Yesterday we declared ourselves “all Jenner-ed out.” But based on the comments and emails we’ve received, it seems people are still interested in hearing about Jenner & Block.
We have a little more to offer you. A second source confirms what we previously reported:
Your post about yesterday’s meeting was accurate. [Managing partner Gregory Gallopoulos] went through 3 areas: (1) associate compensation (expect a raise announcement later this week), (2) financial health of the firm (doing great, regardless of the temporary slowdown in litigation), and (3) the partner de-equitizations (no further waves of de-equitizations are expected).
And we’re pleased to report that rumors of an Above the Law shout-out are apparently true:
Greg mentioned that since so many people have sent him links to ATL, he’s become somewhat of an ATL aficionado.
For those of you who are still interested — maybe there are a handful of you — there’s a little more after the jump.
In our recent New York Times op-ed piece on Supreme Court clerkship bonuses, we argued that “[f]rom a narrowly economic point of view — focusing on the actual work the clerks will perform, and setting aside the law firms’ quest for prestige and bragging rights — it is difficult to understand why firms fight for the right to shower 26-year-olds with cash.”
One of the contentions we thought about offering in support of this claim was that Supreme Court clerks don’t stick around their law firms for very long after getting their huge bonuses. This was our sense of things, based admittedly on “anec-data.” It seemed to us that SCOTUS clerks go to law firms, stay for maybe two years, and then leave to become law professors, or government or public interest lawyers.
But then we decided to go back and look at the data. We thought it would be interesting to see how many Supreme Court clerks from October Term 2002 and October Term 2003 are still in private practice. The OT 2002 and OT 2003 clerk classes were ideal for the purpose of assessing the effect of bonuses because (1) law firms were offering gargantuan bonuses by this point in time, and (2) enough years have passed to allow for meaningful assessment of the clerks’ career paths.
We undertook this research, and it ended up showing that a reasonably high percentage of clerks — about 50 percent — are in private practice, a few years down the road. It’s not an overwhelmingly high percentage (in which case our argument that the firms effectively subsidize other quarters of the profession would be undermined). But it’s also not as low as we expected. We revised our argument accordingly, omitting any suggestion that a majority of clerks “take the money and run.”
Anyway, having done all this research, we felt like we should put it to some use (since it ended up not being reflected in the final version of the op-ed piece). Posting it on ATL seemed worthwhile enough.
Are you curious about what Supreme Court clerks from a few years ago are up to nowadays? Check out the lists, after the jump. The Supreme Court’s Bonus Babies [New York Times]
Now some of you might be saying, “Delaware — WTF???” But if that’s your reaction, you don’t know very much about corporate law.
Delaware is, after all, our nation’s capital of corporate law. Numerous top corporations are chartered in Delaware, and the state’s Chancery Court hears some of the biggest-ticket corporate cases around.
So what do law firm associates in Delaware earn these days? We received some helpful information from a tipster:
“Skadden and Fish & Richardson pay NYC market. At Skadden, at least, that includes an NYC market bonus.”
That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Detailed salary charts for local firms, plus your comments, appear after the jump.
A Washington Post article about members of Congress trying to live on $21 a week — the average amount food stamp recipients receive as income supplements — features a source you wouldn’t expect to see quoted in such a piece:
Rick Hindle, executive chef for the Skadden, Arps law firm in Washington, showed recently that you don’t have to spend hours in the kitchen to prepare healthful food for $1 or less per meal….
As part of the launch of a new USDA Web site for food stamp recipients, Hindle cooked colorful quesadillas (60 cents per serving), spinach and meat cakes with brown rice (92 cents) and orange banana frosty (52 cents)….
Hindle, who trained at the Culinary Institute of America, plans to add the quesadillas and some of the other recipes to his regular repertoire.
Yes, it’s true — we swear! This is not just another wild rumor. You can take this one to the bank!
The Bank of London, that is. From TheLawyer.com, a U.K.-based website:
Weil Gotshal & Manges’ London associates now earn more than their counterparts in New York after a 20 per cent pay hike in London.
The US-headquartered firm is now offering some of the most generous pay packets in the City with newly qualifieds (NQs) now receiving £90,000, representing a 20 per cent jump from £75,000. First-year associates who qualified in September 2006 will receive an average of £95,000.
If you enter the figure of £90,000 into this currency converter, you get the sum of $178,441, based on the current exchange rate. And Weil isn’t even the most high-paying firm in the city:
This puts Weil towards the top of the market in terms of US firms in London. Latham & Watkins still offers NQs the most, with £96,000, and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton offers them £92,000.
Latham’s salary of £96,000 for new lawyers translates into $190,341. Cleary’s £92,000 comes out to $182,411.
So should U.S. associates pack it all in and jump across the pond? Or does London’s high cost of living, plus the crappy food — Gordon Ramsay and good Indian joints notwithstanding — make the move not worth it?
Feel free to discuss associate compensation in London in the comments. This will constitute the open thread on London and the U.K. that some of you have been asking for. Thanks! Update: This is kind of random, but click here for Google Maps directions from New York to London. We especially like step #21. Further Update: A reader notes that if you get recruited by your firm’s New York office for a London position, you could do even better. More details after the jump. Weil Gotshal ups NQ pay to £90k [TheLawyer.com] Weil Gotshal Newly Qualified Lawyers Earning A Bundle More [LawFuel] Universal Currency Converter [XE.com]
We’re beginning to wonder whether this “NY to 190″ business is just a big practical joke. But even though no real information has emerged, and the co-chair of Simpson’s personnel committee told us his firm is “not currently considering an increase in associate salaries,” the rumors continue to swirl.
Here are two email messages we’ve received that are representative of many others:
“NYC big firm starting salary may be increasing to $190k in the coming weeks. My source was a recruiter whose friend at Sidley told him the news. Have you all heard anything or is this bs?”
“[A] friend of mine, who is a partner at a big Chicago firm, with a large presence in NYC, mentioned that pay raises are likely in NYC and that the firm has budgeted $190k as the starting first-year salary.”
Such gossip is not far removed from this commenter’s parody:
My dad’s step-mom’s estranged aunt is a janitor at Cravath, and she said she found a scribbled note on the floor of a partner’s office saying “damn, looks like we have to go to at least $175k soon; call wife re: can’t add second pool to home in Nantucket this summer.”
We wish we had more to tell you right now. We’ll continue to dig.
But at this point, your guess is as good as ours. So feel speculate to discuss in the comments. Vote in our reader polls, if you haven’t done so already.
Will any of this chatter make associate pay raises happen — or happen faster? Unlikely. But hey, there are worse ways to pass the time.
We realize that most “secondary” legal markets get only one bite at the apple — i.e., one dedicated post. And we already covered New Jersey.
But the Garden State is our home state, where we practiced for a number of years, so we will show some favoritism (as is our prerogative). And the news we’re about to share was sent to us directly by the firm’s public relations firm. Since many large law firms try to pretend we don’t exist avoid communicating with us — unlike, say, our more fortunate colleagues at MSMoutlets — we are favorably disposed towards law firms that do show us courtesies. [FN1]
So good news, New Jerseyans. A New Jersey-based firm, as opposed to an out-of-state firm with an NJ presence, is now paying $140K. From the press release:
Lowenstein Sandler announced a salary increase to $140,000, effective January 1, 2008, for new associates joining the firm beginning in September. This increase will also be taken into account during the regular year-end process setting compensation for more senior-level associates.
Lowenstein Sandler broke from the pack of New Jersey’s home-grown firms Thursday and announced it would pay first-year associates $140,000 next year, a $15,000 increase.
The 250-lawyer Roseland firm also said salaries for some first-year associates in its New York office might be even higher, depending on practice area and performance….
Lowenstein Sandler’s announcement could exert pressure for pay raises at the other New Jersey firms that are pegged at the $125,000 level: Sills Cummis Epstein & Gross, Gibbons and McCarter & English, all in Newark.
So will the competition follow suit? Can they really afford to? Lowenstein, with profits per partner last year of $781,600, is one of the state’s most profitable shops.
(Yep — PPP of almost $800K. It’s not New York, but Jersey doesn’t do too badly for itself. Just ask TonySoprano.)
For those of you who are curious, the full text of the Lowenstein Sandler press release appears after the jump.
[FN1] Okay, we should stop bitching about our lack of access. In the past few months, it has improved — greatly. Now many Biglaw partners and spokespersons will actually deign to respond to our emails and return our phone calls.
We continue our series of posts examining the nation’s less-than-gigantic legal markets. Some of the markets we cover are scorned by the New York and L.A. types. But since the posts continue to generate lots of comments and discussion — over 160 comments on yesterday’s post on the Upper Midwest — we will push ahead.
A reader down south emailed us:
I realize that you are trying to hit the second-tier markets on ATL. Would it be possible to see what Nashville, Jackson, Birmingham, and Lexington are doing?
Sure. In fact, consider this post an omnibus post for all southern legal markets (excluding Atlanta and Charlotte, which we’ve already done).
Also excluded: Texas, which will get a post of its own sometime next week.
Our tipster provided us with some data points to get the ball rolling. Please start up the discussion, after the jump.
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.
Whether you’re fresh off the bar exam or hitting your stride after hanging a shingle a few years ago, one thing’s for certain: independent attorneys who start a solo or small-law practice live with a certain amount of stress.
Non-attorneys would think the stress comes from preparing for a big trial, deposing a hostile witness, or crafting the perfect contract for a picky client.
But that’s nothing compared to the constant, nagging, real-life kind, the kind you get from the day-to-day grind of being a law-abiding attorney.
Connecticut plaintiffs-side boutique litigation firm (12 lawyers) seeks full-time associate with 2-4 years litigation experience, top tier undergraduate and law school education. Journal or clerkship experience a plus; highest ethical standards and strong work ethic required. Familiarity with Connecticut state court legal practice is preferred, but not required.
The firm handles sophisticated, high-end cases for plaintiffs, including individuals and businesses with significant claims in a wide array of matters. Our cases often have important public policy implications, and are litigated in state and federal courts throughout Connecticut. Representative areas of practice include medical malpractice, catastrophic personal injury, business torts, deceptive trade practices and other complex commercial litigation, and products liability.
Additional information can be located on our website, at www.sgtlaw.com.