falafel Simpson Thacher Chow for Charity Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgWe’re late to the party on this one. Many of you have already emailed us this Slate piece, in which Daniel Gross goes to town on Simpson Thacher’s “Chow for Charity” program. Article title: “Fifteen Dollars Worth of Smug.”
We first read about Simpson’s program in this great New York Observer article:

[A]t Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, there’s a program called Chow for Charity: If summers and associates go out for a lunch that costs $15 or less per head, the firm donates the other $45 of each person’s lunch allowance to charities including Legal Aid, inMotion and Human Rights First.

For some, this is an appealing option: “It’s great for [the firms] to be able to say, ‘We realize these $60 meals are sort of stupid, so we give money to something good and everyone is happier,’” says an associate. Noblesse oblige never tasted so much like falafel!

The program is also discussed in the New York Times (fourth item) and the WSJ Law Blog.
What do you think of “Chow for Charity”? Take our poll, and opine in the comments, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Summer Lunchin’: Slate Snarks on Simpson”

grandmother grandma old lady old woman Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgWe continue our series examining perks or fringe benefits provided by legal employers. We’ve already covered technology allowances, gym memberships, marriage bonuses, and help with housing.
Today we tackle a subject that’s kinda boring, but very important: retirement benefits and financial planning. If you don’t think about this stuff now, you’ll be chewing ramen with your dentures in fifty years.
So what does your employer do on this front? Do you get a 401(k) or an IRA? Is there an employer contribution?
And one reader also wants to know: Do any firms provide their associates with help in terms of financial planning? Do they assist you in navigating the maze of confusing options?
Please discuss in the comments. Thanks.

Vinson Elkins LLP logo Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgWord on the street is that Vinson & Elkins has raised salaries for its Texas and Washington associates. But we haven’t confirmed it directly with someone at V&E. If you can confirm this rumor, please email us.
Update (11:08 AM): That was fast; thanks! It’s confirmed: V&E has raised associate salaries for first- and second-year associates.
Things are more complicated for more senior classes. Basically they’re adopting a deferred compensation system, dependent upon hitting an hours target (2000 “Firm Credit Hours”).
For all the gory details, check out the memo, which is posted after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Nationwide Pay Raise Watch: Is Texas Biglaw Raising — Finally?”

Confirmed news of two more firms raising their clerkship bonus amounts:

1. Williams & Connolly: From $25K to $35K.

2. Orrick: From $15K to $40K.

If you get wind of clerkship bonus news, please send it our way (subject line: “Clerkship Bonus”). Thanks.

Over in the D.C. office of Baker & McKenzie, the natives are getting restless. They’ve prepared this cute little bar graph (thumbnail image; click to enlarge):
Baker McKenzie small 2 first year associate salaries Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.JPG
The graphic above also reflects that Williams & Connolly now pays starting salaries of $165,000. We hadn’t heard (or written) about that news, but it’s official.
Does anyone have a memo and/or more information about what Williams & Connolly pays beyond the first year? If so, please email us. Thanks.
Update / Correction: Whoops, we forgot that W&C raised salaries back in March. What we were thinking, and meant to write, is that Williams & Connolly hasn’t raised associate salaries in response to the latest round of nationwide pay hikes (as kicked off by Orrick).
Remember that W&C traditionally doesn’t pay year-end bonuses, but pays an above-market base to make up for it. Their current scale — 165, 180, 195, etc. — is still above-market, but not by as much as usual.
Further Update / Correction: Apparently Greenberg Traurig is still at $145K in Washington. We’ve revised the graph accordingly.
Earlier: Nationwide Pay Raise Watch: What’s Up With Williams & Connolly?

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver Hedges associate salary Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgThis is a follow-up to yesterday’s post about Quinn Emanuel, which was considering adopting a pay system in which associates with coveted electrical engineering degrees would earn higher base salaries than their less well-endowed colleagues.
We contacted name partner John Quinn, but he hasn’t gotten back to us. Through other channels, however, we’ve learned what we think happened in terms of this issue.
If you’re curious, read the rest of this post, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “An Update on Quinn Emanuel and EE Degrees”

house home Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgOops, we briefly dropped the ball on our continuing series about perks or fringe benefits provided by legal employers. In prior posts, we covered technology allowances, gym memberships, and marriage bonuses.
Recently a tipster asked us if any law firms out there would help him out with buying a house. We believe he was thinking in terms of financial assistance (e.g., a low-interest home mortgage).
We’re not sure about that. But we do know that some law firms will help out associates with other real estate and housing-related matters, such as moving expenses and broker fees.
Here’s an open thread for discussion of fringe benefits related to housing and real estate. Have at it!
Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of perks and fringe benefits (scroll down)

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver Hedges associate salary Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgWe received an interesting email about a month ago. We meant to write about it back then, but never got around to it. But since we haven’t read about it elsewhere (please correct us if we’re wrong), we figure it’s still fair game for discussion.
Here’s the start of the email. It’s from John Quinn, name partner of litigation powerhouse Quinn Emanuel.

From: John Quinn
To: Associates
Cc: Partners
Date: 6/18/2007

we have a possible solution to a problem that we want to run by all of you. its controversial–or has the potential to be such–so we don’t want to consider it further if it will be a problem.

our firm desparately needs more patent litigators with electrical engineering degrees. its not just that we have more and more cases calling for that expertise. we also have clients who insist on staffing their cases with electrical engineers. we are beyond capacity limited in this area. its to the point that we are being instructed to off load some work to other firms that have ee degrees. the truth of the matter is that we could probably put a dozen of these people to work right now if we had them.

we have constantly been looking for people with this credential. unfortunately, so are alot of other firms. the demand clearly exceeds the supply.

You can probably guess where this is going. Read the rest of John Quinn’s email, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Quinn Emanuel: More Money for Electrical Engineers?”

100 dollar bill Abovethelaw Above the Law law firm salary legal blog legal tabloid Above the Law.JPGWe’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.

Frank Lasee.jpg
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.

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