You know how much we love rankings around these parts. But apparently there is a list of law firm rankings out there that actually matters. The National Law Journal reports:
An Association of Corporate Counsel law firm rating system unveiled last month has triggered a lot of interest from the association’s in-house lawyer members, who have submitted 1,500 firm reviews. Lawyers at firms are less enthused. …
Since the ACC initiated its “value index” last month, its members have shared their opinions about the performances of 500 law firms. The ACC has used the mainly anonymous input to rank firms on a five-point scale.
Unfortunately, there is one humongous catch:
The evaluations and ratings are viewable only by ACC members.
Why, Association of Corporate Counsel? Why? Why produce a juicy new list of clients actually rating the quality of legal services they receive, and then keep it private? We all want to know what you think.
Sorry. “All” is probably a little bit strong. Law firm managers don’t seem to like this list very much.
* Judge Diane Cannon — no relation to actress Dyan Cannon (who played a judge on Ally McBeal) — benchslaps Sidley Austin for its brief in the high-profile case involving Northwestern University journalism students fighting a subpoena for their records and grades. [National Law Journal]
* Speaking of journalistic freedom, was prior restraint applied to a high school newspaper — by Justice Kennedy? [New York Times]
* Meet John Galligan, the lawyer who will be representing the accused Fort Hood shooter. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Another prominent notorious gunman — John Allen Muhammad, aka the “DC sniper” — has been executed. [Washington Post]
* Professor John Yoo appeals a ruling allowing a suit against him to proceed to the Ninth Circuit (which might not be the friendliest court for Yoo, but we’ll see). [How Appealing]
* “L is for Lawyers… And That’s Good Enough for Them”: Zach Lowe interviews two of the lawyers behind the success of Sesame Street. [Am Law Daily]
* Judge Charles Sifton (E.D.N.Y.), RIP. [New York Times]
I have criticized U.S. News for caring about the number of books available in a law school library. I’ve criticized the Thomas Cooley law school rankings for caring about the size of a law school library.
Clearly, I don’t know what a law school library should be used for. But students at UC Davis do.
* Looking for Christmas gift items already? How about Supreme Court justice baseball cards? [National Law Journal]
* Or hedge-fund billionaire playing cards? [Dealbreaker]
* Professor Michael Risch on yesterday’s Bilski argument in the Supreme Court. [PrawfsBlawg]
* Professor Ann Althouse on L’Affaire Prejean. [Althouse]
* Deloitte helps keep lawyers in business. [Going Concern]
With most associates just trying to avoid joining the growing ranks of unemployed attorneys, partnership prospects might seem like part of a distant and unfathomable future. But in what might be a surprise to associates who have been laid off or suffered salary cuts, many law firms are making a healthy number of new partners. The National Law Journal reports that the overall number of partners nationwide in 2009 is actually higher than in 2008.
If you are a mid-level associate in Los Angeles and you really want the inside scoop on how to grab that brass ring, come to the Career Center Professional Development panel on November 17, hosted by Lateral Link and Proskauer Rose, for a discussion on long-term career planning, partnership prospects and in-house careers. Panelists include Morgan Chu of Irell & Manella, Mike Woronoff of Proskauer, and Vivian Yang, GC at Citysearch. Attendees will receive 1.25 CLE credit hours. Click here to learn more or to register.
Oh no. Is it really time to crank up the salary freeze watch again? I thought that the big question this winter would be whether firms that froze salaries last year would be unfreezing pay for 2010. And whether or not the raises were a “true up” raise that put people up to where they would have been absent last year’s freeze.
Instead, could we be looking at a winter where firms that did not freeze last year decide to freeze this year? A tipster reports on some disturbing news coming out of Covington & Burling:
Covington just announced salary freeze for all offices but NY; NY TBD. All-associates meeting.
Above the Law reached out to spokespeople at Covington. Read the firm’s statement after the jump.
We have another episode in the saga of Deidre Dare, one of our favorite laid-off lawyers. She was an attorney in Allen & Overy’s Russia office until she penned typed a salacious online novel about her expat adventures, which featured lots of drinking, sex, drugs, donkeys, and dwarves. After the firm let her go, she sued.
Dare’s still in Moscow, where she writes an often controversial column for the Moscow News called sExpat. The latest reveals that Deidre likes it rough:
Anyone who has spent even five minutes in bed with me knows that I have a strong proclivity for S&M. My experience in the area ranges from the mild (spanking) to the extreme (ball gags, golden showers and the like), according to how much experience my partner has and what he or she likes.
The column goes on to praise Russia’s abusive men. Dare writes: “If you’re hanging out with real men and you’re a little slutty, you’re going to get hit. Period.” Roll On Friday photoshops A&O’s chairman into being a “real man” here.
Ed. note: We at Above The Law do not condone physical violence against women. We do, however, condone violence against the commenter ShaFeef.
In a previous column, Dare said money was tight and suggested that prostitution might be a way out of her money woes. That might have led to more hitting than even Deidre likes. Luckily, she’s come up with a different way to make money. She’s written another book. Its title, fittingly, is SLUT.
Katten Muchin is using every tool in the box when it comes to figuring out what to do with its incoming associates. If there is a plan for dealing with soon-to-be first years that has been discussed on Above the Law, Katten is using it.
A tipster reports that Katten has broken up its first year class into three groups:
Katten Muchin Rosenman rescinded several offers to 2008 summer associates today. From what I’ve heard about 1/3 were rescinded, 1/3 were re-deferred to October, and 1/3 will start in February as scheduled.
Essentially, Katten just turned itself into Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross: “As you all know, first prize is a Cadillac Eldorado. Anybody want to see second prize? Second prize is a set of steak knives. Third prize is you’re fired.”
Let’s talk some more about the third prize after the jump.
So, Baker Botts – Houston (should be firmwide, though I don’t have have all the details) is adopting a form of the Reed Smith pay structure. …
My understanding may be imperfect, but the notion is that it’s something like a three part system of junior associates, mid level associates, and senior associates, with pay discrepancies laid out among the three. No more lockstep. Unclear what the bonus structure is beyond the nebulous “merit” nonsense.
The Reed Smith structure has received a lot of attention. Last month, we mentioned that Reed Smith will categorize associates as junior, mid-level, or senior associates. But those classifications won’t necessarily be tied to how long an associate has been out of law school. So you could see a fourth-year classified as a senior associate making significantly more than a sixth-year classified as a midlevel associate.
Today, the Legal Intelligencer reports that the Reed Smith plan will also include a cut in associate salaries and billing rates:
Reed Smith has cut starting salaries by about 20 percent for the 51 first-year associates set to start in January and, in turn, is cutting their billing rates by the same margin.
You can read the full Reed Smith memo about its salary and billing rate reductions after the jump.
Will the Reed Smith system become the template for associate compensation at other firms? Let’s take a look at what Baker Botts is planning.
Poor Carl Levine. His wife has allegedly been having an affair with her psychiatrist since about 2000. And the psychiatrist allegedly had herpes. And allegedly gave Levine’s wife herpes. And now Levine has herpes.
We’ve heard of some off-the-wall psychiatric treatments but this one sounds quite unhealthy.
Now Levine is suing Dr. Robert Werboff for hiding his disease, for knowingly infecting Levine’s wife, for thus knowingly exposing Levine to herpes, and for just being a really bad doctor. According to Levine’s complaint [PDF], he has suffered “severe and permanent physical, emotional and mental distress” and “anguish, humiliation, embarrassment, fright, shock, pain, discomfort, and anxiety and has suffered permanent injuries and damages.”
Back in September, we mentioned that interviewees for the DOJ Honors Program were learning of their good fortune. Now the process has proceeded one step further — for some lucky individuals, to completion.
We heard from one offer recipient from the Civil Division, but we suspect this person is not alone. According to the Key Dates section of the Honors Program website, job offers are being extended from November 6 through mid-December 2009. In mid-December, candidates not selected as finalists will be notified.
More info about the process, plus the chance to comment, after the jump.
Hey, have you read Above the Law for like one single minute in the past month? If so, you probably know that we’re having this big blogger conference on March 14th at the Yale Club. Yeah, the Yale Club. You’ll be able to recognize me: I’ll be the only big… blogger guy surreptitiously holding a can of crimson spray-paint.
Speaking of coming, you should come. We’ve got CLE and all that. Click here to buy tickets to get CLE credit for listening to bloggers scream about stuff on the internet.
To refresh your memory, details on the panel that I’m moderating — almost entirely sober, mind you — follow.
My panel is called Blogs as Agents of Change, and we’re going to talk about whether all of these spilled pixels are actually making a difference. You know my view… just ask Lawrence Mitchell, but here are the panelists:
So you spent a considerable amount of time courting, selling and maybe even doing some friendly stalking of that attractive lateral partner candidate with a sizable book. After he or she ignored your emails and didn’t return your calls, a few weeks go by and you read a press release in the legal media announcing the recent move to a competing firm.
Rats. Another one got away from you. You cringe when you consider how much time was spent in meetings that did not bear fruit. Your heart aches when recall how you were led to believe this was a marriage made in heaven.
You have been rejected.
The sting of rejection is painful, even for fancy law firms. But you need to find a way that you can turn this disappointment into a legitimate learning experience.
No, this isn’t a pre-party before we come back next fall for the real thing. This IS the real thing. Quinn Emanuel is pushing the envelope on recruiting. The party is now. This is when you meet the partners and associates face to face. This is when we begin the dance that could land you an offer for your second summer BEFORE school starts in the fall.
First: You come to the party. Second: If you like us, you send your resume after June 1, 2014. Third: If we like each other, you get an offer.
We’re not waiting for fall. We’re not doing the twenty minute thing. This party is the real thing!
We hope you’ll join us, and look forward to meeting you.
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