Back in November, Goodwin Procter laid off 55 people: 21 of them associate attorneys. You’ll remember that the laid-off employees took the news particularly hard. In February of 2009 — in the teeth of the recession — Goodwin Procter laid off 74 people: 38 of those victims were associates.
But enough about sad old 2009, let’s get to sunny 2010. Things are looking up for Goodwin, and the firm is looking to add people again. There’s just one catch. A tipster reports:
Goodwin has hired recruiters to headhunt attorneys to fill the positions of the 2nd and 3rd year associates laid off last February and as recently as November. Rumor has it that they have formed an entire committee to handle the search even though several of the February layoff victims remain unemployed and almost all of the November attorneys.
Where’s the love, Goodwin? From the job posting, it looks like your recently laid off associates could be exactly what you are looking for…
Christopher Austin spent sixteen years at Ropes & Gray, the crème de la crème of Boston law firms. He was the co-head of the Technology Company and Venture Capital Practice group. So it was with some fanfare that Cooley Godward announced earlier this month that the Yale Law grad was leaving Ropes to join Cooley’s burgeoning Boston office.
The firm issued a press release, and the news made it into the “Human Capital: People on the Move” column of the Boston Business Journal, on February 3:
Cooley Godward Kronish LLP added Christopher Austin, previously the co-head of the technology company and venture capital practice at Ropes & Gray LLP, as partner. Austin will be a resident in Cooley’s Boston office.
So it was with some surprise that one of our readers saw his name mentioned again in the same paper and the same column, but with a different firm destination, on February 19:
Goodwin Procter LLP added a new corporate partner in the firm’s Boston office. Christopher Austin’s practice focuses on the representation of public and private technology and life sciences companies, venture capital funds and investment banks. Austin was previously co-head of the technology company and venture capital practice at Ropes & Gray LLP, where he practiced for 16 years.
La partner è mobile. Two weeks may be the record for shortest partnership ever. This truly does sound like musical chairs.
So what happened? Cooley issued a surprisingly spicy statement…
There’s a lot of news coming out of Goodwin Procter today. Some of it is even pretty good. In a wide-ranging, firm-wide memo, Goodwin announced bonuses (basically), thawed out salaries (kind of), and indicated an intention to adopt a merit-based compensation structure (sort of).
Let’s start with the bonus news:
Maybe you got a little bit more, maybe you got a little bit less. But if you hit 1,850 hours at Goodwin Procter in 2009, you were in the general vicinity of a Cravath-level bonus.
For salaries it’s a little more complicated.
The voting wasn’t even close. There were seven entrants, but Akin walked away with over 44 percent of the vote. It was the commenters’ favorite, too:
“I work at HayBoo [Haynes and Boone], and really like our card. But I was actually laughing (alone in my office) at Akin Gump’s. A little cliched, but still, well-executed.”
“Akin hands down. All others were simply dreadful.”
“OK, the Akin Gump ‘holiday’ card (we all know we are talking xmas cards here) is hands down the best by a very wide margin, although the Goodwin Procter ‘gift’ of a pile of blow on the mantle at the end of their e-card was a nice touch.”
Once again, congratulations to Akin Gump on a well-deserved victory!
P.S. We received a few nice late submissions, like Proctor Heyman (inspired by the Abbey Road album cover) and Howard Rice (donating the savings from sending electronic rather than physical cards to a charity chosen by readers). Unfortunately, we were unable to include them because voting was already underway. Check ATL early and often, so as not to miss our contests and other features.
Before Christmas, we highlighted one law firm holiday card that we particularly enjoyed (from Haynes and Boone). We also invited readers to email us with other holiday cards we might enjoy. We stated that, if we received sufficient submissions, we might even hold a contest.
Lo and behold, we did receive enough entrants. So we are happy to hold Above the Law’s first holiday card contest.
Check out the nominees and vote — you’re stuck in the office between Christmas and New Year’s, and you’re bored — after the jump.
Under the traditional apprenticeship system at law firms, new lawyers learn from partners who handpick associates they want for particular cases. …
A new approach matches the associate’s professional development goals with a partner’s needs, leaving associates less at the whim of partners and partners more assured of a good fit. Goodwin Procter has a site online where associates enter their availability and their interests, but it takes more than a grand schedule to make the program work. Staffing managers who are lawyers themselves make the match.
Wrong day for that story. Wrong day.
Goodwin wasn’t the only law firm on the list. Other firms after the jump.
It’s been a tough day at Goodwin Procter. Multiple tipsters report that the firm is laying off both attorneys and staff today. One source reported on the human toll of losing your job:
[L]awyers were just laid off this morning at Goodwin Procter in Boston. There are both men and women crying in the halls.
It’s not clear what triggered the tears, since Goodwin handled the dismissals professionally, appropriately, and in a manner similar to other top firms. Are Goodwin guys just more sensitive?
Goodwin has laid off 21 attorneys and 34 staff. Here is the critical part from the firm-wide memo Goodwin Procter just sent out to its associates:
In anticipation of a slow economic recovery, we took a number of actions during the year to manage our staffing model, secretarial ratios and discretionary expenses. The end result was that while we were largely successful in realigning resources to meet client needs and market demand, there remains some overcapacity within the firm.
After careful deliberation, we have made the difficult decision to reduce our associate ranks by 21 people and our professional staff ranks by 34 people.
Most of the attorneys who were cut were second-year associates in the firm’s Business Law Department, out of its Boston office.
Read the full memo, after the jump.
It might not look like it, but there is a lot of carnage on this list. Orrick is down four spots. Proskauer is down four spots. King & Spalding is down 3 spots.
And many of the firms here that are marginally up or holding steady still went through significant layoffs.
After the jump, Law Shucks offers some stats.
How young is too young to get married? Or more to the point, how young is too young to appear in the NYT weddings pages and not look foolhardy or vaguely scandalous? We ask because these newlyweds, ages 22 and 24, strike us as shockingly young. (And it’s definitely not a shotgun wedding — click on the link and you’ll see why.)
At any rate, this week’s featured newlyweds are all older than 22, so it’s a moot point. (If you want to ponder the trends in MAFM [median age at first marriage], here’s more.) Our finalists:
Watch to find out what some of our subscribers received in their May box!
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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.
The last time I flapped my wings your way, I tried to make at least enough noise about your mobile phone to make you more than a little bit uncomfortable. I hope I did. If enough of us become anxious enough about the known and unknown unknowns and knowns in our mobile phones, then we can start making wise decisions about how to manage that information and its resultant investigations.
Today, I’d like to put a finer point on the last installment’s topic by asking a question that seemed to catch most attendees off-guard at a conference panel that I moderated last week: is there discoverable personal information in a mobile app? Our panelists’ answer was a uniform “yes” with one stating that, if he had to choose only one type of data that he could discover from a mobile phone, he’d choose app data. Why? Because there’s simply so much of it and because almost all of it is objective – not just user-created like an email – but machine-tracked like GPS, usage duration, log in and log out times, browsed web addresses, browsed actual addresses. Also, most of us seem to have the idea that data doesn’t actually “stick” to our mobile devices the way it “sticks” to our hard drives. Maybe there’s a disconnect based on the fact that our phones are mobile so we assume the data is mobile to?
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