Happy Valentine’s Day!
* Miss Brazil wins lawsuit competition. [CNN]
* ABA: Pay the judges! [Law.com]
* Cheney and Libby will not testify in CIA leak trial. [CNN]
* What makes a good or bad law school exam answer? [Volokh]
Happy Valentine’s Day!
We have more associate base salary information, from different Dechert offices around the country, to share with you. Alas, these pay scales aren’t as interesting as the Dechert DC memo, which announced what one commenter described as “a caste system” within that office.
But some of you did request compensation information for Dechert offices other than D.C. and Philadelphia. So here it is.
Check out the tables, if you’re interested, after the jump.
Yesterday we announced our next hotties contest here at Above the Law: Law Librarians!!!
If there’s a hot legal librarian that you’d like to nominate, we are now accepting your submissions. To learn about how to make a nomination, please click here.
Since we announced the contest yesterday, nominees have been rolling in like book carts. We think you’ll be quite impressed by the final slates of candidates.
We did want to clarify one thing about the contest. It is open to ALL attractive law librarians — whether they’re at law schools, private law firms, courthouses, or any other law-related workplace. There was some language in the original post, since removed, that erroneously indicated that the contest was restricted to “law school librarians.” This is NOT the case.
As for how the language wound up there, it was through careless cutting and pasting. Just like transactional lawyers, we bloggers rely upon “precedents” — past documents that we adapt or crib from to make new ones. For the post announcing the law librarian hotties contest, we lifted some boilerplate from our prior contest for hot law school deans. We removed the word “dean,” but we accidentally left in the word “school.”
Hence the confusion, for which we apologize. Consider this a cautionary tale about the perils of ctrl-C, ctrl-V.
Earlier: Above the Law Hotties: Law Librarians!
Love is in the air. (It’s tomorrow, so get on those plans already!)
* You can imagine management pressing office couples for more detailed descriptions of their amorous couplings during drafting of “love contracts”…you know, like the usual corporate due diligence, which I know always gets me off. [Los Angeles Times]
* You’ve heard it a million times, that law school is a redux of high school, but this law student went to an actual prom a mere 10 months ago, so he has some fresh tips on how to ask that cutie from Con Law to the Barrister’s Bash (and this time, not get rejected). [TJs Double Play]
* Sometimes, you try to spread a little love, but you just end up here. Or here. Or here. (Can you imagine if this site had existed when Bill was governor?) And with no recourse to a libel suit. Yup, love bites. [San Francisco Chronicle]
* Who knew that the age of consent in Thailand is 20 years old? And that one-third of Thai teenage girls don’t find losing one’s virginity on V-Day cheesy? (No word on how romantic they’d find prom night.) [AFP via Yahoo! News]
* Florida’s code of conduct now explicitly forbids sexual harassment, and encourages horny judges to deal with any urge that may arise within the confines of those voluminous robes. I’m paraphrasing. [Sun-Sentinel]
* In India, “irreconcilable differences” is just code for “my wife wouldn’t make me tea.” [New Kerala]
* Expect loads of these seasonal surveys tomorrow, but wonder who in your office has really had sex against the vending machine. Or don’t, if you have really unattractive colleagues. [Workplace Prof Blog]
The interesting comment thread to our recent post about the Seyfarth Shaw memo — aka “We’re on the List of Shame, and We’re Telling You We’re Not Going” — reminded us of something we meant to link to earlier.
It’s an article, from this month’s ABA Journal, reporting the results of a survey of young lawyers. The survey focused on the trade-off between compensation and billable hours — in other words, money versus lifestyle. Here’s a summary of the results:
[I]f associates were given an opportunity to work—and earn—a little bit less, would they?
Yes, say an overwhelming number of young lawyers who participated in an unscientific online survey conducted by the ABA Journal in November. Respondents identified themselves as associates.
Of the 2,377 respondents who answered all or part of the survey, 84.2 percent indicated they would be willing to earn less money in exchange for lower billable-hour requirements.
A sizable minority of associates are looking for a big workload cut—31.9 percent of respondents favored a 20 percent reduction in billable hours. That was followed by a 10 percent cut in hours (chosen by 27.8 percent of respondents), a 15 percent cut (14.3 percent), a 25 percent reduction (13.5 percent) and a 5 percent cut (4.3 percent).
Heck, who wouldn’t want to work less? But the survey respondents were willing to put their money where their mouths are:
A majority of respondents—no matter how much less they wanted to work—were willing to accept a pay cut equal to the percentage reduction in their workload. (Though 15.1 percent of those looking for a 20 percent cut in billable hours would be willing to sacrifice 25 percent or 30 percent of their pay for less time at work.)
Could we see a significant rise in either true lifestyle firms, or lifestyle tracks at Biglaw firms — where associates work (and earn) less than the average Biglaw lawyer? It’s doubtful:
[P]artners and consultants say no to the idea, for the most part.
“I don’t think this would work if you want to have a very successful firm,” says Carl A. Leonard, former chairman of Morrison & Foerster. “The world has always been competitive, and it just gets more so.”
These sentiments are echoed by Paul Irving, chairman of Manatt Phelps & Phillips:
[L]owering billable-hour requirements for all his associates, [Irving] says, would not work. The firm has a starting annual salary of $145,000 and a billable-hours requirement of 2,000 hours a year.
“Our experience is that, for the most part, the people we recruit are looking for top compensation and a highly engaging work experience.”
Referring to billing 2,000+ hours, on things like document review or due diligence, as a “highly engaging work experience”? That takes the prize for our “Euphemism of the Day.”
(And that’s no mean feat. The Seyfarth Shaw memo is FULL of great doublespeak.)
The Ultimate Time-Money Trade-off [ABA Journal]
Earlier: Skaddenfreude: Seyfarth Shaw Makes Itself At Home on the List of Shame
- Bad Ideas, Biglaw, Crime, Insider Trading, O'Melveny & Myers, Securities and Exchange Commission, Thacher Proffitt & Wood, Wall Street, White-Collar Crime
Via our financially-minded big sibling, Dealbreaker, we just learned about an interesting (and bizarre) insider trading case. It’s about a family that set up its own hedge fund in order to trade on insider information.
And as it turns out, a friend of ours appears to be involved. From today’s CCH Wall Street:
The SEC has charged an entire family and two associates with conducting an insider trading scheme that illegally created more than $3.7 million in profits.
The Commission has charged Zvi Rosenthal of Tenafly, New Jersey, and former Vice President of Israeli-based Taro Pharmaceuticals with providing nonpublic information regarding pending FDA drug approvals and earnings statements to his sons.
The SEC has also charged the sons, Amir Rosenthal, 29, and Ayal Rosenthal, 26, both of New York, New York, and Oren Rosenthal, 31, of Los Angeles, California. It has also charged Amir Rosenthal with providing the nonpublic information to his father-in-law, Bahram Delshad, his work supervisor, Young Kim, and his best friend, David Heyman.
All of the defendants allegedly used the tip-offs to illegally trade ahead of eight Taro earnings announcements and five FDA drug approval announcements from at least 2001 through 2005, the SEC charged.
As noted by Best In Class, several of the defendants are Biglaw lawyers. Amir Rosenthal was an associate at Thacher Proffitt & Wood, where he worked in the Structured Finance Group under co-defendant Young Kim.
We don’t know Young Kim or Amir Rosenthal. But we do know Oren Rosenthal, who we can say from personal knowledge is a very nice, smart, and attractive fellow. He struck us as a truly decent person. We were shocked to see his name in the SEC press release.
(We met Oren when he was an associate in the New York office of O’Melveny & Myers; he subsequently relocated to the firm’s Los Angeles office. Oren’s bio has disappeared from the OMM website, but you can see it here via Google Cache. One irony is that Oren specialized in white collar criminal defense.)
In addition to the SEC proceedings, criminal cases have been brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York. Four of the seven SEC defendants were charged criminally, and those defendants — Zvi Rosenthal, his sons Ayal and Amir (the former TPW associate), and David Heyman — have pleaded guilty.
Random factoid: Amir Rosenthal is represented in the criminal proceedings by Paul Shechtman. Schechtman is a name partner at Stillman, Friedman & Shechtman — Charles Stillman’s firm, now representing Sullivan & Cromwell in the Brokeback Lawfirm matter.
Insider Trading: It’s A Family Affair! [DealBreaker]
The “Family Business” Built on Insider Trading [Best in Class / Garden City Group]
The Family That Trades on Inside Information Together Goes to Jail Together [White Collar Crime Prof Blog]
SEC Charges Family with Insider Trading Scheme [CCH Wall Street]
Former Thacher Proffitt Associate Admits Role in Insider Trading Scheme [New York Law Journal]
SEC Charges Family-Run Hedge Fund With a $3.7 Million Insider Trading Scheme [SEC.gov]
The buck — or bucks, as the case may be — had to stop somewhere. And one would expect it to stop well before Seyfarth Shaw, the lowest-ranked law firm on our LIST OF SHAME.
(It’s #100 on the Vault 100 list, but higher on the AmLaw 100 — #66.)
Recently the firm sent around a memo indicating that they won’t be moving off the List of Shame, at least for the time being. Check it out, along with our commentary, after the jump.
- Aaron Charney, Biglaw, Charles Stillman, Daniel Alterman, Fashion, Gay, Herbert Eisenberg, Laura Schnell, Pictures, Sullivan & Cromwell
60 Centre Street, home to the New York State Supreme Court, where Aaron Charney and Sullivan & Cromwell did battle last week.
Last Thursday, we trekked up to New York City, to cover a hearing in the cases of Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell and Sullivan & Cromwell v. Charney (collectively, “Brokeback Lawfirm”).
We took a bunch of pictures. We previously posted some of them over here.
Now we deliver the rest of our photos. They appear after the jump.
We agree that federal judicial pay needs to rise. But despite our sympathy for the cause, we’re getting tired of hearing about the need to raise salaries for federal judges. (The latest voice to weigh in on the debate, former Federal Reserve Chair Paul Volcker, is pretty random.)
So enough about federal judicial compensation. What about salaries for state court judges?
Yes, sometimes we poke good-natured fun at members of state judiciaries. But in all seriousness, state judges play a crucial role in the administration of justice — in the aggregate, arguably a larger role than federal judges (including the Supremes).
Many state court judges work long hours and perform excellent work on the bench. Many are widely admired for their diligence and their competence. And yet their pay, like that of federal judges, ain’t so hot.
Consider this email, which we publish with her permission, from the Honorable Emily Jane Goodman, a justice of the New York Supreme Court:
From: Emily Goodman
Sent: Monday, February 12, 2007 11:49 AM
To: AboveTheLaw Tips
Cc: Justice Emily Goodman
Subject: AboveTheLaw Tip
About the LIST OF SHAME, why not mention the salaries of NYS judges (of which I am one)?
Emily Jane Goodman
This message may have been intercepted and read by government agencies including the FBI, CIA, NSA without notice or warrant or knowledge of sender or recepient.
(By the way, we love that little disclaimer at the end about warrentless communications monitoring.)
We followed up with Justice Goodman, who offered some additional thoughts:
[A] NYS Supreme Court justice is paid $136,700 per year. We have not had a raise in 8 or 9 years; we’ve had only 2 in 2 decades! There are no COLAS, no bonuses, no outside employment. (Compare and contrast with a first year associate — you do the math!)
This is indeed troubling. Remember Dan Alterman’s estimate of $47,000, for the value of the billable hours spent on the Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell hearing — in New York Supreme Court, of all places? Two days’ worth of such hearings — a morning hearing, and an afternoon one — would easily eclipse the annual salary of the jurist hearing the case.
More from Justice Goodman on state judicial pay, after the jump.
Yesterday we posted ATL’s official LIST OF SHAME. The table showed which major law firms have not yet stepped up to the plate in terms of raising base salaries for their associates.
Posting the list had what highfalutin legal academics call an “information-forcing effect.” We received a bunch of emails from firms that we hadn’t previously confirmed, attaching pay raise announcements, and requesting prompt removal from the LIST OF SHAME.
So the List has thinned out quite a bit. Courtesy of ATL’s unofficial research assistant, commenter Wasting Time:
“Dropping Wachtell and Boies (which are understood to be at or above market), here’s the updated List of Shame of Vault 100 firms with NY offices with more than 10 associates.”
40. Baker Botts
43. Baker & McKenzie
50. Fulbright & Jaworski
58. Vinson & Elkins
70. Hunton & Williams
75. Nixon Peabody
77. Bryan Cave
82. Reed Smith
83. Dorsey & Whitney
90. Baker & Hostetler
91. Thelen Reid
92. Mintz Levin
95. Dickstein Shapiro
98. Kelley Drye
100. Seyfarth Shaw
Additional lists appear after the jump.
Since last week’s hearing, things have been quiet on the Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell front. Perhaps the parties are working diligently towards a settlement.
But the airwaves aren’t completely dead. We have more coverage on the way, including additional photographs and the long-awaited fashion write-up. And here are recent news and blog items from elsewhere on the internet:
1. Web Week [TheLawyer.com]
Second item. Includes a shout-out to ATL.
2. Associates’ Pay Up, Partners’ Profits Down? [Daily Intelligencer / New York Magazine]
The first link is about Brokeback Lawfirm (and it links to ATL). The next two links — about a Thacher Proffitt & Wood associate pleading guilty to insider trading, and about the impact of associate pay raises upon partner profits — are worth checking out, too.
3. White Shoe Bias Case Escalates [Gay City News]
Not much new in this article; it’s just a recap. Describes the Jack Scheich controversy as follows:
“Scheich’s departure [from LeGal] came in response to an uproar, much of it originating on Internet blogs, over comments he made to ABC News…”
“Internet blogs.” What other kind are there?
4. Why the Interest in Charney v Sullivan & Cromwell? [Soloway; Soloway - Continued]
“The answer is I suppose, first and foremost, that Aaron Charney could be any one of us. As a gay lawyer, I cannot walk away from the ABC v S&C v ABC case(s) without understanding for myself what is going on here….”
“Having worked so diligently, for so many years to achieve professional success, the coveted position of M&A Associate at one of the world’s most prestigious law firms, it is difficult to imagine that [Charney] would be so imprudent as to throw it all away on a lawsuit if did not feel strongly that he was treated egregiously, and that a legal remedy existed for the misconduct alleged.”
More to come; check back soon.
Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of Brokeback Lawfirm (scroll down)
- 7th Circuit, Dahlia Lithwick, Death Penalty, Feeder Judges, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Law Firm Mergers, Money, Morning Docket
* Dahlia Lithwick on SCOTUS and the death penalty. [Slate]
* A panel of the Seventh Circuit is made up entirely of Sixth Circuit judges sitting by designation. Of course, recusal seems to make sense when the defendant plotted to attack the Seventh Circuit’s courthouse. [How Appealing]
* Novak testifies: he got the info from Armitage and Rove. [CNN]
* Pay the judges! [WSJ Law Blog]
* I’ve my got my mind on my merger and my merger’s on my mind. [Law.com]