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]
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.
In a land that is right here and in a time that is right now, a technology has arisen so powerful that it can replace basic human document review. Is it time to bow down before our new robot overlords?
First, here’s a little story about me: my life in the legal world began as a paralegal. My first case was a GIANT patent infringement case that was already six years old and had involved as many as five companies, multiple US courts, the ITC and an international standards committee. I knew nothing about any of this.
On my first day, my supervisor (a paralegal with at least eight other cases driving her crazy) sat me down in front of a Concordance database with a 100,000+ patents and patent file histories. “Code these,” she said. I learned that “coding”, for the purposes of this exercise, meant manually typing the inventor’s name, the title of the patent, the assignee, the file date, and other objective data for each document. I worked on that project – and only that project – for at least the first six months of my job. After a week or so, time began to blur.
What I know, in retrospect and with absolutely certainty, is that as time began to blur, so did my judgment. So did my attention to detail. If you could tell me that I did not make at least one mistake a day – one inconsistent spelling, one reversed day and month, one incorrectly spaced title – I frankly would need to see your evidence. I would not believe it. The human mind is trainable but it is not a machine.
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