We know it’s difficult for laid-off attorneys to find new Biglaw jobs. Very few firms are hiring — and many of the firms that are hiring do not want to look at résumés from associates that have been previously laid off.
RollOnFriday has the news from London:
RollOnFriday can reveal that there is blatant and widespread discrimination throughout the City against lawyers who have been made redundant.
Last week’s report that a recruitment consultant wouldn’t consider redundant lawyers who for a job seems to be the tip of the iceberg. Readers deluged RollOnFriday Towers with complaints about both rec cons and law firms. All had the same experience: their attempts to apply for a job had been stymied when they revealed they’d been made redundant. The firms who came in for the most criticism were American, with several big names being accused of discrimination.
Legal Blog Watch asks if the same phenomenon is happening here in the states. Recruiters we have spoken with say that it is.
Reports from recruiters and tipsters in the U.S., after the jump.
Although the law firm of Kirkland & Ellis is having some issues — e.g., layoffs in Chicago, New York, Washington, and San Francisco — the firm still has a well-deserved reputation for excellence. When you’re involved in a must-win litigation or a major bankruptcy matter, K&E is the firm to see.
But are Kirkland & Ellis lawyers also the people to call when you need a table at a hot restaurant, or last-minute tickets to a sold-out show? Maybe so:
From: [A secretary to a senior partner in Chicago] Sent: Tuesday, September 8, 2009 2:19 PM To: All Chicago attorneys
Justice Ginsburg’s granddaughter is having her 19th birthday on October 3rd and wants to celebrate with 5 friends at her favorite restauraunt — Topolobampo. Unfortunately, they are booked solid on that date. Does anyone know Rick Bayless (the owner of Topolobampo and Frontera Grill) who could possibly make a table available for her.
Topolobampo — good choice! When we did our series of open threads on summer associate lunch suggestions, back in 2008 — when law firms still had summer lunch programs — Topolobampo was mentioned frequently and favorably in the Chicago thread.
So, were the K&E concierges able to come through for the Supreme Grandchild?
Ed. note: Above the Law has teamed up with Law Shucks. Law Shucks has done excellent work translating all of the layoff news into user-friendly charts and graphs: the Layoff Tracker.
We’ll actually be hitting a week and a half in this roundup, going back to August 1. As we’ve been saying for a while, September is not likely to be as tranquil as August was (3 layoffs, 126 people in total), and the layoffs have already started. Eleven days in, and twice as many firms have laid off almost twice as many people.
Let’s step back and start with the big picture.
The really bad news came just before the Labor Day weekend, as unemployment hit 9.7%, a 26-year high. If you really want to find a silver lining, the net job loss for August was less horrible than expected, coming in at 216,000 jobs lost for the month. The decrease in total unemployment in July is now just a blip on a 16 out of 17 month streak of worsening employment numbers. It’s not even like the improvement in July was a result of actual new jobs, either — it came from people becoming so disaffected that they stop looking for jobs entirely, which takes them off the rolls of the unemployed. Hurray for government math!
Overall, 6.9 million jobs have been lost since the beginning of 2008 — which, coincidentally, is also the beginning of the Law Shucks layoff tracker (we count from Cadwalader’s first round). Major firms account for just over 13,000 of those.
So what has been going on so far this month? After the jump, we analyze the looming surge.
Last week, news broke about layoffs at Kirkland & Ellis. The firm has not released an official statement about the layoffs. A Kirkland source says that associates not on track to make partner were let go. Since the firm won’t say, we’ve been trying to cobble together the full extent of Kirkland’s layoffs. We’ve already reported on layoffs in New York, D.C., and San Francisco.
Just before Labor Day weekend, Kirkland & Ellis got around to making layoffs at its main office in Chicago. We are still gathering numbers, but as of now we know that at least 12 people were let go. Other tipsters suggest that the number is higher.
Did these layoffs fit in with K&E’s performance review philosophy? After the jump, tipsters weigh in.
Kirkland & Ellis earlier today laid off more than 20 associates in its New York office, according to a person familiar with the matter. Associate layoffs also hit the firm’s Washington, D.C. office.
The layoffs came at the end of the firm’s annual associate-review process. Associates deemed to have not been on track to make either equity partner or non-equity partner were asked to leave, the person familiar with the matter said.
We don’t know how many D.C. associates were let go. But earlier this summer, we reported that the associate review process at Kirkland had been moved up this year. By the end of July, associates were already buzzing that the “layoff list” had been circulated around to Kirkland’s partners.
So we hope that the associates let go today didn’t work that hard during August.
We can also report that the laid off associates will be given a four-month severance package.
The only problem in Kirkland’s performance review logic is this quote from one of our sources:
[Layoffs at Kirkland] are happening today. First years and second years hit hard in the corporate group.
Is it normal for Kirkland to make partner track decisions after just one or two years of work? We’ve heard about “up or out” policies, but that seems harsh.
But we take Kirkland at its word. Nothing to see here, just the normal review process for first years who were not going to make partner.
Good luck, Kirkland friends.
After the jump, an update from San Francisco.
We’ve compiled a lot of information about the summer associate offer rates at Kirkland & Ellis and at Orrick. Overall, summer associates had a pretty good chance at nailing down an offer at these firms — though individual results varied significantly depending on which you summer at.
At Kirkland & Ellis, sources report that the firm’s offer rate was a solid 85% firm wide. In Chicago and New York, that offer rate climbed to around 90%.
But out west, things were not as rosy. Multiple tipsters reported that the offer rate out of Kirkland’s Los Angeles office was between 60% and 65%. In Palo Alto, things were even worse. Sources there report a 50% offer rate.
Firm wide, a summer class of around 158 summer associates yielded approximately 135 offers for full time employment. In this market, those are good odds.
After the jump, let’s take a look at Orrick.
Weil’s strong move up the Vault charts — the firm was ranked #9 last year — shows the power of high profile work. The Lehman bankruptcy and the General Motors restructuring were just two of the many recognizable matters Weil has had its hands on in the past 12 months.
But Weil also seems to have timed the Vault rankings quite well. The firm didn’t start deferring incoming first years until March, didn’t start laying off staff until May, and didn’t start laying off associates closing offices until the end of June.
Regardless of whether or not those moves catch up with Weil next year, right now is Weil’s time to shine in the warm recruiting light of sixth place. Congrats.
Let’s look at the other firms after the jump.
The rumor mill is churning over at Kirkland & Ellis this week. While we’re unable to confirm that the firm is poised to grind down associates, we are hearing from sources worried that layoffs are coming.
The first warning sign came last week, when we learned that Kirkland had decided to move up annual performance reviews. A tipster reported the news this way:
Kirkland and Ellis has moved up its annual review process by 2-3 months. Look for layoffs (stealth or otherwise), likely starting sometime in August.
In this market, changing the timing of performance reviews is often interpreted as a move by the firm to set up for layoffs. But associates are so generally terrified these days that just having a partner look at an associate the wrong way can make a person freak out.
Other evidence suggesting that Kirkland is gearing up for a round of layoffs, after the jump.
This seems like a stressful time to be enrolled at Duke Law School. The news of firms pulling out of on-campus interviewing at the school continues to grow. The latest big name firms to partially pull out of Duke recruiting are DLA Piper and Kirkland & Ellis. Here’s the email Duke students received late last week about DLA:
We received notification from the employer, DLA Piper (Austin, Dallas, CA offices), that they will be canceling interviews. You will not need to contact them as we have forwarded your resume on file to them (unless you wish to send an updated resume). In addition, they have posted a resume collections via Symplicity for your convenience. They will review your resume and contact you if they are interested in speaking with you further.
There is nothing else that you have to do at this point. I am sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused and wish you well in your other interviews. You will be removed from this interview and your interview schedule will reflect this change.
At least they can still interview for DLA New York.
But today, Duke students found out that K&E was also dropping them. K&E Chicago never signed up to recruit on-campus. K&E D.C. dropped out today:
Unfortunately, Kirkland & Ellis’ Washington, DC, office just contacted us to say they will be canceling their on campus interview schedule. We know this news is frustrating for you. They have posted a position and are soliciting resumes on Symplicity, and we strongly encourage you to apply.
To reflect the change, you will soon see the firm removed from your interview schedule. As you plan and conduct both your on-campus interviews and outreach to employers, please stay in close touch with the Career Counselors so we can help you maximize your success.
But as summer opportunities continue to dry up, Duke Law students are still trying to figure out whether they’ve made it onto law review. And once again, what should be a simple notification process seems totally screwed up.
More details after the jump.
We’ll bottom-line this week’s contest, folks: The SCOTUS clerk wins. Yep, after a long absence, LEWW’s favorite credential makes a welcome appearance in the NYT weddings section, and we’ve got the details for you.
But first, congratulations to Sabrina Charles and Jamie Dycus, who readers overwhelmingly voted Legal Eagle Couple of the Month for May, demonstrating that — in the words of one commenter (and apparently, in the minds of ATL readers) — “Wachtell > Sotomayor > Olympic medal.”
Here are our finalists:
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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