Admit it, you knew this was coming. We’ve got a firm capitulating to the market realities and cutting first-year associate salaries.
McGuire Woods chairman Richard Cullen left a voice mail (!) to his attorneys last night. He let everybody know that the firm was cutting 10% off of first-year salaries, from $160K to $144K.
UPDATE: There is some variation in starting salaries by office. 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.
But that is not the only cut future McGuire Woods juniors can expect. Cullen also told the firm that the 2009 summer program is being scaled back to an eight-week affair.
Salaries for all the other associates at the firm have been frozen at 2008 levels.
But, and this is important, no layoffs at McGuire Woods.
Richard Cullen did not respond to an immediate request for comment.
For weeks, the ATL commenters have been claiming that “no first-year attorney is worth $160,000!!!!!!!!!!” At McGuire Woods, that is now true. And there are a lot of laid off first years who would gladly take a $144,000 a year job.
We’ve seen a lot of contraction in the legal industry. But now we could start to see serious deflation in the industry.
Our Vault 100 series is winding down. We hope that the insiders have enjoyed the opportunity to brag (or to vent) about their firms. And that the curious have appreciated insights into life at various firms in the top 100.
Here is the next bunch up for discussion (with their prestige scores in parentheses):
It’s tough being a federal judicial nominee. Your entire legal career is gone over with a fine-toothed comb, and every mistake or misstep is brought to light, no matter how minor.
From the ABA Journal:
A lawyer nominated to a federal appeals court was lead attorney on an $8 million appeal that got tossed because the trial transcript was not filed by the deadline.
E. Duncan Getchell Jr. of McGuireWoods asked the Virginia Supreme Court to hear the appeal anyway, but the judges refused, the Virginian-Pilot reports. Getchell’s five-page brief did not explain the reason for the failure, except to say there was a “miscommunication or misunderstanding.”
Perhaps there was a misunderstanding about whether trial counsel or appellate counsel (Getchell) should have filed the transcript. From the Virginian-Pilot:
The fact that Getchell’s firm filed the post-trial motions three weeks after the verdict “kind of suggests the baton was passed,” said William S. Geimer, a professor emeritus at Washington and Lee University Law School who teaches civil procedure.
“It’s definitely the law firm’s responsibility,” Geimer said. “I don’t see any way for the law firm to escape responsibility if it was even partly or jointly responsible for the failure.”
Getchell did not return repeated calls to his office.
We reminded you on Friday, but we fear our post got lost in the shuffle. If you’re part of the plaintiff class in the Bar/Bri class action — and since you’re reading ATL, you probably are — then the deadline for filing your proof of claim is this Monday, September 17. So if you want your $125 or so, you need to act now.
Is the settlement a good deal? We largely agree with this commenter:
That settlement is a disgrace. The plaintiff class was sold up the river…. But I’ll take the money and run.
Just like most of you (see poll results), we filed a claim, knowing that we’re being undercompensated. And knowing that we’re acting against the advice of The Legal Diva — a named plaintiff in the case who now opposes the settlement. From The Recorder:
Loredana Nesci, a 2005 graduate of Quinnipiac College School of Law in Connecticut, said lead attorney Eliot Disner initially convinced her he’d built a strong case against BAR/BRI and would seek to break the company apart. “We were promised the moon and stars by Disner,” she said.
But Nesci said everything changed after Disner’s former firm — Los Angeles’ Van Etten Suzumoto & Becket — was acquired by McGuireWoods.
“After that merger, I think that McGuireWoods took Eliot, gagged him [and now] he’s in a basement in their firm, because I can’t find the guy,” said Nesci, now a practicing attorney based in Studio City.
It seems that the Legal Diva — er, Ms. Nesci — was right about Disner. Her “gagged in a basement” comment appeared in a February 2007 article. A few months later, in May 2007, Eliot Disner was fired by McGuireWoods (after he criticized the settlement). For more on her Diva-ness, check out her website, which is a real trip. Her bio describes her past work as a police officer for the LAPD, explains how she earned the title of “Legal Diva,” and boasts of how she was “quickly gaining notoriety for being a colorful and cunning attorney.” It also mentions that she “enjoys working with feral cats,” which sounds apropos for a Legal Diva. MEOW!
(See especially the super-cute testimonials from her clients, including Doug Smith, at right. We don’t want to know what types of matters she handled for him….) Bar/BRI Class Action Litigation [official website] The Legal Diva: Loredana Nesci [official website] $49M Disappoints Some in Lawyers’ Class [The Recorder] Earlier: A Friendly Reminder: The BAR/BRI Proof of Claim Deadline Is Monday!
As you may recall (from yesterday’s Morning Docket), Eliot Disner is the McGuireWoods partner who criticized the settlement negotiated by his firm in an antitrust class action against Bar/Bri, the giant bar exam prep company.
Actually, make that “former McGuireWoods partner.” From today’s New York Law Journal:
Mr. Disner, who was a partner in the Los Angeles office of McGuireWoods, said the firm fired him May 23. “I was terminated because [McGuireWoods] said that my work on the BAR/BRI case had hurt the [firm's] reputation,” he said. His concerns about the proposed settlement with West Publishing Corp., which offers BAR/BRI bar review courses nationwide, surfaced in an objection to the class settlement that was filed last week by three lead plaintiffs (NYLJ, May 21)….
A hearing before U.S. District Court Judge Manuel Real on whether the $49 million settlement will become final is scheduled for June 18. Mr. Disner’s brief, which was not supported by McGuireWoods, argues that the firm ought to press for at least $400 million from West Publishing, as well as for the breakup of BAR/BRI.
There were a few salary-related comments appended to our administrative post from yesterday. E.g., thesecomments about McGuire Woods.
So we figure we might as well create an open thread for such discussion. If you have any information or comments about compensation-related matters, please note them here.
Also, rest assured, we have not forgotten about the promised update to our earlier special report on clerkship bonuses. We’re still waiting for a few pieces of information to come in (including verification of a rumor about Simpson Thacher). If you have anything to share, please email us (subject line: “Clerkship Bonus”). Thanks.
This news isn’t as exciting as a holiday bonus or a pay raise. But it does mean that if you took the Bar/Bri bar review course between 1997 and 2006 — hey, that includes us! — you can buy a round of $12 martinis for you and a few friends.
According to a tipster:
According to the Los Angeles Daily Journal, the Bar/Bri antitrust class action settled for $49 million, to be paid out to 290,000 clients. Each client will get $125.
Bar/Bri also agreed to terminate a “co-marketing” venture with Kaplan as part of the deal. Neither defendant (Bar/Bri or Kaplan) admitted wrongdoing.
Remember Cristina Leeann Schultz, a.k.a. the Stanford Law escort? The federal government alleged that she “paid off more than $300,000 in student loans, [working] under the stage name of Brazil, a call girl who roamed the country to turn ‘high-priced hottie’ tricks.”*
Perhaps Brazil — er, Ms. Schultz — is inspiring future generations of female law students to explore, um, other professional opportunities. Check out our latest summer associate story:
[A] summer associate at McGuireWoods in Richmond apparently was feeling unfulfilled by her list of assignments for the summer. So she headed down to the Paper Moon strip club for Amateur Night. For anyone who hasn’t sampled Richmond’s professional nudie scene, it’s pretty terrible. I can only imagine the horror of amateur night.
Anyway, said summer associate — I believe she goes to school at [redacted] — got onstage, did her thing… and WON. Sadly, her secret remained safe through the end of the summer, and no one ever really found out.
Watch to find out what some of our subscribers received in their May box!
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
The last time I flapped my wings your way, I tried to make at least enough noise about your mobile phone to make you more than a little bit uncomfortable. I hope I did. If enough of us become anxious enough about the known and unknown unknowns and knowns in our mobile phones, then we can start making wise decisions about how to manage that information and its resultant investigations.
Today, I’d like to put a finer point on the last installment’s topic by asking a question that seemed to catch most attendees off-guard at a conference panel that I moderated last week: is there discoverable personal information in a mobile app? Our panelists’ answer was a uniform “yes” with one stating that, if he had to choose only one type of data that he could discover from a mobile phone, he’d choose app data. Why? Because there’s simply so much of it and because almost all of it is objective – not just user-created like an email – but machine-tracked like GPS, usage duration, log in and log out times, browsed web addresses, browsed actual addresses. Also, most of us seem to have the idea that data doesn’t actually “stick” to our mobile devices the way it “sticks” to our hard drives. Maybe there’s a disconnect based on the fact that our phones are mobile so we assume the data is mobile to?
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