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recession california associate pay raises.jpgThe top 25 California law firms are staying in lockstep with regard to associate pay: $160K for first years, $210K for fourth years, $265K for seventh years.
According to The Recorder (via Law.com), only Sedgwick, Detert, Moran & Arnold paid below the market rate. They pay $130K to first years and only go to $197K for seventh years.
For the most part, firms have to play “follow the salary leader” in order to draw top talent. But in these times, some firms are desperate to cut back on associate compensation any way they can.
The idea floating around is to abandon lockstep salary progression based on year, and move to performance-based pay raises. Manatt, Phelps & Phillips has already abandoned automatic pay raises:

“I actually think the system in practice is very fair because it allows for those people who are overachievers to really be valued at what their skills are worth,” said Diana Iketani, the firm’s chief recruiting officer. On the other hand, she said, it reduces pressure on associates who would rather pace themselves or have different priorities.

Some firms that are not following suit, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “California Law Firms Still In Lockstep: For Now”

Sarah Palin Alaska Governor Sarah Palin hottie.jpg* Picking up on the law professors for Obama issue, Stephen Bainbridge produces evidence that the link between higher education and party affiliation actually favors the Republican party. The link between readers of “My Pet Goat” and party affiliation also favors the Republican party. [Stephen Bainbridge.com]
* Pepper Hamilton may have no offered 26% of their summer class, but the ones that made it will be well-fed. [Philly.com]
* It might not always seem like it, but getting a law degree is still a better investment than dropping out of high school. Barely. [Law and More]
* Somebody bothered to look at Sarah Palin’s tax returns. There aren’t any shotgun deductions, so everything else will probably blow over. [Jack Bog's Blog via TaxProf Blog]

penn 3 year jd mba madness.JPGThe University of Pennsylvania Law School announced they will begin offering a J.D./M.B.A. program that can be completed in three years.
In order to make it work, Penn will concede a painfully obvious point: one year of law school is really all anybody needs. According to their press release:

Students in the new program will spend the first year in the Law School and the following summer in four Law and Wharton courses designed specifically for the three-year J.D./M.B.A. The second and third years will include a combination of Law and Wharton courses, including capstone courses in the third year and work experience in law, business, finance, or the public sector in the summer between the second and third years.

Applicants will still need to apply to the two schools separately. So, you’ll have to be able to get into Wharton on the strength of that multi-million dollar business you’ve been running out of your treehouse since you were eight.
Penn is not exactly breaking new ground here; Northwestern has been offering a 3-year J.D./M.B.A program for a few years. But maybe Penn just doesn’t fear the purple:

Penn’s three-year J.D./M.B.A. is the country’s first fully integrated three-year program offered by elite law and business schools.

You hear that Kellogg? Penn is calling you out.
Expect U.S. News & World Report’s highly anticipated “Best 3-Year J.D./M.B.A Programs In the Lower 48 States” issue to be coming out soon to help college graduates make a decision.
Penn Law and Wharton Create 3-Year JD/MBA Degree [University of Pennsylvania Law School]

Homer Simpson Doh Above the Law AboveTheLaw blog.jpgYesterday we solicited stories from you about on-campus interview bloopers — this time by the student interviewees, rather than their law firm interrogators. We received an embarrassment of riches — or riches of embarrassment — in response.
In terms of favorite stories, it seems the people’s choice was comment 177. Do a ctrl-F on the page for “177,” and you’ll encounter some pretty funny stuff. Comment 83 also had some crowd support, but it was completely disgusting, and some people read ATL during the lunch hour.
Not convinced that 83 and 177 are true stories, we decided to go with these as our top tales:
1. The People Person
Interviewer asks inevitable, everyone-is-prepared-for-it question: What do your consider your weaknesses to be?
Candidate (stratospheric GPA to offer and little else): Well, I don’t really like other people very much.
Job not offered.
2. Revenge of the Nerd?
I heard a story here at Cleary Gottlieb from this recruiting season, not terribly exciting but a nice foot-in-mouth moment. At one of our OCI’s, during this kid’s interview, he remarked that he’s the perfect lawyer for Cleary because he’s “like, a big socially awkward nerd.” The mid-level associate interviewing him deadpanned: “So I’m a socially awkward nerd?” Ouch. I don’t think he got a callback.
It’s unfortunate, because his assessment of Cleary lawyers was pretty spot on.
3. “Forget it, Jake, it’s Koreatown.”
I was conducting a callback lunch interview in Los Angeles when the interviewee starts talking about how he can’t stand living in Koreatown because Koreans were so rude and also bad drivers. I said, “Dude, my last name is Kim. You know I’m Korean, right?
After an uncomfortable ending to the lunch I called HR and told them if they gave this kid an offer I was quitting. Needless to say, no offer for this guy.
4. To Catch A Thief
At an OCI reception for a mid-sized Firm X, a few students are engaging in polite conversating with partner in Firm X. The partner asks each student what they did the summer before. One student, who apparently took full advantage of the open bar, begins talking about spending his 1L summer working with general counsel for an apartment complex, often dealing with tenant evictions.
Completely unsolicited, the student begins talking about how they used to break into the [tenants'] apartments and if they found weed/drugs in the place, they’d steal the drugs and some electronics from the apartment like it was their own personal Best Buy. He said, and I quote: “what were the tenants gonna do? They can’t tell the cops that we took their stuff or we’ll just report them for the drugs.” Partner and other students (including me) look at each other and then stare at the floor.
5. Veggie Girl
To an applicant with no special interests or activities listed on her resume: “So what do you do with your free time outside of school? Do you have any hobbies?”
Applicant: “Vegetarianism.”
No offer.
6. What’s the difference between a law firm and a paint store?
During a Shearman & Sterling interview, a friend once asked the interviewer, “So, how have you liked your experience at Sherwin & Williams?”
**********************
Vote for your favorite of these six stories, and check out seven more stories that get honorable mention, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “OCI Bloopers By Students: Selected Stories (and a Poll)”

Barack Obama Senator Barack Hussein Obama Above the Law blog.jpgIt’s been a tough week for Camp Obama. We’ve learned that it is not cool to compare Sarah Palin to a pig, but empowering to compare her to a pit bull. But this news should brighten their day, and prove everybody’s suspicions about liberal bias at the nation’s top law schools.
According to the Huffington Post, 635 law professors have contributed to the one of the presidential nominees, with a whopping 95 percent of those contributions going to Obama. Paul Caron at TaxProf Blog has the full breakdown here.
You can’t get 95 percent of law professors to agree on the definition of the word “law.”
Does Obama have a secret plan to raise the salaries of law profs or lower the cost of white poster-board seating charts? At 95 percent, you’d expect Obama to have promised something very specific that is important to academia, and since the only important thing in academia is how much b.s. class-time they have to put in while they struggle to publish enough to make tenure, I don’t know what Obama could have offered them.
Did Obama somehow meet all of them while he was a professor?
Maybe it’s not surprising for the Democratic nominee to garner broad support from law professors. But I’ve got to think that 95% of any subset of the legal profession thinking the same way is unprecedented and slightly frightening.
But I don’t know what it means.
Law Prof Presidential Campaign Contributions: 95% to Obama, 5% to McCain [TaxProf Blog]

funny-pictures-little-kitten-escapes-from-the-litter.jpgNow that the fall recruiting season is underway,OCI tips, horror stories, and heartbreaks are getting just a wee bit of attention.
But while our law student readers are prepping for their interviews, what are the associates up to? In today’s ATL / Lateral Link survey, we ponder whether the associates you meet in your callbacks are busy planning interviews of their own.
Update: This survey is now closed. Click here for the results.

Justin Bernold is a Director at Lateral Link, the sponsor of this Associate Life Survey.

Foley Lardner LLP logo Above the Law blog.jpgFull disclosure: we do not know exactly what is going on over at Foley & Lardner. But we are hearing a lot of chatter.
By way of a quick summary: we posted information that Foley offered only 43% of their summers out the Chicago office. Then Foley issued a firm wide email saying that they offered 81% of their Chicago summers (we posted that too). Meanwhile, the firm has rebuffed multiple attempts to verify any of this information directly. For more details read here and here.
After we updated Foley’s hiring numbers and posted Foley’s CEO Ralf Boer’s statements, our tipsters wagged their fingers and said “oh no he didn’t.” This email is indicative of many comments we received:

Just FYI–Ralf Boer’s email is a load of crap.

Hmmm …
Many believe that Foley did in fact tell summers that they would not be receiving an offer, but then reversed course early this week, after our initial post on Foley’s no offers went up. The thought from these tipsters is that the public backlash was so bad that Foley had to rethink their hiring decisions. Initially we found it hard to believe that a firm would have the gall to no offer somebody, only to call them up weeks later with an offer. But the tips kept rolling in.
We are happy (rolling around like a pig in sweet, sweet slop, happy) to think that ATL had some small role to play in securing additional summer associate jobs in this economy. But there are two sides to every story. Some tipsters think that Foley’s delay in completing the offer process is par for the course:

I just want to say that I know first hand that .. many people had not yet heard either way about offers. That is for both 1Ls and 2Ls. … I think you should update your main posting for the sake of all the comments calling b.s. on Ralf Boer’s statement that they only just finished making all the decisions. … I know for a fact first-hand that several people had yet to hear as of yesterday and even today.
On an historical note, right about now is exactly how long it took Foley to get back to many folks last year.

So did Foley ding people and then change their mind, or did they just take a long time to finish their hiring process? More tipsters weigh in after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Foley & Lardner: Where the Wild Things Are”

peeping peter fitzpatrick.jpgThe folks across the pond were fodder for posts yesterday on judicial fashion and invention of the Ipod. We return to news from the Brits with our lawyer of the day: Peter Fitzpatrick, a former partner at Muirhead Buchanan in Stirling, England.
Like disgraced Legal Aid attorney Peter Barta, Fitzpatrick wanted to catch a looksie at female colleagues in the buff. This peeping Peter was not as clever in hiding the camera though:

[Fitzpatrick] was caught when a 24-year-old secretary noticed a circular hole had been cut in the side of one of several cardboard boxes in the [toilet] cubicle and was pointing towards the lavatory seat…
The sheriff, who has previously been criticised over controversial rulings, told Fitzpatrick, 49, that she could avoid imposing a jail sentence because any woman should have noticed the device…
Kate Mulligan, prosecuting, said a secretary noticed that one of the holes in one of the boxes had been enlarged. She added: “She picked it up and it felt heavy. On opening the box she found a video cassette recorder with a tape in it.”

Not too clever, Mr. Fitzpatrick. The judge ruled that the attempt was so bad it qualified as a cry for help, and gave him just three years probation.
But regardless, ladies, be warned. Watch out for mysteriously heavy cardboard boxes with holes that suddenly appear in the loo.
Lawyer films women in lavatory with secret camera [Telegraph]

eapd no offers but fair.JPGWe received a lot of reports about Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge in Boston. Most of them contained a surprising tidbit:

We were all told that we did really well and that “but for the economy,” we all would have received offers. When the no-offer phone calls came, we were told we had great reviews but that EAPD just couldn’t take us all on.

That sounds suspiciously honest. Everybody did fine and we’d like to hire all of you, but “hey kid, in case you haven’t noticed, the economy reeks like an upside-down port-o-potty — so what can we do?”
The “it’s not you, it’s me” line doesn’t even work in the movies, but in this case it seems strangely appropriate.
The EAPD no offer numbers, plus the firm’s official statement, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Nationwide No Offer Watch: Edwards Angell Doesn’t Hide the Ball”

flipphone.jpg[Ed. note: Sorry for the delay. We were experiencing some technical difficulties but now everything is under control. Wait, ... what? Even Nedry knew enough to not mess with the raptor fences. Dr. Arnold? Ahhhhhhh.]
* The investment bank Lehman Brothers fights to survive. [Washington Post]
* SCOTUS Justice Clarence Thomas says the Constitution is colorblind. [Breitbart]
* Yesterday, we told 1Ls not to bop their classmates. Here’s a lesson to judges and prosecutors: do not secretly get it on, and do not do it during an ongoing murder trial. [New York Times]
* “Cold Case: Civil Rights Era” is not going very well. [CNN]
* Gross legal news: Man sues American Airlines for losing his wife’s corpse. [WCBS TV via Drudge]
* For those of you who miss the flip phone, expect to see a clamshell Blackberry in stores soon. [Wall Street Journal (subscription)]

Thelen LLP new logo.jpgToo many tipsters to count have alerted us that Thelen appears to have canceled their 2009 summer associate program. People who had scheduled call backs with Thelen were informed this afternoon. As we understand it, this is a firm-wide decision affecting every office. We also believe Thelen has canceled all remaining OCI interviews.
A few tipsters reported that the stated reasons from Thelen were communicated over the phone. They told aspiring summers that their budget overview and ongoing merger talks prevented an accurate assessment of their future hiring needs.
The firm could not be reached for comment. We will update you as soon as the firm updates us.
If true, this information doesn’t really come as a surprise. Thelen has been rumored to be on the merger market for quite some time. The most recent suitor was Nixon Peabody, but there have been rumors of others.
At this point, canceling the entire summer program in preparation for a big-time merger is the best possible reason, right? We’ll keep you posted.
Earlier: Law Firm Merger Mania: Nixon Peabody + Thelen = Nixlen Thelpea?
Law Firm Merger Mania: Thelen Sending Out Feelers?

atticus finch hates puppies.JPG* Some sage interviewing advice for women that doesn’t involve cleavage, but sadly does involve proper ring placement. [Lexis Hub / BBPL]
* Can fighting anti-trust lawyers be sexy? Or are they just the Klingons at a Star Trek Convention? [Antitrust Review]
* Nicolas Cage settled his tax troubles for $666K. But he owes the American public a lot more than that for: Matchstick Men, The Weather Man, The Wicker Man, (sensing a theme), both National Treasures, Ghost Rider, Next, Bangkok Dangerous, and whatever the hell he is thinking of right now. [Tax Prof Blog]
* Illinois passed a good samaritan law for animals. So that settles it, Atticus Finch would totally be going to jail if he pulled that rabid target practice crap today. [Animal Law Blog]

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