Partners are usually best remembered for behaving badly, or worse, treating associates badly. But not the partners who made our “Top Partners to Work For” list.
Last week, we asked you to nominate the best Biglaw partners you work for, tell us why they are the best, and rate them in six categories: expertise within the practice area, quality of work given to associates, hands-on training given to associates, provision of feedback on associate work, respect for associates’ schedules, and professionalism with associates.
Over the next several weeks, we will reveal who these exceptional partners are in a multi-part Career Center survey results series, sponsored by Lateral Link. We kick off the series this week with the New York partners, and then we’ll make our way around the country.
Let’s get to know the first eight partners and find out why associates say they are the best to work for….
With fall recruiting gearing up, and the lateral market warming up, we continue our annual series of open threads about the law firms featured in the Vault prestige rankings. These threads provide ATL readers with a forum to discuss the different firms and their various strengths and weaknesses.
The end of the Vault 100 is in sight. We’re covering the firms in batches of 20 now. Here are the firms ranked #61 to #80, which will provide today’s discussion fodder:
Before Christmas, we highlighted one law firm holiday card that we particularly enjoyed (from Haynes and Boone). We also invited readers to email us with other holiday cards we might enjoy. We stated that, if we received sufficient submissions, we might even hold a contest.
Lo and behold, we did receive enough entrants. So we are happy to hold Above the Law’s first holiday card contest.
Check out the nominees and vote — you’re stuck in the office between Christmas and New Year’s, and you’re bored — after the jump.
It’s been a while since a firm asked people to voluntarily fire themselves. Maybe with the economy getting better it’s time to dust that strategy off?
Apparently, that is what Crowell & Moring is hoping for. The firm just asked its staff to voluntarily help them get down to a 4 to 1 attorney to staff ratio:
Our goal remains to handle this necessary reduction in a humane and generous way. Accordingly, effective today, we are offering a voluntary opportunity for our support services employees to elect to resign from the firm in exchange for payment of six months of each employee’s annual salary. We are hopeful that this opportunity may be of interest to a number of our secretaries and will bring the firm closer to achieving its goal of an average lawyer to support services ratio of 4 to 1 across our offices. This voluntary package will be available through October 23. At the end of that period, we will reassess our staffing levels and determine whether involuntary reductions are necessary.
Six months severance is a nice package, especially for staff who don’t typically receive as much severance pay as attorneys. If you assume that the firm will not be offering six months to people that are “involuntarily” laid off after October 23rd, the package could be a pretty powerful motivator.
Of course, if there are still no jobs in six months, then does it really matter? If you are a rock star secretary maybe you should just roll the dice and try to hang on.
Tough decisions abound during a recession. Good luck, Crowell & Moring staff.
Read the full internal memo after the jump.
Our Vault 100 series is winding down. We hope that the insiders have enjoyed the opportunity to brag (or to vent) about their firms. And that the curious have appreciated insights into life at various firms in the top 100.
Here is the next bunch up for discussion (with their prestige scores in parentheses):
Thanks for your responses to our recent call for memos. Here are two more firms that have announced associate pay raises:
1. Crowell & Moring: Starting salaries to $160,000, effective August 1. Minimum billables to 1900 hours, effective September 1. Associates who do not wish to meet the new minimum are invited to reach “alternative arrangements” with the firm.
2. Dow Lohnes: No, Rupert Murdoch is not trying to buy them. Dow Lohnes is an AmLaw 200 law firm with a significant presence in Atlanta. Will their move to the $160K scale encourage other Atlanta firms to follow suit?
Law Firm Mergers:
Actually, they’re really acquisitions:
* Washington-based Crowell & Moring is building up its New York office by acquiring King Pagano Harrison, the health care/labor-and-employment boutique, and by picking up partners from IP boutique Morgan & Finnegan.
* Philadelphia-based Drinker Biddle & Reath is “merging” with Chicago-based Gardner Carton & Douglas. The new entity will keep the Drinker Biddle name and will be chaired by Drinker Biddle’s current chairman, Alfred W. Putnam Jr.
(Translation: Gardner Carton = Drinker Biddle’s beeatch.) Out the Door:
* Casualties of the options backdating scandal: Bruce Karatz, CEO of KB Home (and a lawyer by training), and Richard Hirst, KB Home’s chief legal officer. Crowell & Moring Acquires 20 Lawyers From Litigation Boutique [Legal Times via Law.com] Firm Boosts NY Office With Boutique Acquisition, Raid [NYLawyer.com] Firms Merge [NYLawyer.com] Backdating Scandal Fells Top Homebuilding CEO [WSJ Law Blog]
The latest news on the most notable moves within the profession: Government to Private Sector:
* Seth Silber, to Wilson Sonsini (as counsel), from the FTC. (Quips our tipster: “What a lovely week to join that particular firm!”) New Office Openings:
* Crowell & Moring — aka “Cruel & Boring”*** — is opening a New York office. They’ve grabbed litigator William McSherry, from Arent Fox, and patent lawyer Janet McLeod, from Dorsey & Whitney, to kick things off.
* The exceedingly profitable, Houston-based Susman Godfrey is opening a New York office, headed by name partner Stephen Susman. Lateral Private Sector Moves:
* Bankruptcy guru Paul Basta, to Kirkland & Ellis, from Weil Gotshal & Manges.***
* Patent litigators Joseph O’Malley and Bruce Wexler, to Paul Hastings (NY), from Fitzpatrick, Cella, Harper & Scinto.
*** “Cruel and Boring” is just a silly nickname for Crowell & Moring that we’ve heard around town. We have no idea as to whether it has any factual basis. We just think using nicknames for law firms is fun. Other law firm nicknames we’ve heard: Weil Gotshal & Manges = “We’ll Getcha & Mangle Ya” (self-explanatory); Cravath Swaine & Moore = “The Death Star” (self-explanatory); Davis Polk & Wardwell = “The Teahouse on Lexington Avenue” (for their penchant for hiring geishas attractive Asian-American females — don’t get mad at us, we didn’t make it up).
(Feel free to add more law firm nicknames in the comments to this post.) On The Move [Antitrust Review] Basta Says Hasta to Weil Gotshal [WSJ Law Blog] DC Firm Opens NY Office [NYLawyer.com] Houston Firm Opens Manhattan Office [NYLawyer.com] Firm Adds NY Patent Litigators [NYLawyer.com]
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 seven years. You can reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Things have changed recently in Korea – a few of our US and UK client firms are looking, very selectively, for a lateral US associate hire. Until just recently, there was not much hiring like this going on in Korea, since US and UK firms started opening offices there. We have already placed two US associates in Korea in the past month at top firms. Most of the hiring partners we work with in Korea do not actively work with other recruiters.
If you are a Korean fluent US associate in London, New York or another major US market, 2nd to 6th year, at a top 20 firm, with cap markets or M&A focus (or mix), or project finance background, and you are interested in lateraling to Korea to a top US or UK firm, please feel free to reach out to us at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Our head of Asia, Evan Jowers, was just in Korea recently, and Evan and Robert Kinney will be in Korea in a few weeks. We are in the process of helping several firms open new offices in Korea (a number of which are interviewing our partner level candidates) and also helping existing offices there fill openings.
Professor Joel P. Trachtman has developed a unique, practical guide to help lawyers analyze, argue, and write effectively.
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For most attorneys, time spent managing the books is a necessary evil at best. Yet it is undeniably a crucial aspect of running a successful practice. With that in mind, we invite you to view or download a free webinar by Above the Law and our friends at Clio to learn how to better manage your finances.
Take this opportunity to learn what it takes to streamline your accounting and get the most out of your time. The webinar agenda:
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Do not miss this crucial chance to optimize your accounting practices. Save time and get back to billing!