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.
Haynes and Boone deferred its incoming first-year associates to November 30. First-years at the firm will be happy to know that the firm is keeping its promise and they will be starting just after Thanksgiving.
But they won’t be starting at full salary. Incoming associates got the news on Friday. An angry tipster let us know the news:
I’m an incoming first -ear at Haynes and Boone in Texas. We start on the 30th and just got an email saying our salaries will be $145k. This is the first time any of us even knew the firm was considering cutting salaries, and they did it with a bull**** email. So much for being committed to competing with other Texas firms.
But there is a chance that incoming first-years will be paid on a $145K scale for only a month. Above the Law reached out to spokespeople for Haynes and Boone, and they told us that the salary scale for 2010 has not yet been set.
So salaries could be going back up, if that’s where the Texas market settles.
There are actually a couple of interesting things Haynes is doing with its incoming class for their first month on the job.
Technically, there were layoffs at Haynes & Boone yesterday. But our cadre of Texas readers don’t need to start storing canned goods in their hats just yet. The Texas based firm made minor cuts to its New York office. A firm spokesperson released this statement to Above the Law:
We can confirm that Tuesday, Haynes and Boone terminated one associate, one of counsel and one staff in our New York City office.
These terminations resulted from the upcoming departure of two New York-based corporate partners who are leaving by mutual agreement. Affected attorneys and staff were recruited specifically to support the departing partners.
Just as importantly, the spokesperson adds:
At this time, we don’t expect any further attorney or staff layoffs in our New York office or in any of the firm’s other eleven national and international offices.
Haynes and Boone continues to look for good opportunities to strategically expand in New York and in other markets … We expect to add new partners to our NYC Finance and Bankruptcy groups soon to meet current market demands.
Add partners? Finance? Demand? Are we talking about the same “New York City?”
Though, if Haynes & Boone is looking to poach partners, maybe managing partner Terry Connor will get to scream “I drink your milkshake. I drink it up!” That would be fun.
Expanding during a recession? Hey the Empire State Building was constructed during the height of the Great Depression, and that worked out well.
Today, Texas readers demanded that we herald the merger of California IP boutique MacPherson, Kwok, Chen & Heid with Texas powerhouse Haynes & Boone.
We aim to please. According to the Haynes & Boone press release:
As part of its long-term growth strategy, Haynes and Boone, LLP is pleased to announce its addition of the 27 attorneys and professionals at MacPherson, Kwok, Chen & Heid, LLP, a leading intellectual property law firm with offices in San Jose and Orange County, Calif. With this addition, Haynes and Boone has almost 550 attorneys in 12 offices worldwide and becomes one of the few large Texas-based firms with offices in Silicon Valley and Orange County.
Perhaps the move into California will spell the end of Haynes & Boone’s war on office plants?
In any event, we’re happy to report some good news about a firm expanding and investing in its future, instead of trying to cope with the mistakes of the past.
As we noted in yesterday’s Morning Docket, even the New York Times has taken note of the salary freeze trend at law firms. The Times reached out to Above The Law’s own David Lat for the story:
Although many associates are angry about the freezes, others are relieved, said David Lat, founding editor of AboveTheLaw.com, a blog about law firms and the profession.
“There is this sense that firms didn’t act prudently during the boom and now they are getting religion, and that it’s better late than never,” Mr. Lat said. “Many associates we have spoken to think the freeze probably saved jobs.”
At the beginning of the month, we did a round-up of firms that have frozen 2009 salary rates at 2008 levels. That list was 16 firms long. Since then, quite a few other firms have announced freezes. Due to frequent requests, we’re updating the round-up list since the number of firms with freezes (that we know of) has more than doubled, to 33 32. Check out the as-comprehensive-as-we-can-make-it list, after the jump.
The Texas based law firm of Haynes and Boone moved their Dallas operations into a new “green” office today. Despite the laudable initiative, some lawyers and many support staffers have complained about the new “confines.” Apparently, personal space is at a premium in the new space. Administrative assistants are particularly annoyed, as they will be moved out of cubicles into an open floor plan, “fishbowl” situation.
In addition to the lack of privacy, Haynes and Boone issued new policies regarding how secretaries use the personal space they still have. Most of the new rules meet an accepted standard of “petty.”:
2. There will be a sufficient number of small plants that Gensler will place in appropriate areas around our floors. You may have one 8-inch potted plant in your office or on your desk–none on the ledges.
3. Please do not put any objects or plants on ledges or the tops of your cabinets. Two framed pictures and a small candy dish may be placed on your desk, but no beanie babies on desks.
You’re moving into new environmentally friendly offices, but you’re going to regulate the number and types of plants employees are allowed to have? That’s not directly contradictory, but it’s certainly annoying.
Several of you have drawn our attention to this news, from the Texas Lawyer:
Today, Haynes and Boone partners plan to tell the Dallas-based firm’s Texas associates their salary scale will increase, retroactive to Aug. 1, to the new market rate of $160,000 for first-year associates.
Haynes and Boone partner Terry Conner says the new salaries for second- and third-year associates will be $170,000; $180,000 for fourth-years; $190,000 for fifth-years; $200,000 for sixth-years; $205,000 for seventh-years; and $210,000 for eighth-year associates.
The firm plans to increase its associates’ bonuses and alter the basis on which those year-end packages are calculated.
Specifically, Conner says, Haynes and Boone will offer bonuses of as much as $5,000 to first-year associates and as much as $70,000 to eighth-year associates. As in the past Haynes and Boone management will require associate classes, as a group, to achieve certain billable-hour totals for bonuses to be distributed.
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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@example.com.
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.
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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