In our most recent practice area survey of the Above the Law readership, the most popular single response was “Intellectual Property.” Eighteen percent of survey respondents identified themselves as IP attorneys.
So many of you might be interested in the latest controversy to heat up the small-firm blogosphere. If you’re an IP lawyer, if you work at a small law firm, or if you’re a law student who enjoys intellectual-property hypotheticals, keep reading….
Now this is a list that matters. Corporate Counsel (an American Lawyer publication) has complied its annual list of the firms that Fortune 100 companies use as outside counsel. This is a list of which firms are getting work from clients with deep pockets. If you care at all about the business end of the law, then you care about this list.
And while the firms that are tapped for this kind of work won’t surprise anybody, it’s always good to take a look at who clients want to be with.
For general corporate law, these are the firms that were mentioned most by clients reporting to the magazine:
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:
Who says “special bonuses” are so 2007? Earlier this week, we reported that Irell & Manella paid supplemental bonuses to its associates that took total bonuses to twice the Sullivan & Cromwell scale.
Today we bring you the news that another firm, intellectual property powerhouse Fish & Richardson, is also going the extra mile on bonuses. From an FR attorney:
Fish & Richardson announced “special” bonuses [last week]. Basically $10K for non-equity principals and $2K for paralegals and administrative staff…. This is on top of the regular bonuses, which is made up of an “hours” component (certain amount of guaranteed bonus per 100 hours billed) and a “merit” bonus.
With all of this added up, some associates’ bonuses blow the Cravath scale out of the water. Happy New Year indeed!
If you are going to run a scam involving fraudulent checks, is it wise to use an account that belongs to a law firm? Texas Lawyer reports that check scammers have been telling people to cash fraudulent checks drawn against a Fish & Richardson account at Bank of America. Apparently the scam is not working:
As soon as people started contacting the firm last December with questions about Fish & Richardson checks they had received in the mail, the Boston-based firm notified its bank that someone was trying to pass counterfeit checks written on a firm account. Most recently, on Oct. 5, the firm learned from its bank that someone tried unsuccessfully to cash one of the checks, suggesting the scammers may have mailed a new round of letters, says Kelly Largey, chief marketing officer for the 418-lawyer firm.
The checks were sent to people around the country — including at least five in Texas — with cover letters telling recipients to cash the checks, and to send some of the money to the sender for “processing fees” or to a “mystery shopper, and keep the rest of the money.”
We’re now into the back half of the brand new Vault law firm rankings. Just like last year, we worry about a proliferation of “TTT” accusations in the comment threads. But such terms of art can miss the positives of many of the firms in this section of the Vault rankings. Here’s the list:
51. Fulbright & Jaworski 52. Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati 53. Morgan Lewis & Bockius 54. McDermott Will & Emery 55. Alston & Bird 56. Bingham McCutchen 57. Fish & Richardson 58. Dechert 59. Greenberg Traurig 60. Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft
We have already extensively talked about the Morgan Lewis situation. Let’s move on to other firms after the jump.
As a New Yorker, people often tell me that Austin is “the oasis of Texas.” I think they mean that Austin is a culturally progressive blue city in middle of a red state.
I hope they don’t mean that Austin is a great place to practice law.
On Friday, Fish & Richardson announced plans to close its Austin office. This marks the second major law firm to get out of Austin this summer. Weil Gotshal has already announced plans to close its Austin office.
The Austin Business Journal described the importance of Fish & Richardson to the local legal market:
Fish, which opened its Austin office in 2005, currently has 28 attorneys and a total staff of approximately 68 locally. A spokeswoman in the firm’s Boston headquarters confirmed the firm will close the office on Dec. 31.
According to Austin Business Journal research, Fish & Richardson is the 16th largest law firm operating in the city, ranked by number of attorneys. Fish reported firmwide revenue of $420 million in 2008. Some of the firm’s clients include Microsoft Corp., Google and Freescale Semiconductor Inc.
Are Austinites ready to make the move to “regular Texas”?
Sources report that Fish & Richardson will cut its entire corporate department as of January 1, 2010.
To be fair, Fish & Richardson is more known for its IP work. Its corporate department is relatively small. But cutting an entire practice group seems like an extreme cost cutting measure. The firm has already cut associate salaries and laid off associates.
There are a few things we don’t know. Although our sources tell us the corporate department will be cut firm-wide, our sources are clustered in only one Fish office. We don’t know if corporate associates will be offered other jobs in the firm as of 1/1/10, and we don’t know if the move is being precipitated by a large group of Fish corporate partners leaving.
That’s because the Fish associates we spoke with were informed of the news in a curious way. Details after the jump.
Fish & Richardson’s winning event was called “Harpdygal IV.” It is part of a series of “Biglaw counter-culture” events started four summers ago by associate Kip Mendrygal and partner Geoff Harper.
Back when summer associates were indulged, pampered, and treated to incredibly lavish lunches, dinners, and golf outings, Harper and Mendrygal wanted to offer something offbeat. So they took summers to WWE Friday Night SmackDown, a Professional Bull Riders event, and a demolition derby. This year, Harpdrygal was an outing to an all-female roller derby.
We congratulate Fish & Richardson for being crowned winner of the Best Summer Associate Event of 2009 (and for the firm’s recent legal victory, alongside Dewey & LeBoeuf, in Mark Cuban’s insider trading case).
Harper and Mendrygal sent us their acceptance speech via email. Here’s an excerpt:
[A]s for winning the ATL vote, Kip and I can truly say that this is the single greatest honor we have ever received for anything we’ve ever done. Ever. And, not to brag, but I’m pretty sure we’re going to get another $50 added to our budget, which will allow us to invite another 8 people to Harpdrygal V next year. It’s funny (actually sad) to us that, when we started Harpdrygal four years ago, our shtick was to be a low-brow gag event buried in the middle of fancy dinners, wine tastings, and sports suites. Now, with financial Armageddon approaching (here?), our events are substantially less shocking.
Southeast firm Carlton Fields garnered almost 32% of the over 2,500 votes for taking its Tampa summer associates on a daylong fishing trip, with multiple swimming, beach, and bar stops along the way. IP firm Fish & Richardson captured 34% of the vote for “Harpdrygal IV,” an event shrouded in mystery revealed on the day of to be an all-female roller derby.
We checked back in with the firms and have some additional information about the events to inform your voting. We also have photos, but from the roller derby only. No Carlton Fields associates in bathing suits, though we can direct you to the summer associates’ photos and you can use your imaginations. After the jump.
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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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.
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