Some of you have been asking for layoff news. Be careful for what you wish for; you might just get it.
There’s not a lot going on these days in terms of lawyer layoffs. The rate of job loss in the broader economy is slowing, and perhaps the legal economy is getting better too.
But we do have a small amount of layoff news to report. In response to ATL inquiries, a spokesperson for the Florida-based firm of Akerman Senterfitt stated that it laid off five associates (out of more than 150 associates at the firm). We heard that first-year associates were affected; the firm confirmed that two out of the five were first-years.
If there’s layoff news at your firm that we’ve missed, please email us. Thanks.
Some of you have been asking for layoff news. Be careful for what you wish for; you might just get it.
How would you like to be the unofficial mascot for that dubious practice known as “sexting”? From ATL associate editor Kashmir Hill, writing over at True/Slant:
Earlier this year, the media went crazy over “sexting.” It has all the elements of a great, salacious, audience-attracting story: flirtation, cell phones, nude photos, and oftentimes, teens….
One of the stations which ran a series of these stories is WLWT in Cincinnati, Ohio. The station repeatedly used a photo of a cell phone with a text to Joanna Argus saying “Hey baby, I got what you want.”
Joanna Argus, an Ohio woman in her late twenties who works as a fundraising consultant, found out about this for the first time when one of her clients called to ask about it. She was shocked, confused, and worried about who else would see it. She complained to the station, and the station’s manager promised it would not happen again. But it did happen again: at least six times over nine months, and was also used as the image for a presentation to a group of high schoolers on the dangers of sexting.
Oy. Argus is now suing the Hearst Corporation, the media conglomerate which owns the television station, for invasion of privacy, defamation, emotional distress, and negligence. (Recent bar exam candidates: feel free to break it down, in the comments.)
We’ll do our part to undo the reputational damage. If you happen to come across her name or photo, or if you meet her in person, please know that poor Joanna Argus has nothing to do with “sexting.”
A reputation nightmare: Becoming the ‘sexting’ mascot [True/Slant]
Last month’s open thread on transfer students proved very popular. It generated surprisingly substantive commentary, full of helpful advice (and the usual law student status anxiety).
Since then, we’ve received several requests for more coverage of this constituency. So we thought we’d revisit the subject of transfer students and transfer applications.
With on-campus interviewing (OCI) fast approaching, it’s a timely topic. A transfer-student tipster tells us:
The beginning to middle of August would be a good time [to talk about transfer applications]. Transfer applicants are either going to find out soon or will just have, so stress will be high for them. OCI bids will either have just gone in or will be going in, so the “legitimate” students (my name for kids that do well on the LSAT) will chime in with frustration and hatred towards transfers.
C’mon, guys — don’t hate, appreciate!
Do the “legitimate” students hate transfers out of fear? Let’s explore this theory.
Ed. note: Have a question for next week? Send it in to email@example.com.
I’m a first year at a BigLaw firm. From the looks of things, I’m not going to make my minimum billable hours this year by a significant margin (>200 hours). It’s not for lack of trying; there’s just not enough work, and any work available is being hoarded.
My last performance review happened before the work drought, and it was excellent. My next performance review won’t happen for a few months. Assuming it is hopeless to bill more hours, (1) what will happen to me, (2) when will it happen, and (3) what should I do? Should I start looking for another job immediately? Should I bum around and wait until my performance review? Will I be fired or laid off with severance?
Dear Celestine Prophecy,
I don’t know what will happen to you, and your firm may not either, at this point. If your firm is a jerk hat, they’ll fire you for “performance,” following which you’ll tip off ATL, the firm will not respond to media inquiries, and we’ll write a story about stealth layoffs. If your firm is nice, they’ll either pardon your low hours or lay you off with some severance and send a duly mournful “personnel adjustment” announcement to ATL that reads like an obituary. Is your firm a good witch or a bad witch? You would know best.
Starting to look for jobs now definitely seems like a terrific and worthwhile endeavor. While you’re at it, keep your eyes peeled for Curly’s Gold and pieces of the True Cross.
To address your most fundamental “what should I do?” question, there’s not much you can do at this point to affect whatever fate has in store for you. Everyone deals with feelings of despair and helplessness differently, but I recommend Full Catastrophe Living, Peter Cetera, Nordic Naturals Fish Oil with Lemon and loitering at Bath & Body Works to smell the new soap flavors.
Keep a stiff upper lip, as my dad would say. Layoffs have been slowing down for a while now. I think you’ll be ok.
After the jump, something really strange happens. And not in a good way.
A U.S. House member wants Bank of America to turn over extensive documentation relating to its Merrill Lynch deal (with a focus on lossess and loss projections at Merrill). We wonder which law firm is representing B of A in this matter — there’s nothing like a good old-fashioned congressional investigation to get the billable-hour engines revving.
Read more and discuss over at Dealbreaker.
In A Surprising Twist, Lawmakers Focus On The BAC/ML Merger [Dealbreaker]
Yesterday we wrote about Gina Rubel’s suggestion in the Legal Intelligencer that law firms namechecking multiple founding partners drop a few for shorter, easier, and more memorable names. ATL readers who voted in our poll were split down the middle on whether bigger is better. Over 800 votes were cast: 52% said they like a short firm… name and 48% said they prefer it long.
Davis Polk & Wardwell spokesperson ATL commenter pointed out that the firm recently trimmed its name (in connection with its hottie-friendly website revamp):
DavisPolk has just changed its name for marketing purposes and has dropped Wardwell out – mention of DPW should have been made in this article. I am disappointed.
In yesterday’s post, we took the shortening advice a step further and suggested firms cut their names down to a couple of syllables, like Morrison & Foerster’s embracing the name MoFo. We recommended a few other (humorous) possibilities: ClearGo, SuCro, CoBu, WilCo, etc. As
sometimes happens usual, ATL readers impressed us and made us chuckle with some of their responses. We’ve culled the over 100 comments for the best suggestions; here are our top ten favorites:
10. Haynes & Boone = HayBoo
9. Fulbright & Jaworski = FulJaw
8. Sullivan & Cromwell should change its name to “Sully”. It would make it sound more “heroic”.
7. King & Spalding = KingS
6. Willkie Farr & Gallagher = WILF
* Class action wants cancer warning on hot dogs. [Courthouse News Service]
* Sonia Sotomayor, confirmed to the Supreme Court by the Senate yesterday, will be sworn in on Saturday at SCOTUS rather than at the White House. [National Law Journal]
* “If even a famous lawyer gets arrested, what can we ordinary little people do?” [Los Angeles Times]
* Brown stains on your teeth may just mean that your mouthwash is working. A Michigan lawyer suing Procter & Gamble says he wanted fresh breath without the stains. [Associated Press]
* Traffic laws must be upheld, even if you’re breastfeeding. [City Room/New York Times]
* Another skirmish in the DOJ’s war on online gambling. A Canadian man is indicted for laundering as much as $565 million in gambling payments through phony companies. [Threat Level/Wired]
The latest edition of the highly influential Vault law firm rankings will be coming out any day now. Participating firms have been notified in advance of how they fared this year — and some of them are already tooting their own horns.
For example, Ropes & Gray sent around an internal email touting its being named Vault’s #1 Best Firm to Work For. Congratulations, Ropes!
Congratulations are also in order for Bingham McCutchen. From the firm’s press release:
Bingham’s ranking jumped significantly in diversity and overall scores in the 2010 Vault ratings, the firm’s best year to date.
In the overall Best Firms to Work For category, Bingham broke into the Top 10 at No. 6 in the 2010 rankings…. In the 2010 Prestige category, which ranks firms based on the evaluations of associates from other law firms, Bingham rose seven slots to No. 56.
Bingham’s rank also rose in every category related to diversity in the 2010 Vault rankings. The firm placed in the Top 20 in the Diversity Women category at No. 15. It also rose from No. 16 to No. 11 in the Diversity Gay & Lesbian category, and climbed from No. 16 to No. 12 in the Overall Diversity category.
Do you know how your firm fared in the soon-to-be-released Vault rankings? Do you have an opinion on how it should have done?
Feel free to discuss, in the comments. Of course, when the new Vault rankings are officially released, we will bring you more coverage. Thanks.
* Prestige whores, rejoice! Harvard University is coming out with its own men’s fashion line. [Fashionista]
* Clerquette’s entertaining take on today’s Sotomayor confirmation vote. [Underneath Their Robes]
* A depressing thought: Is business school even less useful than law school? [Adam Smith, Esq.]
* Speaking of law school, if you’re a legal academic — current or aspiring — check out this very interesting post by Professor Paul Horwitz, “On Writing ‘Small.’” [PrawfsBlawg]
* If Facebook offered Shepardizing (or KeyCite, for the youngsters among you). [Courtoons]
* Are the Big Four accounting firms following in the footsteps of Biglaw, by freezing or cutting salaries? [Going Concern]
* Well, being an underpaid accountant beats being an imprisoned one. [Going Concern]
Earlier today, we wrote about Schiff Hardin sending a mass e-mail to its retired partners letting them know that they were being moved to temporary offices during a renovation of the firm’s Chicago office. The e-mail read as if the partners were not getting their own offices upon their return and were being asked to cut back their time at the office.
Schiff got in touch with us this afternoon with an update. Despite the language in the e-mail, in fact, all special partners will be getting their own offices when renovations are complete, according to Schiff’s spokesman. They just won’t be in the same offices as before. There will be no change in the partners’ status with the firm, he added.
Schiff’s spokesman could not explain why the e-mail read like a dismissal letter.
The Career Center, powered by Lateral Link, saw record numbers of users in July, and a new firm is at the top of the charts in the ATL-LL Top 20. With hiring picking up and on-campus recruiting getting underway, we wanted to remind you about all the useful information that we have compiled over on the Career Center. In each firm snapshot you will find information about compensation, billable hours, facetime and vacation policies, pro bono work, partnership prospects, benefits and the overall associate experience. In addition, in the coming weeks we will be adding new information about the summer program based on our survey of 2009 Summer Associates (you can still add your two cents, by clicking here).
Now on to the ATL-LL Top 20 — the most requested firms from the across the nation for the month of July.
Taking the crown for July is: Davis Polk & Wardwell. No doubt the news of Davis Polks recent (website) facelift boosted your curiosity about the quality of life for all those hard workin’ hotties.
In the number two spot, crowd favorite Skadden Arps — but this month Skadden trails far behind Davis Polk.
Coming in third, DLA Piper, a firm that made headlines in July when it changed up its summer program, pulled out of Duke, and cut over 100 people from its payroll.
Rounding out the top 20 are some regular fan favorites and some new names. Check them out, after the jump.
The U.S. Senate is now voting on the nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor (2d Cir.) to serve as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.
Senator Al Franken presiding. It’s interesting and weird to see him in this role. Are we watching an SNL skit?
The normally empty Senate chamber is full. The senators are sitting at attention, looking like dutiful students.
The clerk is calling the roll. She refers to Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) as “Mrs. Boxer,” and she does the same for several other married female senators (e.g., “Mrs. Gillibrand,” “Mrs. Hutchison,” etc.). It’s kinda cool, in an old-school sort of way.
Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) doesn’t vote — he’s absent from the Senate, due to illness — but he has expressed his support for Judge Sotomayor.
Senator Franken asks if any senator who has not already voted wishes to vote, or if any senator who has voted wishes to change her vote. Going once, going twice….
FINAL VOTE TALLY: 68-31, in favor of the nomination. Nine Republicans joined 59 Democrats to vote in favor of confirmation.
CONGRATULATIONS, JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR!!!
P.S. Okay, she’s not technically a justice yet — but she will be soon, once Chief Justice Roberts administers the oath of office. Hopefully JGR will do it better this time.
Update: Clerquette has more discussion over at Underneath Their Robes.