Fenwick & West

Amanda Bynes

* With help from Fenwick & West, Facebook snatched up Instagram in a $1B deal that closed in just 54 hours. That’s a big accomplishment, but the bigger one was valuing a company that helps f**k up your photos at such a high price. [Am Law Daily]

* Senator Dick Durbin is trying to collect stories about soul-crushing law school debt in an effort to reform lending laws, but law students and new lawyers aren’t speaking up about the problem. Hey, Dick, it’s time to start reading Above the Law. [National Law Journal]

* Apparently sarcasm is lost upon mention of George Zimmerman, so let’s play this one straight. The man who shot and killed Trayvon Martin has set up a website to solicit money for his defense fund. Actually, that’s a pretty great punchline on its own. [MSNBC]

* A judge has refused to reduce accused “Millionaire Madam” Anna Gristina’s $2M bail. With her alleged clientele, you’d think she’d be able to afford it. Come on, John Edwards gets $400 haircuts. He’s probably willing to pay top dollar for his call girls. [Bloomberg]

* Amanda Bynes wasn’t drunk on alcohol, she was drunk on emotions, claims her daddy. That’s a defense that will totally stand up in court on a DUI charge. [New York Daily News]

* How many friend requests did these firms just get? Fenwick & West and Simpson Thacher are the Biglaw stars of Facebook’s S-1 filing for its $5B initial public offering. Like. [Am Law Daily]

* The prosecution is expected to make its arguments today in Julian Assange’s appeal of his extradition from the U.K. to Sweden. Hope it won’t affect his role on The Simpsons. [CNN]

* Adventures in fourth-tier second-tier law school marketing: go to the University of Dayton School of Law, take a tour, and get your first-year textbooks for free. Mmm, the sweet smell of bribery. [National Law Journal]

* The little hybrid that could: Heather Peters, the former lawyer who decided to sue Honda in small claims court, has won her case. Maybe she should reconsider her career options? [Los Angeles Times]

* Looking for a way to shield your assets during a wrongful death suit? Just adopt your adult girlfriend. It has “nothing to do with the lawsuit” — dude just wants to bang his daughter. No big deal. [Palm Beach Post]

* Unpaid internships are so last season. A former intern for fashion mag Harper’s Bazaar wants class action certification for a lawsuit claiming that her free labor violated wage and hour laws. [New York Times]

Many law firms send out rather lame holiday cards, cards that marketing guru Ross Fishman would describe as “boring pieces of crap.” Thankfully that wasn’t the case for the eleven finalists in our third annual law firm holiday card contest.

Some of these cards were clever, some were beautiful, and some were funny. All of them were excellent, deserving of recognition and praise for the thoughtfulness and creativity that went into them.

Okay, enough with the sentimental and sappy stuff — you’re lawyers, and you’re competitive. You want to know who won….

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The field of contenders for our third annual law firm holiday card contest was more impressive than ever. We received numerous nominations, and we thank everyone who participated. It took many hours to review the plethora of submissions.

We could complain about how some of you failed to follow contest rule #3, limiting the contest to “cards that are unusually clever, funny, or cool…. cards with some attitude, with that extra je ne sais quoi.” But we won’t; the holiday spirit has us in a good mood. You are all wonderful!

But some of you are more wonderful than others. Let’s look at this year’s finalists….

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An old white male and his younger diverse peeps.

Law firm diversity matters. It matters to corporate clients, many of them public companies that want to demonstrate their commitment to diversity through their selection of vendors and service providers — which is what law firms are, at the end of the day. It matters to the law students and lawyers that firms are trying to recruit — which is the premise behind the data collection conducted by Building A Better Legal Profession.

So there should be keen interest in the latest edition of the American Lawyer’s Diversity Scorecard 2011, which the magazine just released. As Am Law explains, the Scorecard constitutes its annual ranking of large law firms by their percentage of minority attorneys and minority partners.

Let’s take a look at the top firms for diversity. Did your firm make the list?

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The official title of the NALP conference panel that I attended on merit-based compensation contained a playful shout-out to Sarah Palin: “How Is That Performance-Based Compensation System Working for Ya?”

The panel was originally supposed to have featured a representative of the now-defunct Howrey law firm. So the snarky answer to the question presented might be, “Not well.” (In fairness to merit-based compensation, however, Howrey’s dissolution didn’t have much to do with its model for training, promoting, and compensating associates.)

No mention of Howrey was made during the introductory remarks (or anywhere else in the discussion, for that matter). Rather, the panel focused on the positive — and offered useful advice for firms that are contemplating adoption of performance-based systems….

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Our law firm holiday card contest is still underway, but we’re in the home stretch. Voting closes tomorrow, January 9, at 11:59 p.m. (Eastern time). If you haven’t done so already, review the finalists and vote over here.

In the our earlier post, we promised a post in which we’d (1) give shout-outs to some holiday cards that were strong but narrowly missed our cut and (2) poke fun at some of the Christmas cards we found especially disappointing. Here is the promised post.

Let’s look at some of these honorable and dishonorable mentions. Perhaps your law firm’s card is among them?

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erin-andrews-photo.jpgEd. note: We apologize for the late docket. Technical difficulties, rather than oversleeping, are to blame.
* Yale Law School student Michael Seringhaus wants to put your DNA in a national database. [New York Times]
* Judge goes heavy on the prison time and light on the restitution for the man who peephole video-taped ESPN sportscaster Erin Andrews. [True/Slant]
* Toyota class action plaintiffs rev their engines. [Kansas City Business Journal]
* Former McGuire Woods partner Louis Zehil pleads guilty to securities fraud and trading shares in the companies for which he was doing P.E. work. [Business Week]
* General counsels are happy to scavenge Biglaw layoffs. [ABA Journal]
* Eric Holder is not having a good month. [Daily Beast]
* If you see a story about a deadly giraffe attack, don’t believe it. [Houston Chronicle]
* One Darby & Darby refugee finds shelter at Fenwick West. [ABA Journal]

Fenwick West logo.JPGOn Wednesday, we reported that Fenwick & West paid $60,000 in “go away” money money to some members of its incoming associate class. Today, we have news about Fenwick’s 2009 summer program, i.e., the most recent summer program, and the firm’s offer rate.
Fenwick took on 36 2Ls and 3Ls this past summer. But the summer was only eight weeks long, and Fenwick’s summer salary was on a $145K scale instead of $160K.
Still, most summers probably would have been okay with Fenwick’s program if it had ended with a strong offer rate. But it didn’t. Sources report that the firm only made offers to 17 of the 36 summers. A tipster reports the breakdown:

Ultimately the firm extended 17 offers (47%): 8 litigation, 8 corporate and 1 patent.

During orientation the hiring partners told us those who did not receive an offer would receive a letter that they could show other firms as a means to explain why we did not get an offer.

Is anybody else interested in this letter that will explain everything to other firms? Let’s check it out after the jump.

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Fenwick West logo.JPGAs regular Above the Law readers know, there are a few firms that are offering “go away” money to their incoming associates. The deal, like ones at Stroock and Pillsbury, is that the firm will give incoming associates a large payment instead of a job, and the incoming associate will quietly go peruse other employment options.
We haven’t really gotten a sense of how many would-be associates would actually consider this offer — until now. Fenwick & West offered its incoming associates $60,000 to stay away. According to our sources, around 40 percent of Fenwick’s 2009 class took the money.
But there is a catch; there’s always a catch.
Details after the jump.

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