Everyone’s written aboutthisstoryalready; we don’t have much to add. Maybe we’ll write more later if the spirit moves us, but we’re not feeling terribly inspired right now.
In the meantime, check out the numerous links collected below, opine in the comments, and take our poll. We’re curious about what you think of legal hotties contests. We’ve done a few around here, including contests for America’s hottest ERISA lawyer and hottest law school dean, but we haven’t held one in a while. Whether we do more may depend upon the results of this poll.
For those of you who approve of, and never got the chance to vote in, the Skadden “Hottest Female Associate” contest — nominees here, winner here — it has been resurrected over at Gawker. Vote for your favorite SASMF hottie over here.
Why do so many dubious lawsuits originate here in the D.C. metro area? First we had Judge Roy Pearson’s $54 million lawsuit against his dry cleaners, over a pair of lost pants. And now we get this, via Engadget:
We’ve definitely heard some horror stories about Best Buy, but it looks like a DC woman named Raelyn Campbell has had enough: she’s opening up a big can of America Sauce on the retailer in the form of a $54m lawsuit after it lost her laptop during warranty service….
Campbell says she’s not dropping the case until she finds out what happened to her machine — and she wants ol’ Blue to train its employees on privacy issues and revamp its warranty policy. Honestly? We’d say she has a better chance of getting the $54 million.
Here’s some recent associate pay raise news from Locke Lord Bissell & Liddell (the entity formed by the merger last year of Texas-based Locke Liddell & Sapp and Chicago-based Lord Bissell & Brook):
Attached is a memo from, purportedly, the Locke Lord Bissell & Liddell (the new combined firm) management regarding associate salary increases. Despite the fact that it is being issued from the new combined firm, the memo only relates to the Locke Liddell associates and is completely silent as to raises for the Lord Bissell associates. We found this unbelievable, especially considering the new firm’s internal tag line is “One Firm, One Future.”
To put it simply, the LLS side is getting salaries increased across the board, albeit on a deferred comp scale, and the LBB side is getting nothing….
Nothing like dual compensation policies (well, at least one comp policy) for associates at the same (purported) firm!!!! That will surely make already declining morale even better.
Update: This post is the subject of a correction. See here.
Check out the memo for yourself, after the jump.
Some of you may recall the strange tale of Jeremy Pitcock, a successful IP litigator in New York. As we previously reported, he recently left Kasowitz Benson, where he headed the intellectual property practice, for Morgan & Finnegan. That’s par for the course, in this age of increased lateral partner movement. The weird part was that Kasowitz issued a statement, apparently in response to Morgan’s trying to tout Pitcock’s move as a hiring coup, in which Kasowitz said they fired Pitcock for “extremely inappropriate personal conduct.”
The plot thickens. A source informed us that Jeremy Pitcock is no longer at Morgan & Finnegan, which we have confirmed. His bio is no longer on the firm website, which has also been scrubbed of the press release touting his hire. If you try emailing him at his Morgan & Finnegan email address, which is the one provided in his LinkedIn profile, as we did, your message will bounce back to you.
We tried calling Jeremy Pitcock at the Morgan & Finnegan phone number listed in his profile. The nervous-sounding woman who answered the phone told us that he’s no longer with the firm, that she didn’t have forwarding information for him, and that his last day in the office was “last week.”
Did Morgan & Finnegan get rid of Pitcock after investigating the alleged “inappropriate personal conduct”? One source said it would be surprising. First, Pitcock is a superstar IP lawyer. Rumor has it that “when he left Simpson, he had a $6 million book of business, as a 6th or 7th year associate. He decided he wanted to be a partner [immediately, rather than waiting a few years,] and Kasowitz took him up on that.”
Second, some claim Morgan & Finnegan has a reputation for tolerating a certain degree of inappropriate personal conduct. One source tells us that “they aren’t known for being friendly to women — or in some cases, they’re known for being too friendly. There were partners who asked female associates on dates repeatedly and others who referred to female associates as ‘pretty young girls.’ Still others simply refused to work with women.”
We contacted the firm’s spokesperson to inquire about Pitcock’s departure; she wasn’t in, so we left a message. We haven’t heard back from her yet, but if we do, we’ll let you know.
If you have the 411, feel free to email us. Thanks. Update (2:30 PM): We just heard back from the Morgan & Finnegan spokesperson. She stated that the firm generally does not comment on internal firm matters. Update (6/6/08): Jeremy Pitcock has filed a $90 million defamation lawsuit against Kasowitz Benson. See here. Earlier: Musical Chairs: Kasowitz Attributes IP Head’s Departure to ‘Extremely Inappropriate Personal Conduct’
This isn’t super-exciting news, since the key point — an increase in starting salaries — was previously announced.
But in case you’re interested, the pay raise (and bonus) memo of Blank Rome — which announced an increase in first-year associate salaries last fall, but said it was still “reviewing the compensation levels for all Associates to make appropriate incremental increases based on class year” — appears after the jump.
What’s so different: Lateral Link generally limits access to its job postings to graduates of top-tier law schools with a minimum of two years of work experience. About 5,000 applicants have been approved to date. Unlike most job sites, Lateral Link’s recruiters get in direct contact with members who apply for the positions it lists. Another distinction: Lateral Link pays a $10,000 bonus to members who land positions at law firms, though not corporations.
“Through our Web-based platform, we’re able to operate much more efficiently than a traditional recruiting firm, and therefore are able to pass along our cost savings to the job hunter,” says T.J. Duane, a principal at Lateral Link, which was founded by three Harvard Law School graduates. The reward is also consistent with the referral bonus that many law firms pay associates, he adds.
You can read the rest of the piece, which also includes testimonials from happy lawyers who landed jobs (and multiple job offers) after working with Lateral Link, by clicking here. Members Only: LateralLink.com [Wall Street Journal]
The season for bonus news is mostly over, but not just yet. Yesterday brought news from Bingham McCutchen:
Bingham has started delivering bonus news. In all offices except New York, it looks to be something like the Lathamscale you posted about a few weeks ago. Higher scale in NYC, but not sure how much. Don’t have too much information yet – it is communicated individually in annual reviews.
If it’s similar to the Latham scale, then people should be pretty happy (since the LW folks generally were). If you’re at Bingham, feel free to provide some data points in the comments.
A summary of what was paid out will be sent out to everyone in a few weeks. As in past years, you have to hit 2000 hours. Higher amounts at 2150 and every 100 hours after that. Policy for next year is being raised to 2100, but more non-billable type stuff is now able to be included towards the 2100.
We have a copy of that policy, which you can access by clicking here (PDF). One source described it to us as “convoluted,” and the memo setting forth the policy certainly is lengthy (12 pages, counting tables). But look on the bright side: at this level of detail, where they even talk about how your hours get adjusted if you have jury duty or take bereavement leave, at least there’s total transparency (unlike at somefirms). Bingham McCutchen — Associate and Counsel Hours and Bonus Policy [PDF]
In these grim economic times, don’t hold your breath waiting for news of associate pay raises or record-breaking bonuses. Everyone is tightening their belts, and that includes law firms (and their clients).
But what about enhanced parental leave? That they can do.
The latest Biglaw shop to raise “primary caregiver leave” to the “market” rate of 18 weeks is Covington & Burling. Memo after the jump.
* U.S. to seek death penalty for some Gitmo detainees. [CNN]
* DOJ announces arrests of individuals accused of selling secrets to China. [New York Times]
* Europe may require fingerprints at borders. [Washington Post]
* Reggie Bush to be deposed in lawsuit alleging he took money from promoters in college. [ESPN]
* Panic! at the cell phone. Blackberry service disrupted across continent last night. [MSNBC]
Here’s some news that must have had many lawyers tearing out their hair (or what’s left of it). From the AP:
A major service outage afflicted users of the popular, addictive BlackBerry smart phones across the United States and Canada on Monday. Officials with AT&T Inc. and Verizon Wireless said BlackBerry maker Research in Motion Ltd. told them customers of all wireless carriers were affected….
Garth Turner, a member of the Canadian Parliament, said during a caucus meeting that the incident — the second widespread disruption in 10 months — was having a big impact.
“Everyone’s in crisis because they’re all picking away at their BlackBerrys and nothing’s happening,” Turner said. “It’s almost like cutting the phone cables or a total collapse in telegraph lines a century ago. It just isolates people in a way that’s quite phenomenal.”
When the Canadian Parliament grinds to a halt, you know the situation is grave.
So how were you affected by the BlackBerry outage? Were you forced to stay in the office due to an inability to receive wireless email? Did a crucial email message fall through the cracks? Did you suffer from delirium tremens, a well-known symptom of CrackBerry withdrawal?
Feel free to vent, in the comments. BlackBerry Service Out in N. America [Associated Press] RIM reports “critical” BlackBerry outage [Reuters]
* Musical Chairs: Law School Edition. See which (if any) of your favorite law professors, or friends of yours who are now law profs, are lateraling for greener pastures. [The Faculty Lounge via Concurring Opinions]
* We’re no longer sure what the real deal is in L’Affaire Berenson. But we’re no longer sure we care. [Starkman & Associates]
* Do you heart Huckabee Girl? We don’t blame you; she looks like Angelina Jolie. [YouTube via Superdeluxe.com]
* Blawg Review #146, hosted by the Invent Blog — which is quite apropos, since today is National Inventor’s Day. [Invent Blog via Blawg Review]
* Speaking of Blawg Review, will we soon learn the identity of its anonymous editor? [Legal Blog Watch]
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.
Are you challenged by the costs and logistics of maintaining your office, distracting you from the practice of law?
Many small firms are successfully moving part—or even all—of their practice to a virtual setting. This even includes multi-jurisdictional practice spanning several states and practice areas, although solo and small partnerships are still the largest adopters of virtual law.
Can you do the same? The new article Mobile in Practice, Virtual by Design from author Jared Correia, Esq., explores how mobile technology bring real-life benefits to a small law firm. Read this new article—the next in Thomson Reuters’ Independent Thinking series for small firms—to explore how a mobile practice:
Everyone is talking about the importance of Social Media in Corporate America. But it is relatively safe to say that most law firms and lawyers are slightly behind the social curve. Most lawyers, at minimum, use LinkedIn, for networking. Some even use Twitter for pushing out short, pithy content, while many have Blogs, where they write their little hearts out. The adage “it is better to give than to receive” is not always true though in the world of Social. In the Social World – it is best to listen, give back and engage.
Social Media is a communications tool that can deeply educate you about the needs and wants of your clients and prospects when used in conjunction social media monitoring and sharing tools.
Take this quick quiz and see if you know how to use Social to help you engage more with your clients or to better service the ones you have.