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
The powers-that-be at Mayer Brown have made their decisions on bonus and salary adjustments, as announced in an email last night. And it appears that they’ve taken a page from the Dechert playbook, according to one associate:
“The second paragraph [of the memo] is a shock. We were never informed of financial ramifications for failing to enter our time.”
It might be slightly annoying, but it’s the growing trend. Expect more firms to adopt policies that tie compensation to timely time entry. Email exhortations without financial consequences don’t seem to be very effective.
(And it’s arguably not that big an imposition. You already slave away at the firm for ten or twelve hours a day — so what’s another five minutes at the end, to enter your time before heading home? It’s just a matter of getting into the habit of doing it, instead of letting a backlog build up.)
The Mayer Brown memo, after the jump.
These announcements aren’t the most exciting things to read (or report on). But we’ve spoken to a number of associates and law students, especially women, who follow them closely. So we’ll continue posting them (and they’re easy to skip over anyway).
The latest law firm to improve its parental leave policy is Mayer Brown. Check out their memo, issued earlier today, after the jump.
The Magic Circle law firm of Allen & Overy, defendant in Schoenfeld v. Allen & Overy, has just filed its Answer (PDF). They’re hoping to make Norman Schoenfeld’s claims disappear. Schoenfeld, an observant Jewish lawyer who once worked at the firm, alleges that A&O discriminated and retaliated against him as a result of his observing the Sabbath.
We contacted the firm for comment. Here is their statement:
Allen & Overy denies all allegations of discrimination. This person’s employment was terminated based solely on performance within his orientation period, a trial period of time mandated for all employees. He also failed to disclose to Allen & Overy the fact of his previous employment at another law firm.
Our firm has a strict written policy prohibiting any form of discrimination, and we provide all new employees and partners training in both diversity awareness and harassment prevention. Over the past several years, we have also instituted live diversity training for all of our existing attorneys and managers. We will vigorously defend our proud reputation of diversity and inclusion and are confident of a positive outcome for Allen & Overy with respect to these allegations.
More discussion, including interesting information from tipsters, after the jump. Update (5/9/08): The case is settling. See here.
Here’s an open thread request we’ve received from multiple sources. A representative message:
I’m trying to gather more info about firms / offices that pay NYC salary + NYC bonus in secondary markets. For example, I believe that Weil and Skadden both do in Dallas and Houston, but none of the other firms in Texas do. I don’t know if you’ve done a post about this before, but I think it might be interesting, because $205K goes really far in TX.
Skadden Wilmington is another possible example.
That’s correct about Skadden in Wilmington. Another well-paying secondary market: Charlotte. A CLT tipster tells us: “Mayer Brown, Dechert, Dewey, and Cadwalader have all increased salaries to $160K here in Charlotte.”
Hold on a sec — Cadwalader? Didn’t they just lay off 35 lawyers, including some in Charlotte?
Yes, they did — but they also raised salaries for the survivors. More after the jump.
In last month’s ATL / Lateral Linksurvey we asked you which holidays you worked on, or expected to work on, during 2007. About half of you reported that you had worked on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Last week, we asked you how you fared this year. Did you take the day off to honor a champion of civil rights, or did you make it a “day on”?
We received just under 1,300 responses, and 44% of you reported that you took the day off. Associates in New York, Los Angeles and Boston were most likely to celebrate the holiday, while associates in Chicago, Atlanta, the Bay Area, and Texas were most likely to be working. (Respondents in the Bay Area were also most likely to work over Christmas and New Year’s. Is it time for them to get New York bonuses?)
How did it break down on a firm by firm basis? DLA Piper, Milbank, Sidley & Austin, Dechert, Hunton & Williams, Jones Day, Latham, Mayer Brown, McDermott, Hughes Hubbard, McGuire Woods, Morgan Lewis, Nixon Peabody, Paul Hastings, and Sullivan & Cromwell each had multiple happy associates who reported that they had taken the day off. Kirkland & Ellis, Baker Botts, Dewey & LeBoeuf, O’Melveny & Myers, Weil, and Winston & Strawn each had mixed responses. Associates at Skadden, however, uniformly reported that they had worked the holiday, as Martin Luther King Jr. day is a “floating” holiday for the firm.
Of those who spent the day at the office, about 54% reported that they weren’t actually asked to work the holiday, but had things they needed to get done. About a quarter reported that their offices were open. Another quarter said that partners told them to work on the holiday. About 8% were asked to work by clients. A surprising number of respondents wrote in that other associates had told them to work on the holiday.
A little over a third of respondents who worked on the holiday thought that the work did not justify the sacrifice.
Back in December — around the holidays, so many of you may have missed it — we wrote about Schoenfeld v. Allen & Overy. It’s a lawsuit brought by Norman Schoenfeld, an observant Jewish lawyer who once worked in the New York office of Allen & Overy. Schoenfeld claims, among other things, that A&O discriminated and retaliated against him as a result of his observing the Sabbath.
Since then, we’ve received many requests for updates. This message is representative:
“Is there any news on this lawsuit? As a Sabbath observant 2L, this is of interest to me and many of my friends. A post on ATL providing an update would be appreciated. Love the site. Thanks.”
We’re not aware of any procedural developments in the case. And we sadly didn’t receive much in response to our request for firsthand information about Norman Schoenfeld or Allen & Overy in New York. Here’s the most interesting tip we received — some opinions from an A&O associate:
“That this suit goes on is beyond anyone here at A&O. I did not know this Schoenfeld guy much for the five minutes he worked here and don’t know if his complaint has merit. I will say this though: associates don’t want to work with Mark Wojciechowski and are asking not to work with him.”
“He told A&O he was bringing associates from Mayer Brown; MB associates refused to come work with him. Better to stay on a sinking ship like MB NY than work for a nightmare like Mark Woj….”
“No one can understand how firm management let this happen (rumor is that A&O already fired their first outside counsel). Recruitment of NY lawyers is badly affected and we just wait to see how much this costs the firm in damages (and associates of course since all s**t gets passed down – you know the partners won’t take the hit in their pocket).”
The recruiting season for 2Ls — scooped up by law firms eager to hire them as summer associates, fatten them up at fancy lunches, and get them addicted to a luxury lifestyle — is pretty much over. So now is a good time to take stock of who fared well (and who didn’t).
From a tipster at Sidley Austin (New York):
On its internal site for new summers, the firm releases the list of incoming 2008 summer associate class. It is 38 people long, and one has to assume hiring has likely ended. The list from last year was accessible until recently, and that list was 62 people long. Additionally, NALP data shows the firm’s NYC office had 58 and 54 summers in 2005 and 2006 respectively.
The significant drop in number of incoming summer associates this summer may be a proxy for the economic health of the firm. In a way, it is positive, because it indicates a proactive measure on the part of firm. That is, they aren’t going to risk bringing aboard more summers than they can hire; chances of not getting an offer due to a downturn in business are much lower.
That’s an optimistic take. Most people would read a drop in summer associate class size as a sign of declining recruiting appeal or “mojo” among law students. Saint-cum-superman Barack Obama met his wife while summering at Sidley. Was that fact not enough to sway recruits? Update: We have contacted the firm for comment and are waiting to hear back from them.
Here are some other things we’ve been hearing (mere rumors, so take with a grain of salt):
1. Wiley Rein: vastly oversubscribed, perhaps due to their topping the Am Law 100 in profits per partner, thanks to the RIM / Blackberry settlement.
2. Wachtell Lipton: our former firm, which we shamelessly plug in these pages, is also hosting a much larger summer class than usual. Office space could become an issue.
So, if you know: How did your firm do in the summer associate sweepstakes? Please discuss, in the comments (or send us email if you prefer). Thanks. Further Update: Some tips we received via email, after the jump.
Time for some quick follow-up on yesterday’s intriguing email about “an exciting, transformational event” for Mayer Brown. As we speculated, the big news is a merger announcement.
From an article by Ameet Sachdev the Chicago Tribune:
Mayer Brown plans to announce Friday an agreement to join forces with a large Hong Kong firm in a deal that would dramatically expand the Chicago law firm’s Asian presence, the Chicago Tribune has learned.
Mayer Brown is teaming up with Johnson, Stokes & Master, one of Hong Kong’s oldest law firms known for its stellar reputation in banking and finance, also a strength of Mayer’s.
Note that it’s “Stokes,” not “Strokes.” A firm named “Johnson, Strokes & Master” surely would have made this list of funny law firm names. In Asia, the firm will be known as Mayer Brown JSM (which mercifully contains no “i”; but note that “jism” is a legitimate word, and a good way to get rid of your “J” if you enjoy online Scrabble, as we do).
An ATL source at the firm reports:
We just got out of the worldwide meeting they had for associates and counsel, and I thought it was pretty exciting. In its presentations in the past, it has always mentioned that it wanted to have a significant Asia presence. They said that JSM was one of the top law firms in Asia, and the complementary mix of practice groups and clients will lead to lots of “synergies” (that was the big buzz word).
Something you might find interesting — they put up a new chart ranking law firms by worldwide revenue. We jumped from 13th (with $1.1bn) to 10th (with $1.35bn). JSM last year had about $130 million in revenue on only 41 partners. I’m pretty psyched about it….
Despite $1.3 billion in revenue and 1800 lawyers, the merged firm plans to expand further. From the Financial Times:
The firms expect to grow substantially after the merger. Mr Holzhauer projects annual revenue to hit $2bn ”very quickly” and Ms Lo predicts earnings of $4bn within two to three years. ”This kind of growth cannot be obtained by just organic growth alone,” said Ms Lo.
Up to now, Mayer Brown’s Asia presence has been limited to one office in Hong Kong and a representative office in Beijing. JSM, whose clients include HSBC, Bank of China and Cathay Pacific, has 200 lawyers in mainland China, but none outside Asia.
Still no bonus announcement from Mayer Brown. But check out this intriguing email, sent out in the last hour:
From: D’Esposito, Jr., Julian C. Sent: Thursday, December 20, 2007 12:41 PM To: FW-Assocs; FW-Cnsl Cc: Holzhauer, James D.; Geller, Kenneth S.; Maher, Paul; Favoriti, Gail A.; Pepper, Margery; Madden, Emilie S.; Dabrowski, Heidi M.; Reichert, Kathleen S.; Harris, Robert; Staiano, David; Couleur, Nancy Jo; Belic, Indira; Burdett, Shannon T.; Burkes, Eugenia; Corby, Candice; Harris, Russell; Holthaus, John H.; Kennedy, Clinton D.; Kislow, Connie; Ku, Alice; Loessl, Angela-Katrin; Tulic, Vesna; Watson, John; Wells, Stephen R.
Subject: Firmwide Meeting on Friday, December 21
Please plan to attend a Firmwide video presentation by the office of the Chairman on December 21 that will describe an exciting, transformational event for the Firm. The meeting will begin promptly at 8am PST, 10am CST, 11 am EST, 2pm BRST, 4 GMT, 5 CET and 12 am Saturday HKST. The Director of Administration will inform you of the location of the meeting in your office. If you are out of the office, there will be a limited number of dial-in lines, the number for which can be obtained from the DoA. You should receive an Outlook calendar notice of this meeting later today.
Julian C. D’Esposito Mayer Brown LLP 71 S. Wacker Chicago, IL 60606
What could this “exciting, transformational event” be? We assume it’s not the recent indictment of partner Joseph Collins, since that’s already public.
Maybe a merger is in the works? It wouldn’t be the first in the firm’s history. The firm’s former name, Mayer Brown Rowe & Maw, reflected the merger of U.S.-based Mayer, Brown & Platt with U.K.-based Rowe & Maw. Update: One tipster speculates:
I have no idea, but it is of course intriguing. Maybe we’re going public. (That would apply only to the English LLP of course. I think that it may be possible in the future but hadn’t seen any change in the law that would allow it now.)
So maybe it’s a merger. Or possibly the “exciting” change is that they are not going to give bonuses any more.
That would be “exciting” news — to rival firms, looking to raid the ranks of Mayer Brown lawyers. Further Update: We’ve learned that tonight is the holiday party for the New York office. And still no word about bonuses…
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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