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skirt above the knee.jpgIf all the news about lawyer layoffs has gotten you thinking about career alternatives, here’s a business idea for you. From the ABA Journal:

Being well-dressed costs money. But for a lawyer, looking tailored and professional in an attractive, well-fitting suit is a worthwhile investment, Tony and Tara Costanzo say.

That message has put the 30-something married couple in business, helping several hundred clients including numerous lawyers in the New York area, order the right clothes without ever having to shop for them….

The Costanzas will meet busy clients as and where needed, and once held a clothing consultation in a courthouse restroom. Then they order the right clothes, in the right size. Ready-made suits start at just under $500; custom-made suits begin at close to $1,000 for men and $1,500 for women.

In the middle of a recession, the Costanzos — no relation to George — somehow have hordes of poorly-dressed attorneys willing to pay exorbitant prices for consultations in courthouse lavatories. When the going gets tough, the tough get new wardrobes.

Our tipster remains skeptical:

It seems as though the fashion bar would be much lower these days. After all, your adversaries are probably so worried about losing their jobs that they are likely to be wearing last year’s fashions — or other horrifyingly dated apparel, like a suit from back in the days when men were boldly exploring “skinny pants.”

I have a better idea: let’s take Michelle Obama’s self-congratulatory lead and start a recession-friendly wardrobe consulting business, to dress the desperate — but still fashion-conscious — in bargain finds from J. Crew and the Gap.

We leave you with a fashion tip for these troubled times: when it comes to skirt length, go long.

(Or maybe not? See these musings from our little sibling site, Fashionista.)

Consultant Helps Harried Lawyers Avoid Attorney Wardrobe Malfunctions [ABA Journal]

Attorney Wardrobe Malfunctions: Experts Offer Tips on Debugging the Dress Code [NYLawyer.com (registration required)]

Costanzo Clothiers [official website]

Sager UT Law.JPGThe University of Texas School of Law (tied for 16th on your U.S. News scorecards) is apparently not content with their status. They want to be elite. “They’re smart, not dumb, like everybody thinks. They’re smart and they want respect Michael!”

They think they’ve found just the right person to take them to the next level: Dean Lawrence Sager has promised to add $200 million to the UT-Law endowment by 2014. That would nearly double the school’s current endowment, according to the Austin-American Statesman.

Sager, 67, was recruited to UT in 2002 in part for his prowess in building a law school’s reputation from the ground up — something he did in his previous job at New York University’s law school. That reputation is packaged, almost disguised, by a disarming personality as exuberant as the tangled head of hair that often looks as if it will take flight. Law school staffers say they love his frequently wicked humor.

Hair and humor is all good, but $200 million? In this market? It sounds like a tough sell.

And the reason for this push, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Would You Give This Man $200 Million? Texas Is Counting On It.”

law firms screwed.JPGPartners at top D.C. firms are worried that they might not be getting bonuses this year, just like associates. The Washingtonian reports that management might not be able to reward their partners as they have in years past:

Usually firm managers try to lowball revenue estimates and then surprise partners with a bigger-than-expected bonus. That final paycheck will come after the first of the year, after all bills and accounts for 2008 are tallied. Many law firms are worried that adjustments will be small or that revenues will not make the estimates. So end-of-the year cost cutting has been rampant.

If associates could get squeezed out of a bonus for simply doing all the work that came across their desk, then we hope partners aren’t expecting huge payouts for bringing in barely enough rain to fill a shot glass.

It’s fashionable to call associates greedy, entitled, warm buckets of spit whenever the markets tank. But now some partners are complaining about not being able to retire to their golden encrusted nursing homes as they had planned.

Firm leaders say that some partners scheduled to retire late this year have postponed their plans because of drops in the value of their IRAs and other retirement vehicles.

Are we living in a bizzaro-world where the pain will be spread evenly between partners and associates? Read more after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Washington Partners are Worried About Profits”

Orrick Herrington Sutcliffe LLP Above the Law blog.JPGWe received reports this morning that Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe was planning to make deep cuts into their structured finance, real estate and corporate departments.

We’ve been able to confirm that Orrick is laying off 40 associates and 35 staff members today. The structured finance and real estate departments are expected to be the hardest hit. Associates were notified by chairman Ralph Baxter via email (which included a video).

Despite Orrick’s refusal to respond to our multiple requests for comment all morning, we can also report that displaced attorneys are getting two weeks notice plus five months severance. That is better than the severance package offered by White & Case on Tuesday.

Orrick was willing to speak with the WSJ Law Blog. The firm told the WSJ that they tried to avoid cutbacks for as long as possible:

Throughout 2008, we have done all we could to avoid today’s action: we have redeployed lawyers to different practices and we have cut expenses. Unfortunately, our staffing levels in the affected practices still remained too high given the economic environment our clients and we face.”

While the firm contends that these moves were taken solely in response to the economic crisis, a tipster tells us that the real reason was “to maintain PPP [profits per partner] of $1.5 million in 2009.”

So sad — and surprising. Orrick, you might remember, was one of the first major firms to raise associate salaries to $160K outside of New York. After Orrick moved, the rest of California followed: Latham, Gibson, OMM, even Thelen (kind of).

Just last month, we reported on how some firms (including Orrick) were using the market downturn as an opportunity to acquire productive lawyers and good clients. Baxter was highlighted in the WSJ article. And two weeks ago, Orrick stood behind its previously announced 2008 bonus structure.

But apparently some people had to go. We understand that the layoffs will affect multiple offices.

Update (2 PM): The firm finally sent over its statement. Check it out after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Nationwide Layoff Watch: Orrick Lays Off Attorneys”

Kaye Scholer LLP logo Above the Law legal blog.jpgWe’ve received a ton of comments and many tips that “stealth” layoffs are happening at Kaye Scholer. One commenter claimed:

[S]ince last summer, by my count at least 8 associates left voluntarily, as did 5 paralegals. An additional 8 associates were laid off and 4 paralegals were laid off with them. It seems to me that the fact that none of these paralegals were replaced, coupled with the fact that the only new blood brought into the department were the new 1st years in 2007 and again in 2008 shows that perhaps its the partners that are “dead wood” and not the people that worked for them.

Another commenter offered these numbers:

I was in the RE practice group. The breakdown of who was let go is as follows (and this does not include those that left voluntarily because they anticipated the coming of Armageddon). Class of:

2006 – (2)

2005 – (2)

2004 – (1)

2001 – (1)

1998 – (1)

Counsel – (1)

and at least 5 paralegals were let go.

I anticipate that the class of 2007 is next to be “reduced,” as there are now no remaining people out of the 5 associates from the class of 2006 and only 1 out of the 4 associates of the class of 2005.

A tipster put it all together like this:

This doesn’t even include those in corporate that were let go… The lit associates, some of whom billed close to 3000 hours last year, have absolutely no work, and are not going to even get close to the 2000 hours needed to make first tier bonus. Word going round is that there will be a mass round of layoffs for the lit people that didn’t get snipped after the first round in May.

What exactly is going on at Kaye Scholer? A response to the rumors by managing partner Barry Willner, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “In This Market: Are You Getting Laid Off or Fired?
A Kaye Scholer Case Study”

tightening the belt.jpgWhen we did our series of Vault 100 open threads in the summer, Biglaw insiders shared insights into office culture, with much touting of work perks at various firms. These days, attorneys can brag if their firms are not among those laying associates off.

Reuters reports on perk cutbacks in the finance world, such as the elimination of business-class travel and free sodas in the office fridge. On ATL, we reported in October that K&L Gates was eliminating ABA dues payments and switching to one-ply toilet paper. (This was followed by news this month of staff layoffs).

A tipster from Kirkland & Ellis tells us the New York office is downsizing breakfast:

i know this is a little obnoxious because lots of other firms don’t have breakfast at all, but we at kirkland ny are pretty proud of our breakfast spreads: tropicana if you get in early enough, bagels, fruit, yogurt, and fancy nature’s path cereals with flax and berries and stuff. so imagine our shock and horror when we saw this hidden away in the weekly memo:

NEW BREAKFAST MENU

Beginning November 17, the breakfast menu will be changed to fresh fruit and bagels. In order to make sure there is enough for all, additional numbers of each item will be provided. We may find that the ratio of bagels to fruit needs to be adjusted to best meet preferences. Please let Pam Grazia at extension 3179 know if that is the case in the pantry on your floor.

its not the loss of the yogurt and cereal, although that does hurt. its more the sneaky way it was hidden in the memo that nobody reads!

While firms are unlikely to cut back on big perks like parental leave, this is a time for tightening the belt in other areas. We say: Better the loss of the granola than the loss of the librarian.

Are you seeing perk erosion at your firm? What is being cut back? What should be cut back? (Our Kirkland tipster tells us NY associates still get the $350 office art budget.)

Unsold Ferraris, no free drinks as crisis spikes [Reuters]

clerks snowball earth.JPGIn late October, we received this question from a federal clerk:

To date, I’ve seen at least six posts in a series ATL has been doing about firms rescinding unaccepted summer associate offers to 2L’s due to oversubscription of the summer class. I would be interested to know whether firms are actually, or at least contemplating, rescinding unaccepted offers for full-time associate positions that were being held open for former summer associates that are doing judicial clerkships this year?

I have an offer from a biglaw firm and was assured (albeit almost one year ago) that my offer would be held open until I had completed my clerkship and could formally accept. Needless to say, I am getting more than a bit nervous about whether my job will still be waiting for me come September ’09.

At the time, we told the questioner that we hadn’t heard anything like that from any major law firm during this recruiting cycle. Nobody’s going to rescind offers to clerks!

We thought.

We hoped.

Yesterday, we had a couple of interesting conversations with folks over at Wiley Rein. We now believe that the chair of Wiley Rein’s recruiting committee placed a number of phone calls over the weekend to current judicial clerks. The recruiting coordinator was careful to say that Wiley was not “rescinding” offers, but that the clerks should seriously consider looking at other options for full-time employment when their clerkships are up.

More details after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “A Winter of Discontent for Clerks:
Wiley Rein ‘Cold Offers’ Judicial Clerks”

whale.jpg* SCOTUS hearts the Navy, hates the whales. National security trumps environmental concerns in Winter v. Natural Resources Defense Council. [New York Times]

* Obama plans to give the Department of Justice a makeover. Wilmer Hale partner David Ogden and Jenner & Block partner Thomas J. Perrelli are heading up Obama’s DOJ transition team. [Washington Post]

* … Meanwhile, O’Melveny and Myers partner Thomas Donilon will oversee Obama’s State Department transition team. [Associated Press]

* Lawyers are getting busy in the Minnesota Senate race between Al Franken and Norm Coleman. Let the recount begin. [Star Tribune via Drudge]

* Raffaello Follieri, Anne Hathaway’s conman ex, doesn’t like living in Brooklyn. His lawyer requests that Follieri be transferred to a Manhattan prison, as his Brooklyn jail cell digs are “unspeakably unsanitary” and have an “intolerable stench.” [The Smoking Gun]

gay marriage skadden.jpgCalifornia may have let pesky voters take away the rights of gays and lesbians to have state marriages, but clearly Connecticut wants no part of “National Lampoon’s Mystic Vacation: Meet Mr. & Mr. Griswold.”

Last month, we reported that the Connecticut high court upheld gay marriage. Today, a New Haven Superior Court judge ruled that gay couples could come pick up their marriage licenses:

“Today is historic legally and culturally and socially,” said Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who was attending the hearing. “My office vigorously defended state law, including the civil unions statute, but we have to put aside our past positions and personal opinions to make sure the law is vigorously enforced and defended and the court’s decision is implemented as smoothly as possible.”

New Haven and judicial fiat. Some things just belong together.

Meanwhile, back in LaLa Land, 52.5% of voters mumbled something about an activist God before Connecticut jurists stopped listening.

Welcome to Connecticut: home to the WWE, ESPN, and Gay Marriage.

Gay Marriage Now Legal in Connecticut [Law.com]

Earlier: Breaking: Connecticut Court Upholds Gay Marriage

Golden Calf Iphone.JPG* Another take on the terrible legal job market. [BBLP/Lexis Hub]

* Michael Hausfeld was dismissed from Cohen Milstein Hausfeld & Toll via a note on his chair. Wasn’t this a Sex in the City episode? [Drug and Device Law].

* Obama is already doing his part to help IP lawyers. Great. Because those are the guys that need even more work. [The Smoking Gun]

* Top Public Interest Law Schools. Good luck to the coming class of public interest graduates. [Tax Prof Blog]

* A new iphone application checks your blood-alcohol level and calls you a lawyer. “Then Moses said to Steve Jobs, ‘What did these people do to you, that you have brought such great sin upon them?’ And Jobs said, ‘Do not let the anger of my lord burn; you know the people yourself, that they are prone to evil. For they said to me, Make a God for us who will go before us.” — The Gospel according to iPhone. [Legal Blog Watch]

  • 12 Nov 2008 at 4:30 PM
  • Uncategorized

‘Terrorist’ Coming to a Law School Near You

Bill Ayers to speak at Georgetown.JPGRemember when Lee Bollinger invited Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to speak at Columbia? Bollinger took a lot of heat and then responded with an insulting 10 minute diatribe directed at the man he didn’t have to invite to speak in the first place. Then Ahmadinejad covered himself in rhetorical poo as he tried to kill Americans with the sheer amount of refuse he expelled at the podium. It was fun for the whole family.

Well, we’ll see if the Georgetown Law National Lawyers Guild takes any criticism for their next guest: Obama’s Manchurian brain-washer Bill Ayers. Here are the event details:

Professor William Ayers of the University of Illinois is speaking at Georgetown Law on Monday November 17th at 4:30 pm in Hart Auditorium of Mcdonough Hall (Main classroom building on the Law Center Campus).

Bill Ayers will be speaking on his forthcoming book, Race Course Against White Supremancy, co-authored with his wife and fellow Weather Underground leader Bernadine Dohrn, and the new addition of Fugitive Days, his memoirs from when he was underground. A question and answer session will follow.

Anybody think this will be a big deal?

Look, if this Ayers guy is a nefarious presence that calls into question the patriotism of anybody who associates with him, then what does is say that the 14th best law school in the country has invited him to speak? Clearly, anybody who continues to attend GULC after November 17th doesn’t love America!

A terrorist is a terrorist. Ahmadinejad basically caused the City of New York to grind to a halt, surely an evil domestic terrorist like Ayers will at least cause one hell of a traffic jam around DuPont Circle.

Right?

funny-pictures-kitten-gives-his-friend-a-cheeseburger.jpgWe’ve received over 900 responses so far to Monday’s ATL / Lateral Link survey on bonuses, which is still open here.

Although ATL had predicted that bonus announcements may come later this year, McDermott Will & Emery actually announced the “December Bonus Advance” portion of their bonus plan mere hours after our survey went live, quickly proving a portion of us wrong, and rendering a portion of their associates reassured.

Overall, most respondents expect that their firms will pay bonuses on roughly the same schedule as they did for 2007:

Results: When Did, Or Will, Your Firm Pay Bonuses?

Bonus For 2007
 
Bonus For 2008
Month   Percentage   Month   Percentage
September 2007 0.2%   September 2008 0.19%
October 2007 0.2%   October 2008 0.19%
November 2007 2.44%   November 2008 0.39%
December 2007 47.66%   December 2008 42.97%
January 2008 20.77%   January 2009 22.54%
February 2008 16.29%   February 2009 14.45%
March 2008 9.57%   March 2009 9.83%
April 2008 1.63%   April 2009 1.54%
May 2008 0%   May 2009 0%
June 2008 0.41%   June 2009 0.19%
Bonuses weren’t paid. 0.81%   Bonuses won’t be paid. 3.08%
  We don’t know. 4.62%

The results above only include responses from people who were at firms last year, are still at firms now, and can actually remember that sweet, sweet day when their bonuses were paid for 2007. While the overwhelming majority of these respondents received a bonus last year, and expect at least the timing of bonuses to remain the same for 2008, a meaningful number are definitely concerned: roughly one in thirteen of these respondents either aren’t sure about when their firms will be paying bonuses or, worse yet, don’t think their firms will pay bonuses at all for 2008.

Find out which firms paid when last year, and see some preliminary results on whether your peers would trade their bonuses for better job security, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Associate Life Survey: Bonus Time”

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