We should have written about this earlier — in fact, weeks earlier, since it has been up since early August. But sometimes things fall through the cracks, emails get caught in our spam filter, etc. Anyway, better late than never.
From a helpful reader:
check out this blog. it’s sort of a one trick pony, but its good for a laugh and is pretty out there. as a wlrk alum, figured you would get a kick out of it. thanks.
We agree — it’s funny and bizarre. From the inaugural post of The Poison Pill:
This blog is devoted to our hero and idol, corporate law phenom Martin Lipton. Mr. Lipton, name partner in the prestigious and venerable firm Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz, has been practicing law since the mid-1960′s after he graduated from NYU law school, and is considered by most in the industry to be the “dean” of the M&A bar. This legendary advocate is most famous in legal circles for inventing the “poison pill,” a takeover defense now used by virtually all public companies to delay and deter hostile tender offers and other solicited acquisitions.
That’s right, you heard me–not only is Mr. Lipton a skilled and accomplished lawyer, he is an inventor as well. We also hear that he is a marvelous ballroom dancer, but have yet to receive confirmation on this point.
Here’s some news about an unusual move at our former employer, Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz (at right: founding partner Marty Lipton).
From the American Lawyer (via the WSJ Law Blog):
After losing two partners in recent months, Wachtell Lipton has quietly hired Michael Segal, the former cohead of executive compensation and benefits at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, who will start on Monday.
The move is an unusual one for Wachtell, which has rarely sought out lateral partners. In the firm’s 42-year history, just two other partners have lateraled into the firm. In 1997 antitrust partner Ilene Knable Gotts joined from Foley & Lardner. And in 1977, tax specialist Peter Canellos (now of counsel) joined as a partner from Cravath, Swaine & Moore.
Some random observations:
1. After the recent losses of executive comp partners Adam Chinn (to an investment banking boutique) and Michael Katzke (to a career in social work — good for him), the firm had to make a high-profile hire in this niche. It’s a specialized area that is critical to WLRK’s flagship M&A practice.
2. For many years, Wachtell’s general policy against lateral hiring extended to associates as well. But they’ve been taking on lateral associates with increasing frequency in recent years. So if you’re working at another firm, but like the idea of a 100 percent bonus, send in your résumé.
3. Antitrust queen Ilene Knable Gotts, one of the two lateral partners mentioned above, is a diva with a capital “D.” And she works insane hours, even by Wachtell standards (as do her associates).
* Having your cake — and screwing it, too? [Overlawyered]
* If your cake contains trans fats, Judge Posner — who’s rumored to enjoy grapefruit for dessert — will take it away from you, and dump it in the trash. [Becker-Posner Blog]
* Marty Lipton’s theory of executive compensation: “I make tons of money, and I’m just the hired help. So client CEOs should make even more!” [Reuters]
* Chief Justice John Roberts: the boy who cried “constitutional crisis”? [Slate via How Appealing]
* This is lame. If everyone’s a name partner, then no one’s a name partner. [WSJ Law Blog]
* We suspect that the percentage of bad bosses is higher in the legal profession. Lawyers aren’t trained to be managers. And suck at it. [Workplace Prof Blog]
* The New York Court of Appeals: some tricky picking for Eliot Spitzer. [Judicial Reports]
* It’s about time that we had a litigatrix in the White House! [New York Times]
* In the 7th grade, we abided by the “one best friend” law, so we could totally pledge our loyalty to just one dog who also definitely wouldn’t steal our boyfriend. [New York Times]
* German Chancellor Angela Merkel admits to an incident of youthful “corruption,” but would you have rather she bartered sexual favors for her driver’s license? We’re letting this slide too. [The Times]
* We hear freshmen housed in state school dorms are joining the lawsuit. [Los Angeles Times]
* Since all of my disposable income after rent, I-Pod upgrades and therapy goes to clothes, I for one can say that status is one of the more noble causes a person can embrace. I mean, honestly, without fashion, 90% of third world kids would be unemployed. [University of Chicago Law School Faculty Blog]
* Honor among greedy bastards: Corporate greedy bastards deserve their obscene paychecks, says greedy bastard M&A lawyer Martin Lipton. [Reuters]
[Ed. note: Please note that this post is signed by Stella Q. Some of us were very happy to receive obscene paychecks courtesy of Mr. Lipton. (And if Wachtell Lipton's midyear bonuses are any indication, year-end bonuses at the firm will be especially obscene this year.)]
Wachtell Lipton, the obscenely profitable and dazzlingly prestigious New York law firm, just elected three lawyers to its millionaires’ club partnership. By firm tradition, the partnership vote takes place on Election Day each year.
Expect an official announcement tomorrow; we bring you the news today. The three lucky, talented, and hardworking new partners are:
– Martin J.E. Arms (litigation; pictured inset, left);
– Gregory E. Ostling (corporate; pictured inset, center); and
– Eric M. Rosof (finance and restructuring) (pictured inset, right).
The promotions take effect on January 1, 2007. Upon information and belief, newly minted Wachtell partners take home seven-figure paychecks in their first year of partnership. This shouldn’t be that surprising, given that (1) average profits per partner at WLRK were $3,790,000 in 2005, and (2) Wachtell partner compensation is lockstep by seniority (except for a handful of senior partners, including Messrs. Wachtell and Lipton, who are “off the grid”).
We used to work at Wachtell Lipton, so we can pass along random tidbits about this high-powered trio:
Martin Arms: We worked a lot with him on the Silverstein/World Trade Center case. Very smart; British-born, and retaining a hint of Englishness; worked extensively with Herb Wachtell (an obvious plus in the partnership race).
Greg Ostling: He was in corporate and we were in litigation, so we didn’t get to know him terribly well. We’d see him around the halls. Snazzy dresser; good-looking.
Eric Rosof: We sat next to him and shared a secretary. Nice guy; a bit on the quiet side, almost shy; extremely hard-working (even by Wachtell standards).
Martin, Greg, and Eric: CONGRATULATIONS!!!
(And if we ever grab drinks sometime, you’re buying… )
This just in: Earlier this month, M&A powerhouse Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen, & Katz bestowed generous “mid-year bonuses” upon its associates. The dough was distributed “without prejudice” to Wachtell Lipton’s legendary year-end bonuses, which in recent years have come in anywhere between 40 to 80 percent of an associate’s base salary. (WLRK’s base salaries are already at the top of the New York market.)
Your next question: How much? We hear that associates who graduated law school in the class of 2000 received a midyear bonus of $40,000, and associates who graduated in the class of 2002 received $30,000. So we’re guessing that the bonuses were distributed in $5K increments, with class of 2001 associates getting $35,000. (But perhaps the more senior people received bonuses reflecting bigger jumps; Wachtell, like many other top firms, likes to reward those who stick around.)
If you’re thinking that $40K doesn’t sound like that great a bonus for billing 3000 hours, please remember: This is just mid-year beneficence from Marty Lipton and Herb Wachtell. Year-end bonuses at Wachtell Lipton are expected to be better than ever, owing to the firm’s banner year on the corporate side. Back in the summer of 1998, believed to be the last time the firm doled out midyear bonuses (equal then to two months’ base salary), the end-of-year bonuses roughly equalled base salaries for associates. (For those of you who aren’t familiar with them, WLRK bonuses are lockstep based on seniority — they’re not tied to hours or to an assessment of the associate’s merit.)
What does Wachtell’s move mean for associates at other top New York firms? Well, probably not much — WLRK has always been in a class of its own in terms of compensation, paying bonuses that are more like investment banking bonuses than law firm bonuses.*
But Wachtell Lipton’s move could at least do this: It could prevent firms that raised base salaries earlier this year from “undoing” or “taking back” those raises, by reducing year-end bonuses by a commensurate amount. Now that Wachtell is taking in money so fast it’s GIVING it away — to its own associates — it would ill behoove Cravath and Sullivan to pull such a cheap trick on their associates. In the wake of Wachtell’s midyear bonuses, a top firm that raised associate salaries earlier this year, but then tried to keep total associate compensation unchanged by cutting year-end bonuses, would suffer a definite “shame sanction.”
Disclosure: Yes, we once worked at Wachtell Lipton, from 2000 to 2003 (i.e., we missed some of the fattest years). And yes, we are depressed this morning.
* Yes, obnoxious-lawyers-turned-obnoxious-bankers, we know: I-banking bonuses are often a multiple (x2, x3, etc.) of the banker’s base salary. Banker bonuses frequently run into the seven figures — unlike Wachtell bonuses, which at least have the decency to stay within six figures. And don’t get us started on the hedge fund people…
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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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 email@example.com 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.
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