* Conversations about impeachment of Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich were postponed until today so that Blago’s lawyer Ed Gerson could be present, or so that prosecutors could make sure that the impeachment committee could interfere with his criminal case. [The New York Times]
* Judges tighten their belts. Gov. Patterson of New York praised New York’s judiciary for presenting such a tight budget request, despite the influx of financially-related cases. Maine’s judiciary didn’t see any cuts in the budget, but the Gov.’s failure to grant them a shortfall could make cases take longer. [Law.com]
* Former Amgen Inc. patent lawyer Darrell G. Dotson, who claims that he was fired for blowing the whistle on the company’s unethical activity, will be able to pursue his case in court, a Superior court judge rules. [The Los Angeles Times]
* Marc Dreier’s law firm, “scandalized” by his fraud charges, will file for bankruptcy. [The Associated Press]
* The recent killings of three Latino immigrants prompted Latino leaders to ask Congress to extend the federal hate crimes law. [FOX]
Maybe Latham & Watkins was never into this whole “____ to $160K” thing to begin with. When Latham finally raised salaries across the board back in May 2007, we reported:
Well, it appears that Latham has been shamed into giving into the “hysteria” surrounding associate comp.
As we’ve discussed, Latham’s associate salary freeze essentially cancels out the pay raise from 2007. Whether you call it a salary freeze or a pay cut, Latham chairman Robert Dell is calling it sound business. The Blog of the Legal Times reported this quote from the chairman earlier today:
We are modifying associate compensation as part of a prudent business strategy in the face of challenging economic times. All associates moving to the next class year on January 1, 2009 will continue to receive the same base compensation as they received in 2008. We are confident that our business strategy, our diverse practices and our strong global platform will serve our clients and our firm well as we all face the challenges of a difficult business environment in 2009.
More discussion, including a salary chart that Lat prepared to show just how bad L&W associates must be feeling today, after the jump.
While the Latham & Watkins salary freeze came as a shock to most in the Biglaw community, Reed Smith associates have known for days that their salaries would remain frozen in place.
Reed Smith laid off 115 people two weeks ago. Individual salary memos started going out to the remaining Reed Smith associates last week (Reed Smith makes salary decisions known on a person-to-person basis). Not surprisingly, most people are not getting 2009 raises.
Because of the individualized nature of the salary information, we can’t say that nobody at Reed Smith will be receiving a raise. We can say that nobody we’ve talked to has received a full raise, expects a full raise, or is hoping for anything other than having a job when the calendar flips over. A couple of people we talked to will be getting a small salary bump, but nothing at the normal level for their class.
Did somebody say something about bonuses? Our Reed Smith sources don’t expect to get that either. There hasn’t been any official announcement, but the rumblings around the firm all point towards the “special bonus” of $0. Though, one tipster points out that there are enough bonus complications that the firm might be able to avoid the negative press associated with a $0 bonus:
RS doesn’t give end-of-year bonuses. All of our bonuses are dependent on hours or performance or are related to profit sharing. Everything is discretionary, except profit sharing, which is based on the firms performance, and well, we know where that is.
The lesson, as always, if your firm recently picked up a bunch of Thelen attorneys, or a bunch of Heller attorneys, things are not going well.
This is an open thread to discuss best gifts for lawyers. Perhaps you can e-mail the post out to friends and relatives instead of compiling the hated gift wish list.
To get your creative juices flowing, here’s a few ideas we came up with:
For the lawyers who like bling:Profession Gifts offers this pin up as “a beautiful clothing accessory that makes both a professional and fashion statement.” Indeed.
For the lawyer doing doc review around the country: We hate stripping down to go through airport security and unloading the contents of our carry-ons. While the shoes, the belt, and the metal bustier still have to be shed, laptops can stay in their bags according to a TSA policy change made this summer. The catch is that you have to have a special “checkpoint-friendly” bag (via USAToday). Here are some bags fitting the bill from The Week.
For those who work so hard that they never see their kids: It’s nice to remind the little ones of their absent parents. For Counsel has a whole section of “Gifts for Lawyers’ Babies and Toddlers.” We like the idea of branding the little one with this bib.
For the lawyer with lots of weird stuff on his or her desk: We might recommend Supreme Court Bobbleheads (if you can get one) from the Green Bag. Scalia’s up for grabs on eBay at the moment. Current bid: $102.50.
For the kinky lawyer: A “justice is blind” blindfold.
So here’s an open thread to discuss what you want this year (besides a Skadden-sized bonus). What do you recommend giving to legal folk this holiday season?
We started getting reports this morning that Dechert let go a number of secretaries and legal assistants. But the numbers from our tipsters were low, very low. The Legal Intelligencer just reported that Dechert has in fact laid off an amazing 72 staffers.
A firm spokeswoman confirmed that Dechert has laid off 72 administrative staff across its U.S. offices. She wouldn’t get into details about which positions or how many in each office, but said the cuts were basically proportionate across the firm’s 11 U.S. offices.
The 72 administrative positions account for about 12.6 percent of the firms 570 U.S. staff members. Dechert has around 1,045 attorneys firmwide and the spokeswoman said there are no plans to cut any more staff or any attorneys based on what they know at this time.
An attorney tipster moves straight to the problem associates at Dechert are all worried about:
[I]t’s not like we can have less secretaries unless there are less lawyers…
Dechert has come to the layoff buffet early and often. In October, there was a lot of contention about how many attorneys Dechert has been stealthily getting rid of. At least the staff layoffs are being properly announced.
But then again, Dechert staff also got to feel a little bit of that “Dechert style” on their way out the door. More after the jump.
You can use Facebook to accumulate friends, poke strangers, and tag photos. And if you’re a lawyer in Australia, you might be able to use it to serve a complaint.
Our legal friends in the Land Down Under have made an interesting ruling. From the Associated Press:
A court in Australia has approved the use of Facebook, a popular social networking Web site, to notify a couple that they lost their home after defaulting on a loan.
The Australian Capital Territory Supreme Court last Friday approved lawyer Mark McCormack’s application to use Facebook to serve the legally binding documents after several failed attempts to contact the couple at the house and by e-mail.
The lien notice could have been sent by Facebook messaging–the judge specified that posting to a Wall was not kosher–but the couple got wind of the plan in news reports and took their profiles down.
We love rulings that legitimize the use of Facebook in the workplace. Next up: legal notice via gchat?
If you liked your 2008 salary, you’re going to love your 2009 salary. Latham & Watkins just sent around this email about 2009 associate compensation:
The world economy is experiencing unforeseen and unprecedented dislocations. Our clients are feeling those impacts and the legal community is not immune. The Executive Committee has spent the last few weeks discussing these critical issues in the context of planning for 2009. While we anticipate that the diversity of our practices and global reach will serve us well in the year to come, it seems clear that the global economy will continue to be challenged at least through 2009. As a result, we are modifying associate compensation as part of a prudent business strategy.
Effective January 1, 2009, associates moving to the next class year will continue to receive the same base compensation as they received in 2008. Please do not hesitate to contact your local Associates Committee members if you have any questions about the resulting salary scales.
We expect as a general matter to continue to reward outstanding performances through our merit-based bonus pool. As in previous years, we will announce bonuses in late January.
We are confident that by continuing to work together we will be well positioned to succeed in the face of the economic challenges that lie ahead. We thank each of you for your many contributions to the firm.
Freezing salaries is now part of the “market.” The latest associate pay raise is effectively being undone.
I’ve been operating under the assumption that the legal layoff party of 2008 would stop in 2008. My rose colored logic has been simple. I’ve assumed that Biglaw managers can: A) count, B) add, and C) figure out a sustainable 2009 business model. If those three assumptions are true, I figured that most well managed law firms would be able to get through all of their attorney reductions in 2008 and get themselves into an appropriate position for 2009.
Flawed logic? Perhaps. It’s what the shrinks like to call a “coping mechanism.”
Of course, in making these assumptions I ignored the possibility that some firms were still using “operation ostrich”: a heads down, asses high approach that gleefully exposes tail feathers to the still spinning wheel of economic destruction.
The Legal Intelligencer today warns us that the first quarter of 2009 could see more chopping at firms that are still trying to ride out the storm:
Move over, New York — it’s Philadelphia’s time in the hot seat. Legal blog Above the Law was abuzz with reports and rumors Monday that two Philadelphia firms saw associate cuts with one of them laying off staff as well. And according to one consultant, the Pennsylvania market could most likely expect to see more attorney cuts in the new year as firms wait out the holiday season.
After the jump, the new cuts in the new year aren’t likely to be localized just to the Philadelphia area.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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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