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Cahill Gordon logo.jpgLast January, Cahill Gordon & Reindel started the year by cutting approximately 10% of its associates. Sources report that 2010 is off to a similar start.
Says one tipster:

[I]t’s about 20-25 people. Mostly younger associates but some more senior people as well. Standard 3 months severance….
[I]t’s being termed performance based, typical stuff related to year-end reviews, etc. But the subtext and what people are being told is that it’s largely about there being too many people.

We reached out to the firm for comment this morning, but have not yet heard back. One of our tipsters claims that this round of layoffs will make Cahill New York as white as freshly-fallen snow…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Nationwide Layoff Watch: Cahill Gordon Resolves To Lose Some Weight”

AK47.jpgTimothy Hendron was supposed to be in a federal court in St. Louis this morning for a trial that started on Monday. He and his co-workers had filed a class action suit against ABB power company alleging that its pension review committee had mishandled employee finances and incurred unreasonable losses. ABC News is reporting that Hendron decided a gun was more powerful than his lawyers.

Early Thursday morning, Timothy Hendron took the fight against his employer from a federal courtroom to the company’s headquarters, according to law enforcement sources in St. Louis. And instead of using an ongoing class action lawsuit to achieve his goals, Hendron is suspected of using an AK-47 assault rifle.

Early reports indicate that three people were killed and four were wounded. Hendron may be among those killed.
St. Louis shooting suspect was on trial against employer [ABC News]

holland and knight prestige crack Theodore Silva Jr.jpgLast decade — back in the aughts — a Holland & Knight real estate partner got up to some very bad things. While we have heard that coke can be an aid for sleep-deprived attorneys, it caused problems for Theodore Silva Jr.
Silva was formerly a partner in Holland & Knight’s D.C. office. According to the National Law Journal, in 2005, Silva forged signatures and created fictitious notaries for an easement agreement. Then he lied to his clients and bar counsel about that and about his cocaine use:

[Silva] attributed his conduct to stress, cocaine use and drinking. The incident cost the firm about $150,000 in expenses plus 50 hours’ work from another Holland & Knight partner who had to rectify the problems.

Silva, who had made partner in 1995, was fired by Holland & Knight in 2006. The District of Columbia Board of Professional Responsibility just issued its report [PDF] and its recommendation for discipline last week.
The Legal Blog Network is surprised that this conduct was not enough to get Silva disbarred. We’re surprised to learn that Silva had a coke use criminal charge in 2002 and that it passed the sniff test at Holland & Knight. As long as the snow helped Silva make it rain, it seems the firm didn’t mind what he did with his dollars.

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2009 Associate bonus watch above the law.JPGWe’re still catching up on associate bonus news. There have been some memos we’ve missed, including some from last month (technically, last year). If we haven’t reported on your firm’s bonus announcement, please email us. Don’t assume that one of your colleagues will submit the memo; that’s not necessarily the case.

Today we belatedly bring you bonus news from Kasowitz Benson. On December 31, the firm announced “benchmark” bonuses that appear to follow the Sullivan & Cromwell scale. But the memo notes that these are just “benchmark amounts, which are subject to adjustment to reflect individual performance and hours worked.” In the memo’s bonus table, the words “of up to” appear in between the words “Year-end bonus” and the dollar amount.

In addition, even some Kasowitz associates who received the full market amount aren’t happy. Find out why, and check out the full memo, after the jump.

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champagne glasses small.jpgThanks to all of you who sent along good wishes after the birth of Baby Lin. It’s been a busy two months, but we’re emerging from the vicious beatdown that is new parenthood. (By which we mean that we’re sleeping in luxurious two-hour stretches and showering almost daily.)
We’ve been keeping up with the NYT weddings, but as usual the November and December offerings were relatively weak, which gives us a good excuse to eliminate the dreary matches (e.g., Fordham-marries-Fordham; Cardozo 1L, no picture; U. Penn., blah, blah) and bring you each month’s top three. And if ATL management accuses of slacking off, we’re totally playing the mommy card.
We’ll be back soon with December’s couples and our 2009 Couple of the Year reader poll.
Here are your November couples:

1. Mia Feldbaum and Mark McGoldrick
2. Lisa Rockefeller and Edward Sebelius
3. Stephen Davis and Jeffrey Busch

Read more about these newlyweds, after the jump.

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Salary Cuts.jpgFirst year associates at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman got a poke last night that didn’t make them “hee-hee.” The announcement was not made on the Acela. It came via a firm-wide email from executive partners Jeffrey Grill and Sheryl Stein.
All first years, except those in New York, are having their salaries cut. From the memo:

Based on our current assessment of the market for associate salaries and with our incoming first year associates joining the Firm shortly, the Firm has decided that, effective January 1, 2010, first year associates resident in our U.S. offices (other than New York) will be paid at an annual base salary rate of $145,000. First year associates resident in our New York office will be paid at an annual base salary rate of $160,000.

This isn’t the first salary cut at Pillsbury. Back in June 2009, the firm cut salaries based on utilization rates.
There is a caveat to this latest announcement. The firm recognizes that the market outside of New York is still “in flux” and it might raise salaries accordingly (and retroactively) if it sees fit in the future. Alternately, if first year associates outside of New York bake up 1950 hours, they’ll pull a $15k bonus out of the oven at the end of the year. See the full memo, after the jump.
What about the 2010 pay scale for the rest of Pillsbury’s associates?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Nationwide Salary Cut Watch: Less Dough for Pillsbury First Years”

gay marriage skadden.jpg* Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker gets digital-jiggy with it. The federal trial over Prop 8 and gay marriage will be broadcast on YouTube. [ABC News]
* Ponzi-scheming Florida lawyer Scott Rothstein is going down without a fight. [Reuters]
* You’re not worth $160,000. [Business Insider]
* Yay. Lots of Americans need lawyers. [Tax Prof Blog]
* Facebook executive Chris Kelly is willing to spend the equivalent of a nice chunk of the company’s worth to become California AG. [Mercury News]
* We gather from its appearance in the comments that many of you have read the NYT piece, Breaking Up in a Digital Fishbowl. While we’ve certainly been dumped before, it doesn’t happen “so often.” [True/Slant]

Crushing Debt Obligations.jpgI graduated law school in 2003, owing Harvard University just under $150,000. At the time, I had no idea what starting my professional career $150K in the hole would do to my life. I figured I’d work hard, make money, and pay my loans out of my general non-disposable income funds — kind of like my cable bill.

Seven years, two careers, numerous deferments and defaults, and one global economic meltdown later, I still owe a ton of money. Now, however, I pay it to various debt collection agencies and lawyers. When prospective landlords run a pro forma credit check on my application, they come back looking at me like I’ve been convicted of multiple war crimes. Every raise I’ll ever get will be eaten up by the collection agencies until sweet death allows me one everlasting and satisfying default. And, oh yeah, I don’t even want to practice law anymore — I quit my Biglaw job because, despite the debt, I really wanted to have a job that I enjoyed. So I essentially purchased a $150,000 disposable good. My time working in Biglaw was kind of like a very expensive vacation that I debt financed.

I mention all this because I am the cautionary tale prospective law students never want to think about. I mention all this because it is noble to crush false hope. I mention all this because there are way too many people poised to follow in my financially ruinous steps….

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guns.jpg* Law students or legal education customers? [Concurring Opinions]
* Philip K. Dick’s daughter is not a fan of the Google phone. [Wall Street Journal]
* This guy took Partner Emeritus seriously. [Underbelly]
* Perhaps unsure what to get Gilbert Arenas for his 28th birthday, NBA Commissioner David Stern opted to indefinitely suspend the Washington Wizards star for packing heat in the locker room. [ESPN]
* Elie opines on Agent Zero’s gun obsession and suggests that a small mind, rather than a small penis, is to blame for it. [True/Slant]
* Connecticut AG wants Christopher Dodd’s seat. [BLT]
* Prisoner escape on Planet Adorable. [Buzzfeed]
* During that dead week between Christmas and New Years, we did a post on our ten most popular stories of 2009. In case you missed it, here’s a link to the page view glory. [Above The Law]

2009 Associate bonus watch above the law.JPGLast month, associate bonuses were announced at the super-elite firm of Munger, Tolles & Olson — aka the West Coast home of The Elect, with about two dozen former SCOTUS clerks lying around. The firm is well-known for its exceedingly high hiring standards and intellectual (if somewhat nerdy) atmosphere.
One would expect a firm as picky as Munger to reward its recruits handsomely. But word on the street is that some MTO associates, unlike their counterparts at Irell & Manella, are not pleased with their 2009 bonuses.
Munger didn’t have lockstep in the past, but this year they decided to have it for first-year associates (from the class of 2008). Those associates received $5,000, below the market rate of $7,500. Second-year associates, i.e., class of 2007 graduates, received bonuses between $7,500 and $10,000, at or below market. (But note that Munger makes 3% contributions to some associates’ 401K plans, which most firms do not these days.)
The firm memo provides official ranges for bonuses. One tipster claims the ranges are somewhat misleading because most people received bonuses on the low end and very few receive bonuses on the high end, but we have not verified this.
The complete MTO memo, plus added explanation for associate discontent, after the jump.

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Steve Cohen playing cards.JPGLast month we mentioned the civil RICO lawsuit filed against billionaire financier Steve Cohen by his ex-wife, Patricia Cohen. The suit is just a few weeks old — Mr. Cohen has yet to file an answer — but there’s already a new development.
Patricia Cohen has replaced her original lawyer — prominent trial lawyer Paul Batista, author of a treatise on RICO — with Gaytri Kachroo, a former partner at McCarter & English in Boston. Kachroo has some experience with high-profile, Wall Street-related engagements; she represented Harry Markopolos, a Madoff whistleblower, before Congress and the SEC. But she is primarily a transactional lawyer, whose practice focuses on emerging markets in India and Southeast Asia.
It’s all a bit… strange. Check out the details, along with Batista’s somewhat snarky motion to withdraw as counsel, over at Dealbreaker.
Paul Batista Claims Patricia Cohen Left In The Middle Of The Night And Didn’t Even Have The Bedside Manner To Say Good-Bye [Dealbreaker]
Earlier: Ex-Wife Goes After Deep Pockets

Ed. note: Have a question for next week? Send it in to [email protected].

pls hndle copy 2.jpgDear ATL,

Deferred associates are starting soon at my V100 firm… which is *odd* because there’s not enough work to go around. At least not for junior level associates, because the mid levels and senior levels hoard work for themselves. So if my firm is going to downsize juniors, do you think they’re more apt to fire these incoming associates or other junior level associates with slightly more tenure?

How Will I Know if He Really Loves Me

Dear How Will I Know if He Really Loves Me,
Luckily this question came in over the holidays, so I had the chance to go home and consult my sister’s Ask Zandar game and get what you really need, which is a wizard’s opinion. I first asked, “Zandar, will this person’s firm fire incoming associates first?” Zandar did not reply. I then asked, “Zandar, is it unacceptable for my 17 year-old cousin to have Neytiri from Avatar as his screensaver?” And when Zandar once again failed to reply, I realized that he had no batteries.
As you may have noticed, things are looking up these days. Bonuses are hitting people’s TD Banks, there’s salary thaws, “true-up” raises* — and the whole global warming trend turned out to be just a weird ’90s phenomenon. On ATL, we’ve traded in Bloody Tuesdays or Outplacement Thursdays for lighter fare about holiday greeting cards and courthouse shootings. Unless executives go back to stealing from their companies — which they won’t be doing because we have rules in place now to deal with that sort of thing — the days of mass layoffs are over. This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius.
So, to those of you who have spent the last year afraid to jinx yourself by unwrapping your 2009 BNA Tax Code — RELAX. The Committee of Public Safety isn’t blocking off conference rooms anymore. But if they do, they’ll certainly fire you first, because if they wanted to fire the people they’re bringing in, they just wouldn’t have had them start. Also, they’re cheaper.
Your friend,
The cast of Hair lunges into the audience and awkwardly forces you to participate, after the jump.

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