A little follow-up on Kaye Scholer, whose bonus memo we posted back in November. From a source at the firm:
Just found out that despite the memo sent to associates last year, Kaye Scholer has decided to tie the special bonus to hours. Requiring 2200 hours to receive the special bonus.
There was no mention of this hours requirement in the original memo. Of course, it was designed to appear that Kaye Scholer was paying market when they had no intention of doing so.
But in fairness to the firm, they did leave themselves with some wiggle room, stating that special bonuses would be paid on a “discretionary” basis. It just seems that 2200 was the magic number required to trigger the exercise of said discretion.
Some associates aren’t happy about how that requirement was communicated (or not communicated, as the case may be). One associate claims that managing partner Barry Wilner, at a meeting held last year to discuss the bonus situation, did not disclose that 2200 hours would be the cutoff. As a result, “[a]ll the associates had to go on were rumors, which caused many associates to scramble at the last minute to achieve what they thought would be a sufficient amount of hours…. I’m not so much concerned about the amounts involved as much as I am concerned about the lack of information that floats through this firm.”
Two other bizarre bits of news about Kaye Scholer — involving “a giant Care Bear” and a roller derby queen named “She Raw,” which would seem to take the firm to Venable-level heights of weirdness — after the jump.
The firm of Kaye Scholer is the latest to jump on the bonus bandwagon. They’ve just announced year-end and special bonuses. The year-end bonuses are issued in ranges for each class; the special bonuses, to be paid “on a discretionary basis,” appear to be on the standard scale ($10k/$15k/$20k, etc.).
Memo after the jump.
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 received this from multiple tipsters at Kaye Scholer, so consider it confirmed. One of them notes: “They matched retroactively, which they didn’t do last year.”
01/25/2007 05:31 PM
Phone: (212) 836-8421
Subject: 2007 Salaries
We are pleased to advise that the Firm is raising associate salaries for the Classes of 2006 through 1999 to reflect the competitive market . The new salaries in New York are as follows:
Class of 2006–$160,000
Class of 2005–$170,000
Class of 2004–$185,000
Class of 2003–$210,000
Class of 2002–$230,000
Class of 2001–$250,000
Class of 2000- $265,000
Class of 1999–$280,000
We will also be raising associate salaries for offices outside of New York but we have not yet determined what those salaries will be. Once they are determined, the heads of your offices will let each of you know the new salary levels. All salary adjustments for all offices will be effective as of January 1st.
To the extent adjustments are needed in order to raise salaries for junior counsel or senior associates above the 8th year class, any such adjustments will be addressed on an individual basis.
We are looking forward to another record year at the Firm and to your continued commitment to our clients. Earlier: Previous announcements of law firm associate salary increases (scroll down through “Skaddenfreude” archives)
After we posted the press release recognizing the Sullivan & Cromwell and Kaye Scholer lawyers who worked on the recent Onex / Kodak Health Group transaction, one of you pointed out:
Respectfully, you missed the lede in the Kodak post. Read Exhibit C to the Charney Complaint (PDF) re: Kodak’s complaints regarding fees and overstaffing. Then look at the attorney list for Kodak and compare the slim list for the other side.
S&C put out its major league press, earning how much in fees??? I’ll leave it to you to parse the Exhibit C memo. Have at it!
Point well-taken. The announcement mentions just five Kaye Scholer lawyers, versus almost thirty S&C lawyers, who worked on the deal.
In fairness to Sullivan, the Kaye Scholer part of the announcement names only partners, not associates (presumably omitted from the list). But it is true that a staggering number of S&C lawyers worked on this transaction — some 28 lawyers, about a third of them partners, from six different countries. Basically, everybody and their cousin-in-law worked on this deal.
Not surprisingly, Kodak squealed about the bill. For your reference, here’s Exhibit C to the Charney Complaint:
Partner Stephen Kotran notes that griping about the bill is “par for the course” for Kodak.
But Kodak might be wondering: Is overstaffing “par for the course” for Sullivan & Cromwell?
(Okay, that last line was gratuitously snarky. For all we know, Kodak was just delighted with the quality and cost of S&C’s legal representation. Heck, maybe we’ll drop Kodak a line and see if they have any comment. We’ll keep you posted.) Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell (scroll down)
Announcements just in from Kaye Scholer and Covington & Burling (NY). Guess what? They’ll be paying associate bonuses consistent with the New York market rates.
We realize this is thrilling news. But please, control your excitement.
We don’t have a copy of the Covington memo, but we understand that (1) the bonuses will be paid in January, and (2) the class of 2006/”stub year” bonus is a prorated $30,000.
The Kaye Scholer memo, after the jump.
P.S. We’re still interested in a copy of the Cahill Gordon memo from yesterday (assuming there was one).
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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