Our series on the perks or fringe benefits of large law firm life has become somewhat sporadic, partly because we’ve covered so many of the biggies. To review our past posts, click here, and scroll down.
Today’s perk: prizes for big billers. If you really kill yourself during a particular month, racking up 250 or 300 hours on some monster deal or litigation, do you get rewarded for it? Of course you might see your crazy hours reflected in your year-end bonus check. But might you get some other, non-monetary benefit? (And we’re not counting being able to show up after 10 on the morning after an all-nighter.)
We don’t know if this policy still exists, but a source sent us this interesting information:
When I was at Clifford Chance (f/k/a Rogers & Wells), a legacy Rogers & Wells program was that if you billed 250 in a month, the firm covered dinner for you and a guest (spouse, date, friend, etc…) with no questions asked. It was an amazing program. Historically, the Firm had no limit, but assumed associates would “just exercise the judgment expected of them.”
It worked for years until a few “exceptions” decided to add very, very expensive bottles of wine to their orders. I think eventually the limit was set at $500. I know more than a handful of “superstars” tanked their careers by “not exercising the judgment expected of them” and submitting dinner bills for several thousands of dollars.
Anyone know if Clifford Chance still has this special dinner benefit?
We also hear that at WilmerHale, “super-super high billers” get vacation vouchers. Can anyone confirm and/or provide more details? Update/Correction: Or maybe the WilmerHale workaholics get gift cards? See this comment.
Please discuss, in the comments. Thanks!
It’s September, which means that it’s clerkship application season. According to the law clerk hiring plan — which some judges follow, and some judges don’t — today’s the first day federal judges can call to set up clerkship interviews with current law students.
You can find out where various courts and judges are in the hiring process over at the Clerkship Notification Blog. But they may be having some issues, according to one tipster:
[T]he Clerkship Notification Blog appears to have no posts on it today at all. People on XOXO are saying that the clerkship blog started moderating comments just yesterday, meaning that no comment shows up until the blog owners approve it first. See here and here.
Kind of defeats the whole point of getting information out there quickly, doesn’t it? What the hell are they thinking over there?
The Hostess with the Mostest (Hos), alleged D.C. madam Deborah Jeane Palfrey, continues to make news. First, she’s advancing an interesting new defense. From Big Head DC:
Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the accused “DC Madam,” filed a memo with DC’s U.S. District Court today, detailing her plans to move forward with a “Honey Pot” defense, under the representation of lawyer Montgomery Blair Sibley.
The memo alleges that “the United States Government has been directly or indirectly benefiting from the operation of her service by monitoring her customers and is thus equitably barred from prosecuting her,” according to Sibley.
And government officials were “benefiting from the operation of her service” in other ways, too.
Speaking of which, here’s more bad news for Sen. David Vitter. From the AP:
A former New Orleans prostitute who says she had an affair with Sen. David Vitter has passed a lie-detector test and will provide details of the four-month relationship at a press conference Tuesday, according to Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt.
Wendy Cortez, whose real name is Wendy Ellis, says she had a sexual relationship with Vitter, R-La., in 1999, when he was a state legislator.
Yesterday we posted an open thread on law firms that screw over no-offer lots of their summer associates. This post is about the flip-side: firms that dole out summer associate bonuses.
This topic has been raised by two tipsters, in two different contexts. First, this tipster reports on two firms that pay bonuses to summer associates, regardless of whether you previously summered with them:
I’m just starting to get offers, as callbacks are rolling along. I have offers from Baker Botts and Fulbright & Jaworski, both in Dallas — and both are offering a week’s pay ($3077 and $2700, respectively) as a bonus! Baker pays out on the start date, and Fulbright pays if you spend the first half with them.
And from a second source, news of bonuses paid to 1L summers who return to the same firm:
I received an offer to come back for a second summer at Foley & Lardner… with a catch: If I come back for the whole summer, and do not split or spend time anywhere else, I receive a $5,000 bonus. The bonus pays out when I accept this fall, not next summer. I have no idea if all the offices do this, but I should add that I am not at all in a major market.
Interesting. Are you aware of other firms that either (1) pay bonuses to summer associates or (2) pay bonuses to 1L summer associates who return for a second summer (and don’t split)? Please discuss, in the comments. Thanks. Earlier: Fall Recruiting Open Thread: No-Offer Factories
Yesterday we opined that Judge Laurence H. Silberman would get the Attorney General nomination. Now we take that back.
After our post, a knowledgeable source informed us that Laurence Silberman isn’t interested in the job. A second source, who confirmed Judge Silberman’s lack of interest, added that he might be tougher to confirm that one might expect for a longtime federal judge. See here.
Then we came across this great analysis of the AG situation, by the ever-fabulous Jan Crawford Greenburg. She writes, over at her blog, Legalities:
The White House could announce as early as Wednesday its nominee to replace Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, and former U.S. Solicitor General Theodore Olson has emerged as a leading candidate—despite initial concerns in the administration that he could face a tough confirmation hearing, according to sources close to the process.
Olson, a highly regarded Washington D.C. lawyer, has broad support inside the administration because of his deep experience in the Justice Department in two different presidential administrations. In addition to serving as solicitor general during President Bush’s first term, Olson headed the Office of Legal Counsel during the Reagan Administration.
FLASH: Ted Olson becomes frontrunner for Attorney General, top sources tell DRUDGE REPORT; announcement could be imminent… Developing…
But we’re not so sure. Remember when Edith Brown Clement looked like the frontrunner for the Supreme Court seat vacated by Justice O’Connor? This White House likes surprises.
More discussion, after the jump.
* 9/11 Anniversary coverage. [CNN; New York Times]
* Congress, the rated R version. [CNN Poli. Tic.]
* Americans Break the Law to Visit Cuba. [MSNBC]
* UNH backup QB accused of murder. [SI]
* San Diego archdiocese reaches settlement in abuse cases. [Local News]
We’ve been writing a fairamount about Jeffrey Toobin’s exciting new book, The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court. Its scheduled publication date is September 18, but we’ve gotten our grubby paws on a copy. We’ll have more to say after we’ve read it.
In the meantime, check out this great report from ABC News, which highlights some of the book’s juiciest parts. It mentions the business about a crying Justice Souter, which is already old news, but it also has these tidbits:
* The decision to rush the swearing-in of Justice Clarence Thomas spared the controversial nominee the publication of more embarrassing personal revelations than Anita Hill’s notorious testimony. That same day, three Washington Post reporters were set to write a story about Thomas’ extensive taste for pornography, including accounts from eyewitnesses such as the manager of his local video store. “But since Thomas had been sworn in, the Post decided not to pursue the issue and dropped the story.”
* Former Chief Justice Warren Burger, an Anglophile who collected antiques and fine wines, was so vain that “he placed a large cushion on his center seat on the bench, so he would appear taller than his colleagues.”
* Rehnquist was not impressed with Bill Clinton and his wife. When told that the newly elected president was thinking of nominating Hillary as attorney general, the chief justice quipped, “They say Caligula appointed his horse counsel [consul?] of Rome.”
Plus there’s a great story about the justices trying to get to the Court during a snowstorm — lawlessness and hilarity ensue — and some gossip about Justice Souter’s love life. Read the full article here.
Meanwhile, in other Jeffrey Toobin news, he’s conducting an awesome event later this month at the New Yorker Festival. It’s a conversation about the future of the Supreme Court, featuring two of our favorite members of the Elect: Rachel Brand (OT 2002 / Kennedy) from the right, and Neal Katyal (OT 1996 / Breyer) from the left.
We wouldn’t miss it for the world. If you’d like to attend, ticket information is available here. Tickets to Festival events go on sale at 12 noon E.T. on September 15th, at ticketmaster.com — and they tend to go fast. So mark your calendars! Under the Robes: Secrets of the Supreme Court [ABC News] Rachel Brand, Neal Katyal, and Jeffrey Toobin: The Future of the Supreme Court [New Yorker Festival]
In case you’re not familiar with it, Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione is an intellectual property law firm headquartered in Chicago, with approximately 150 lawyers firmwide. A tipster recently wrote to us: “Word on the street is that Brinks no-offered half their SA class.”
Here’s the posting on Greedy Chicago cited by this source:
To confirm, I was in their 2007 summer class that included 16 people in Chicago, and at least 8 of us, perhaps more, did not get offers to come back. I’m probably biased towards myself, but I can honestly say that the other people who did not get offers are very competent people who worked very hard during the summer.
The reasons that we all received for not receiving offers were absolutely ludicrous and obviously cooked up. What’s worse is that we were all told throughout the summer that we were doing a great job (some of us did not hear a word of “constructive criticism” all summer). A lot of shady stuff took place over the summer, and I’m happy to provide more info to anybody who is interested
From our source: “I want to know what other firms are cutting back!”
You’re not alone! Here’s an open thread for discussion of firms that (1) “no-offered” sizable portions of their summer classes or (2) didn’t extend offers to summer associates for dubious reasons.
Please discuss, in the comments. But please do NOT identify any individual summer associates by name. Thanks. Re: Brinks troubles? [Greedy Chicago / Infirmation]
Just like Justice Anthony Kennedy, Bankruptcy Judge Paul J. Kilburg (S.D. Iowa) does his own internet research. This is a lesson that Peter Cannon, Esq., learned the hard way.
From TaxProf Blog:
Mr. Peter Cannon, a West Des Moines, Iowa attorney, represented Defendant John Petit in an adversary proceeding initiated by Trustee to uncover assets of the Theodore Burghoff bankruptcy estate….
After reading both briefs filed by Mr. Cannon, and concluding that both contained an extraordinary amount of research, the Court directed Mr. Cannon to certify the author or authors of the two briefs. On December 22, 2006, Mr. Cannon certified that while he had prepared both briefs, he had “relied heavily” on an article written by others. The article upon which Mr. Cannon relied is Why Professionals Must Be Interested in “Disinterestedness” Under the Bankruptcy Code, May 2005, (“the Article”) by William H. Schrag and Mark C. Haut, two attorneys of the New York office of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP. The Court located this article on the internet. Mr. Cannon fails to acknowledge or cite this article in either brief.
As noted in the Washington Post, President Bush is expected to name Alberto Gonzales’s replacement as attorney general in the next few days, after returning from Australia tomorrow. The WaPo seems to be predicting Ted Olson:
[F]ormer solicitor general Theodore B. Olson has emerged as one of the leading contenders for the job, according to sources inside and outside the government who are familiar with White House deliberations.
Other candidates still in the running include former deputy attorney general George J. Terwilliger III and D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Laurence H. Silberman, according to the sources, who declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the discussions.
Even though we’re still rooting for our former boss, based on this short list, we’re predicting Judge Laurence Silberman (who previously served as Deputy Attorney General, the #2 job at the Justice Department).
More thoughts, including discussion of George Terwilliger and Larry Thompson, after the jump.
Words to the wise: be extra careful when preparing food for law enforcement officers. From the Associated Press:
A McDonald’s employee spent a night in jail and is facing criminal charges because a police officer’s burger was too salty, so salty that he says it made him sick.
Kendra Bull was arrested Friday, charged with misdemeanor reckless conduct and freed on $1,000 bail.
Bull, 20, said she accidentally spilled salt on hamburger meat and told her supervisor and a co-worker, who “tried to thump the salt off.”
Police Officer Wendell Adams got a burger made with the oversalted meat, and he returned a short time later and told the manager it made him sick.
Clearly it was Kendra Bull’s fault — ’cause people never get sick after eating McDonald’s.
Also, did Officer Adams eat the whole darn burger? If so, why, if it truly was insanely salty? If not, could he really have gotten sick from a bite or two of super-salty hamburger? Regular customers of McDonald’s presumably have a high tolerance for sodium.
Bull ended up getting charged with a misdemeanor. But what about when employees, to retaliate against customers who piss them off, add “extra-special sauce” to Big Macs? Would that be a felony?
(Gavel bang: commenter.) Oversalted Burger Leads to Charges [Associated Press via Drudge Report]
Now that law school is back in session, students are once again paying attention to those poorly-dressed people standing at the front of the room (assuming they’re not focused on their laptops, where they read ESPN.com and ATL). And even if their law professors’ wardrobes are underwhelming, students can always marvel at their brilliance and erudition.
And maybe at their real estate holdings, too. Although legal academic salaries fall well short of Biglaw partner profits, a surprising number of law professors live in luxurious homes, as revealed in past installments of Lawyerly Lairs:
* Harvard Law School professors Noah Feldman and Jeannie Suk, aka “Feldsuk,” inhabit a $2.8 million mansion (which they recently renovated — ’cause we’re sure it was a total dump before that).
* Professor Sarah Cleveland, a recent addition to the Columbia faculty, lives in a $2.4 million, five-level townhouse.
* Her senior colleague, Professor Hans Smit, also calls a townhouse home — but a townhouse worth over ten times as much, on the market for $29 million.
The latest addition to these ranks: James Q. Whitman, the Ford Foundation professor of comparative and foreign law at Yale Law School. Professor Whitman recently dropped $5.7 million on a New York co-op formerly owned by actor Treat Williams (pictured above right — the apartment, not the actor).
More details, including photos, after the jump.
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When Chintan Panchal decided to leave a global BigLaw partnership to start his own firm, he could only hope that he would face the high-quality problem of firm building that many had cautioned him about. Focused on the uncertainty surrounding of a new firm launch, he decided to tackle staffing needs, IT challenges, and financial planning requirements after he had built up his legal practice.
Panchal Associates LLP–a corporate/finance and outside general counsel boutique–was quickly off to a great start. Clients and matters were flying in the door, and Chintan soon had a team of lawyers and staff with a variety of operational needs. To continue building an excellent team and provide them with a competitive benefits package, to expand his physical presence to include a European practice and additional partners, and to scale his operations and IT capabilities to support this growing enterprise brought with it demands of time, money, and expertise. Chintan knew he needed help.
“With the assistance of NexFirm, we have upgraded the capabilities of our firm to meet, and in some cases exceed, the standards we were used to at our former BigLaw firms. Operationally, we can now attract and service clients we didn’t have the bandwidth to support in the past, and continue to build our team with the best and brightest legal talent in the industry,” said Chintan Panchal, adding “It has worked out quite well in our case; NexFirm is an essential partner for us.”
The holiday season is upon us, and yet again, you have no idea what to get for the fickle lawyer in your life. We’re here to help. Even if your bonus check hasn’t arrived yet, any one of the gifts we’ve highlighted here could be a worthy substitute until your employer decides to make it rain.
We’ve got an eclectic selection for you to choose from, so settle in by that stack of documents yet to be reviewed and dig in…
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