We continue our series profiling the perks or fringe benefits of life at a large law firm. This one may be the breast one yet. From a (male) tipster:
A friend of mine ran across this Simpson Thatcher perk: “The Firm maintains a lactation room for new mothers in each of its New York, Los Angeles and Palo Alto offices to facilitate their transition back to work.”
I have a hard time seeing candidates asking about it during interviews, so I thought I’d pass it along. I’m not a chauvinist or anything! I just have a childish sense of humor…
You’re not alone. We’d note that this perk may have broader appeal than our correspondent might think. See here.
Also, we’d suggest to STB that they regularly sweep their lactation rooms for spycams. Remember this guy? Update: Jeez, some of you are oversensitive. With respect to the photo, here’s what happened. To avoid copyright issues — hello, Nixon Peabody! — we use pictures primarily from royalty-free, stock photography sites. People upload pics to these sites that they allow others to use for free.
Our favorite such website, to which we have contributed many photos of our own, is stock.xchng. For this post, we went to stock.xchng and ran a search for “breastfeed.” The pic we used was one of three images that came up. That’s all. Flexible Working Arrangements [Simpson Thacher & Bartlett] Male lactation [Wikipedia]
Our series on the perks or fringe benefits of large law firm life has become somewhat sporadic, partly because we’ve covered so many of the biggies. To review our past posts, click here, and scroll down.
Today’s perk: prizes for big billers. If you really kill yourself during a particular month, racking up 250 or 300 hours on some monster deal or litigation, do you get rewarded for it? Of course you might see your crazy hours reflected in your year-end bonus check. But might you get some other, non-monetary benefit? (And we’re not counting being able to show up after 10 on the morning after an all-nighter.)
We don’t know if this policy still exists, but a source sent us this interesting information:
When I was at Clifford Chance (f/k/a Rogers & Wells), a legacy Rogers & Wells program was that if you billed 250 in a month, the firm covered dinner for you and a guest (spouse, date, friend, etc…) with no questions asked. It was an amazing program. Historically, the Firm had no limit, but assumed associates would “just exercise the judgment expected of them.”
It worked for years until a few “exceptions” decided to add very, very expensive bottles of wine to their orders. I think eventually the limit was set at $500. I know more than a handful of “superstars” tanked their careers by “not exercising the judgment expected of them” and submitting dinner bills for several thousands of dollars.
Anyone know if Clifford Chance still has this special dinner benefit?
We also hear that at WilmerHale, “super-super high billers” get vacation vouchers. Can anyone confirm and/or provide more details? Update/Correction: Or maybe the WilmerHale workaholics get gift cards? See this comment.
Please discuss, in the comments. Thanks!
Words to the wise: be extra careful when preparing food for law enforcement officers. From the Associated Press:
A McDonald’s employee spent a night in jail and is facing criminal charges because a police officer’s burger was too salty, so salty that he says it made him sick.
Kendra Bull was arrested Friday, charged with misdemeanor reckless conduct and freed on $1,000 bail.
Bull, 20, said she accidentally spilled salt on hamburger meat and told her supervisor and a co-worker, who “tried to thump the salt off.”
Police Officer Wendell Adams got a burger made with the oversalted meat, and he returned a short time later and told the manager it made him sick.
Clearly it was Kendra Bull’s fault — ’cause people never get sick after eating McDonald’s.
Also, did Officer Adams eat the whole darn burger? If so, why, if it truly was insanely salty? If not, could he really have gotten sick from a bite or two of super-salty hamburger? Regular customers of McDonald’s presumably have a high tolerance for sodium.
Bull ended up getting charged with a misdemeanor. But what about when employees, to retaliate against customers who piss them off, add “extra-special sauce” to Big Macs? Would that be a felony?
(Gavel bang: commenter.) Oversalted Burger Leads to Charges [Associated Press via Drudge Report]
* Oh, those crazy French people. They eat the darnedest things! [Conglomerate]
* A shameless (and belated) plug: we were interviewed last week by NPR’s Mike Pesca, for an interesting story about Jonathan Lee Riches and his wacky pro se lawsuits. (We appear around the 2:30 mark.) [NPR]
* Blawg Review #123 — in the form of a judicial opinion. Very clever! [Texas Appellate Law Blog via Blawg Review]
It makes sense, as the recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine finds, that friends’ fatness would have an influence distinct from that of the culture as a whole….
In my own ingroup of 16 judges (11 active members of my court, 4 senior members, and 1 nominee, who will replace an active member who will be taking senior status), only 2 are overweight (12.5 percent), compared to a nationwide average of 66 percent. Among my other friends, judicial and otherwise, the percentage who are overweight is probably no greater than 12.5 percent.
When we read this, we guessed that one of the two overweight judges was Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook. After all, a fondness for Arby’s Melts is not a recipe for thinness. But one ex-Seventh Circuit clerk we contacted disagreed:
Actually, Easterbrook has lost a lot of weight. I am not sure who [Posner] meant. Also query whether he used the rigorous BMI > 25 test.
Good point. Did Judge Posner run around the Dirksen Courthouse with a pair of body-fat calipers? Or did he just eyeball his colleagues in the robing room, to see who was sporting muffin tops?
To Seventh Circuit groupies: Which judges are packing a few extra pounds underneath their robes? Please enlighten us, in the comments. Thanks. Social Obesity — Posner’s Comment [The Becker-Posner Blog]
We’re still accepting amusing or embarrassing summer associate stories. If you have one to share, please review our submission guidelines, and then email us.
And now, on to today’s story:
1. Superhero name: The Claw
2. Special power: The ability to pinch every cent out of the summer lunch budget.
3. Summered: Vault 50-100 firm (DC), summer 2005 [Firm name intentionally omitted to allow more details without danger of revealing identity.]
4. Claim to fame: From our tipster:
“Harvard 1L ordered a five-pound lobster during lunch at The Palm (~$100). Wrapped huge (empty) claw in napkin, returned to office, took photo, and emailed photo to a number of people, including several prominent partners who had been at another table in the restaurant.”
5. What happened next: “To much astonishment (and consternation) inside the firm, The Claw received an offer to return for 2L summer. Turned this offer down, however, reportedly because it required too long a return period.”
“According to well-substantiated rumor, The Claw then went to another DC firm for 2L summer, where various acts of poor judgment and attitude resulted in a no-offer. The Claw’s success during 3L interviewing is currently unknown.”
The usual rules apply: please do NOT name this former SA, or speculate about his identity, in the comments. Thanks. Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of summer associates (scroll down)
We’re by no means done with our series of posts about perks or fringe benefits at legal employers (mainly law firms). Here’s one reader request that we just received:
One perk topic that you could do is free food, snacks, coffee, etc. On those Vault surveys, some firms claim to provide free Starbucks coffee and snacks.
So that’s today’s topic: free food and drink, furnished by your legal employer. And we’re not just talking about how, after a meeting breaks up, an email goes around about which conference room has the uneaten sandwiches — that’s standard.
At Wachtell Lipton, where we once worked, each floor has a kitchen — called “the pantry,” but really it’s a kitchen, with space for a small table and chairs — stocked with drinks and snacks. The snacks include Pepperidge Farm goodies, such as a wide variety of cookies and Goldfish crackers, and fresh fruit (but who eats that). The stainless steel refrigerator is full of bottled water and soda — including Fresca.
You don’t even have to get up out of your Aeron chair to go to the pantry if you don’t want to. The firm employs a small army of matronly women, in black and white uniforms, to bring your favorite hot or cold beverage to you in your office. There’s no need to tell them what you want, unless you’re deviating from your usual order, since they maintain a list of all the attorneys on the floor and their favorite things to drink. And did we mention they have Fresca?
We had some discussion of free food and drink in our post about the summer associate who got no-offered for stealing firm-provided Swiss Miss. But this is the “official” post. So please have at it in the comments. Rising 2Ls going through fall recruiting are dying to know who will keep them well-hydrated and well-fed, as they toil into the wee hours of the morning! Earlier: X-Summers: The Swiss Mister
Time for another summer associate story. We’re still taking submissions on these, so if you have one, check the submission guidelines and fire away.
Here’s our latest X-Summer:
1. Superhero name: Crab Stabber AKA Senorita Foulmouth
2. Special power: Crazed Crustacean Impaling/ Spanish Profanity
3. Summered: King & Spalding, Houston, Summer 2004 or 2005 (“can’t recall”)
4. Claim to fame: The allegations, according to our tipster:
“K&S Houston used to have this boondoggle of a recruiting trip to the Four Seasons resort in Punta Mita Mexico for a weekend. Excellent way to get to know your summers, their spouses, and how they behave socially. And did I mention it is at a Four Seasons in Mexico?”
“Anyway, a group of people were sitting at a beach campfire, drinking some adult beverages and making smores and other goodies on the fire. Our heroine takes her skewer and proceeds to stab a crab, roughly 8 inches in diameter, that was trying to sneak by the people on the beach. Not a small crab. She then proceeds to roast it on the fire. There is a famous picture, which she more or less posed for, with her holding the crab on the skewer with a maniacal grin on her face. Let’s just say some of the partners, spouses and others sitting around the campfire were a little shocked.”
“At another point during that summer, our heroine was sitting in at the beginning of a lunch seminar with other summers, attorneys and paralegals. That summer, [a lot] of the SAs happened to be fluent in Spanish and would speak Spanish to each other in the halls, etc. Well, our heroine was talking to another summer in Spanish and apparently cursing like a Caracas sailor in mixed company, when a paralegal politely said: “You may want to be careful, other people speak Spanish here, too.” To which our heroine shot back: “Are you an attorney?” Ummm… no, but let’s just say that the paralegal knew a few.
5. What happened next: “Ummmm…. no offer.”
The rules still apply. Don’t be a d-bag and name the Crab Stabber or try to guess who she is. Thanks a bunch.
We’re late to the party on this one. Many of you have already emailed us this Slate piece, in which Daniel Gross goes to town on Simpson Thacher’s “Chow for Charity” program. Article title: “Fifteen Dollars Worth of Smug.”
We first read about Simpson’s program in this great New York Observer article:
[A]t Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, there’s a program called Chow for Charity: If summers and associates go out for a lunch that costs $15 or less per head, the firm donates the other $45 of each person’s lunch allowance to charities including Legal Aid, inMotion and Human Rights First.
For some, this is an appealing option: “It’s great for [the firms] to be able to say, ‘We realize these $60 meals are sort of stupid, so we give money to something good and everyone is happier,’” says an associate. Noblesse oblige never tasted so much like falafel!
The program is also discussed in the New York Times (fourth item) and the WSJ Law Blog.
What do you think of “Chow for Charity”? Take our poll, and opine in the comments, after the jump.
* We say: Ignorance is bliss. [Althouse]
* The Genarlow Wilson case: let’s go to the videotape! Oh wait… [Concurring Opinions]
* If you’re going to drop the d-word, at least spell it correctly. [PrawfsBlawg]
* Every time an unlawful, creepy houseboat is sunsetted out of existence, a little piece of America dies. [Never Yet Melted via Overlawyered]
* Is Quiznos about to get burned? [Akron Beacon Journal]
* Someday sex-change operations may be tax-deductible. (Can we take a deduction for blogging as a woman?) [MSNBC]
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.