re all ears.
The unannounced departure took place July 1, Link, 55, said Thursday. Link, the firm’s former chairman and managing partner, left Cadwalader after being replaced as chairman in 2008 and later being left off of the firm’s management committee.
Speaking from one of his homes in Vermont, Link said the retirement was his choice. He said he has no plans to return to the practice of law, though he may take a job in the public interest arena.
“I don’t have to work if I don’t want to,” Link said. “But I will.”
Link made enough money for Cadwalader that many of his former partners don’t have to work if they don’t want to. Remember his fabulous $6 million Hamptons house? Now he has more time to enjoy it.
But Link also leaves behind a legacy that put many associates out of work…
A college graduate without student loan debt is akin to reading a kind quote about Kim Kardashian in a tabloid—it’s rare.
In the past eight years, student loan debt has nearly tripled to a whopping $1.1 trillion, and in the past 10 years, the percentage of 25-year-olds with such debt has risen from 25% to 43%
It’s gotten so bad, in fact, that New York Fed economists warned last month that the burden of student debt could stilt consumer spending by twentysomethings, as well as further hamper the recovery of the housing market and economy.
To get a better idea of what massive student loan debt (we’re talking over $100,000 massive) looks like, we talked to an attorney who graduated with a large student loan debt. We also consulted LearnVest Planning Services CFP® Katie Brewer to see just how their repayment plans stack up.
S. Fischer, 36, Attorney Graduated: 2001
How Much I Borrowed: $100,000
What I Still Owe: $45,000
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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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deal flow has clearly picked recently up for most US associates, counsels and partners in Hong Kong/China and Singapore. We are on the phone with a lot of these folks on a daily basis, many of whom we have known for years. Further, the head of our Asia team, Evan Jowers, and Kinney’s founder and president, Robert Kinney, frequently meet in person with leading US partners in Asia to assess their needs and keep on top of the inside scoop at as many firms as possible. The need for legal recruiting help in Asia from experienced recruiters appears to be live and well. In March, Evan and Robert were in Beijing at such meetings, in April, Evan was in Hong Kong, and for half of June Evan will be in Shanghai and Hong Kong. Thus its pretty easy for us to tell when there has been an across-the-market pick up in capital markets and corporate work.
On an average day in Asia when Evan and Robert visit firms, they typically have 5 to 9 meetings a day, mostly with US partners in the market. The reason they have these meetings is not simply because Kinney makes a lot of US attorney placements in Asia and that a particular firm may have openings; instead these are just visits with friends. After years of working together as business partners, the folks at Kinney are actually these peoples’ friends. The firms Kinney work closely with in Asia (which is just about every law firm – call us if you want to know the one firm in the world we will never place anyone with again, ever, and why) look forward to the visits, or at least act like they do. After seven years in the market, many of the client partners are former associate candidates. Also, these US partners see Kinney as a very good source of market information as well, because they know how deep their contacts are in the market and how frequently they are speaking to counterparts at peer firms.
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