It should be an interesting couple of days. You know what else will be fun? Staying at the Ritz off the East Coast of Northern Florida.
Please note that today is the last day that conference attendees will be able to take advantage of our special rate at the hotel for just $199 a night. Click here to register for the conference.
A special thanks to our generous Summit Ambassadors who are making this event possible: Applied Discovery, Autonomy, Clearwell Systems (now a part of Symantec), Datacert, Dell, Ernst & Young, Falcon Discovery, FTI Technology, Guidance Software, Mitratech, Nextpoint, Nuix, Pangea3, Planet Data, ProSearch Strategies, QuisLex, Recommind, Robert Half eDiscovery Services, TCDI, Valora Technologies, and WestlawNext.
If you are a current midlevel associate at a top firm, that means you survived the worst of the Biglaw layoffs. In fact, it probably means you survived while friends and colleagues were having their careers ruined.
That should make you happy, right? Not according to the American Lawyer’s annual midlevel associate survey. The results, released this morning, show that midlevel associates are anything but satisfied with their careers. From the report:
Many people would consider Am Law 200 midlevel associates to be extremely fortunate. While thousands of their colleagues lost jobs, these young lawyers are gainfully employed with salaries in the six figures. The midlevels tell us that they survived the recession in part because of the quality of their work, and that they aren’t worried about losing their jobs going forward. And even though revenue and profits dipped at the majority of their firms, relative to other industries, Big Law wasn’t hit as hard during the recession. In many ways, once their student loans are paid off, midlevel associates’ prospects seem bright.
But that’s not how they see it. Maybe it’s the posttraumatic stress syndrome from watching so many associates and law firm staffers get the ax, but the midlevels who survived the great purge aren’t feeling particularly fortunate. In fact, they seem downright cranky.
Survivor’s guilt? Not bloody likely. The result are probably due to people working harder than they were before the recession for less pay and job security than they had before the recession. Add in the fact that their secretaries have probably been fired (and so the partners now treat them like paralegals), and the fact that they’re more likely to get struck by a bolt of lightning than make partner, and you can see why these people are a little disappointed with the way things have turned out.
I’ll pause now so all the members of the Lost Generation can comment on how they would change places with these disgruntled midlevels faster than one can ask “would you like fries with that”…
For the past five years, Yale Law School has produced a list of the top “family friendly” law firms. And for the past five years, men have acted like “family” issues are something only women need to worry about.
Maybe that’s true if you are a committed bachelor who never intends to procreate or know the love of a real woman. Maybe that’s true if you subscribe to some kind of 1950′s television ideal where the man works and the woman is exclusively a stay-at-home mom. Mind the pool boy, fellas.
But the majority of men will one day marry and spawn. In many cases, they’ll marry a woman of equal career ambitions. At that point, being able to take some paternity leave might be very important. Maybe their wife won’t even be a lawyer, and thus make more money than her husband (have you seen what legal salaries are like these days). Most likely we will see more and more male primary care givers, and the firms will have to adjust. We’ve heard a lot about the “mommy track,” in our professional lifetimes one expects the “daddy track” to become just as important.
So which firms are already ahead of the family friendly curve?
Dorsey & Whitney is not planning on more layoffs. Not in California. Anything you may have heard to the contrary is false.
If you happen to work for Dorsey & Whitney in California, you may have noticed a recent report in the San Jose Mercury News. Tons of readers sent the story to Above the Law. The news organization reprinted a list of companies that had filed layoff notices in compliance with California’s WARN regulations. Companies with more than 75 employees must provide 60 days’ notice in advance of laying off 50 or more employees. Here’s the list. You’ll note that Dorsey & Whitney is prominently listed on the top of the page. In three separate entries, the paper makes it look like Dorsey & Whitney is planning on laying off 72 people sometime in 2010.
That’s not correct. First of all, the entries list Dorsey & Whitney as laying off people in Valencia, when in fact Dorsey’s Southern California’s office is in Irvine. Also, there aren’t even 72 people working in Dorsey’s Irvine office. It would be mathematically impossible for the firm to lay off that many people in Southern California.
The WARN filing is just a big clerical error. How did this mistake happen? The firm explains after the jump.
Management got May’s figures last night, and apparently, the situation was quite dire. The prognostications for the future months also did not hold to budget and they decided something relatively drastic needed to be done.
A tipster reports that Dorsey is cutting salaries again. And this time the cut is even more drastic:
Per an email from Marianne Short, the firm is slashing associate salaries firmwide. Could be up to 25-30% for midlevel / senior associates.
The firm contends that salary cuts will not get up to the levels reported by the tipster. But Dorsey is one of the firms that has decided to abandon lockstep compensation. Could that result in 25 percent reductions to base pay?
Additional details and a statement from the firm, after the jump.
Dorsey & Whitney’s managing partner, Marianne D. Short, was making the rounds in the Minneapolis office yesterday, talking to associates there about the future of the firm.
That future might be one without lockstep compensation. A source reports:
[T]he firm [suggested] it was restructuring our compensation. They did not give us any specific details. But, it seems likely that this will result in another large pay cut for associates. While hazy on the details, Dorsey management indicated that the restructuring will be something like this: we will be given a base pay rate which will be below market (whatever that means these days, but regardless, likely well below what we are currently making after our 10% pay cut), which will be supplemented by a ‘bonus’ if we make our hours to bring compensation up to market.
Alright, slow down. While it does appear that Short broached the subject with associates in Dorsey’s Minneapolis office, it appears that there are still a lot of evaluations and reviews that will have to take place at Dorsey before any final decision is made. It is premature to speculate about what kind of new base salary the firm might offer.
But it does look like the firm is considering a new system. We have statements from the firm and more from our tipsters, after the jump.
We are so close to the end of the Vault open threads that I’m starting to get my second wind. I don’t know much about the firms on this part of the list, but you guys do. You know a lot. You’re so smart, you probably don’t even need this quick recap of the next group of firms. But I’ll go through it anyway:
It seems that many of our friends in the upper Midwest are preparing for a long hard winter back on the 3L recruiting circuit. Above the Law has confirmed that Dorsey & Whitney made offers to only 56% of its 2009 summer associates. A Dorsey & Whitney spokesperson broke the news to Above the Law:
Firmwide, Dorsey made 28 offers of employment to the 50 2Ls who were with us this summer, including offers of employment to 16 2Ls in Minneapolis.
The competition was so tough this year that even the 1Ls summering with the firm felt the pinch:
Dorsey also made offers to return for Summer 2010 to 3 of the 8 1L candidates who were with us.
Those 3 1Ls are very lucky. In August, the firm announced that it was canceling its 2010 summer program in offices outside of Minneapolis.
After the jump, the firm and Above the Law tipsters say that economics caused the low offer rate.
The latest Biglaw trend, as the recession rolls on: canceling summer associate programs. Thus far, to the best of our knowledge, only a handful of firms have canceled their summer programs. But we believe that (1) additional firms have already done so but are keeping quiet about it, and (2) more firms will announce cancellations in the weeks ahead, as we approach fall recruiting season.
We’re aware of two new firms that have canceled their summer programs for 2010, in whole or in part. First, Dorsey & Whitney will not be hosting summer associate programs in cities other than Minneapolis. From a firm spokesperson:
Dorsey & Whitney has determined to suspend summer programs in our offices outside Minneapolis in 2010. This action is not an expense reduction measure. Rather, we plan to meet our clients’ needs through the services of our current associates, our new associates starting in the fall and future associates from our summer classes.
Thank you for your interest in Quarles & Brady LLP. At this time we are not currently accepting applications for the 2010 Summer Associate Program. Due to the changing economic environment, and our commitment to our 2009 entry-level associates who will be joining the firm in January 2010, the firm has decided to suspend the 2010 Summer Associate Program. Quarles & Brady remains committed to law school recruiting and entry-level hiring, and we hope you will consider applying in the future.
We wish you the very best this recruiting season!
Readers, what do you think of firms canceling summer programs? Let’s discuss.
Yesterday, we reported that Dorsey & Whitney laid off 55 staffers. Despite the staff layoffs, we mentioned that Dorsey had generally avoided the worst aspects of the economic recession.
Well, “not so fast my friends.” After our report went up, associates at Dorsey & Whitney flooded the ATL inbox with news of a ten percent associate salary cut. The first tip overestimated my mind reading ability:
You probably already have this by now, but Dorsey implemented a 10% across the board pay cut for associates.
Another tipster reported that full time associates aren’t the only people that will be taking a pay cut:
… also cut all associate salaries by 10% and are asking contract lawyers to agree to a similar cut.
We understand that associates learned of the salary cuts via an internal video available on Dorsey’s intranet. We don’t have the video, but we do have some additional details after the jump.
The evolution of relationships between the genders continues. Currently, in law firms, there is an interesting conundrum; balancing the desire for a gender-blind workplace where “the best lawyer gets the work and advances” and the reality of navigating the complicated maze created by the fact that, in general, men and women do possess differences in their work styles. These variations impact who they work with, how they work, how they build professional connections and how organizations ultimately leverage, reward and recognize the talents of all.
Henry Ford sat on his workbench and sighed. A year earlier, he had personally built 13,000 Model Ts with his own hands. Fashioning lugnuts and tie rods by hand, Ford was loath to ask for help. Sure, there were things about the car that he didn’t quite understand. This explains the lack of reliable navigation systems in the Model T. But Ford persevered because he knew that unless he did everything, he could not reliably call these cars his own.
“Unless my own personal toil is responsible for it, it may as well be called a Hyundai,” Ford remarked at the time.
The preceding may sound unfamiliar because it is categorically untrue. And also monumentally stupid. Henry Ford didn’t build all those cars by hand. He had help and plenty of it. Almost exactly one hundred years ago, Henry Ford opened up the most technologically advanced assembly line the world had ever seen. Built on the premise that work can be chopped up into digestible pieces and completed by many men better than one, the line ushered in an age of unparalleled productivity.
Today, an attorney refers business because he can’t do everything the client asks of him.
There are three reasons why this is way dumber than a made-up Henry Ford story…
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 protected].
Since late last year, things have been booming in Hong Kong / China in cap markets, especially Hong Kong IPOs. M&A deal flow has recently been getting a bit stronger as well. Although one can’t predict such things with any certainty, all signs are pointing to a banner entire 2014 for the top end US corporate and cap markets practices in Hong Kong / China. This is not really new news, as its been the feeling most in the market have had for a few months now and things continue to look good.
The head of our Asia practice, Evan Jowers, has been in Hong Kong for about 10 days a month (with trips every other month to both Shanghai and Bejing) for the past 7 months, and spending most of his time there meeting with senior US hiring partners at just about all the major US and UK firms there, as well as prospective candidates at all associate levels and partner levels, and when in the US, Evan works Asia hours and is regularly on the phone with such persons, as our the other members of our Asia team. Our Yuliya Vinokurova is in Hong Kong every other month and Robert is there about 5 times a year as well. While we have a solid Asia team of recruiters, Evan Jowers will spend at least some time with all of our candidates for Asia position. We have had long standing relationships, and good friendships in some cases, with hiring partners and other senior US partners in Asia for 8 years now.