In connection with on-campus interviewing season, we’re giving you a chance to assess the firms that made this year’s Vault 100 list of most prestigious law firms. The previous open threads listed firms in groups of five, but to up the pace, we’ll list them by ten from here on out. Here’s the next group, with prestige scores in parentheses:
We note Magic Circle firm Linklaters making a big leap from the high 30s in the 2008 list to #26 this year — perhaps because its “notable perks” include group retreats to Europe, a drinks trolley, and an on-site doctor and dentist.
Compare. Contrast. Discuss. Thanks. Earlier:Vault 100 Open Threads – 2009
Bloggers tend to be so hyper-connected that being away from Internet service for more than two hours can feel like an eternity. Due to the numerous e-mails flying around law firms, and the expectation of rapid response, lawyers tend to have a similar connectivity addiction. The Blackberry is the sweet, sweet drug that feeds the need.
We know how dedicated you all are to your Blackberries. What if you were forced to give it up in order to really go on vacation and get away from the firm?
UK-based Linklaters is doing just that, reports Law People.
Linklaters is reported having decreed, in a fit of concern for work/life balance, that lawyers leave their Blackberrys at home while on holiday (vacation to us).The order is designed to insulate associates, in particular, from the relentless rat race for a few sweet weeks a year, according to management. “Sometimes it’s the small things that count,” one partner averred. While another lawyer confessed that “I feel naked without my Blackberry and there are times when you just have to be reachable.” Whether the firm is successful in enforcing this edict is not yet clear.
We think this will just result in compounding of guilt, as attorneys feel the shame of obsessively checking their Blackberries while “on holiday,” and the need to hide the illicit Blackberry checking from the firm. What do you think about the policy?
Overall, Latham & Watkins dominated the field, pulling in almost one fifth of all votes. Latham was the most popular choice among voters in L.A., the Bay Area, and Washington, DC, and was particularly favored by tax lawyers and litigators.
Runner-up Wachtell was actually the top choice of respondents in New York, narrowly besting Davis Polk and Latham. It was also, by far, the most popular pick among M&A lawyers, with roughly 30% of their vote.
Kirkland placed third overall, but was the top choice of Chicago respondents and patent lawyers, with almost twice as many votes as the next most popular firm in Chicago (Latham) and almost as many patent votes as the next two firms combined (Latham and Quinn).
Williams & Connolly, Ropes & Gray, and Davis Polk tied for fourth, with Ropes & Gray dominating the Boston vote, Williams & Connolly pwning DC (and gaining the second highest vote from litigators after Latham), and Davis Polk rocking the investment management scene (with Ropes & Gray running second best in that field).
Paul Hastings was the clear winner among labor & employment attorneys, winning almost 70% of the vote, and was also the most popular choice among real estate attorneys and lawyers in Atlanta.
On the Magic Circle front, Linklaters proved more popular than Allen & Overy, and was actually the most popular choice among securities lawyers. Allen & Overy was the most popular choice among structured finance attorneys.
This month’s ATL / Lateral Link survey, focused on which firm you would choose if you could go anywhere, was dominated by Latham & Watkins and Wachtell Lipton. But several firms were close behind.
* Respondents had several reasons to applaud Latham: “Prestige”, “Friends there are happy”, “Awesome firm, awesome people”, “They rock”, “Prestige, substantive work, great litigation practice”, and “Top notch clients and matters; kick ass bonuses; selective hiring in a good way (need good grades plus a good; personality); Vault top 10 without the stuffiness of originating on the east coast; good growth but no risk of Brobecking (great management + tons of funds)…..should I go on?” Or, as one respondent summed it up: “ass kickers.”
* At Wachtell, with 2007 profits per partner of $4.48 million, money played a key factor in respondents’ enthusiasm for the firm: “100% bonus”, “money”, “it’s all about the cash”, “I want the compensation!”, “money honey” and, of course, “CASH.”
* “Money” was also a big plus for Cravath (even though their profits per partner were a mere $3.3 million). Voters also noted “Prestige, training, can go anywhere else afterwards.”
* “Prestige” and “Exit opportunities” also won several votes for Skadden, who also had more than $2 billion in revenues last year. (Their SideBar program is pretty cool, too.)
* “Bonuses and work” were praised at Kirkland & Ellis, as was stability: “They’re well positioned for the credit crunch and M&A downturn. And the pay’s better, of course.”
* Sullivan & Cromwell was also coveted for “good work, and $$$$” as well as “reputation.” With profits per partner of $3.13 million, that “$$$$” is appealing at multiple levels.
* Paul Hastings surged in popularity as respondents complemented their labor & employment practice and their compensation structures in Atlanta and Chicago.
* In an incendiary match-up, Davis Polk was heralded as “da bomb”, while Boston heavyweight Ropes & Gray was declared “the bomb.”
* Among the Magic Circle firms, Allen & Overy supporters declared “Great offices, european attitude” while Linklaters was called “the best globally, both in equity and debt.”
* Debevoise won several votes for its combination of “prestige and culture”.
* Litigators were torn between Quinn Emanuel, where “hard core litigators with a great reputation” create an atmosphere where “[p]ersonality, quirkiness, and fun seem prevalent,” and Williams & Connolly, as “the best litigatio[n] shop. Period.”
So of these fourteen juggernauts of practice, prestige, and sweet, sweet profits, who would you most like to work for?
Cast your vote in today’s ATL / Lateral Link survey, after the jump.
It’s fall recruiting season, and rumors are flying about every law firm under the sun. Here’s something from the ATL mailbag about Linklaters:
I’m going through [the on-campus interview program at my law school] and each day I kept hearing the same thing. Apparently Linklaters’s summer associates had such a terrible time the last few months that many of them have not yet accepted their offers.
Despite the salary, they are going through EIW hoping to get hired by someone else, because they
hated being at Link. Can you confirm this?
We hadn’t heard about this. We do know that morale in the Stockholm office of Linklaters is pretty high (in an “I’ll have what he’s having” kind of way).
Anyway, we contacted the firm for comment. Josh Berick, Co-Hiring Partner in New York, had this to say:
In 2007, Linklaters had its largest and strongest summer associate class ever. The firm is thriving, and many of our summer associates have been able to work on some of the largest cross-border transactions of the year.
It is anticipated that all of our summer associates will receive offers to join us, once the program is concluded. Linklaters traditionally has had a very high acceptance rate, and we are confident that the vast majority of our 2007 summer associates will accept their offers.
As always, we welcome any tips by email (subject line: “Linklaters”). Thanks.
No, not that Bjork. We’re talking about a different idiosyncratic Scandinavian, who also harbors musical aspirations.
By way of introduction:
This email was sent to the whole of Linklaters by one of their Swedish assistants associates!
Oh those crazy Swedes…
Check out the email — which has made the rounds worldwide, is still being forwarded as we speak, and was going to wind up in your inbox eventually, so we feel no qualms about posting it — after the jump.
Remember that root canal we had? It’s time for us to go in for a follow-up.
Hence this lunchtime open thread. Please post pay raise news in the comments. Since it’s Friday afternoon, we expect at least some news to break.
Before we leave, here are some items we’ve recently verified:
1. From a confirmed Linklaters source, we hear that “Linklaters has reinforced its commitment to be a top player in NYC market.”
We interpret this as: “We’re on the $160K scale. Yippee!”
2. From a confirmed source at Sonnenschein, Nath & Rosenthal:
Our NY office is matching the New York pay raise, and our Chicago office is going to match Sidley’s 145K raise to Chicago 1st years. We expect that all Chicago firms will go to 145K, and some may feel compelled to go higher (Kirkland?) to compete with Skadden.
We only announced the 1st year rates. We have not set the upper level associate structure, which is somewhat more compressed than at certain other firms.
The British firm’s New York office announced market bonuses — except for the class of 2006, who got slightly above-market bonuses of $11,000 (or $35,000 prorated).
Biglaw associates: If you haven’t already done so, please take our bonus poll. Thanks! Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of bonuses (scroll down)
* Four litigation partners, and possibly a dozen associates, are leaving White & Case to join the New York office of Linklaters — a “Magic Circle” firm (insert squeal of delight here). The group’s practice focuses on white-collar criminal, antitrust, and other regulatory matters.
The four partners are Lawrence Byrne, a former assistant U.S. attorney (S.D.N.Y.) and deputy chief of the DOJ’s organized crime section; Joseph Armao, a former assistant district attorney in Manhattan; Lance Croffoot-Suede, who was hired by Linklaters based solely on his fabulous, British-sounding name; and Paul Alfieri, who was not.
* Corporate lawyer Michael Student and bankruptcy lawyer Neil Pigott, to Brown Rudnick Berlack Israels, from Holland & Knight and Mandel Katz, respectively.
* Private equity lawyer Robert F. Kennedy, to Jones Day, from Latham & Watkins.
From the New York Law Journal: “Mr. Kennedy is not related to the former U.S. attorney general and New York senator whose son is a well-known environmental lawyer and political activist.”
RFK. Jeez, poor guy. And it doesn’t even help him get restaurant reservations. NY Firm Loses Four Partners, and 12 Associates May Follow [NYLawyer.com] NY Partners Switching Firms [NYLawyer.com] Firm Adds NY Private Equity Partner [NYLawyer.com]
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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: email@example.com.
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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