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  • 14 Dec 2009 at 12:08 PM
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Hope For Mega Bonuses at Latham & Watkins?

Latham Watkins LLP lw logo.jpgThere have not been many bonus surprises this holiday season. Many associates have been disappointed by the meager payouts in comparison to years past. But, truly, the best bonus this year is still having a job.
As far as we know, Latham & Watkins has not yet announced its bonus. An ATL reader spotted a recent Los Angeles Times article that might give Lathamites hope. The article is about luxury shoppers cutting back this year: Rodeo Drive is deserted. The Louis Vuitton and Tiffany & Co. salesclerks are lonely. But there’s at least one big spender doing what he can to support the consumer economy:

“There’s no holding back this season,” said Barneys shopper Mark Flagel, a partner at law firm Latham & Watkins in Los Angeles. “I’m personally hopeful that the mood is better and the economy is better. Because what is there if there isn’t hope?”

Perhaps this philosophy will hold true at the Latham partner meeting to set bonuses this year.
Latham partners like to live large… and tell newspapers about it. Resentful associates might be turned off by this, but isn’t it better to see conspicuous consumption from partners than conspicuous layoffs?
Luxury shoppers still spending, but shelling out less [Los Angeles Times]
Earlier: Lawyerly Lairs: Latham Partner Gives His Wife a Fabulous Paris Pad for Her Birthday

We know how you love caption contests. Just like our last one, which was holiday-themed, this one is also timely.
It goes out to law students in the midst of studying for or taking final exams. Here’s the pic:
Law Studying in the toilet bathroom stall.jpg
Same rules as always: Submit possible captions in the comments. We’ll choose our favorites — with preference given to those with a legal bent — and then let you vote for the best one.
Please submit your entries by TUESDAY, DECEMBER 15, at 11:59 PM. Thanks!
UPDATE: Check out the finalists here.

2009 Associate bonus watch above the law.JPGA funny thing happened on the way to Cravath setting the 2009 Biglaw associate bonus. They didn’t. When Cleary matched Cravath’s bonus, 83% of Above the Law readers said that all other large New York firms would follow Cravath. But 83% of our readers were wrong.
Sullivan & Cromwell topped Cravath’s bonus by $5,000 for senior associates (class of 2002). Sure, it’s only $5,000. But that is $5,000 more than senior associates get for staying at Cravath. Call it a $5,000 retention bonus.
Does Cravath — and all the firms that rushed to follow Cravath — need to go back in and up the bonus payout to its senior people?
More discussion after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Does Cravath Need to Match Sullivan & Cromwell?”

Facebook facestalking face stalking jurors jury.jpg* Jurors friending each other on Facebook and doing Wikipedia research cause mistrials in Maryland. [ABA Journal]
* A candid conversation with Elie Mystal. Bonus: a slideshow! [Legal Broadcast Network]
* University of Massachusetts board ignores Elie’s warning and approves first public law school. [Telegram]
* Blago’s defense attorney gets his stolen laptops back. [Chicagoist]
* “How can we help a 47-year-old female lawyer who is still living with her parents and cannot go anywhere without her mother?” [Boston Globe]
* Freshfields warns that hedge funds will flee Europe. [Financial Times]

pink slip layoff notice Above the Law blog.jpgEd. note: Above the Law has teamed up with Law Shucks, which has done excellent work translating all of the layoff news into user-friendly charts and graphs: the Layoff Tracker.

This recession is turning out to have all of the unemployment and none of the rebound of the recession in the early 1980s. Unemployment is expected to average 10% through the first half of the year, which will stifle any recovery rooted in consumer spending or economic growth.

Still, technical signals indicate the recession is ending, as the US economy grew by 2.8% last quarter and is gaining at a 3% clip this quarter. That rate is also expected to continue through the first half. Fortunately for transactional lawyers, a cause (or effect, depending on whom you ask) for that moderate growth is that lending has started to loosen, which is allowing more deals to get funded. President Obama is also meeting with executives of 12 major banks to see how he can get them to increase lending to small businesses.

Unfortunately, the catalyst for recovery from that early 80s recession isn’t available anymore. Paul Volcker, Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board under Presidents Carter and Reagan, had raised the federal funds rate from 11.2% in 1979 to 20% in June 1981. As he started chopping the rate back down, recovery followed (albeit two years later). Through the first half of 1983, the economy grew by 7.2% and unemployment dropped over all of 1983 from 10.8% to 8.3%.

Bernanke doesn’t have that tool in his toolbox: the current target rate is 0.00-0.25%

Law firms continue to meander along behind the broader economy. After the jump, we highlight their economic efforts over the past week.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “This Week in Layoffs: 12.12.09″

  • 11 Dec 2009 at 6:32 PM
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‘Tis the Season for Mystery Meetings

Seyfarth Shaw logo.jpgEarlier today, we reported on a mystery meeting taking place at K&L Gates next week. Apparently K&L is not alone. Seyfarth Shaw is also calling all of its associates together just before the holidays. Yuletide cheer is sure to follow:

Please join Steve Poor for a national videoconference with all Seyfarth associates on Monday, December 14 at 1p Pacific/3p Central/4p Eastern. Following the videoconference, your Office Managing Partner will facilitate a local discussion to address issues and questions you may have. Please make plans to attend; the total time commitment will be no more than an hour.

Seyfarth gave its associates a little more information about what will go down at the meeting. Details after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “‘Tis the Season for Mystery Meetings”

sonia sotomayor above the law.jpg* What you need to know about Justice Sotomayor. [Jezebel]
* Running makes Lat happy. Is running anything like sitting very still while you smoke cigarettes and watch television? If so, I might have to give this “running” thing a try. [The Happiness Project]
* McDermott Will & Emery partner Lisa Linsky slams the New York State Senate for its anti-gay stance. [Huffington Post]
* Hope springs eternal for J.D.s. Hope is a dangerous thing. [Law and More]
* Should we hold bankers personally liable again? I’m guessing that would be morally satisfying and economically ruinous. [Ideoblog]
* “We grow copious amounts of ganja here, and you’re carrying a wasted girl and a bag of fertilizer. You don’t look like your average horti-f******-culturalist.” [Underdog]

My Job Is Murder.jpgEd. note: Welcome to ATL’s first foray into serial fiction: “My Job Is Murder,” a mystery set in a D.C. appellate boutique. This is the final installment; you can read prior installments here.
Susanna Dokupil can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Facebook.

The loud whack-whack-whack of a helicopter blade caused John, the detective, and Katarina all to look up. It was the police. Someone downstairs had called, Katarina thought excitedly.
“You’re going in for questioning. One way or the other, you assaulted this guy with a poison frog.”
The helicopter landed on the roof.
John panicked and looked over the edge. No sign of Dick. He grabbed his rolled tent and quickly looped its ropes around his body. As John jumped, the detective marveled at how he had made it into a parachute — but it wasn’t effective enough for such a sharp drop.
John landed, but did not move. Clever, but not realistic, thought the detective as he called 9-1-1.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “My Job Is Murder: Of Departures and Denouements”

in the ring.jpgLast month, we spent a week in D.C. doing reporting for “Why Lawyers Make So Much Money,” a piece we — used literally in this case, as it’s bylined by Kash and Lat — wrote for Washingtonian Magazine. We managed to find our way into the office of Robert Bennett, newly arrived at Hogan & Hartson from Skadden Arps. He gave us a tour of his memorabilia, though was miffed when he couldn’t find a photo from a fishing trip with Sandra Day O’Connor. (If you’ve read our piece, this story is a familiar one.)
While we were there, Bennett gave us a signed copy of his autobiography, In The Ring: The Trials of a Washington Lawyer. We mention this not to boast but so as not to run afoul of any blogger disclosure laws.
The book offers a retrospective on Bennett’s star-studded legal career, which includes stints as special counsel to the Senate during the Keating Five investigation; as defense attorney for Bill Clinton, Caspar Weingberger, and Judith Miller; and as a partner at Skadden Arps for twenty years, working on white collar crime cases.
A friend told us a story about D.C. power player autobiographies. When they come out, everyone rushes to the book store to get the book… then immediately flips to the index to see if they’re mentioned, and never opens the book again. This friend claims a journalist once put a piece of paper in the middle of a stack of books at the bookstore with his name and number and a message that said, “I don’t think people actually read these. Call me if you did.” Supposedly, his phone never rang.
Well, we did read Bennett’s book. It came out in 2008, so it’s already gone through a round of reviews, but we found it interesting to read in light of his unexpected move from Skadden to Hogan this year. From the tone of the book, one would have thought he was staying at Skadden forever.
We bring you some of the most interesting tidbits and words of wisdom from one of the greats in the legal field, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Advice For Young Lawyers, From Legendary Litigator Bob Bennett”

Congratulations to the two winners of our holiday caption contest, sponsored by Applied Discovery. We gave you this picture:
gift wrapped office.jpg
Almost 5,000 votes later, two winners emerged. Check them out, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “A Holiday-Themed Caption Contest: The Winner”

The Tenth Justice Fantasy SCOTUS League.jpgEd. note: ATL has teamed up with FantasySCOTUS, the premier Supreme Court fantasy league. (For more background, check out this WSJ Law Blog post.) On Fridays, the 10th Justice will analyze league voting to predict how the Supreme Court may decide upcoming cases.
Welcome to the third installment of Predictions of the 10th Justice, brought to you by The league has over 2,000 members, who have made predictions on all cases currently pending before the Supreme Court. Recently, Justice Stephen G. Breyer was asked in an interview about His response: “I don’t think I will bet on it.”

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Fantasy SCOTUS from the 10th Justice: Grading Forecasts For The First Four Cases of OT09, Plus Prediction Tips”

As some of you know, I like television shows about lawyers. Granted, I liked them a lot better before I knew they were full of crap, but I still like them.
But not like this. This, my friends, is going to suck.

Some complaints after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “New ABC Show About Biglaw”

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