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Quinn Emanuel Ivy Ivey recruiting video Above the Law blog.GIFThis morning’s New York Times has a painfully earnest article about law firm recruiting videos. It’s not a particularly juicy piece; they should have called us for comment (’cause we “give good quote”).
But it’s still neat to see Biglaw getting a shout-out in the NYT. Here’s the lede:

Law firms have discovered YouTube.

Well, actually, they have discovered that the law students they are trying to recruit as summer associates watch YouTube, the popular video Web site.

Several firms are trying to parlay that discovery into a hiring tool, creating recruiting videos and Web sites with the look and feel of YouTube. The firms hope to persuade students that their lawyers, and by extension the firms, are young-thinking and hip.

Okay, that didn’t say anything that ATL readers don’t already know. We weren’t surprised to see the byline of crack reporter Karen Donovan, author of that publicist-generated puff piece Pulitzer-worthy profile of Gallion & Spielvogel.
But the article gets a little better as it goes along. More after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Law Firm Videos: Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid”

Johnnie Cochran Johnnie L Cochran Jr Loyola Law School Above the Law blog.jpgOkay, so you didn’t graduate (1) from a top-tier law school or (2) at the top of your class from a non-top-tier law school. Please don’t get discouraged, even in the face of depressing news articles.
Before you leave the law to become an electrician, consider this inspirational tale, from an ATL reader:

Finding a job after graduating from a lower tier law school might be harder, but it is certainly possible. A lot of it depends on what type of job you wish to pursue. Knowing I wanted to practice in a law firm who actually tried cases, throughout law school I worked for several small firms and solo practices and gained experience.

The summer studying for the bar I found a part time clerkship with an attorney who practices business litigation. After the bar exam he offered me a position full time. I don’t make anywhere near the big firms in terms of salary. But I make plenty for my first year out, and I get a percentage of our contingent fee cases (which will actually put me a little less than big firm salary if all goes well).

Also, I get great experience. My first week I attended two hearings on motions for summary judgment in court, and a month after I pass the bar (hopefully!) I already have an assignment to participate directly in a trial. The salary is not “equal”, but I feel I am gaining better experience and enjoying my quality of life much more than if I was in a mega firm.

Good stuff — and a reminder that Biglaw isn’t the be all and end all of legal practice.
Also, we have a question about working as a paralegal, from a different reader. Check it out, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Attention Non-Top-Tier Grads: Some Advice, and a Question”

contract attorney temp temporary attorney lawyer work.jpgOur recent post about contract attorney work, part of Non-Top-Tier Law School Week here at ATL, generated almost 200 comments. We’re happy to report that we have more for you on that front.
Here’s a question from a contract attorney reader:

I’ve done some contract attorney work (doc review, ick) in the past and have been offered jobs that pay a flat fee of $35-$45 an hour, but want 60 to 80 hours a week.

The Fair Labor Standards Act seems to say that professionals (attorneys) are only exempt from OT pay when they’re salaried. We contract attorneys, obviously, don’t fall within that category. It also seems to say that it’s illegal for an employer to make an employee waive that right to overtime pay.

Any idea why it is that so many major law firms can hire contract staff for flat rates and make them work overtime without OT pay?

More after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Contract Attorney Work and Overtime Pay: What’s the Deal With That?”

Skadden Arps Slate Meagher Flom Abovethelaw Above the Law online legal tabloid.jpgAs we mentioned before, we regularly receive all sorts of apocryphal rumors related to the fall recruiting process.
The gossip can be salacious and fun to read — even if turns out to be untrue. Like this rumor, which we heard from a University of Virginia law student quite some time ago:

Skadden has not interviewed here on grounds yet…. [Ed. note: We believe that they have by now.]

There are some rumors going around the school that a handful of my classmates, all of whom are minorities, have already received offers from Skadden. Obviously, any rumor must be taken with a grain of salt, but the word here is that offers were made very early to minority candidates in an effort to attract more minorities. I know of at least two with offers and both are African-American. Neither worked for Skadden last summer, which is the red flag in my eyes….

As I said, I’m not too familiar with the NALP rules, but others have indicated to me that those early offers are not proper given the NALP rules and regulations. I personally could not care — I’m not interested in Skadden or the markets in which Skadden is interviewing for at UVa — but I read the site regularly and wanted to pass along the information.

Sadly, it appears that this gossip — while juicy and potentially controversial — is not true.
The explanation appears after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Fall Recruiting Crazy Rumor Watch: Skadden and Minority Students”

contract attorney temp temporary attorney lawyer work.jpgYesterday we declared this week to be Non-Top-Tier Law School Week at ATL. We’ll be focusing on the career prospects of graduates of non-elite law schools.
As noted, many such grads work in the field of insurance law. Here’s another popular option: working as a contract attorney.
We’ll kick off the discussion with a comment from a reader. Here’s one:

How about a post on JD’s who are doing contract work while waiting for bar results? There have to be more people like myself who don’t have jobs wit the Am 100, who once bar exam results emerge will be hitting the legal market in search of the dream job.

Maybe you would tap into a large section of people like myself who are presently in a legal no-man’s-land…. [F]rom what I hear, only about 20% of students actually have jobs coming out of law school or before bar exam results come out.

So, any takers? Are any of you similarly situated, doing contract work while waiting to hear from the bar examiners? Any recommendations about landing such gigs?
(We have fodder for more general discussion of contract attorney gigs, but we’ll save it for future posts. Feel free to send tips our way, by email. Thanks.)

Cadwalader Wickersham Taft 2 CWT bed bugs bedbugs Abovethelaw Above the Law legal tabloid blog.JPGGood things about Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft: profits per partner of $2.9 million, third behind Wachtell and Cravath. Visits from Cameron Diaz.
Bad things about Cadwalader: bed bugs. And $70 million malpractice lawsuits.
The indefatigable Anthony Lin has this report, in the New York Law Journal:

As the global slowdown in the market for mortgage-backed securities threatens a core practice area of Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, the New York law firm is also wrestling with a $70 million legal malpractice suit brought by a major issuer of such securities….

Nomura Asset Capital Corp., a U.S. division of Japan’s largest securities firm, filed suit against Cadwalader last October in Manhattan Supreme Court over documents the law firm drafted for a 1997 securitization transaction in which Nomura pooled 156 commercial mortgages worth around $1.8 billion.

We’ll spare you the details of the suit, since they’re boring and kinda hard to follow. CWT is represented by Cravath, and they’re moving to dismiss.
More discussion — including talk about associate layoffs, triggered by the generally grim climate for mortgage-backed securities work — after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Cadwalader Hit With $70 Million Malpractice Suit”

Double Indemnity Insurance Law Defense Coverage Litigation.jpgAs we previously mentioned, this week is Non-Top-Tier Law School Week at ATL. Even our open threads on job hunting will reflect this theme.
One graduate of a non-elite law school sent us this suggested topic:

Lots of non-top tier law students end up working for insurance companies.

The dumb ones end up doing insurance defense (hired by insurance company to defend slip and fall, med mal, etc). The smart ones do insurance coverage (represent the insurance company which denied coverage).

How about postings where we can compare salary info? Salary info at these firms is much more guarded. I have no idea what anyone else makes.

So, what ARE salaries like in this area? From our tipster:

I’ll get the ball rolling from the insurance coverage perspective. When I started as a first year at one NYC insurance coverage firm, I was making $75,000 with no bonus (and a billable hours minimum of 1900).

Now, I am a fifth year doing insurance coverage at a different firm in NYC, my salary is $128,000, and our firm offers a $7,500 bonus to associates deemed the cream of the crop at year end. Name partners are rumored to make a boat load of cash, but other partners are rumored to be nothing more than senior associates. Our minimum billables are 2100.

More discussion, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Where Do Non-Top-Tier Grads Go? Hello, Insurance Law!”

David Boies New York Law School Boies Schiller Flexner Above the Law blog.jpgIt’s only Tuesday morning, and we’ve already done several posts on the professional plight of non-elite law school graduates. So we’re declaring this week Non-Top-Tier Law School Week at ATL. If you have a story idea that fits into this theme, please email us.
Here’s our latest tale about the plight of “non-T14″ law school grads. It suggests that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad isn’t the only person making controversial appearances at New York area schools.
From a tipster at New York Law School (a Tier 3 school, not to be confused with fourth-ranked NYU; if you ever want to piss off an NYU grad, refer to their alma mater as “New York Law School”):

“New York Law School in Tribeca had David Boies speak at our graduation this past July. Yet his firm does not hire from New York Law School. The only NYLS alum there graduated in 1968.”

Ouch. But for the record, our tipster later emailed us a correction: there’s one more New York Law School grad at Boies Schiller. That makes for a grand total of two (2) NYLS alumni at the firm. But the point is still the same. As our source observes, “they still don’t even do on campus at NYLS.”

“Anyway, this is intended to be more damning of NYLS than it is of Boies Schiller, which has the right to follow any hiring practices they desire. However, NYLS should maybe be a little more selective in who they choose to speak to us third-tier graduates.”

Do you agree with this tipster? Is NYLS degrading itself by, in the words of our tipster, “giving out honorary degrees to people who don’t even hire its graduates”? Or would the tipster’s approach unduly limit the universe of possible graduation speakers?
More discussion, including some email correspondence between an NYLS student and the school’s dean, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “More Tier Two Three Misery: The Boies Schiller Controversy at New York Law School”

Never heard of Duval & Stachenfeld? Well, that’s about to change, thanks to the firm’s innovative approach to associate compensation, which is getting some media mentions. From an article by Kellie Schmitt in The Recorder:

The 50-lawyer firm, based in New York but with a small L.A. office, starts first-year associates at $60,000 — or $100,000 below the starting salary at many Am Law 100 firms.

Mid-year and senior associates, however, are promised the same total pay — or more — that they’d earn at Latham & Watkins or Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.

For third-years on up, the firm says it checks what top New York firms like Cravath, Swaine & Moore are paying in base salary and bonuses, and matches that. Last year, the firm added a $10,000 sweetener.

So what exactly is the point of this unusual system?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Attention Tier Two Grads: Duval & Stachenfeld Wants You”

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver Hedges associate salary Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgWe aren’t the only ones having fun with the story of the Quinn Emanuel recruiting junket to Deer Valley. Check out this cartoon, over at The Recorder.
As noted by some commenters, Quinn Emanuel just launched a new, upgraded website. Sadly, the “Day in a Life of an Associate” video — which featured a fictional associate, a Yale and Stanford Law-educated hottie named “Ivy” (geddit?) — appears to have been pulled. (The site says that the video is “coming soon.”)
Some of the speculation about why the video was pulled is amusing. Check it out, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Quinn Emanuel: No Video for You”

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