In honor of the new Vault rankings, we’re doing a series of open threads on the 100 most prominent law firms. We invite you to compare and contrast the firms in the comments. In the last open thread on Vault firms 6-10, there was an animated discussion about litigation at Cleary and which Kirkland office is best to work for.
Moving on down the Vault 100 list, here’s the next bunch up for discussion, with prestige scores in parentheses:
The oddest language in the “notable perks” in this bunch is at Williams & Connolly: “Fancy bunch of smarties.” Well-dressed intelligent lawyers, or a big basket of the tart candy?
Please discuss the work, perks, and lifestyle at these firms in the comments. More threads to come. Earlier:Vault 100 Open Threads- 2009
Former Supreme Court clerks, also known as the Elect, have no shortage of job opportunities. And a new development in state government is giving them even more. From the National Law Journal:
A trend among states in recent years to appoint a solicitor general has increased opportunities for young attorneys to get into court and ultimately return to private practice far from Washington, the traditional heart of the nation’s appellate bar.
In the past decade, a dozen states, including California, Florida and North Carolina, have added state solicitor generals [sic], many of whom oversee large staffs, said Dan Schweitzer, Supreme Court counsel for the National Association of Attorneys General. Nationwide, 37 states have a solicitor general, he said.
“There are a lot more appellate positions that attract top-notch lawyers,” Schweitzer said.
There are shout-outs to several hot young lawyers whose names should be familiar to ATL readers.
Find out who, after the jump.
[Davis Polk & Wardwell] and [Sullivan & Cromwell] do very similar work. DPW has a stronger underwriters’ practice, Sullivan is marginally better on the issuer side. DPW is much stronger than anyone at converts. Sullivan does more edgy contested M&A while DPW excels at deals with cutting edge securities components.
Sullivan is a slightly better place to work than its reputation. DPW generally lives up to its strong rep as a good place to work.
Now on to the next five from Vault, with their prestige scores in parentheses:
As reported last week, the Vault 2009 law firm rankings are out. You can find Vault’s ranking of the top 100 most prestigious firms here.
As observed by one astute commenter, “the prestige rankings will tell you nothing about the quality of your work experience.” In order to address this, we are relaunching a popular feature from last year: a series of open threads on the Vault 100 firms, organized in batches of five, to allow for comparative discussion (and gossip) about perks, hours, recruiting standards, firm life, etc.
We’re starting with the top five firms — and experiencing a bit of déjà vu, since the list is identical to last year’s (although the prestige scores, indicated parenthetically, have changed a little):
We’ve noticed that the comment thread on the cold offers post has morphed into a fashion advice column. Here are some of the on-campus interview attire questions that have been posed:
– Is a light gray suit a bad choice for interviews? Dark brown shoes, black, or either?
– What suit colors are acceptable?
– For females, do you have to wear a button down under your skirt suit, or can you wear something else?
– Skirt-suits v. pants suits?
We pajama-wearing ATL bloggers are no longer well-versed in the world of suit fashion, but Corporette has an advice post on interview fashion, in response to a query from a 3L. Their advice for the ladies:
Choose a dark suit. A black or navy suit is always more conservative than a brightly- or lightly-colored suit, and if you have to buy something inexpensive then it will hide the imperfections in the fabric and the seams.
Buy a skirt suit…. Be sure you pull a chair over to a full-length mirror and practice sitting in the skirt suit; you want to see what the interviewer will see and make sure you look appropriate and tasteful.
Is this to prevent a Basic Instinct moment?
Additional fashion tips, after the jump.
If you’re a regular reader of legal newspapers and blogs, you might get the sense that law firm layoffs are happening everywhere. At the current time, the ATL category tag for Layoffs contains about 90 posts (and counting). It’s a topic that we cover extensively — and many readers still clamor for more.
Here at ATL, a self-styled “legal tabloid,” inducing panic through sensationalism and scaremongering — layoffs! delayed start dates! cold offers! — is part of our job description. But are things really that bad?
With respect to lawyer layoffs, maybe not. Leigh Jones examines the topic in a very interesting article for the National Law Journal (subscription):
A look at the bigger picture shows a profession responding to the economic downturn rather adroitly — at least so far.
Since October, some 338 attorney layoffs have been confirmed and reported by various news organizations at 12 law firms among the NLJ 250, The National Law Journal’s annual survey of the nation’s largest law firms.
To be sure, unreported terminations could make the layoff totals much higher. But even if stealth layoffs are twice or even three times the reported amount, the number of attorneys ushered to the exits in the last 10 months is relatively small.
More good news — but also some bad news, namely, a list of large law firms that have laid off lawyers — after the jump.
[Ed. note: This post is by SOPHIST, one of the finalists in ATL Idol, the "reality blogging" competition that will determine ATL's next editor. It is marked with Sophist's avatar (at right).]
With classes starting soon, another crop of 1Ls will be starting on a journey that has only one sure outcome: the accumulation of useless information devoid of any practical professional relevance.
Once you take away all of the prestige-whoring, grade-inflating shell games that allow top schools to separate you from your future earnings, can’t most law classes be reduced to an Emanuel’s outline and a BarBri lecture?
Which classes were the most irrelevant to the life of a Biglaw associate?
Today I’ll offer my worthlessness rankings on basic classes that most everyone was forced to take. Thursday I’ll open up the field and rank useless classes that ATL readers could have avoided, in a bold “Clarice Starling” attempt to save just one law school lamb from signing up for International Law.
But I’m about more than telling 1Ls that the next three years of their lives are pointless (though, really guys, totally pointless, just saying). I’ll be offering up alternative classes that might not be available at your local registrar, but that every Biglaw associate needs to take before leaving law school’s protective cocoon.
After the jump, see the classes worth sleeping through.
Earlier today, the New York outpost of TheLawyer.com, a British publication, reported on personnel reductions at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett. The report was of keen interest to us because we’ve been hearing rumors — generally vague and unsubstantiated, but persistent — of “stealth layoffs” at STB.
The folks over at The Lawyer seem to be hearing similar gossip, some of which appears in their report:
[Simpson Thacher ] has taken the unusual step of introducing a mid-year performance review for its associates. It is understood that the benchmark for associates to reach in order to keep their jobs is significantly higher than in previous appraisals.
Market sources have suggested that up to 30 associates have been asked to consider their positions as a result of the review. Simpson Thacher chairman Pete Ruegger denied the firm was making credit crunch-related layoffs.
This report appears to be erroneous, at least in a few respects. We spoke with Simpson partner James D. Cross, co-chair of the firm’s Personnel Committee, who described it as “wildly inaccurate”:
It’s business as usual here as far as reviews. We have not changed our standards, and we have not changed our process. We’ve always had a midyear review process. I don’t know where someone came up with the number of 30 [affected associates].
A second STB source echoed Cross’s statement, telling us that “no new mid-year process was introduced.” The firm has long conducted midyear reviews for (1) first-year associates and (2) more senior lawyers who received negative annual reviews. According to this source, “if a more senior lawyer gets a negative annual review, that person will often be slated for a midyear review so that progress can be checked after six months, not just annually, and so that the firm makes sure it is doing all it can in terms of additional training and mentoring.”
Additional discussion, after the jump.
This morning we brought you a special sneak preview of the 2009 Vault law firm rankings (to be released in full on Tuesday, August 12, over at the Vault website). We passed along two compilations: (1) firms ranked 26-50 by prestige, and (2) firms 11-20 on the “best to work for” list.
Now, as promised, we bring you the balance of the rankings: firms 1-50 by prestige, and all 20 of the “best to work for” firms.
Check out the lists, plus comment from Vault law editor Brian Dalton, after the jump.
Tax attorneys are all the rage, with in-house and law firm opportunities for 2008 JDs and up. The Job(s) of the Week highlight some of the best of these opportunities. These are in New York, but Lateral Link has similar positions in other cities as well. Lateral Link’s $10,000 signing bonus applies to the positions below. If you are not already a Lateral Link Member, you can apply at www.laterallink.com. Junior tax attorney – The New York office of this top 25 law firm, well-known for its quality of life, is seeking junior tax associates. They will consider 2008 law school graduates to start immediately (including those who may have had their start dates pushed back at other firms). For more information, please see Position 6074 on Lateral Link.
Professor Joel P. Trachtman has developed a unique, practical guide to help lawyers analyze, argue, and write effectively.
The Tools of Argument: How the Best Lawyers Think, Argue, and Win is a highly readable 200-page book, available for about $10 in paperback or e-book. Chapters focus on foundational principles in legal argument: procedure, interpretation of contracts and statutes, use of evidence, and more. The material covered is taught only implicitly in law school. Yet, when up-and-coming attorneys master these straightforward tools, they will think and argue like the best lawyers.
For most attorneys, time spent managing the books is a necessary evil at best. Yet it is undeniably a crucial aspect of running a successful practice. With that in mind, we invite you to view or download a free webinar by Above the Law and our friends at Clio to learn how to better manage your finances.
Take this opportunity to learn what it takes to streamline your accounting and get the most out of your time. The webinar agenda:
● The basics of accounting for lawyers.
● How legal accounting differs from regular accounting.
● Report and reconciliation issues surrounding trust accounts.
● How to pick and integrate the best accounting tools for your practice.
● Steps to prepare your tax return for your firm’s income.
Do not miss this crucial chance to optimize your accounting practices. Save time and get back to billing!
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 seven years. You can reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney are still in Hong Kong and will stay FOR THE REMAINDER OF THIS WEEK. We still have a handful of available slots for meetings with our Asia Chronicles fans. If we have not been in touch lately, reach out and let us know when we could meet! There is no need for an agenda at all. Most of our in-person meetings on these trips are with folks who understand that improving a legal practice through lateral hiring is an information-driven process that takes time to handle correctly.
Regarding trends in lateral US associate hiring in Hong Kong, we of course keep much of what we know off of this blog. Based on placement revenue, though, Kinney is having one of our most successful years ever in Asia. We are helping a number of our law firm clients with M&A, fund formation, cap markets, project finance, FCPA and disputes openings. These are very specific needs in many cases, so a conversation with us before jumping in may be helpful. As always, we like to be sure to get the maximum number of interviews per submission, using a well-informed, highly targeted, and selective approach, taking into account short, medium and long-term career aims.
Making a well informed decision during a job search is easier said than done – the information we provide comes from 10 years of being the market leader in US attorney placements at the top tier firms in Asia. There is no substitute for having known a hiring partner since he/she was an associate or for having helped a partner grow his or her practice from zip to zooming, and this is happily where we stand today – with years of background information on just about every relevant person in all the markets we serve, and most especially in Hong Kong/China/Greater Asia. So get in touch and get a download from us this week if we can fit it in, or soon in any case!