Which New York law firm, having already completed two rounds of layoffs, has hired the Five O’Clock Club to help it carry out additional layoffs (in August, October, and November)?
After we ran the item, several firms came forward to declare they’re not the firm in question. And now they’re joined by one more: Morgan, Lewis & Bockius.
A spokesperson for Morgan Lewis contacted ATL to say that it isn’t the firm with layoffs in the works. In fact, Morgan Lewis claims that it shouldn’t even be on the shortlist of contenders.
Read why — and check out the list of the Five O’Clock Club’s clients, including some very prestigious law firms that haven’t publicly admitted to layoffs — after the jump.
We are living in a bizzaro world. Check out this fact pattern:
There’s a partner at Morgan Lewis with 18 years of experience. Morgan Lewis cancels its entire 2010 Summer Program. Partner leaves Morgan Lewis. For a more lucrative gig? No. He leaves to be the new head of career services at UVA Law School.
UVA Law has just hired Kevin Donovan, a former litigation partner at Morgan Lewis.
First of all, who leaves a partnership for a career services gig?
Secondly, the irony of a partner at a firm that just refused to hire rising 2Ls being in charge of finding jobs for rising 2Ls is rich. Is this some kind of twisted Marshal Plan? First you bomb it, then you build it?
After the jump, let’s take a look at Mr. Donovan’s qualifications and vision for UVA law students.
Morgan Lewis Chairman Fran Milone just finished a video conference with all associates and staff at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius. And he unleashed some big news. Morgan Lewis is making some major changes in response to the continuing economic recession. Here are the top bullet points:
* Eliminating lockstep compensation for 2010.
* Canceling on-campus interviewing during the fall of 2009.
* Canceling the 2010 Summer Associate Program.
* Pushing back the start dates of current summer associates to 2011.
The firm has already communicated their decision to law schools who had expected to host MLB interviewers this fall.
After the jump, Mr. Milone offers a brief statement about these decisions.
* California lawyer Ryan Kent has accused Dahn Yoga of being a cult and filed a class action suit against the Brain Wave Vibrators. [San Francisco Chronicle]
* Ross Mitchell spent just $38,000 on his online law degree and became his own first client. He won his lawsuit to be admitted to the Massachusetts Bar. [Boston Herald]
* Richard Posner is bearish on newspapers and bullish on draconian copyright protection for online news. Permission to link? [The Becker-Posner Blog]
* Is 12 years enough for Bernie? [Am Law Daily]
* Law school is great preparation for doing something other than law. [Legal Intelligencer]
* Musical chairs: Morgan Lewis taps gas from Baker Botts. [Am Law Daily]
Wait, there are people out there who want banking lawyers? Really? This is excellent news! Morgan Lewis & Bockius announced today that it has acquired eleven people: five partners and six associates, from Bingham McCutchen’s Boston office. But the real shocker is that all of the lawyers are from Bingham’s Banking and Leveraged Finance Group:
Morgan Lewis today announced the addition of five partners and six associates from Bingham McCutchen’s Banking and Leveraged Finance Group–including a former co-chair of the practice–to its Business and Finance Practice, resident in the firm’s Boston office. Partners Robert A.J. Barry, Jonathan K. Bernstein, Sula R. Fiszman, Matthew F. Furlong, and Sandra J. Vrejan, will focus their practice on corporate finance, as well as restructuring. Their experience across a broad range of industries–including retail, manufacturing, food and beverage, energy, media, communications and sports–add to the depth of knowledge Morgan Lewis offers clients as they face today’s rapidly changing economic conditions. In addition, their arrival significantly increases the firm’s presence in Boston.
Isn’t it great to live in a world where law firms need corporate finance lawyers?
“Particularly in light of the difficult credit markets faced by both our lender and borrower clients, there is an ever-increasing need for us to be able to provide additional top-flight financing expertise across a multitude of industries” said Firm Chair Francis M. Milone. “This expansion reflects our continued commitment to providing clients with the kind of counsel they need to execute credit transactions in any business environment.”
It seems right to focus on “any” business environment, considering that the politicians seem to be making it up as they go along.
A statement from Bingham and the the Morgan Lewis press release after the jump.
* We don’t really know what the point of Twitter is, but it’s probably not to issue death threats. Oklahoma man arrested for tweeting about turning the April 15 Tea Party into a blood bath. [Threat Level/Wired]
Among the sea changes is a reluctance by a number of clients, or even an outright ban, as far having first-year associates work on their matters, says [Morgan Lewis Chairman Francis] Milone in a wide-ranging interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer.
“It’s a trend,” he tells the newspaper. “We literally have some clients who are telling us they do not want us to put brand-new associates on their matters.”
On the one hand, you can take that comment with heavy dose of cynicism. It’s exactly the kind of thing a managing partner would say if he was laying the groundwork for an associate salary cut. For a more full example of how to cut salaries by making associates feel generally useless, check out Womble Carlyle.
After the jump, we see there are even more reasons to be skeptical about chairman Milone’s motives.
For those of you that have read the comments on the Morgan Lewis layoff post, you already know that MLB is mandating a deferral program for all of its incoming first year associates. We wanted to dedicate a separate post to discuss this plan, as it is very different from what we’ve seen from Latham & Watkins or Orrick.
Here’s how Morgan Lewis characterizes its deferral plan:
Today, we are taking a number of steps to adjust our workforce in light of changed economic circumstances. Among other things, we have decided to defer the start dates for new associates so that incoming entry-level associates will start with us in October 2010. We will offer each affected individual the opportunity to work in a public interest organization between October 2009 and his or her start date, and will pay each a $5,000 monthly stipend.
Unlike Latham or Orrick, this plan is not optional. All incoming first years have to take this plan. Because the plan is mandatory, MLB is in the position where they will have no 2009 first year attorneys. But the firm will save at least $100K on every first year associate they hired.
I say “at least” because obviously not every associate will receive the $60,000 that is contemplated in this memo. The memo clearly states that the monthly stipend will be paid only to associates who secure work at a public interest organization, and even then on a month to month basis. Latham, in contrast, will be giving $75K to incoming first years up-front. (We do assume that the deferral plan includes a “bar stipend” which would bring MLB’s total package closer in line to Latham and Orrick. The memo doesn’t say that specifically though, so we are making an assumption.)
It’s not out of the realm of possibility that some people won’t be able to secure a public interest job by October 2009 (there is not an infinite supply of public interest work). If you don’t get a job until January, you’re not getting a stipend until January, allowing the firm to save even more money.
After the jump, we see that Morgan Lewis expects the tough times to continue right through 2010.
This one even caught us by surprise. We had received some indication that Morgan Lewis was finished with its layoffs, but apparently the reductions earlier this year were just the beginning. A firm wide memo announced the sad news to MLB employees a short while ago.
Unfortunately, we have reached the point where we believe that the greatest good for the greatest number of our colleagues will be achieved by eliminating some positions and bringing our overall numbers more in line with the realities of the present economic environment and what we believe will be the expectations of our clients in the future. Therefore, we will be informing today a number of our attorneys and members of our staff throughout the firm that their employment will end. We expect to inform those of you who are being affected by this decision as early as possible today, at which time we will also discuss with you certain available termination benefits.
The memo goes on to list the damage: 55 attorneys and 161 staffers. The memo makes no mention of the severance package that is going to be offered to the ex-MLB people.
We have been waiting a long time to get a look at the Morgan Lewis & Bockius bonus structure. The firm announced way back on October 30th that it would be delaying their bonus decision until the market settles.
Now that the bonus information is finally in, the results are somewhat anticlimactic. Individual memos are out at Half-Skadden levels.
But the real news from MLB is contained in this little memo that went out on Friday night:
Most of counsel and associates have had discussions by now with respect to annual evaluations, so this is a good time to remind lawyers of our policy with respect to taking late time-recording into account when we determine bonus amounts. For the year just ended, there were 55 lawyers whose bonuses were affected by their unexcused late time entries. The impact was larger for repeat offenders.
Ouch. I supposed this is a “good time” to remind lawyers about how late time keeping can affect the year end bonus. Let’s hope that Morgan Lewis also reminded people at the much, much better time — which would have been before people lost money for being tardy with accounting.
Tipsters weigh in and the full Morgan Lewis email after the jump.
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 email@example.com 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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