We did not Photoshop this picture. It actually appeared in a New York Times wedding announcement. Chuckle at it, if you must. But know that when you do, you’re fiddling while a venerable institution goes up in flames.
December isn’t a great month to get married, and this December was particularly bad. Still, our final Legal Eagle Wedding Watch couples for 2009 have some surprisingly strong Biglaw credentials. Here they are:
Before the holidays, we reported that Latham & Watkins planned on making a true-up salary raise, putting its associates back on the level they would have been on had Latham never frozen salaries in the first place.
Today, Latham made it official. Multiple tipsters tell us the firm just announced its 2010 salary structure:
It was announced in a short e-mail from the executive committee that included a link to a secure PDF with the info.
It has not been a great year for Latham & Watkins. Everybody knows that the firm laid off a ton of people — 440, to be exact — in February. But it was the firm’s decision to fire first-years who had been at the firm for just a few months that seemed to shock the conscience of Above the Law readers.
The firm took a major hit in the Vault prestige rankings, plummeting from #7 to #17. And we’ve heard anecdotal evidence that Latham had a rough go of it on the recruiting trail this fall.
But perhaps Latham & Watkins is poised for a comeback? Back in October, we reported that the firm was considering unfreezing associate salaries. Last week, we speculated that Latham might be prepared to pay mega-bonuses this year.
Now additional details are leaking out about the firm’s planned salary thaw, and its bonuses. And things are looking good. After a year in the Biglaw doghouse, it looks like Latham may finally be trying to buy its way back into the light.
Details after the jump.
There have not been many bonus surprises this holiday season. Many associates have been disappointed by the meager payouts in comparison to years past. But, truly, the best bonus this year is still having a job.
As far as we know, Latham & Watkins has not yet announced its bonus. An ATL reader spotted a recent Los Angeles Times article that might give Lathamites hope. The article is about luxury shoppers cutting back this year: Rodeo Drive is deserted. The Louis Vuitton and Tiffany & Co. salesclerks are lonely. But there’s at least one big spender doing what he can to support the consumer economy:
“There’s no holding back this season,” said Barneys shopper Mark Flagel, a partner at law firm Latham & Watkins in Los Angeles. “I’m personally hopeful that the mood is better and the economy is better. Because what is there if there isn’t hope?”
In parsing the fate of law school students, there’s no point in talking about the 3Ls. Their chances of success in the job hunt are about as bright as Obama’s prospects of winning the war in Afghanistan. In other words, abandon hope all ye who enter here.
The 1Ls can actually pray the economy will improve. And unlike the poor 3Ls, they knew what they were getting into when they enrolled this fall.
But what about the 2Ls? They have a year and a half more to stay in the law school bunker. Is that long enough for the economy to pick up and for firms to open their wallets doors to draw them close to the Biglaw bosom? Many 2Ls report that their dance cards for the summer are empty.
But there may be hope for current 2Ls without summer suitors, reports Zach Lowe at AmLaw Daily. Some firms are coming back for another round:
[A] small number of those 2Ls stand to benefit from an added mini-round of recruiting, which law school officials and firm recruiters attribute to the cautious stance some firms took the first time around in August and September. The reason, according to about a dozen sources we interviewed: Firms shooting for smaller class sizes limited their offers to the best of the best in the class of 2010. The students in that group found themselves with several offers to choose from, leaving firms short of the already smaller-than-usual targets they’d set. Now those firms are going back to top law schools and asking about candidates who have not yet secured a gig for summer 2010, according to career services deans at law schools, law firm recruiters, and industry groups.
Which firms are still looking? What are they looking for? And, if Adolf Hitler was a 2L, what would he do?
Find out after the jump.
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. From our sister site, Going Concern:
[A] judge in Seattle has allowed a revised lawsuit to proceed that lists “Washington Mutual officers and directors, underwriters, and the auditing firm Deloitte & Touche” as defendants.
The revised lawsuit was trimmed down to a “concise” 267 pages from the original 388 that the judge described as “verbose” and “disorganized”.
“Verbose” and “disorganized” would also describe many lawyers we know. On the defense side, though, it’s an all-star cast. From Am Law Litigation Daily:
The lineup for the defendants includes Simpson Thacher & Bartlett attorneys Barry Ostrager and Rob Pfister for former WaMu officers; Ronald Berenstain of Perkins Coie for former WaMu outside directors; Barry Kaplan of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati for former WaMu CEO Kerry Killinger; Peter Wald of Latham & Watkins for Deloitte; and Jonathan Dickey of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher for the underwriters.
The decisions Latham & Watkins has made regarding its associates have been well documented in these pages. Because of the firm’s associate layoffs, some people forget that Latham & Watkins was one of the first firms to freeze associate salaries. Latham froze salaries way back in December of 2008.
It would be somewhat fitting if Latham became one of the first firms to unfreeze associate salaries.
For now, the firm isn’t saying anything. Latham spokespeople did not respond to our multiple requests for comment.
But multiple sources inside Latham are preparing for a thaw. And, if true, Latham could go a long way towards answering one of the most important questions we have about making associate pay raises come back again.
Details from our Latham sources after the jump.
Let’s finish off the prestigious Vault 20. Here we have some firms on the rise, and some firms that are … not.
Here is the next batch of firms:
16. WilmerHale 17. Latham & Watkins 18. Arnold & Porter 19. Jones Day 20. White & Case
Okay, before we discuss Latham and White & Case, let’s give a good cheer for WilmerHale (up one spot from last year), Arnold & Porter (up two spots from last year), and Jones Day (up four spots from last year).
The Jones Day surge is particularly impressive. You’ll remember that the firm slammed its competitors earlier this month. But it seems like the firm is walking the walk as well as talking the talk.
After the jump, you know what happens next.
Earlier this year, Latham & Watkins laid off some 400 employees (190 associates and 250 staff). This caused many to wonder about how tough times were getting at Latham.
Well, don’t shed tears for LW partners just yet. From the New York Times:
If a tourist passing along the Rue du Cloître Notre-Dame just looks up, it is not hard to glimpse, through the open windows above, the rich colors of old master paintings that have been stretched across a ceiling in Linda and Bryant Edwards’s first-floor apartment.
And from the home itself, in an elegant Haussmann building dating to 1905, the family has its own view — of the garden behind Notre Dame Cathedral….
When her husband, 54, presented her with the apartment as a gift for her 40th birthday, Mrs. Edwards envisioned a kind of “Tale of Two Cities” life, split between Paris and what was then the couple’s home in London.
The generous husband in question, Bryant Edwards, is a partner at Latham & Watkins. Last year he moved to Dubai, where he serves as managing partner of the firm’s Middle East office. The Edwardses now use their Paris apartment as a pied-à-terre when they return to the Continent.
So, the question you’re all wondering: How much did this amazing apartment cost?
This list, which we launched in 2003, aims to measure and quantify the qualities that define an elite law firm, making an effort to look beyond profits. We examine four factors: revenue per lawyer, commitment to pro bono, diversity among lawyers, and associate training and satisfaction. Our formula gives more weight to the first two factors; we double a firm’s scores for revenue per lawyer and pro bono, and then add scores for diversity and associate satisfaction.
This year’s A-List? The elite of the elite? The top three firms are:
1. Munger, Tolles & Olson 2. Hughes Hubbard & Reed 3. Latham & Watkins
I’ll pause to give laid off Latham associates an opportunity to finish screaming. Please return after the jump.
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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.
In a land that is right here and in a time that is right now, a technology has arisen so powerful that it can replace basic human document review. Is it time to bow down before our new robot overlords?
First, here’s a little story about me: my life in the legal world began as a paralegal. My first case was a GIANT patent infringement case that was already six years old and had involved as many as five companies, multiple US courts, the ITC and an international standards committee. I knew nothing about any of this.
On my first day, my supervisor (a paralegal with at least eight other cases driving her crazy) sat me down in front of a Concordance database with a 100,000+ patents and patent file histories. “Code these,” she said. I learned that “coding”, for the purposes of this exercise, meant manually typing the inventor’s name, the title of the patent, the assignee, the file date, and other objective data for each document. I worked on that project – and only that project – for at least the first six months of my job. After a week or so, time began to blur.
What I know, in retrospect and with absolutely certainty, is that as time began to blur, so did my judgment. So did my attention to detail. If you could tell me that I did not make at least one mistake a day – one inconsistent spelling, one reversed day and month, one incorrectly spaced title – I frankly would need to see your evidence. I would not believe it. The human mind is trainable but it is not a machine.
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