Yesterday we covered the divorce of golf sensation Tiger Woods and his stunningly beautiful wife, former model Elin Nordegren. We noted that Nordegren was represented by McGuireWoods. Although McGuireWoods is a top firm, especially in its home state of Virginia, it’s “not known for its matrimonial practice,” as Nathan Koppel of the WSJ Law Blog observed.
How did McGuireWoods land this plum assignment? Several of you pointed it out in comments, and Brian Baxter reported on it over at Am Law Daily. The short answer: family ties. To quote the slogan of McGuireWoods: “Relationships… drive results.”
A statement issued yesterday by the divorcing couple noted that Nordegren was represented by, among others, a McGuireWoods attorney by the name of Josefin Lonnborg. The divorce was filed in Bay County Circuit Court, Florida; Josefin Lonnborg practices in London. Why was a corporate lawyer out of the U.K. involved in a U.S. matrimonial case?
Here’s why: Josefin Lonnborg and Elin Nordegren are twin sisters. And despite her impressive legal credentials — Lonnborg speaks fluent English and Swedish, has worked at law firms in Stockholm and London, and has a Master of Laws degree from the London School of Economics — she is more than just “lawyer hot.”
Yes, we know: pictures or it didn’t happen. So, pictures.
Warning: although the images below are perfectly safe for work, gentlemen may wish to be seated at desks before viewing, to avoid unseemly displays of… enthusiasm.
On-campus interviewing for 2011 summer associate positions is getting underway, or about to get underway, at many law schools. And this OCI process will give us some insight into what different firms are up to and how they are doing.
The OCI schedules can shed light on several questions. Which firms are ramping up hiring — even to the extent of interviewing 3Ls — and which firms are canceling their summer associate programs? Within a firm, which offices are growing their summer programs, and which offices are shrinking them?
If you have news about a 2011 summer program cancellation, please email us.
Ed. note: We apologize for the late docket. Technical difficulties, rather than oversleeping, are to blame.
* Yale Law School student Michael Seringhaus wants to put your DNA in a national database. [New York Times]
* Judge goes heavy on the prison time and light on the restitution for the man who peephole video-taped ESPN sportscaster Erin Andrews. [True/Slant]
* Toyota class action plaintiffs rev their engines. [Kansas City Business Journal]
* Former McGuire Woods partner Louis Zehil pleads guilty to securities fraud and trading shares in the companies for which he was doing P.E. work. [Business Week]
* General counsels are happy to scavenge Biglaw layoffs. [ABA Journal]
* Eric Holder is not having a good month. [Daily Beast]
* If you see a story about a deadly giraffe attack, don’t believe it. [Houston Chronicle]
* One Darby & Darby refugee finds shelter at Fenwick West. [ABA Journal]
It’s nice to see a firm maintaining its commitment to diversity despite tough economic times. Changing the culture of Biglaw is a hard thing to do, but it starts at the top.
It looks like the partners at McGuireWoods understand that. But a McGuireWoods tipster reports that you can’t just force terrified and busy associates to embrace every diversity initiative the firm has to offer:
I am an associate at McGuire Woods and we got this email this morning from the managing partner of the Chicago office and a lot of us are disgusted. He sent it to all attorneys in the Chicago office.
Is this really the way to get us interested in diversity? Maybe they should question their commitment to associates in this time of financial distress. This was an optional event where they sent an invitation once to remind us of its occurrence.
A managing partner calling out his office for a lack of commitment to diversity? That is just not something you see everyday.
Let’s take a look a the pro-diversity email that angered a bunch of Chicago associates, after the jump.
Although November is just around the corner, some 2009 summer associates are still learning about their fates. As one might expect given how late it is in the recruiting season, the news that comes around now isn’t always the happiest.
Above the Law has received reports that summer associates from McGuireWoods are now hearing back about offers. The interesting part is that the firm has apparently decided to make offers in waves, i.e., on a rolling basis.
One tipster tells us that approximately 11 out of 48 summers have received offers of full-time employment — thus far. The rest haven’t been rejected; rather, they’ve been placed on what amounts to a waitlist. Depending on how things unfold over the coming weeks and months, they might get offers — or they might not.
This “hiring in waves” approach is effectively what Dechert did. The firm made offers to about half of its summer class, but told the other half that they’d hear about offers in January 2010.
Comment from a source at the firm, after the jump.
Williams Mullen, the large and prominent Virginia-based law firm, announced yesterday that it will be cutting associate salaries by 7.5 percent, effective in January 2010. The new starting salary for associates will be $117,000 (in all offices other than D.C.).
A firm spokesperson described this as “a business decision,” made to remain competitive in a rapidly changing market. She added that the Williams Mullen cut was comparable to steps taken by similar firms, including Hunton & Williams and McGuire Woods (which cut starting salaries for associates by 10 percent). [FN1]
“Our clients are saying, ‘You better do this,’” the Williams Mullen spokesperson said. “This is a market adjustment just like any other adjustment, just like any other business adjusting the cost of its product.” If the firm were to keep associate salaries the same in this economic environment, “our clients would look at us and say, ‘You’re no longer competitive.” She added that equity partners would also see a decline in their incomes due to market realities.
As for whether this cut might be revisited at a later date, the spokesperson noted that matching the market goes both ways. “You can adjust down, and you can adjust up,” she said. “When things start to get better, we’ll look at ways to adjust accordingly.”
[FN1] UPDATE: A point of clarification about McGuireWoods: although the firm did cut starting salaries, incoming associates at the firm are still earning more than $117,000. New hires are making $144,000 in Northern Virginia, D.C., Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York, while new hires in Richmond, Charlotte and Atlanta are making $130,500. Earlier: Prior coverage of associate pay cuts
We suppose it’s fitting that on Yom Kippur, when our Jewish friends are fasting at home, today’s Legal Eagle Wedding Watch is a total WASP-fest. (Last weekend was Rosh Hashanah, which explains the unusual dearth of Jewish nuptials in the NYT announcements.) We look forward to receiving plenty of tasteful feedback about how there are “too many gentiles” this week.
Here are your six finalists — all Biglaw associates, as it happens:
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:
The number of law firms canceling their 2010 summer associate programs continues to climb. Here are the latest additions to the growing list:
1. McCarter & English: Managing partner Eric Wiechmann confirmed to ATL that the firm will not be holding a summer associate program in 2010. In addition, he confirmed that incoming associates won’t be starting until December 1, 2009 (which, all things considered, is pretty good).
(Before some of you say you’ve never heard of McCarter, please note that it’s one of the largest firms in New Jersey — a sizable legal market. In addition to its main office in Newark, the firm also has offices in Boston, Hartford, Stamford, New York City, Philadelphia and Wilmington. Recently it made news by hiring Harley Lewin, a leading IP lawyer and trademark guardian, from Greenberg Traurig.)
2. McGuire Woods: This is a firm that needs no introduction. It’s quite sizable, with 900 lawyers across 18 offices worldwide, and it’s #61 on the Am Law 100 list.
A spokesperson for McGuire Woods confirmed what we’ve heard from various law student tipsters: the firm is “likely to reduce the number of offices in which we have our summer programs.” It has not, however, made a final decision on which offices won’t be hosting summers. (One reader predicts the firm won’t have summer associates outside of Richmond, Charlotte, and Chicago.)
But there’s some additional interesting backstory here.
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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