Earlier this year, in one of its many format changes, Facebook forced users to make their profile info more public via Community Pages. Facebook created pages based on users’ lists of interests, jobs, and favorite things to help people find others “who share similar interests and experiences.”
So if you, for example, listed “document review” as something you like, you’d be a member of this page. And maybe this page too.
One issue discussed in some circles was the potential trademark violation in Facebook’s automatically creating and populating Community pages for businesses and brands. Another issue picked up by the National Law Journal was that some of the Community Pages created aren’t very flattering to law firms.
If you listed your employment as “Slave” at Skadden Arps, for example, you’re responsible for this page:
What are some of the other interesting law firm-affiliated Community Pages on Facebook?
There are a number of firms that aren’t up to speed with this whole “social media thing.” But they should be, because their clients are.
American Lawyer Media, Zeughauser Group and communications firm Greentarget surveyed 164 in-house counsel about their social media habits. Lo and behold, they are making use of blogs, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook to get their legal information… and, perhaps more interestingly, to judge law firms.
In-house counsel still primarily rely on “referrals from trusted sources and credentialing activity (i.e., demonstrations of thought leadership)” to choose outside lawyers, but they are increasingly taking brilliant tweets and blog posts into consideration…
* Sen. Arlen Specter — a Yale Law School grad and former Philadelphia district attorney, by the way — loses the Democratic primary in Pennsylvania; ophthalmologist Rand Paul, son of Rep. Ron Paul, wins the Republican primary in Kentucky. [Washington Post]
* McDermott Will & Emery gets hit with an age discrimination lawsuit. [Am Law Daily]
* Lawyers at Weitz & Luxenberg, the prominent personal injury firm — perhaps you’ve heard their radio ads? — have donated heavily to the New York attorney general campaign of Kathleen Rice. [New York Times]
* Obama’s aunt will not be deported to Kenya. [CNN]
* Elena Kagan has submitted answers to the Senate questionnaire for her Supreme Court nomination (in a record five days). Her net worth is almost $1.8 million, a sizable increase from the last reported figure (apparently thanks to the sale of her Cambridge house). [Washington Post]
* A portrait of Lady Kaga as a young graduate student: in her Oxford thesis, she wrote that it was “not necessarily wrong or invalid” for judges to “try to mold and steer the law” to achieve social ends. [New York Times]
* Wal-mart’s going to have a hard time keeping the price of this one down. The Ninth Circuit grants class action status to gender discrimination lawsuit against Wal-mart, with plaintiffs estimated to number two million women. [New York Times]
In yesterday’s post about the departure of D.C. power broker Lanny Davis from McDermott Will & Emery, a firm he joined a little over six months ago, we put out a request for more information. That request was promptly answered — by none other than Lanny Davis himself.
The drama lover in us was hoping for an epic tale of office intrigue and power struggle at McDermott Will (and commenters were happy to speculate). As it turns out, however, the parting of Davis and MWE is quite amicable — and far from total. As Davis explained to us, he’s setting up his own shop, but he will continue to work closely with McDermott lawyers, serving McDermott clients. In fact, Davis isn’t even leaving the building (so no office exorcism necessary).
What’s going on here? Information from our chat with Lanny Davis, plus the complete press release mentioned previously by the Washington Post, after the jump.
Now, just a few months later, it appears that Davis is striking out on his own. From the Washington Post:
Lanny J. Davis, the former White House counsel and longtime Clinton booster, is launching his own eponymous law-and-lobbying shop, according to a draft announcement obtained by The Post. Lanny J. Davis & Associates LLP will provide “a unique combination of traditional legal and litigation services plus media/crisis management, and legislative/public policy strategies to solve U.S. and international client problems,” the announcement says. Davis, a cable television staple who has often run afoul of more liberal Democrats, highlights his avowed centrism as a prime benefit for potential clients….
The new venture means Davis will step down as partner at the global law firm of McDermott Will & Emery, but he says he will continue to write a column for “The Hill” newspaper and contribute to a legal strategies blog that he began last year.
We reached out to McDermott, and a firm spokesperson confirmed that Davis is leaving the firm.
So who else is going with him, and what prompted the move?
The pace of law firm layoffs has been slowing. As noted by Lawshucks in the last installment of This Week in Layoffs, a second consecutive week passed with no reported layoff news. Some firms that have conducted large-scale layoffs — cough cough, Latham — are even hiring again.
At McDermott Will & Emery, however, the situation is quite different. Layoffs continue at MWE, but on the down low.
We’ve been hearing vague rumblings about McDermott layoffs — or performance-based dismissals, from the firm’s point of view — going back to January. More recently, last week and this week, we received more concrete information.
So, what are the details?
As we have discussed at length, it’s one thing to move to a merit-based compensation structure. Many associates will accept it. What really seems to bother people is when the firm kills lockstep and replaces it with a system that includes a significant salary cut. E.g., DLA Piper.
Now, McDermott Will & Emery is poised to do the same thing. Multiple tipsters report:
This month, MWE announced it was moving from lockstep to a merit-based “level” system, which it calls the “Career Progression and Professional Development System.” Level 1 will pay $145,000, level 2 will pay $175,000, and Level 3 will pay $200,000.
So we have another firm that is adopting an Orrick-style, three tier system. But while Orrick held the line at a starting salary of $160K for starting associates, MWE is readjusting salaries downward.
The new compensation system isn’t ready to go right out of the gate in 2010. Instead, 2010 will be a “transitional” year, which will bring — you guessed it — salary cuts!
2010 is a transitional salary year; the 2009 class is starting at $145,000 and ’08 is being dropped down to $145,000. For everyone else, starting April 1, the salaries are $175K (2007), $185K (2006), $200K (2005), and $220K (2004).
Remember, people in the class of 2007 are making $185K at firms that didn’t freeze or cut salaries. So to be clear, McDermott will be paying people less than the market rate even when the firm gets around to raising salaries in April.
Is there anything about this merit-based system that does not involve cutting salaries? Details from the McDermott salary FAQ after the jump.
McDermott Will & Emery was supposed to have its incoming class start in January. But now that January is almost upon us, MWE is the latest firm to change its mind.
The news first broke on Facebook late last week, via status updates of unhappy incoming associates:
♫ “re-deferment in december. happy holidays.”
Yeah, there is a lot of that going around. It’s like the Biglaw version of the Lexus “December to Remember” ad campaign.
McDermott will be offering the (now standard) deferral extension stipend of $5,000/month. Given that the firm has been cost cutting for a while, incoming associates should probably be grateful for the stipend they will receive.
Additional details, plus a statement from the firm, after the jump.
A college graduate without student loan debt is akin to reading a kind quote about Kim Kardashian in a tabloid—it’s rare.
In the past eight years, student loan debt has nearly tripled to a whopping $1.1 trillion, and in the past 10 years, the percentage of 25-year-olds with such debt has risen from 25% to 43%
It’s gotten so bad, in fact, that New York Fed economists warned last month that the burden of student debt could stilt consumer spending by twentysomethings, as well as further hamper the recovery of the housing market and economy.
To get a better idea of what massive student loan debt (we’re talking over $100,000 massive) looks like, we talked to an attorney who graduated with a large student loan debt. We also consulted LearnVest Planning Services CFP® Katie Brewer to see just how their repayment plans stack up.
S. Fischer, 36, Attorney Graduated: 2001
How Much I Borrowed: $100,000
What I Still Owe: $45,000
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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.
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