Let’s not mince words: Patton Boggs is stuck in the muck. In the most recent Am Law 100 rankings, the firm showed a 15 percent decline in profits per partner — one of the biggest dips in the entire survey, contrasting with the modest growth that most of Biglaw enjoyed. Gross revenue also fell, by 6.5 percent.
The Am Law 100 rankings looked at 2012 performance compared to 2011 performance. Perhaps things have improved for Patton Boggs in 2013?
Alas, no. While many firms have resorted to voluntary buyouts or layoffs of support staff this year, few have laid off lawyers (at least not openly). But Patton Boggs has already been through two significant, open and notorious rounds of layoffs in 2013 to date, affecting not just staff but lawyers as well.
How is Patton Boggs trying to save itself, and will its plan work?
It was just two weeks ago that we told you about the merger talks between Patton Boggs and Locke Lord. At the time, we wondered about redundancies between the two firms’ offices. We thought that “most jobs” would be safe, considering the fact that there were only three overlapping locations.
Well, it looks like we were dead wrong. Guess which firm just laid off both support staff and lawyers?
Yesterday we reported on a change in management at Nixon Peabody. We understand that some people at Nixon hope that the shift at the top will be followed by a return to Nixon Peabody’s old law firm culture.
But maybe NP people will have to get ready to assimilate into an entirely different culture? A well-placed tipster reports that some Locke Lord partners were told that the firm is exploring a possible merger with Nixon Peabody.
Locke Lord denies the rumor, while Nixon Peabody won’t comment. But our sources have been right before, especially when it comes to potential mergers…
Earlier this week, Locke Lord’s Larry Gray — managing partner of the firm’s Chicago office, and a lawyer at the firm for more than 35 years — passed away. He suffered a heart attack on Monday at the office. The firm was informed via an email from firm-wide managing partner Jerry Clements, on Monday night:
Dear LLBL Friends:
I am terribly sorry to report that our good friend and Managing Partner of our Chicago office, Larry Gray, passed away this morning after suffering a heart attack at the office.
More information regarding arrangements will follow when we have them. Please keep Larry’s wife, Sheri, and their children in your thoughts and prayers.
Condolences to the Gray family and to the entire Locke Lord community. A statement from the firm about Larry Gray appears after the jump.
We have previously predicted that, when the American Lawyer releases its data on profits per partner in 2009, we’ll see some declines over 2008. Last year was not a pretty one for the profession (although most of you think this year will be better).
But could our prediction be wrong? Is it possible that, owing to various cost-cutting measures — including, but not limited to, lawyer and staff layoffs — some firms will report significant increases in profit per partner in 2009?
Quite possibly. Take the case of Locke Lord. The Executive Committee recently informed the LLBL partnership as follows:
The Firm ended 2009 with Net Income of $171.9 million. This total represents a $23.4 million (or 16%) favorable variance to the Revised Budget. This number is also $6.4 million over last year’s Net Income of $165.5 million. The Firm outperformed last year’s AmLaw results with Profits Per Partner of $979,000 as compared to last year’s $956,000. In addition, the average compensation per partner increased from $597,527 in 2008 to $643,820 this year.
As a result of the Firm’s outstanding performance, the Executive Committee has approved a year-end distribution of $60.0 million. This represents an increase of approximately $14.0 million over 2008′s year-end distribution.
The $60 million distribution was funded today. Happy Thursday, Locke Lord partners! (According to the 2009 Am Law 100 rankings, the firm has 136 equity partners and 165 nonequity partners.)
The full LLBL memo appears after the jump.
Our latest Eyes of the Law celebrity sighting involves a household name: former White House counsel and Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers. She may not have succeeded in getting on to the SCOTUS, but apparently she has joined another D.C. institution. We received this tip from a reader yesterday:
FWIW…. Just got sworn into the D.D.C. federal bar this morning. None other than Harriet Miers was also there getting sworn in. There were about 30 of us total. Pretty weird!
We are so close to the end of the Vault open threads that I’m starting to get my second wind. I don’t know much about the firms on this part of the list, but you guys do. You know a lot. You’re so smart, you probably don’t even need this quick recap of the next group of firms. But I’ll go through it anyway:
Every once in while, we like to explore career alternatives for attorneys, i.e., things you can do with a law degree that don’t involve Biglaw or contract attorney work. These days, we’ve come to think of the series of open threads as things you might do if you can’t find Biglaw or contract work.
Do you have a passion for Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and HGTV? When you walk into a room, do you immediately judge the color scheme? Do you spend an inordinate amount of time rearranging doc review boxes to maintain the proper feng shui in your office? Maybe you should consider a second career in interior design.
Gordon Chin, a real estate lawyer and American University Law ’99 grad, has always had an interest in design work. Since being laid off by Locke Lord Bissell & Liddell in November, it’s become his full-time gig. To see his ultra-modern style, check out this Washington Examiner piece [PDF] on him (though the article’s a bit cliched, describing his style as “unpretentious yet somehow still sophisticated”).
Chin told us:
I’ve always done design work on the side, but given the slowdown in big-law, I’ve found more time to devote to my passion. I’m currently working with some clients in the DC area — everything from interior design, to staging services….
Projects range in scope and size — some include entire rowhomes/townhomes, others are consulting with paint colors or staging, assisting clients with shopping or selecting decorative pieces.
A Q&A with Chin, and the bright side of being laid off, after the jump.
Proskauer Rose announced start dates yesterday. Incoming associates have got some time to kill and some money to spend, says a tipster:
Proskauer [is] pushing their new associates back to March 2010. They’re offering a $20K stipend, or the option to get a public interest job, start Jan. 2011 and get a $60K stipend. They’re also still honoring a $10K salary advance they had previously offered.
Most firms, like Proskauer, have offered baby associates deferral stipends when pushing back start dates. However, a few disgruntled 3Ls have written to ATL saying that stipends are not forthcoming at their firms. Here are reports from tipsters:
Locke Lord Bissell & Liddell not offering any stipends [not even salary advances] to deferred Class of 2009 associates. Deferred Associates are still receiving their graduation bonuses ($1500), I guess that’s supposed to carry them through until January 2010.
You guys got to say something about the fact that Shearman, unlike most of the other firms, isn’t paying any kind of a stipend to those it is deferring until January ’10.
King & Spalding, all offices, has been pushed to January 19, 2010. Incoming associates were informed in late March. No stipend, and the salary advance is also not an option anymore.
Goldberg Kohn gave their incoming associates a $7500 bar stipend (which was reduced from the originally promised $8,000); they paid for Bar Exam fees; and they gave them a hand wave goodbye. As for their reported “pushing back start dates”, Goldberg Kohn has told their incoming associates that their start date was INDEFINITELY deferred. They said that March 2010 was a possibility but that the date was arbitrary and they are making no promises at all….They have offered no deferral stipend.
We would like to note that Shearman is paying a $65,000 stipend to those deferred to September 2010.
We wanted to call this post “The Final Round-up,” but that seemed overly optimistic. Check out the newest additions to the nationwide start date watch, after the jump. This time around, we’ve included firms (that we know of) that have not yet announced start dates.
If your firm is in ‘go’ mode when it comes to recruiting lateral partners with loyal clients, then take this quiz to see how well you measure up. Keep track of your ‘yes’ and ‘no’ responses.
1. Does your firm have a clearly defined strategy of practice groups that are priorities of growth for your office? Nothing gets done by random chance, but with a clear vision for the future. Identify the top practice areas for which you wish to add lateral partners. Seek input from practice group leaders and get specifics on needs, outcomes, and ideal target profiles.
2. In addition to clarifying your firm’s growth strategy, are you still open to the hire of a partner outside of your plan? I’ve made several placements that fit this category. The partner’s practice was not within the strategic growth plan of my client, but once the two parties started talking with each other, we all saw how it could indeed be a seamless fit. Be open to “Opportunistic Hires.” You never know where your next producing partner might come from, so you have to be open to it. I will be the first to admit that there is a quirky element of randomness in recruiting.
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.
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