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eapd no offers but fair.JPGOne of these days, I’m going to be able to lead off with some good news for attorneys or support staff. But it is not this day.

Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge has confirmed layoffs of a number of support staffers:

We have been engaged in a long-term review of our cost structure and due to improvements and efficiencies with our technology and processes, we determined that lower staffing levels are appropriate.

Meeting and exceeding our clients’ needs remains our top priority. We, like other law firms and businesses, continually strive to best position the firm. We felt it necessary to take proactive measures to align our talent with our client needs

We understand that 50 staffers were laid off: 25 from the Boston office, and 25 across all other EAPD offices. The firm said that no associates were laid off as part of this long-term review.

The firm could not provide us with information about the severance package offered to staff.

Some EAPD back story after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Staff Layoffs at Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge
These Things Never Happen On Boston Legal”

Larry Johnson.jpg* Felons can join the Army but not the New York police force. But New York State Supreme Court Judge Henry Kron wants to change that rule for Afghanistan war veteran, Osvaldo Hernandez, who served a year on Rikers Island for gun possession before joining the Army. [New York Times]

* Former O’Melveny & Myers partner Ron Klain (a.k.a. Kevin Spacey in Recount) is Joe Biden’s pick for chief of staff. [Politico]

* Woman suing Kansas City Chief running back Larry Johnson (not Grandmama). After she rejected his advances, he allegedly spit his drink in her face, threatened her life, and ordered his bodyguards to administer a beatdown. [Courthouse News Service]

* Mormons, Prop 8, and an unidentified white, powdery substance. [Los Angeles Times]

* New North Carolina senator is not a sore winner. Senator-elect Kay Hagan drops her suit against Senator-not-for-long Elizabeth Dole. Hagan had sued for defamation after Dole ran a TV ad accusing her of being “godless.” [CNN]

* Skadden sues Thelen. [American Lawyer]

New York Statue of Liberty.jpgNew York first-year associates have been driving us insane with their anticipation of bar exam results being posted this week.

The moment has finally come. Results are up as of 9 a.m. today. Unfortunately, the overeager result seekers seem to have overwhelmed the page. It is down as of 9:14 a.m.

We hope all the gunners who have been clogging our inbox achieve the ultimate bliss of passage today.

Voyeurs have to wait until Monday for the results to go public.

Earlier: Prior ATL Coverage of Bar Exams

Howrey logo.JPGThe Recorder is reporting that Howrey will take on 40 lawyers from Thelen’s prestigious San Francisco construction practice:

The group — which Howrey characterized as “most of the construction practice” from Thelen — includes Thelen Chairman Stephen O’Neal, construction practice head John Heisse II, D.C. office managing partner Andrew Ness, San Francisco partner David Buoncristiani (who handles matters for client Bechtel), Los Angeles partner Robert Thum and D.C. partner David Dekker. Most of the 18 partners and about 25 associates and of counsel are in San Francisco and D.C., and the rest are in New York and Los Angeles.

Hmm… Thelen attorneys, Chairman Stephen O’Neal, Howrey — where have I heard that before?

Oh yeah! You’ll remember that the Recorder initially broke the story on O’Neal’s flirtations with Howrey.

Immediately after Thelen dissolved, we mentioned possible options for the firm:

Option 1 is the plan they have arguably been pursuing: breaking up the firm practice group by practice group to interested parties. As we reported yesterday, this is the best option to save associate jobs. However, that plan is dependent on Thelen’s banks signing-off on the plan and maintaining their line of credit. Did Stephen O’Neal’s aggressive and ultimately public pursuit of his own lifeboat at Howrey scuttle that option? Once everybody is told that the managing partner could be leaving in ten days, why would other potential suitors compete for full Thelen practice groups? Instead, it’s easier to wait for an official dissolution and cherry-pick the rainmakers. This is what happened to Heller.

I’ll pause until the Thelen people stop screaming and hitting things.

Read about other Thelen landing places, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Howrey and Reed Smith: Latest Beneficiaries of Thelen’s Shutdown”

Lady and the tramp.JPG* The Disney-induced anthropomorphism of pets and the stunning decline in standards for law schools has come to its logical conclusion. There’s now a dog with a J.D. [Legal Blog Watch]

* Lawyers are rats! But only in Canada. [Law is Cool]

* Somebody did actual research to determine that “narcissists” lead most major law firms? Next, somebody should study whether lawyers are “risk-averse” or “risk-loving?” [ABA Journal]

* Morgan Stanley memo warning employees not to leak Morgan Stanley memos is leaked by Morgan Stanley employee to Dealbreaker. Because that’s just how Bess rolls in the 2-1-2. [Dealbreaker]

* Counteroffers are a bad idea. Just ask the experts. [Lateral Link]

skirt above the knee.jpgIf all the news about lawyer layoffs has gotten you thinking about career alternatives, here’s a business idea for you. From the ABA Journal:

Being well-dressed costs money. But for a lawyer, looking tailored and professional in an attractive, well-fitting suit is a worthwhile investment, Tony and Tara Costanzo say.

That message has put the 30-something married couple in business, helping several hundred clients including numerous lawyers in the New York area, order the right clothes without ever having to shop for them….

The Costanzas will meet busy clients as and where needed, and once held a clothing consultation in a courthouse restroom. Then they order the right clothes, in the right size. Ready-made suits start at just under $500; custom-made suits begin at close to $1,000 for men and $1,500 for women.

In the middle of a recession, the Costanzos — no relation to George — somehow have hordes of poorly-dressed attorneys willing to pay exorbitant prices for consultations in courthouse lavatories. When the going gets tough, the tough get new wardrobes.

Our tipster remains skeptical:

It seems as though the fashion bar would be much lower these days. After all, your adversaries are probably so worried about losing their jobs that they are likely to be wearing last year’s fashions — or other horrifyingly dated apparel, like a suit from back in the days when men were boldly exploring “skinny pants.”

I have a better idea: let’s take Michelle Obama’s self-congratulatory lead and start a recession-friendly wardrobe consulting business, to dress the desperate — but still fashion-conscious — in bargain finds from J. Crew and the Gap.

We leave you with a fashion tip for these troubled times: when it comes to skirt length, go long.

(Or maybe not? See these musings from our little sibling site, Fashionista.)

Consultant Helps Harried Lawyers Avoid Attorney Wardrobe Malfunctions [ABA Journal]

Attorney Wardrobe Malfunctions: Experts Offer Tips on Debugging the Dress Code [ (registration required)]

Costanzo Clothiers [official website]

Sager UT Law.JPGThe University of Texas School of Law (tied for 16th on your U.S. News scorecards) is apparently not content with their status. They want to be elite. “They’re smart, not dumb, like everybody thinks. They’re smart and they want respect Michael!”

They think they’ve found just the right person to take them to the next level: Dean Lawrence Sager has promised to add $200 million to the UT-Law endowment by 2014. That would nearly double the school’s current endowment, according to the Austin-American Statesman.

Sager, 67, was recruited to UT in 2002 in part for his prowess in building a law school’s reputation from the ground up — something he did in his previous job at New York University’s law school. That reputation is packaged, almost disguised, by a disarming personality as exuberant as the tangled head of hair that often looks as if it will take flight. Law school staffers say they love his frequently wicked humor.

Hair and humor is all good, but $200 million? In this market? It sounds like a tough sell.

And the reason for this push, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Would You Give This Man $200 Million? Texas Is Counting On It.”

law firms screwed.JPGPartners at top D.C. firms are worried that they might not be getting bonuses this year, just like associates. The Washingtonian reports that management might not be able to reward their partners as they have in years past:

Usually firm managers try to lowball revenue estimates and then surprise partners with a bigger-than-expected bonus. That final paycheck will come after the first of the year, after all bills and accounts for 2008 are tallied. Many law firms are worried that adjustments will be small or that revenues will not make the estimates. So end-of-the year cost cutting has been rampant.

If associates could get squeezed out of a bonus for simply doing all the work that came across their desk, then we hope partners aren’t expecting huge payouts for bringing in barely enough rain to fill a shot glass.

It’s fashionable to call associates greedy, entitled, warm buckets of spit whenever the markets tank. But now some partners are complaining about not being able to retire to their golden encrusted nursing homes as they had planned.

Firm leaders say that some partners scheduled to retire late this year have postponed their plans because of drops in the value of their IRAs and other retirement vehicles.

Are we living in a bizzaro-world where the pain will be spread evenly between partners and associates? Read more after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Washington Partners are Worried About Profits”

Orrick Herrington Sutcliffe LLP Above the Law blog.JPGWe received reports this morning that Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe was planning to make deep cuts into their structured finance, real estate and corporate departments.

We’ve been able to confirm that Orrick is laying off 40 associates and 35 staff members today. The structured finance and real estate departments are expected to be the hardest hit. Associates were notified by chairman Ralph Baxter via email (which included a video).

Despite Orrick’s refusal to respond to our multiple requests for comment all morning, we can also report that displaced attorneys are getting two weeks notice plus five months severance. That is better than the severance package offered by White & Case on Tuesday.

Orrick was willing to speak with the WSJ Law Blog. The firm told the WSJ that they tried to avoid cutbacks for as long as possible:

Throughout 2008, we have done all we could to avoid today’s action: we have redeployed lawyers to different practices and we have cut expenses. Unfortunately, our staffing levels in the affected practices still remained too high given the economic environment our clients and we face.”

While the firm contends that these moves were taken solely in response to the economic crisis, a tipster tells us that the real reason was “to maintain PPP [profits per partner] of $1.5 million in 2009.”

So sad — and surprising. Orrick, you might remember, was one of the first major firms to raise associate salaries to $160K outside of New York. After Orrick moved, the rest of California followed: Latham, Gibson, OMM, even Thelen (kind of).

Just last month, we reported on how some firms (including Orrick) were using the market downturn as an opportunity to acquire productive lawyers and good clients. Baxter was highlighted in the WSJ article. And two weeks ago, Orrick stood behind its previously announced 2008 bonus structure.

But apparently some people had to go. We understand that the layoffs will affect multiple offices.

Update (2 PM): The firm finally sent over its statement. Check it out after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Nationwide Layoff Watch: Orrick Lays Off Attorneys”

Kaye Scholer LLP logo Above the Law legal blog.jpgWe’ve received a ton of comments and many tips that “stealth” layoffs are happening at Kaye Scholer. One commenter claimed:

[S]ince last summer, by my count at least 8 associates left voluntarily, as did 5 paralegals. An additional 8 associates were laid off and 4 paralegals were laid off with them. It seems to me that the fact that none of these paralegals were replaced, coupled with the fact that the only new blood brought into the department were the new 1st years in 2007 and again in 2008 shows that perhaps its the partners that are “dead wood” and not the people that worked for them.

Another commenter offered these numbers:

I was in the RE practice group. The breakdown of who was let go is as follows (and this does not include those that left voluntarily because they anticipated the coming of Armageddon). Class of:

2006 – (2)

2005 – (2)

2004 – (1)

2001 – (1)

1998 – (1)

Counsel – (1)

and at least 5 paralegals were let go.

I anticipate that the class of 2007 is next to be “reduced,” as there are now no remaining people out of the 5 associates from the class of 2006 and only 1 out of the 4 associates of the class of 2005.

A tipster put it all together like this:

This doesn’t even include those in corporate that were let go… The lit associates, some of whom billed close to 3000 hours last year, have absolutely no work, and are not going to even get close to the 2000 hours needed to make first tier bonus. Word going round is that there will be a mass round of layoffs for the lit people that didn’t get snipped after the first round in May.

What exactly is going on at Kaye Scholer? A response to the rumors by managing partner Barry Willner, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “In This Market: Are You Getting Laid Off or Fired?
A Kaye Scholer Case Study”

tightening the belt.jpgWhen we did our series of Vault 100 open threads in the summer, Biglaw insiders shared insights into office culture, with much touting of work perks at various firms. These days, attorneys can brag if their firms are not among those laying associates off.

Reuters reports on perk cutbacks in the finance world, such as the elimination of business-class travel and free sodas in the office fridge. On ATL, we reported in October that K&L Gates was eliminating ABA dues payments and switching to one-ply toilet paper. (This was followed by news this month of staff layoffs).

A tipster from Kirkland & Ellis tells us the New York office is downsizing breakfast:

i know this is a little obnoxious because lots of other firms don’t have breakfast at all, but we at kirkland ny are pretty proud of our breakfast spreads: tropicana if you get in early enough, bagels, fruit, yogurt, and fancy nature’s path cereals with flax and berries and stuff. so imagine our shock and horror when we saw this hidden away in the weekly memo:


Beginning November 17, the breakfast menu will be changed to fresh fruit and bagels. In order to make sure there is enough for all, additional numbers of each item will be provided. We may find that the ratio of bagels to fruit needs to be adjusted to best meet preferences. Please let Pam Grazia at extension 3179 know if that is the case in the pantry on your floor.

its not the loss of the yogurt and cereal, although that does hurt. its more the sneaky way it was hidden in the memo that nobody reads!

While firms are unlikely to cut back on big perks like parental leave, this is a time for tightening the belt in other areas. We say: Better the loss of the granola than the loss of the librarian.

Are you seeing perk erosion at your firm? What is being cut back? What should be cut back? (Our Kirkland tipster tells us NY associates still get the $350 office art budget.)

Unsold Ferraris, no free drinks as crisis spikes [Reuters]

clerks snowball earth.JPGIn late October, we received this question from a federal clerk:

To date, I’ve seen at least six posts in a series ATL has been doing about firms rescinding unaccepted summer associate offers to 2L’s due to oversubscription of the summer class. I would be interested to know whether firms are actually, or at least contemplating, rescinding unaccepted offers for full-time associate positions that were being held open for former summer associates that are doing judicial clerkships this year?

I have an offer from a biglaw firm and was assured (albeit almost one year ago) that my offer would be held open until I had completed my clerkship and could formally accept. Needless to say, I am getting more than a bit nervous about whether my job will still be waiting for me come September ’09.

At the time, we told the questioner that we hadn’t heard anything like that from any major law firm during this recruiting cycle. Nobody’s going to rescind offers to clerks!

We thought.

We hoped.

Yesterday, we had a couple of interesting conversations with folks over at Wiley Rein. We now believe that the chair of Wiley Rein’s recruiting committee placed a number of phone calls over the weekend to current judicial clerks. The recruiting coordinator was careful to say that Wiley was not “rescinding” offers, but that the clerks should seriously consider looking at other options for full-time employment when their clerkships are up.

More details after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “A Winter of Discontent for Clerks:
Wiley Rein ‘Cold Offers’ Judicial Clerks”

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