We received multiple reports this morning that Drinker Biddle & Reath let go of approximately 20 people, all on Friday. Tipsters reported the information this morning, but a morning commenter had the best line:
Yes it’s true about DBR – on Friday afternoon. No stealth – they came around to every office – told everyone it was economy based.
Other tipsters confirmed that the dismissals were based on the economy and not associate performance. The firm would not confirm or deny the reports, as a matter of policy.
If true, axing people 13 days before Christmas is a sad sign of the times. Let’s hope that firms finish all of their 2008 associate cuts by the end of this week. Surely feelings and families should take precedence over burying layoff news in the holiday news cycle.
And, as always, good luck to all the former Drinker Biddle employees.
We’ve previously covered Denver and Hartford. Today our series of posts profiling associate compensation in various smaller legal markets — smaller than New York or Washington or Los Angeles, at least — turns to Philadelphia.
What’s going on in the City of Brotherly Love? Based on some recentarticles we’ve read, it seems that the standard starting salary in Philly hovers between $135,000 and $145,000. At $135K: Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis; Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll; Duane Morris; Blank Rome; Wolf, Block, Schorr & Solis-Cohen; and DLA Piper. At $145K: Morgan, Lewis & Bockius; Dechert; Drinker Biddle & Reath; and Pepper Hamilton.
Will Philly move to the $160K scale anytime soon? If so, when? And who will lead the charge?
In the cheesesteak metropolis, starting salaries aren’t the only issue. Per a commenter:
[W]hen you do [Philadelphia], please make sure to point out our mid-level comp which sucks. We get about a 5k raise per year (though [in] some years we do get 10k but not most). After 7 years we’re just clearing 200k.
It has been a while since our last round-up of notable moves within the legal profession. So there’s a lot to report today: Law Firm to… Prison?
* Former Milberg Weiss name partner Steven Schulman resigned from the firm to pursue “new ventures.” The most important of these “ventures” will surely be fighting federal charges of making illegal payments to plaintiffs in past cases. Law Firms to In-House:
* Securities lawyer Stephen Cutler is leaving his partnership at WilmerHale to become general counsel of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., the banking giant. From a tipster who works in securities law: “This is a big deal.”
Colleagues of Cutler described the JP Morgan gig to the WSJ Law Blog as a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity. Translation: Who wouldn’t want to make mid- instead of low-seven-figures?
* Another WilmerHale departure: J. Kevin McCarthy is taking over as top lawyer of the Cowen Group, an investment bank. Government to Private Sector:
* Former New Jersey Chief Justice Deborah Poritz joins the Princeton office of Drinker Biddle & Reath, as of counsel. She stepped down from the New Jersey Supreme Court in October, after reaching the mandatory retirement age. Government Promotion:
* David Nocenti, current counsel to New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, will become counsel to the governor effective January 1. Academia-Biglaw Alliance:
* Harvard Law School Professor Laurence Tribe, the renowned constitutional scholar and SCOTUS litigator, is entering into a consulting arrangement with Akin Gump.
Akin Gump is developing a Supreme Court practice. Earlier this year, they added young SCOTUS superstar Tom Goldstein to their line-up. Lateral Moves:
* Securities-enforcement lawyer Chuck Davidow, to Paul Weiss (DC), from WilmerHale.
Another loss for WilmerHale — on top of the previously reported departure of Paul Eckert for the White House Counsel’s Office.
Why are so many partners leaving WilmerHale? A Hillary Clinton administration is still two years away.
* IP lawyer Joseph Gioconda, to DLA Piper (New York), from Kirkland & Ellis.
* Corporate lawyer Eric Lerner, to Kramer Levin, from Katten Muchin Rosenman.
* Tax lawyer Thomas Giegerich, to McDermott Will & Emery (NY), from Dewey Ballantine (about to merge with Orrick to form Dewy Orifice). New Partners:
* Bryan Cave: Eleven new partners. Names here.
Due to the sheer number of links today, we’ve placed them after the jump.
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in the case of KSR International v. Teleflex. Here’s our quick-and-dirty summary of the proceedings. Subject Matter / Question Presented: To qualify for patent protection, an invention must be novel, useful, and not “obvious” to a person of “ordinary skill” in the field. So how do you determine “obviousness” when you have an invention that combines already-existing products? And is the Federal Circuit’s three-part “teaching-suggestion-motivation” test for obviousness a bunch of moronic nonsense? Money Quote(s):
From the NYT:
When [veteran SCOTUS litigator Tom] Goldstein noted that “every single major patent bar association in the country has filed on our side,” the chief justice interjected: “Well, which way does that cut? That just indicates that this is profitable for the patent bar.” And when Mr. Goldstein referred to experts who had testified that the Teleflex patent was not obvious, the chief justice asked: “Who do you get to be an expert to tell you something’s not obvious? I mean, the least insightful person you can find?”
“Three imponderable nouns,” is how Justice Antonin Scalia dismissed the test, also calling it “gobbledygook” for good measure.
Likely Outcome: The Federal Circuit will probably get benchslapped by the SCOTUS. As Tony Mauro notes:
[W]hen Justice Stephen Breyer said he had read the briefs in the case “15 times” and still could not understand the “motivation” prong of the test, Scalia chimed in, “Like Justice Breyer, I don’t understand.”
The implied message to the Federal Circuit seemed to be: If two of the brainier justices on the Supreme Court don’t have a clue what you are talking about, a new test might be in order.
For those of you looking for a substantive, eyewitness account of the argument, we reprint below the report of Joseph (Jay) R. DelMaster, Jr., a partner at Drinker Biddle & Reath in Washington. His account includes advice about how to proceed in patent prosecutions while we await the Supreme Court’s decision.
Check it out, after the jump.
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]
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
LexisNexis and OverDrive®, the digital library solutions provider chosen by 22,000+ libraries, schools and colleges worldwide, have joined forces to provide a library management solution that suits evolving legal research requirements mobility, simplified library management, and space and budget reductions.
Reduce your library costs and extend the budget.
With LexisNexis® Digital Library, overhead and administrative costs for maintaining a print library are reduced dramatically. Adopt an easy-to-use platform that requires minimal staff resources so your organization can make the most out of your library budget. Plus, multi-year purchase options let your library lock in savings.
Empower your librarians.
Your firm’s librarians will have more time to conduct value-added research. They’ll have greater insight into what resources the staff actually uses so they can make adjustments to the collection quickly using a single website. Librarians can gain greater control, which can lead to better library utilization and increased strategic value to the firm.
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.
The traditional job application and interview process can be impersonal, and applicants often struggle to present themselves as more than just the sum of their GPAs, alma maters, and previous work history. ATL has partnered with ViewYou to help job seekers overcome this challenge. ViewYou NOW Profiles offer a unique way for job seekers to make a personal, memorable connection with prospective employers: introduction videos. These videos allow job candidates to display their personalities, interpersonal skills, and professional interests, creating an eDossier to brand themselves to potential employers all over the world. Check it out today!