You know how a lot of buildings omit the “13th floor” out of superstition? I’ve noticed that really superstitious people think about the 14th floor as the danger zone, because counting is not a particularly hard thing to do.
I bring this up because tomorrow is Friday the 13th, and I’m just wondering if the invisible hand of market collapse decided that Thursday the 12th was a “better day” for everybody to get fired.
In any every, as many commenters have already noticed, there appear to be massive layoffs at Holland & Knight today. Some of our sources report that as many as 200 attorneys and staffers could be out of a job by the end of the day. Other sources place that number closer to 300.
Holland & Knight has declined to offer us a statement at this time.
Update: According to the WSJ Law Blog, the firm fired 70 lawyers and 173 staff. From a statement: “Today, we began restructuring our operations to better meet the needs of our clients and to take steps to fully respond to the adverse effects of the current economic downturn.”
After the jump, we have additional details from tipsters.
Every year, the National Law Journal names individual people and firms that have done outstanding pro bono work. This year perhaps more than others, it is especially important to recognize those that gave their time to charity. With the economy crumbling, there is a huge need for free legal services.
Eric Blinderman, international legal counsel to Proskauer Rose, had gone to Iraq in March 2004 as an associate general counsel for the Coalition Provisional Authority. Later, he served as chief legal counsel and associate deputy to the Regime Crimes Liaison. In 2007, Blinderman’s firm officially became a part of The List: Project to Resettle Iraqi Refugees, a nonprofit organization founded that year to help resettle Iraqis in danger because of their affiliation with the United States. Holland & Knight had already been collaborating with the project, and Mayer Brown signed on this year.
Firms nationwide were inspired by the historic 2008 presidential election to devote pro bono time to protecting access to the voting booth. Lawyers went to court in several states on voter access issues, most frequently to prevent a voting reform law, the Help America Vote Act, from becoming a barrier to the ballot. The law required states to match voter rolls with another database, usually the registry of driver licenses, to create a more accurate list of voters.
Read the full list of winners here. And please share your stories about other great pro bono acts in the comments.
Judging from our traffic, readers are enjoying this rundown of the Vault 100. We do aim to please here at ATL. We appreciate those who have offered insights about firms in the comments.
Moving on to the next group (with prestige scores in parentheses):
As we move down the Vault list, “notable perks” are becoming less elaborate. This group is dominated by tales of free food, from endless soda at Greenberg Traurig to weekend doughnuts and muffins at Foley. And it appears that Pillsbury lacks a monopoly on cookie benefits; over at Cahill, lawyers are plied with “twice daily cookie trays.”
We note this food-related perk at Bingham: “If any lawyer takes out a more junior lawyer for drinks/dinner, he/she can submit the expense to the mentoring budget AND the senior person can get creditable hours.” Can you expense the roofies?
We invite you to compare and contrast these firms’ work, lifestyle, benefits… and cookies, in the comments. Earlier:Vault 100 Open Threads – 2009
The bad news continues to roll in. Becker & Poliakoff, which just announced across-the-board pay cuts for its lawyers, isn’t the only Florida firm that’s hurting.
From a report by Julie Kay, for the upcoming issue of the National Law Journal:
In another sign of the hard times facing the legal industry, particularly in real-estate heavy South Florida, two local law firms — Holland & Knight and Shutts & Bowen — have laid off non-lawyer staffers.
On a day that could be dubbed Black Friday in South Florida legal circles, Tampa-based Holland & Knight, one of Florida’s largest and most venerable firms with 1,150 lawyers, laid off 70 staffers Friday, including legal secretaries, IT and accounting staff. No lawyers were laid off.
The layoffs of about four employees in each of Holland’s 17 offices represented 5% of Holland’s non-lawyer workforce.
Shutts & Bowen, a 200-lawyer, Miami-based firm, Friday laid off nine people, all entry level file clerks or paralegal clerks. No lawyers or legal secretaries were affected.
Holland & Knight spokeswoman Susan Bass told the Daily Business Review that the firm “had some redundancies and inefficiencies.” Seventy staffers is a whole lot of redundancies.
Read more — about prior layoffs at H&K, and the situation over at Greenberg Traurig — below the fold.
Our open threads on Vault 100 law firms seem to be drawing fewer comments. But we’ll finish what we’ve started. We don’t want to give you a case of these.
So here is this afternoon’s set of Biglaw shops (with Vault prestige scores in parentheses):
We’re big fans of Miami. We greatly enjoyed the visit we paid back in March, when we got to meet up with readers at an ATL Happy Hour.
So we’re more than happy to make Miami the next stop on our tour of the nation’s legal markets. Here’s a summary of the lay of the land, courtesy of the Daily Business Review:
Playing its hand in the South Florida associate pay stakes, Greenberg Traurig raised the starting base salaries of its rookie lawyers in Miami and Fort Lauderdale to $135,000 and their total compensation packages to more than $150,000….
The base salary of Greenberg’s first-year lawyers now will match that of White & Case, which in February announced that it had raised first-year salaries to $135,000 in Miami.
Holland & Knight, Hogan & Hartson and Akerman Senterfitt recently raised salaries for rookie lawyers to $130,000 in South Florida.
Hunton & Williams has raised its first-year salaries to $145,000 in Miami. Two New York-based firms, Weil Gotshal & Manges and Boies Schiller & Flexner, pay first-years $160,000 in their South Florida offices.
Today has been quiet in terms of associate salary news. Perhaps pay raise developments have been overshadowed by Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell. Also, since so many places have already announced, it’s only natural for the pace to slow down.
But there have been a few new announcements. Per the Daily Report, Holland & Knight has raised its base salary for entering associates to $130K. And there appears to be a Sheppard Mullin memo out, too.
(If you’re at the firm, please email us to confirm. A blank email from a Sheppard Mullin address will suffice.) Update: The Sheppard Mullin memo has been confirmed. We now reprint it after the jump.
Our last comment thread about associate compensation matters appeared before lunch. So here’s a fresh one. Have at it! The latest hike: Holland & Knight to start at $130K [Fulton County Daily Report]
Tons of moves to report today — and these are just the highlights: New Partners:
* Latham & Watkins — which, as discussed yesterday, is very popular with Supreme Court clerks — has elected 26 new partners, in offices around the country. That’s enough lawyers to start a whole new law firm.
You can check out their names here. If you graduated from law school around 1998, you probably know some of them. “Magic Circle” Hiring Spree:
The top British law firms — aka the “Magic Circle” firms — continue to cast spells over U.S. practitioners, who have been flocking to their American offices in droves.
* Louis Kimmelman, former co-chair of O’Melveny & Myers’s international arbitration practice, is heading to Allen & Overy’s rapidly growing New York office. Kimmelman regularly appears before the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce, the American Arbitration Association, and other tribunals.
* Finance lawyers Zarrar Sehgal and Anthony Lopez III, to Clifford Chance (NY), from Milbank Tweed and Cahill Gordon, respectively. Lateral Moves:
* Corporate and securities lawyer Michael Student, to Brown Rudnick, from Holland & Knight.
* Tax lawyer James Tander, corporate lawyer Patrick de Carbuccia, and real estate lawyer Michael Pollack, to Reed Smith (NY). They come from, respectively, Skadden Arps, Willkie Farr, and Withers Bergman of (New Haven, CT). Government to Private Sector:
* Sharon McCarthy, a former deputy chief of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District, to litigation and tax boutique Kostelanetz & Fink, as a partner. Internal Promotions:
* Paul Tvetenstrand, a partner in the structured finance practice group, has been elected chairman and managing partner of Thacher Proffitt & Wood. Latham & Watkins Elects 26 New Partners [Latham & Watkins] NY Partners Switching Firms, NY Lawyers On the Move [NYLawyer.com] More NY Partners Switching Firms [NYLawyer.com] Firm Promotes 26 to Partnership [NYLawyer.com] NY Practice Leader Switches Firms [NYLawyer.com]
* Four litigation partners, and possibly a dozen associates, are leaving White & Case to join the New York office of Linklaters — a “Magic Circle” firm (insert squeal of delight here). The group’s practice focuses on white-collar criminal, antitrust, and other regulatory matters.
The four partners are Lawrence Byrne, a former assistant U.S. attorney (S.D.N.Y.) and deputy chief of the DOJ’s organized crime section; Joseph Armao, a former assistant district attorney in Manhattan; Lance Croffoot-Suede, who was hired by Linklaters based solely on his fabulous, British-sounding name; and Paul Alfieri, who was not.
* Corporate lawyer Michael Student and bankruptcy lawyer Neil Pigott, to Brown Rudnick Berlack Israels, from Holland & Knight and Mandel Katz, respectively.
* Private equity lawyer Robert F. Kennedy, to Jones Day, from Latham & Watkins.
From the New York Law Journal: “Mr. Kennedy is not related to the former U.S. attorney general and New York senator whose son is a well-known environmental lawyer and political activist.”
RFK. Jeez, poor guy. And it doesn’t even help him get restaurant reservations. NY Firm Loses Four Partners, and 12 Associates May Follow [NYLawyer.com] NY Partners Switching Firms [NYLawyer.com] Firm Adds NY Private Equity Partner [NYLawyer.com]
A college graduate without student loan debt is akin to reading a kind quote about Kim Kardashian in a tabloid—it’s rare.
In the past eight years, student loan debt has nearly tripled to a whopping $1.1 trillion, and in the past 10 years, the percentage of 25-year-olds with such debt has risen from 25% to 43%
It’s gotten so bad, in fact, that New York Fed economists warned last month that the burden of student debt could stilt consumer spending by twentysomethings, as well as further hamper the recovery of the housing market and economy.
To get a better idea of what massive student loan debt (we’re talking over $100,000 massive) looks like, we talked to an attorney who graduated with a large student loan debt. We also consulted LearnVest Planning Services CFP® Katie Brewer to see just how their repayment plans stack up.
S. Fischer, 36, Attorney Graduated: 2001
How Much I Borrowed: $100,000
What I Still Owe: $45,000
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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.
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