We’re back. It’s Monday. We don’t like Mondays. We’re feeling sluggish today.
So we’ll take the path of least resistance, and start a thread about an ATL staple: clerkship bonuses. We have some good news about two new (and non-New York) firms.
First, the rumor about O’Melveny & Myers can be treated as confirmed. We received lots of emails about OMM. Here are two:
“O’Melveny and Myers has raised their federal clerkship bonus to 50k. District Court and Appellate. Not sure about second year bonus of 70k.”
“O’Melveny and Myers just raised their clerkship bonus from 35k to 50k. As far as I know, they’re the first non-NY based firm (aside from Susman) to go to 50k. And it’s straight 50k — it doesn’t include a bar stipend like that Latham nonsense.”
Second — from just one source, so let us know if it’s erroneous — we hear that Morrison & Foerster has joined the $50K Club:
“Noticed the clerkship bonus list of shame (7/02/07). A co-clerk of mine is joining MoFo this fall and the clerkship bonus is listed as 50K (nationwide) in the documents he has received.”
If you have clerkship bonus information not previously reported on ATL, please email us (subject line: “Clerkship Bonus”). Thanks.
Ann Althouse, call your dean! A Wisconsin lawmaker wants to address what he thinks is an overpopulation of lawyers in the state — by ending state funding for the University of Wisconsin Law School.
State Representative Frank Lasee (Lah-SAY’) says the state doesn’t need any more ambulance chasers or frivolous lawsuits. The Green Bay Republican convinced his colleagues in the GOP-controlled Assembly to include his plan in their version of the 2-year budget approved Tuesday.
But the proposal appears to have little chance at becoming law. Governor Doyle called it ridiculous and bizarre during an appearance today in Milwaukee.
The plan would cut state funding for the law school over the next three years before eliminating it completely in 2010. Lasee says the school would be forced to raise tuition to cover the cuts or stop admitting as many students.
You can follow Lasee’s other exploits on his blog, which includes jokes, French-bashing, and other random musings.
(Of course we’re mocking Lasee’s proposal, but we should note that it’s not unheard-of for a public law school to reduce its dependence on state funding. UVA’s law school, for example, has done it voluntarily.) Update: Ann Althouse’s post on this subject appears here.
We previously had an open thread on London salaries, when Weil and Cleary went to 180 and Latham went to 190. Now TheLawyer.com reports that Paul Hastings has raised to £90k, or roughly $180k, in its London offices.
So we’ll ask again: does this make London more attractive than New York? Will the London raises create any additional upward pressure on salaries in New York? Let us know if this changes anything, in the comments.
A rather odd rumor recently came across our desk that Davis Polk hands out marriage bonuses of $500. That’s right, $500 for being married (and if you’re married to someone at Davis Polk, you each get $500, according to the rumor).
We hadn’t heard of this at Davis Polk or anywhere else previously, so we decided to float it to some Davis Polk sources. Here’s what they had to say:
Source 1: We do get a $500 marriage bonus… I got mine last year.
Source 2: I know that people got them in the past, but I am under the impression that this benefit no longer exists.
I think the most accurate characterization of it is that the benefit “once existed but may no longer exist.”
Source 1 (upon being told about Source 2′s claim that the benefit no longer exists): It definitely still exists. You have to ask for it, though.
So, can any Davis Polk folks out there tell us if this benefit still exists? Are any other firms doing this?
Based on the comments to our last post, it’s clear that many of you want to talk about job opportunities — or the lack thereof — available to folks who aren’t at so-called “top tier” law schools (or who aren’t at the top of their class at non-elite law schools).
As it turns out, we have a good vehicle for such discussion. Check out this interesting National Law Journal article:
Despite news of record-breaking employment figures for law school graduates and first-year salaries of $160,000 at many top law firms, a significant contingent of job seekers — including those with strong credentials — are living a much different story after graduation….
But the eye-popping salaries are the reality for a small fraction of law school graduates, and all those stories of big money may be creating unrealistic hopes for the vast majority of law school students. Contributing to the situation is the effort by law schools to portray their employment numbers as robustly as possible to boost their ranking scores.
The upshot means dashed expectations for lots of graduates, many of whom are saddled with high debt as they struggle to start their careers.
The depressing discussion continues after the jump.
On Friday, we reported that if you’re at Skadden, you can use your $3,000 technology allowance to buy an iPhone. We now have some clarifications about that good news.
From a Skadden source:
1. While you can use your tech allowance to buy just about anything “tech-y” at Skadden, the tech dept has made it clear that the iPhone is NOT compatible with Skadden tech infrastructure. See below [posting reproduced after the jump].
2. The iPhone isn’t excluded [from the tech allowance], but since you’re basically required to have a Blackberry for business purchases, they would likely frown on purchasing both a Blackberry (the monthly Blackberry service comes out of the tech allowance) and an iPhone (where the entire monthly phone-data package would likely be redundant).
3. What’s the point of having two devices strapped to your hip? Isn’t one enough? As soon as a reliable Blackberry client comes out for the iPhone, I think demand will force the tech folks to support the iPhone. Right now don’t even bother asking to get your Skadden email working on an iPhone.
We thank our tipster for explaining these finer points.
In the comments to our prior post, people expressed an interest in a forum for discussing workplace perks — i.e., “the fringe benefits that vary between Biglaw firms — tech allowances, book allowances, gym memberships, home loans, etc.”
We’re happy to oblige. But let’s do this in an organized way. Over the next week or so, we’ll put up a series of posts on fringe benefits, with each post dedicated to discussion of a specific type of perk.
Let’s get the ball rolling. Please treat this post as the open thread for discussion of technology allowances. Thanks.
Atlanta associates, don’t get us wrong. We are on your side. Here at ATL, we fully support the quest of associates in ATL to obtain just compensation for their law firm labors.
But it’s not a good sign when your local real estate market is going down the tubes, as suggested by an article in today’s New York Times. If you can buy a three-bedroom house for $134,000, the argument that you need a $160,000 starting salary is weakened.
And if “wages [in Atlanta] have been stagnant for much of this decade,” as the Times reports, it impairs your ability to vote with your feet — to tell your Biglaw bosses that, if salaries don’t improve, you’re going to take a different job down the street (even a non-legal one). One big factor placing upward pressure on associate salaries in New York is the need for law firms to compete with investment banks and hedge funds for talent.
Look, money isn’t everything. Working in Atlanta obviously has many non-monetary attractions.
But if more money is what you’re after, maybe you just need to move. Increasing Rate of Foreclosures Upsets Atlanta [New York Times]
Quite some time has passed since our last unverified rumor about large New York law firms raising associate salaries. And hey, today is Friday. So let’s indulge!
The latest grist for the rumor mill comes from a fairly reliable source. We assure you that it’s NOT from a summer associate who, while barfing his guts out in a stall after too much Cristal, overheard two partners chatting at the urinals (although such a conversation, while violative of male restroom etiquette, might actually be pretty reliable).
Anyway, here’s the gossip:
1. Skadden is planning to raise starting salaries for its associates to $195K.
2. But it won’t be doing this anytime soon — not until the end of the year.
3. Consistent with Skadden’s current policy on associate compensation, the new salary scale will apply “across the board” — i.e., to all of Skadden’s domestic offices (not just New York).
So whaddya think of this latest scuttlebutt? Is it credible, or crazy talk? Update: Lots of divergent views in the comments. Here’s one thing that we do know. If you’re at Skadden, you can use your technology allowance to buy… an iPhone! See here. Earlier: More Rumors: NYC to 190!
Kelley Drye & Warren partner Justine Clark looks like a younger, brunette version of Madeleine Albright. But the similarities probably end there, since one would expect the former Secretary of State to pay her taxes.
From the Temporary Attorney blog:
Justine Clark, a partner at Kelly Drye & Warren, just plead guilty for failing to pay state income taxes….
Despite the fact that KDW has seen a steady growth in profits per partner, and despite the fact that KDW has benefited from a steady stream of contract attorney outsourcing, Clark, with greed unquenched, went ahead and screwed New York State out of close to $200,000, based on her $2.7 million earnings.
Her penalty? A slap on the wrist misdemeanor.
Okay, that’s a little harsh. As the New York Post notes, Clark earned $2.68 million not in a single year, but over the course of five years (2000 – 2004). That averages out to a little over $500,000 a year.
And in New York City, teeming with i-bankers and hedge funders, you’re a pauper if if you’re not taking home seven figures per annum. So can we really blame Justine Clark, struggling to keep up with the Joneses, for trying to keep a little more for herself? Kelly Drye & Warren – Corporate Criminal [Temporary Attorney] Docs, lawyers prove taxing to N.Y. State [New York Daily News] Tax-Cheating Lawyers Nabbed [New York Post] Justine Clark bio [Kelley Drye & Warren]
Dickstein Shapiro has raised to the $160K scale, for its offices in Los Angeles and Washington, DC. Those offices are now on the same salary schedule as the firm’s New York office (previously posted here).
The email announcing the pay raise, from firm chairman Michael Nannes, appears after the jump. It came out some time ago (the middle of last month), but we didn’t receive it until this week.
You can check out the Dickstein Shapiro email, and discuss salary-related matters more generally, after the jump.
If you are considering a virtual law practice, you know that many of today’s solo firms started that way. But why are established, multi-attorney law firms going virtual?
Many small firms are successfully moving part—or even all—of their practice to a virtual setting. This even includes multi-jurisdictional practice spanning several states and practice areas, although solo and small partnerships are still the largest adopters of virtual law.
Can you do the same? The new article Mobile in Practice, Virtual by Design from author Jared Correia, Esq., explores how mobile technology bring real-life benefits to a small law firm. Read this new article—the next in Thomson Reuters’ Independent Thinking series for small firms—to explore how a mobile practice:
Reduces malpractice risk
Enables you to gather the best attorneys to fit the firm, regardless of each person’s geographic location
Leverages mobile devices and cloud technology to enable on-the-spot client and prospect communication
Transitioning in-house is something many (if not most) firm lawyers find themselves considering at some point. For many, it’s the first step in their career that isn’t simply a function of picking the best option available based on a ranking system.
Unknown territory feels high-risk, and can have the effect of steering many of us towards the well-greased channels into large, established companies.
For those who may be open to something more entrepreneurial, there is far less information available. No recruiter is calling every week with offers and details.
In sponsorship with Betterment, ATL and David Lat will moderate a panel about life in-house and we’ll hear from GCs at Birchbox, Gawker Media, Squarespace, Bonobos, and Betterment. Drinks, snacks, networking, and a great time guaranteed. Invite your colleagues, but RSVP fast, as space is limited.
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 seven years. You can reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s that time of year again when JDs are starting to apply for 2L summer jobs and 2L summers are deciding which practice area to focus on.
For those JDs with an interest in potentially lateraling to or transferring to Asia in the future, please feel free to reach out to Kinney for advice on firm choices, interviewing and practice choices, relating to future marketability in Asia, or for a general discussion on your particular Asia markets of interest. This is of course a free of cost service for those who some years in the future may be our future industry contacts or perhaps even clients.
For some years now Kinney’s Asia head, Evan Jowers, has been formally advising Harvard Law students with such questions, as the Asia expert in Harvard Law’s “Ask The Experts Market Program” each summer and fall, with podcasts and scheduled phone calls. This has been an enjoyable and productive experience for all involved.