It’s summer time! A lucky few are being paid to warm seats in law firms across the land. (Very few — thanks to the minimal numbers of offers extended to law students in Recession Land.)
Some firms are very excited about their summer associates, to the point of issuing pressreleases about them. Firms are planning fun events. Hopefully, Williams & Connolly offers cooking classes at a culinary institute again this summer (for those who don’t get offers and may not be able to afford to eat out one day). We’ve got a round-up of our favorite summer “happenings,” after the jump.
But one thing firms may not plan to do this year is bill for summer associates’ time. Nate Raymond reports in the New York Law Journal that Citigroup Inc. has told its outside counsel that it will not pay for law students’ time. Citi does not stand alone:
J. William Dantzler Jr., a tax partner at White & Case who oversees hiring in New York, said with regard to billing clients for summer associates, it has been “a slide for 10 years.”
“More and more clients don’t want summer associates to bill to them,” he said. “When I started almost all clients would accept it. And it’s evolved to where a lot of clients don’t.”
Ironically, because of the huge decline in the number of summers brought in, they’re more likely to actually do substantive work this year. One Biglaw firm, for example, instituted a requirement last year that every summer associate produce at least one piece of seriously impressive legal writing. Which firm is it?
Earlier this year, in one of its many format changes, Facebook forced users to make their profile info more public via Community Pages. Facebook created pages based on users’ lists of interests, jobs, and favorite things to help people find others “who share similar interests and experiences.”
So if you, for example, listed “document review” as something you like, you’d be a member of this page. And maybe this page too.
One issue discussed in some circles was the potential trademark violation in Facebook’s automatically creating and populating Community pages for businesses and brands. Another issue picked up by the National Law Journal was that some of the Community Pages created aren’t very flattering to law firms.
If you listed your employment as “Slave” at Skadden Arps, for example, you’re responsible for this page:
What are some of the other interesting law firm-affiliated Community Pages on Facebook?
Since Judge Denny Chin is moving on up to the Second Circuit, the S.D.N.Y. cases pending before him have to be redistributed. Lawyers for Bank of America, which has 15 civil shareholder lawsuits on Chin’s docket, sent the chief judge a letter requesting that the cases be reassigned using a lottery system. As we mentioned in Morning Docket, Cleary Gottlieb, Davis Polk, and Wachtell Lipton all signed the letter.
Why did they need to send this special letter? Because they were scared of B of A landing again in the lap of Judge Jed Rakoff, says the Wall Street Journal:
Judge Rakoff disappointed bank executives last year when he rejected a $30 million settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which had charged the bank with misleading shareholders about bonuses paid prior to the Merrill merger. The New York judge reluctantly approved a new $150 million agreement in February but called it “half-baked justice at best.”
One of the pending shareholder cases accuses the bank of failing to “disclose billions in Merrill losses before shareholders approved the deal in December 2008.”
Apparently, the lawyers debated whether or not to name Judge Rakoff in their letter, thus making it clear that he was the particular judge they hoped to avoid. They ultimately decided to name names.
They were successful in steering their cases clear of Rakoff, though the chief judge claims the letter wasn’t a factor in her decision to assign the cases to Judge Kevin Castel (aka the John Gotti judge). How did she decide?
We have confirmed the news of a Cravath bonus match with multiple sources at Cleary Gottlieb. One exchange went something like this:
ATL: Any good news today?
CGSH: No. Cravath news. Bonus FAIL.
So the 2009 bonus market is probably going to coalesce around the Cravath-level bonuses — unless S&C shows up and trumps CSM. Stay tuned.
The timing of the announcement is telling. Usually bad news is saved for Friday afternoons, so it gets lost in the pre-weekend shuffle. Did CGSH view its bonus numbers as potentially disappointing to the recipients?
Perhaps. In our reader poll on the Cravath bonuses, a majority of respondents said the CSM bonuses made them either “unhappy” or “very unhappy” (the most popular choice). Approximately 30 percent said the bonuses made them “neither happy nor unhappy.” Under 20 percent said the bonuses made them “happy” or “very happy.”
The Cleary memo and another READER POLL, after the jump.
LEWW’s memory isn’t what it once was, but we can’t recall a stronger week in legal nuptials than this one. All six of our featured newlyweds are truly impressive, and a few are even interesting! And not to give anything away, but if you love SCOTUS clerks (and oh, we do!) prepare to curl your toes in ecstasy.
Here are our finalists:
Yesterday, we covered Andrew Cuomo’s letter to Bank of America. In it, the New York Attorney General ask BofA to essentially waive its attorney client privilege and allow the AG’s office to question BofA outside counsel at Cleary Gottlieb. Update: The NYAG is looking to talk to the lawyers who consulted on the Bank of America/Merrill Lynch merger. Cuomo wants to talk to attorneys at Wachtell and Shearman & Sterling. He is not asking to talk to Cleary lawyers about their work for the bank.
Today, Cleary commercial litigation partner Lewis Liman, fired back at New York’s chief lawyer. The Charlotte Observer has the details:
“First, the basic premise of the letter is simply wrong,” Bank of America’s attorney, Lewis Liman, wrote in the bank’s response. “Bank of America has not put at issue the subject matter of any advice of counsel. Nor has Bank of America offered reliance on legal advice as a justification for its disclosures. Bank of America’s position has been clear and consistent throughout: the proxy statement and related disclosures complied with all applicable laws, rules and regulations. Because Bank of America did not violate the law, it has not offered reliance on legal advice as a defense.”
Lewis Liman? That sounds more like something Josh Lyman would write.
Apparently, the NYAG isn’t the only one that knows how to litigate in through the press. More from Liman and Bank of America, after the jump.
Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo fired another shot at Bank of America on Tuesday, asking the bank to allow its lawyers to be questioned.
In a letter to the bank’s outside counsel, Lewis J. Liman of Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton, Mr. Cuomo wrote that “attorney-client privilege is hindering this office’s ability to make fair and fully informed decisions as to what charges, if any, to bring and whether individual Bank of America officers should be charged.”
This week’s Vows column is a jaw-dropper. Twelve-year-old girl has crush on doorman (“‘He looked like the guy from Tiger Beat,’ she recalled”), stalks doorman for over a decade, and finally marries him. And he’s still the doorman!
Also, don’t miss this Skadden associate’s unorthodox proposal: He had his girlfriend served with a “complaint” while he was in the men’s room.
On to this week’s couples:
Weil’s strong move up the Vault charts — the firm was ranked #9 last year — shows the power of high profile work. The Lehman bankruptcy and the General Motors restructuring were just two of the many recognizable matters Weil has had its hands on in the past 12 months.
But Weil also seems to have timed the Vault rankings quite well. The firm didn’t start deferring incoming first years until March, didn’t start laying off staff until May, and didn’t start laying off associates closing offices until the end of June.
Regardless of whether or not those moves catch up with Weil next year, right now is Weil’s time to shine in the warm recruiting light of sixth place. Congrats.
Let’s look at the other firms after the jump.
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: email@example.com.
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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