Lindsay Harrison at One First Street. Photo by Patrice Gilbert.
To paraphrase the controversial Campari ads at issue in Hustler Magazine v. Falwell (aka The People vs. Larry Flynt), everyone remembers “their first time” — arguing in open court, that is. It’s a rite of passage that all young litigators must go through. At large law firms, associates (or even junior partners) typically tackle something minor for their first oral argument — e.g., a non-critical discovery motion — and then work their way up the ladder.
But that’s not the case for everyone; some people start at the top. Meet Lindsay C. Harrison. She’s a fifth-year associate in the D.C. office of Jenner & Block, who just had her very first oral argument — which happened to be in the U.S. Supreme Court. On Wednesday, she appeared before the nine justices to argue the case of Nken v. Mukasey (or, technically, Nken v. Filip; more on the name changes later).
Read our interview with Lindsay Harrison, after the jump.
There are a couple of updates to this morning’s post about the 10 Jenner & Block partners that have been laid off.
Many people emailed us claiming that six associates were also let go. And there are six associate bios that we expected to see that are no longer on the firm website. But the firm maintains that no associates will be leaving with the partners:
Jenner & Block did not recently lay off six associates and does not plan to do so in the near future.
We have a long-standing policy of not publicly commenting on individual personnel matters. As in all law firms, associates join and leave the Firm for various reasons. Some of the associates who have left this year have joined clients as in-house lawyers, some have returned to school, some have joined other law firms. Associates also leave to join the government, work for not-for-profit organizations or personal reasons. Some associates are asked to leave due to performance.
As we’ve suggested before, not every associate departure is a “layoff.” Natural attrition and simple poor performance can cause any individual person to leave a firm. Jenner not only denied the specific associate layoff rumors that we have heard, they also essentially promised that associates were safe. That’s a stronger response than some other firms have offered.
We’ll keep an eye out for “performance reviews” that start to look like patterns.
But is the partner bloodletting finished? After the jump.
The Chicago-based firm is asking about 10 partners, both equity and non-equity, to exit with the bulk of those affected currently working out of the firm’s biggest office in Chicago, the sources said. No particular practice area is more affected than others. The departures equate to about 6 percent of Jenner’s 155 equity partner headcount and 2 percent of the overall 490 lawyer headcount. The firm declined comment.
Remember that happy-happy-joy-joy meeting Jenner held earlier this month? According to a tipster, Jenner associates were told:
not to worry about the issues on wall st- they will not adversely affect Jenner’s bottom line. Jenner is having a great year and bonus are expected to be as good or better than last year.
Well how does that statement jibe with cutting 10 partners? As one commenter put it:
A rich man doesn’t need to tell you that he’s rich.
We weren’t sure we’d do a follow-up to yesterday’s post on the firm-wide meeting at Jenner & Block. But since there was a fair amount of speculation in the comments, as well as requests for updates, we thought we’d close the loop.
Based on what we’ve heard from our own sources at the firm, we can confirm the accuracy of this comment:
The conference room was packed- five deep along the walls. Everyone was there right on time. Levy introduces herself. Tells us not to worry about the issues on wall st- they will not adversely affect Jenner’s bottom line. Jenner is having a great year and bonus are expected to be as good or better than last year. Litigation is doing great. Keep up the good work. blah, blah. No merger, or layoffs, no LA office, no moving to Chile. All is good.
Another source described the meeting as follows:
It was basically a hand-holding pep talk — a “don’t worry that there will be an all-associates meeting to announce layoffs” meeting.
When your firm schedules a firm-wide or all-associates meeting, do feel free to drop us a line. Thanks.
In times of high anxiety, firm-wide meetings make people nervous. It’s a little early for bonus discussion, so what might be in the cards? A merger? Layoffs?
We reached out to the firm for comment. Jonathan Groner, a Jenner spokesperson, described the upcoming event as simply a regular meeting with associates, held in the ordinary course. He declined to discuss the agenda for the meeting, citing its internal nature.
Should Jenner associates be worried? Probably not. What we’re hearing is that the meeting will bring good news. Word on the street is that it’s being held to tell everyone — in the wake of Heller Ehrman’s collapse, and general economic turmoil — that Jenner is doing just fine. Managing partner Susan Levy will offer words of reassurance to all assembled. [FN1]
So the meeting is expected to be a non-event. But if it turns out to be more momentous, we will let you know.
[FN1] With respect to Susan Levy, one tipster tells us: “Yay to Jenner for selecting a female managing partner. She may not be able to see Russia from her office in Chicago, but she was ready to lead from Day 1.”
(By the way, speaking of Jenner and gender, the firm was recently honored by Working Mother as one of the best law firms for women.)
We’re entering the second half of the Vault 100. This is part of a series of open threads to discuss the firms considered to be the profession’s most prestigious. Because we know you love prestige. And the opportunity for “TTT” accusations. [FN1]
Here’s the next bunch of firms, with prestige scores in parentheses:
Vault notes that attorneys at Pillsbury are treated to “freshly baked cookies.” But they also have to put up with being referred to as “Pillsburians” by Vault.
Compare, contrast, discuss… and if you’re at Pillsbury, have a chocolate chip cookie for us. Earlier:Vault 100 Open Threads – 2009
[FN1] We periodically get e-mails asking for the definition of “TTT,” which appears so often in comment threads. As the uninitiated have surely gathered, it’s a derogatory term. Likely originating on AutoAdmit, it stands for “third tier toilet.” For more, see Urban Dictionary.
Here’s your daily dose of schadenfreude. Associates aren’t the only ones suffering in the economic downturn; partners are getting axed too. From the Chicago Tribune:
Jenner & Block, a top Chicago law firm best known for its trial attorneys, has downsized its partnership for the second time in two years.
At least 10 partners have been told in recent weeks they will have to give up their equity in the firm, with some being asked to leave, according to people familiar with the discussions….
“We periodically review how each of our partners and associates are doing and act on those reviews,” [firm chairman Anton] Valukas said. “It’s nothing different this year than we’ve done in other years.”
Sadly, the music-loving law firm of Nixon Peabody is not on this afternoon’s list of five Vault 100 firms to talk about. And don’t hold your breath — we won’t reach NP until we hit the 70′s.
Here are the firms that are on the table:
Jenner has gone to $160,000 for first years in its Chicago, DC, and Dallas offices. The NY office will remain at $160,000. More senior classes will be determined and communicated individually. The raise was communicated this morning by individual memoranda and is effective August 1, 2007.
Yesterday we declared ourselves “all Jenner-ed out.” But based on the comments and emails we’ve received, it seems people are still interested in hearing about Jenner & Block.
We have a little more to offer you. A second source confirms what we previously reported:
Your post about yesterday’s meeting was accurate. [Managing partner Gregory Gallopoulos] went through 3 areas: (1) associate compensation (expect a raise announcement later this week), (2) financial health of the firm (doing great, regardless of the temporary slowdown in litigation), and (3) the partner de-equitizations (no further waves of de-equitizations are expected).
And we’re pleased to report that rumors of an Above the Law shout-out are apparently true:
Greg mentioned that since so many people have sent him links to ATL, he’s become somewhat of an ATL aficionado.
For those of you who are still interested — maybe there are a handful of you — there’s a little more after the jump.
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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