We’re doing our annual march through the Vault prestige rankings, to give ATL readers the opportunity to have their say about perks and pitfalls at these firms. If your firm actually let you swap your Blackberry for your iPhone, brag here. Or if your firm has such a strong stench that it makes you nauseous, vent here.
We’ve been doing open threads in batches of ten, but now we’re going to pick up the pace. Here are the Vault #41 – 60. This is when the prestige list gets a little more geographically diverse, with firms based in Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Palo Alto and even Pittsburgh:
We have tragic news from Jenner & Block this weekend. Grant Folland, 29, a litigation associate in the firm’s Chicago office, was killed in a snowmobile accident on Saturday. According to the Associated Press, which first reported on the accident, he “lost control of his snowmobile and struck a tree next to the trail.”
Jenner & Block managing partner Susan Levy sent out a statement about his death last night:
It is with profound sadness that I tell you that our colleague, Grant Folland, passed away today from a snow mobile accident in Wisconsin. He was with several of our colleagues at the time. We do not yet know any of the details of the arrangements the family will be making, but will of course pass those on when we learn more. Words cannot begin to describe this tragedy, but our hearts go out to his family, and our many fond memories of Grant will live on.
The accident happened in Lake Tomahawk, Wisconsin. Folland was traveling with four other snowmobiles when he crashed. He died at the scene of the accident at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday. According to the AP report, the accident was due to inexperience; alcohol was not “a factor in the crash.”
The devastating news has circulated today among firm attorneys and among Folland’s University of Chicago law classmates.
We’ve been having some fun documenting the curious game of chicken happening in Chicago. The top firms in the city seem to be waiting for each other to set the associate salary market — even though that market has already been set.
At Jenner & Block, “merit-based” salary increases are in effect. But the raise — at least for some people — is nowhere near market salary. One tipster reports:
The situation is bad at Jenner Block. You should write about how cheap the firm is. A title should be something like: “PPP up 33%, Associate Bonuses 33% of Last Years.” Well that is the truth. For the past two years associates who made hours have gotten 5k raises and all others have gotten zero. So, the salary scale, for those that have consistently made hours (worse if you slip a year or have a slow department), is effectively: 160k, 165k, 170k, 180k…. the more senior you get the more the gap between Jenner and the market.
And for bonuses, this year they start at 2k, even for 3rd years.
Well, $5,000 here, $5,000 there, pretty soon you’re talking about real money. I’m sure if our Jenner friends just hang in there for another decade, they will be very happy with their compensation.
According to spokespersons for Jenner & Block, our tipsters are incorrectly reporting their salaries. But the firm isn’t very clear on what salaries Jenner folks are actually receiving.
Details and a statement from the firm, after the jump.
* “I think the record should reflect that the witness is vomiting.” [Young Lawyers Blog]
* Morbid adventures in lawyer advertising. [New York Personal Injury Law Blog]
* PPP numbers from 2009 are not sunny at Sonnenschein. [AmLaw Daily]
* A scorned mistress wreaked revenge on her married ex-lover, putting ads up on billboards in Manhattan, Atlanta, and San Francisco. Does putting the affair’s happier times up in lights get her into false light territory? [True/Slant]
* If you’re going to a cocktail party this weekend and haven’t had time to read the Citizens United opinion yet, here are Cliffs Notes. [Legal Blog Watch]
* Over a million reasons why Kiwi Camara’s file-sharing client should be less angry with him. [Threat Level/Wired]
* Today came news of a long-time Biglaw litigator going in-house. Here’s the reverse situation: Longtime General Dynamics general counsel has returned to Jenner & Block as a partner. He talks about how Biglaw has changed since he left it 12 years ago. [National Law Journal]
Supreme Court clerks continue to flood the NYT wedding pages this month, creating grim LEWW odds for mere-mortal Cornell grads and Skadden associates. Like Troy playing Florida or North Texas playing Alabama, these folks are welcome to suit up, but the only question is how bad their whuppin’ is going to hurt.
Here are your three finalist couples for the week:
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.
Name partner Jerold Oshinsky is leaving Gilbert Oshinsky for Jenner & Block’s Los Angeles office. Gilbert Oshinsky will now be known as “Gilbert LLP.” According to the firm’s press release, long distance relationships aren’t easy for law firm partners either:
Founding partner and chairman Scott Gilbert announced today that Jerold Oshinsky is leaving the partnership to join the Los Angeles office of Jenner & Block, where he will concentrate on policyholder work and expand Jenner’s West Coast practice. The DC-based law firm’s name will be Gilbert LLP, and the firm will continue to serve its West Coast and other clients from its Washington DC headquarters. “Although our firm has active litigation and other business in most regions of the United States, including California, virtually all of our lawyers are headquartered in Washington, DC. Jerry and we found that, notwithstanding our mutual best efforts, this long-distance relationship was not practical for either of us.”
When Above the Law talked with a spokesperson for Gilbert, the firm again emphasized Oshinsky’s desire to build up his west coast practice. The spokesperson said that there was a logistical issue. Oshinsky’s family lives in L.A. and he didn’t want to continue going back and forth from the west coast to Gilbert’s headquarters in D.C.
Oshinsky will be the only Gilbert lawyer making the move to Jenner & Block.
Oshinsky joined Gilbert just this past October. The move to Jenner ends the delightful firm name abbreviation Scott Gilbert highlighted when Oshinsky came to the firm in October:
[A]s soon as Jerry is able to join the partnership, the firm will be changing its name to Gilbert Oshinsky LLP. This name best reflects our new, or in some cases reestablished, relationship with Jerry, as well as the merger of our two substantial practices. And yes, on several levels, we henceforth will be known as the GO to firm.
It was fun while it lasted.
Read the full Gilbert press release after the jump.
So far, law firm partnerships have put on a unified front about the cost cutting measures that need to be taken during this economic crisis. When it comes time to layoff associates or cut salaries, partners look like a monolithic group.
But law firm partners do not all think with one mind. And the cracks are beginning to show.
Back in October, Jenner & Block asked 10 partners to leave. But the latest reports out of Jenner suggest that the firm is not only asking some partners to leave, management is outright de-equitizing partners as well. A tipster reports:
Management just voted themselves massive raises while cutting the points of partners who are not politically connected. More significantly, over the last few days, management is going office to office de-equitizing and partially de-equitizing tons of partners in an effort to raise the profits per partner number. Those partners who are being de-equitized are no different than those who are permitted to keep their equity except those whose status remained intact have friends on management.
Above the Law asked Jenner spokespeople about these specific allegations. We received this response:
The quote … is inaccurate. However, as a matter of policy, we do not publicly comment on individual personnel matters.
But additional sources corroborate the reports that Jenner partners are being de-equitized.
More details after the jump.
Lindsay Harrison at One First Street. Photo by Patrice Gilbert.
Earlier this year, we conducted an interview of Lindsay C. Harrison, an associate in the Washington office of Jenner & Block. In January, Lindsay had the privilege of arguing before the United States Supreme Court — in her first oral argument ever. We chatted with her about the argument she presented in what was then Nken v. Mukasey and is now Nken v. Holder: what she wore, how she prepared, who was mean to her at argument.
This morning, the Supreme Court handed down its decision in the case. And even though Lindsay took the “liberal” position, she prevailed — by a 7-2 margin, with Chief Justice John Roberts writing for the Court. Congratulations, Lindsay!
Here’s a summary of the decision, from the ABA Journal:
A court of appeals retains its traditional authority to grant stays in deportation cases, despite a 1996 statute that limited the circumstances in which courts may block the removal of aliens, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in a 7-2 opinion…..
The government had argued that a provision in the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 limited the circumstances in which stays could be granted. The Supreme Court disagreed, saying the statutory provision — on injunctions blocking the removal of aliens — leaves intact the court’s traditional authority to grant stays….
Harrison says the decision is “a critical victory” for [Jean Marc] Nken. “It’s a case that could really literally mean life or death for my client,” she says. “If he were deported while his appeal was pending, he is likely to be killed or jailed or tortured in Cameroon.”
As Lindsay told us in our earlier interview, she and her colleagues at Jenner in D.C. have devoted hundreds — by now, thousands — of hours to the case (pro bono). It looks like the Chicago office of Jenner isn’t the only one that can burn the midnight oil.
(Digression: One tipster is skeptical of the claim that Jenner’s office in Chicago is busy round-the-clock: “Amusing article about a condo owner who can’t sleep because her new next door neighbor, Jenner & Block, leaves its lights on all the time. Every lawyer in Chicago knows that Jenner is faking it — it’s like the guy who slips into the office on Sunday for two minutes, just to be seen by anyone who happens to be there.”)
This afternoon, we caught up with Lindsay Harrison over the phone. Our interview, after the jump.
* AIG turned in the list of bonus recipients to New York’s Attorney General Andrew Cuomo yesterday–let the games begin. Just kidding, I too fear for the safety of heavily compensated AIG executives–there is nothing scarier than an angry progressive. [The Los Angeles Times]
* Dispensers of medical marijuana have room to breathe after Attorney General Eric Holder announced that federal authorities would cease raiding their operations. [The New York Times]
* Attorney General Eric Holder issued guidelines to federal agencies after The White House advised them to release their records to the public. [The Washington Post]
* A 3-judge federal appeals panel is considering whether or not to re-instate Madoff’s bail–springing him from jail until sentencing in June. [Newsday]
* Albert Hu, a Silicon Valley hedge fund manager conned clients by saying he was represented by prominent law firms like Heller Ehrman and Shaw Pittman; he was arrested in Hong Kong, and charged with defrauding millions from investors. [The National Law Journal]
* Another sad tale of an associate whose offer has been put on hold–his employer Latham & Watkins is asking incoming attorney’s to defer their start dates. [The National Law Journal]
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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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