I had a few thoughts for 2007 and 2008 that I would like to share as my year-end message.
First, 2007. As of today, Sunday, December 30, 2007, we have collected $313.5 million during our collection drive and expect to collect approximately $16.5 million on Monday, the 31st, to reach $330 million for our December collection drive. Although we expect to be short by $10 million of our goal, this is still a great accomplishment when you consider the housing situation, the subprime issues and the dislocation of the credit markets that prevented a number of deals from being completed this year.
Read the rest of Cesar Alvarez’s message — in which he spreads holiday cheer doom and gloom, jawboning down associate compensation expectations — after the jump.
Since our last compilation of bonus news, which was issued before the holiday, we’ve received some new announcements. Some of them have been mentioned already in the comments, but have not yet appeared on the main page.
But we have verified them, and they are legit. So, for the record, here they are:
1. Dechert (New York): Memo after the jump. The email to New York associates was forwarded to Philadelphia associates, “[i]n the spirit of working on improving communications across the firm.” (Read: “So you don’t find out about it from one of those darn blogs first.”)
2. Mayer Brown (Chicago, Palo Alto, Washington, DC): Memo after the jump. In a nutshell, the bonuses “will be consistent with the amounts paid for 2006 work. In addition, a further discretionary bonus may be awarded to associates who have made contributions to the Firm significantly beyond expectations.”
3. Morrison & Foerster (New York): Memo after the jump. Market-level year-end and special bonuses “will be paid to all New York associates who progress with their salary class based on their annual evaluation and who are in good standing and employed with the Firm when the bonuses are paid.”
Over the break, a reader sent us this article, accompanied by a quip: “Looks like BigLaw is funding some new research.”
Our first reaction: A brain chemical you snort to replace sleep? It’s called “cocaine.”
But today we have a second reaction: Would such research, if funded by Biglaw, be a waste of time? Law firm associates — and partners — sacrifice sleep to rack up billable hours. But is the billable hour on the way out?
Over at Slate, in a piece entitled “How to Kill the Billable Hour,” Lisa Lerer writes:
[C]riticisms [of the billable hour] lobbed by academics, associates, and bloggers have had a negligible impact. Making such a significant change takes a more powerful force in law firm life: the client. And now, finally, the companies that pay millions in hourly rates are striking back, forcing their law firms to cut some tough, nonhourly fee deals. If anyone can tame the billable beast, it’s the clients who feed it….
Cisco, Pitney Bowes, Caterpillar, and several other large corporations have begun to force their law firms into alternative billing arrangements. The companies push flat fees and volume-based discounts, and ban young associates from working on their business, hoping to avoid paying through the nose for work that could be done more cheaply by paralegals or temp lawyers. They say that by eradicating or at least limiting hourly rates, they avoid cost creep, cut their bills, and better predict their expenses.
Writes an ATL reader who works at a prominent New York law firm: “Great. Now it won’t matter that I bill 2500 hours a year.”
A little more, on the other side of the rainbow.
This announcement, apparently from celebrity commenter Loyola 2L, was posted earlier at the WSJ Law Blog (which recently named him their Lawyer of the Year). But in case you missed it, check it out:
—–Original Message—– From: [Deleted] Sent: Tuesday, January 01, 2008 12:26 AM To: Above the Law; WSJ Law Blog Subject: Retirement email from the poster Loyola 2L
Dear WSJ Law Blog and Above the Law,
I hope the new year treats you well. This is the blogger known as “Loyola 2L.” First off, I hope you can see why I combined you into one recipient. I know it’s rude to combine recipients, but both of your blogs have been a central part of my life for the past year and I couldn’t write one without the other.
No offense taken — we’re honored to be in such distinguished company.
Read the rest of his message, below the fold. (An ATL New Year’s resolution: Use more synonyms for “after the jump.”)
Happy New Year, dear readers of ATL! We hope that you had an enjoyable and restful holiday season; we know we did.
Now we’re back, after a pleasant holiday hiatus. Did you miss us?
We’re looking forward to another fun year of dishing legal gossip, as well as chronicling associate pay raises and partner profits (God willing). We’re still in the process of catching up on email and legal news, so please bear with us. If you have a juicy tip to share, please do email us.
Here are some of our ATL-related New Year’s resolutions:
1. Wake up earlier. (When you work from home, it’s easy to oversleep.)
2. Respond more promptly to emails that require a response.
3. Stop feeling guilty about not being able to respond to every last email (because, given the volume of email we receive around here, it’s not possible to respond individually to each and every message — for which we apologize).
The Legal Eagle Wedding Watch is kicking off 2008 with a few leftovers from 2007. But we think you’ll agree that these offerings are worth savoring. These couples have got a little bit of everything: brains, looks, athletic ability, and (something that never goes stale) lots and lots of money.
Here are the contenders:
* Dahlia Lithwick lists the Bush Administration’s 10 dumbest legal arguments of 2007. Number 3 is “Alberto Gonzales.” [Slate]
* Law student/beauty queen charged with kidnapping and torturing ex-boyfriend. [Fox News]
* Murdered Bronco cornerback’s family and teammates await arrests. [MSNBC]
* Banished words list once cited by AZ Supreme Court justice includes “surge,” “organic,” and “it is what it is.” [CNN]
* Rodriguez surprised by WVU lawsuit after bolting for Michigan before contract expiration. [ESPN]
* Rest in peace, Benazir Bhutto; God knows you weren’t able to live in it. [CNN]
* That seems like a pretty good starting point for liability against the zoo. [BBC]
* We don’t know if you know Tom Goldstein, but he’s a pretty big deal. [SCOTUSBlog]
* If he could only apply all of that genius to acquiring some money to actually make a mortgage payment… [WSJ Law Blog]
* NRA defends the rights of hurricane victims to shoot at the National Guard keep guns. [AP via How Appealing]
* French “aid” workers sentenced to eight years of hard labor in Chad “orphan” case. [Jurist]
* Apparently if you’re a rapper you can show up at court when you damn well please. [Athens Banner-Herald]
* If you feel guilty about it, at least you can take comfort in the fact that you’ve helped set up an appeal. [CNN]
* Would a holiday search be unreasonable? [Findlaw via How Appealing]
* Is the DOJ passing up a chance to crack down on plaintiff’s lawyers? [WSJ Law Blog]
* Nothing but a G string. [CNN]
* Toby Keith puts his boot in the defendant’s ass in the form of a $2.8 million verdict for his family in a suit over the wrongful death of his father. [AP via Asbury Park Press]
We hope that you’re having a wonderful holiday season and are getting some well-deserved rest — as are we.
As was the case last year, we’ll be on a reduced publication schedule between now and the new year. We’ll return to a normal schedule on Wednesday, January 2, 2008.
To those of you who celebrate it, Merry Christmas! And a happy new year to all.
So you spent a considerable amount of time courting, selling and maybe even doing some friendly stalking of that attractive lateral partner candidate with a sizable book. After he or she ignored your emails and didn’t return your calls, a few weeks go by and you read a press release in the legal media announcing the recent move to a competing firm.
Rats. Another one got away from you. You cringe when you consider how much time was spent in meetings that did not bear fruit. Your heart aches when recall how you were led to believe this was a marriage made in heaven.
You have been rejected.
The sting of rejection is painful, even for fancy law firms. But you need to find a way that you can turn this disappointment into a legitimate learning experience.
No, this isn’t a pre-party before we come back next fall for the real thing. This IS the real thing. Quinn Emanuel is pushing the envelope on recruiting. The party is now. This is when you meet the partners and associates face to face. This is when we begin the dance that could land you an offer for your second summer BEFORE school starts in the fall.
First: You come to the party. Second: If you like us, you send your resume after June 1, 2014. Third: If we like each other, you get an offer.
We’re not waiting for fall. We’re not doing the twenty minute thing. This party is the real thing!
We hope you’ll join us, and look forward to meeting you.
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past six years. You can reach them by email: [email protected].
Since late last year, things have been booming in Hong Kong / China in cap markets, especially Hong Kong IPOs. M&A deal flow has recently been getting a bit stronger as well. Although one can’t predict such things with any certainty, all signs are pointing to a banner entire 2014 for the top end US corporate and cap markets practices in Hong Kong / China. This is not really new news, as its been the feeling most in the market have had for a few months now and things continue to look good.
The head of our Asia practice, Evan Jowers, has been in Hong Kong for about 10 days a month (with trips every other month to both Shanghai and Bejing) for the past 7 months (Robert Kinney and Evan Jowers will be in Hong Kong again March 15 to 23), and spending most of his time there meeting with senior US hiring partners at just about all the major US and UK firms there, as well as prospective candidates at all associate levels and partner levels, and when in the US, Evan works Asia hours and is regularly on the phone with such persons, as our the other members of our Asia team. Our Yuliya Vinokurova is in Hong Kong every other month and Robert is there about 5 times a year as well. While we have a solid Asia team of recruiters, Evan Jowers will spend at least some time with all of our candidates for Asia position. We have had long standing relationships, and good friendships in some cases, with hiring partners and other senior US partners in Asia for 8 years now.
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