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Last month we asked you which holidays you worked on, or expected to work on, during 2007. About half of you reported that you had worked on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
In today’s ATL / Lateral Link survey, we see how you fared last week. Did you take the day off to honor a champion of civil rights, or did you make it a “day on”?
[Update: This survey is now closed. Click here for the results.]
In the meantime, at least one of you noticed that I am not Dave Lat. I’m actually Justin Bernold, a Director in Lateral Link’s Boston office. I’m also a friend (and fan) of Dave’s from college and the author of, among other things, the Associate Pirate (Arr is for Resume!) blog.

* Top candidates turn to trial lawyers for support. [Washington Post]
* More recusal requests expected in WV Supreme Court. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Former NFL player’s wife files malpractice suit over surgery. [ESPN]
* Suffrage suffers in Mexico. [MSNBC]
* How to count primary delegates (and an explanation of the “superdelegates”). [New York Times; New York Times]
* “It’s just not realistic” to present major new initiatives, but the SOTU will still be on every channel tonight. White House speechwriters are not on strike. [CNN]
* Super-litigator Tom Barr of Cravath, RIP. [New York Times (death notice); WSJ Law Blog]

associate bonus watch 2007 law firm Above the Law blog.jpgWe’ve been hearing a bit about the bonuses paid out by Latham & Watkins. It seems that LW associates are quite pleased.
Going back to our post from earlier today, it seems that one tipster’s speculation about a meeting to spin bad news was off the mark. A second LW source had this rebuttal:

Sometimes our offices have meetings to discuss bonuses. I am aware of one office that had a similar meeting last year, on the day in which bonuses were given. I think it’s more to go through the bonus memo and answer any questions, rather than to break any bad news.

And apparently there was no bad news to break. If this chart (posted at AutoAdmit) is correct, Latham associates did pretty well for themselves.
We haven’t received confirmation of the chart (yet — we’re working on it). And the chart also doesn’t reflect unspecified additional amounts paid out in New York. But LW sources did write in to say they’re pleased with their hauls:

“I think people are pretty happy with what they received.”

“Overall, bonuses are better than ever. They matched or more than matched in every market, for people who hit 1900 billable hours (a goal that is very clear — there was no doubt from the day I was hired that I needed 1900 to get a bonus). Bonuses in non-NY offices are far higher than they were last year (minimum – $35,000) and New York seems to have matched and/or exceeded the Cravath model. Overall, I am very happy!”

If you’re at Latham and can confirm the chart or provide us with more info, please drop us a line. Thanks.
Update: The accuracy of the chart has been confirmed for us by multiple sources at Latham.
Latham bonus memo for 2007 [AutoAdmit.com]
Earlier: Associate Bonus Watch: Reading the Latham Tea Leaves

candy cane Christmas tree Above the Law blog.jpgAn oldie but a goodie (and the sheer age of this item makes it pretty safe to use). This archived entry was recently located inside the database of a temporary staffing firm. It’s a description of a temp accountant’s less-than-successful stint at a law firm he was farmed out to:

12/13/00 — Terminated from assignment at [redacted] for “creeping out” the staff by excessive talking, staring at the female employees, eating candy canes off the office Christmas tree, and inspecting other people’s food in the refrigerator. Brought into the office and counseled.

If you have your own funny anecdote about an idiosyncratic temp, feel free to post it in the comments (but without identifying info, per standard ATL policy).

associate bonus watch 2007 law firm Above the Law blog.jpgYesterday the D.C. office of WilmerHale made its bonus announcement. Here’s a summary from a source at the firm:

The bonus memo came out today. Yay! Salaries are the same. For the class of 2006, the hours guideline for bonuses is:

Hours Bonus
1,850 $15,000
2,000 $35,000
2,200 $40,000
2,400 $45,000

Management gave the caveat that bonuses were awarded for 1,850 hours only in some cases, basically for practices that were slow in which 2,000 hours could not be billed. The firm repeated that it expects lawyers to bill 2,000 hours per year (including pro bono).

If you have info on other classes, feel free to send it our way by email.
Update: A second source confirms the numbers above for first-year associates, and adds: “This was conveyed in personal letters stating our salary and bonus levels. New associates who started in the fall received prorated bonuses.”

Job of the Week

Dirty Sexy Money family Above the Law blog.jpgCheck out Lateral Link’s completely revamped website, with new features. Now you can find the Job of the Week appearing below in the Featured Jobs section of your MyBio page, and qualified candidates can reveal the employer name immediately.
Position: General Counsel
Company: CONFIDENTIAL (Family Office of High Net Worth Individual in Orange County, CA)
Location: Orange County, CA
Description: Are you familiar with Nick on the show Dirty Sexy Money? The family office of a well-known, high net worth individual in Orange County, CA, is currently seeking an attorney for General Counsel. The family office manages and administers all of the financial affairs and activities not associated with the founder’s company. Responsibilities will include, either directly or by coordinating outside counsel: Real Estate, including contract review, drafting, and negotiation; Contract Negotiations; Regulatory and Compliance (’33 Act, ’34 Act, both ’40 Acts); Estate, Tax and Financial Planning; and managing general business transactions. Requirements include: 4-10 years experience with a law firm, financial service, or property management company; Experience with real estate or private investment transactions; and SOX experience a plus.
For more information, see job #7697 on Lateral Link.
Earlier: Prior Job of the Week listings (scroll down)

100 dollar bill Above the Law Above the Law law firm salary legal blog legal tabloid Above the Law.JPGAs we reported earlier this week, the Atlanta office of Paul Hastings has adopted a new pay scale, with a starting salary of $160,000.
The Fulton County Daily Report picks up the news today. It’s not new, since it was announced on Wednesday. But the article, by Meredith Hobbs, has a nice round-up of where things stand in the Atlanta market, post-Paul Hastings:

Like most of their competitors, Paul Hastings paid first-years $130,000 in 2007, the rate established by last spring’s round of pay raises. The firm had delayed unveiling its response to the increase to $145,000 triggered by Alston & Bird in August (with smaller raises up the classes) until now.

Paul Hastings’ new pay scale goes from $160,000 for first-years — the current market rate for first-years in more expensive cities such as Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles and New York — to $215,000 for seventh-years.

By comparison, King & Spalding announced in October a 2008 scale starting at $145,000 for first-years and going to $195,000 for seventh-years. At that time, King & Spalding established a richer bonus system, which upped pay for first-years receiving bonuses to $152,500, and star seven-years to as high as $250,000.

Paul Hastings does not calculate bonuses until after the end of its fiscal year, so associate bonuses correlating to 2008 compensation will not be determined until the end of February 2009, said Philip J. Marzetti, the firm’s Atlanta managing partner.

More excerpts and discussion, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Nationwide Pay Raise Watch: The Lay of the Land in Atlanta”

associate bonus watch 2007 law firm Above the Law blog.jpgExpect bonus news in a matter of hours from Latham & Watkins. An LW source writes:

Some are speculating Latham will try to cheap out on bonuses because [last night] we received an e-mail to all associates that there will be a meeting Monday to discuss bonuses. I don’t remember them doing this last year, and some people think they may issue low bonuses Friday, then do damage control Monday.

Of course it may also not mean anything too.

In other words, nobody knows anything. And we’ll know the real answer very soon anyway.
But if you can’t engage in time-wasting speculation on a blog, where can you do it? Read and parse the email for yourself, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Associate Bonus Watch: Reading the Latham Tea Leaves”

Heath Ledger Heath A Ledger Heathcliff Andrew Ledger death overdose suicide Above the Law blog.jpgWe wish we knew how to quit… finding legal angles to every story under the sun. One such story is the recent, tragic death of Heath Ledger, the celebrated young actor.
We’ve noted the news in passing. Now we offer more substantive, law-related discussion (beyond fleeting references to NYU law students who went from their seminars about Jesus to join the crowd of gawkers assembled outside Ledger’s apartment).
1. Rights to remains. Sometimes this can become an issue, as it did in the case of Anna Nicole Smith. Earlier this week, the Ohio Supreme Court heard a case about a law providing that body parts removed during an autopsy are classified as medical waste (which usually results in the incineration, rather than burial with the body).
It fortunately appears this won’t be an issue in Ledger’s case. Although additional blood and tissue testing still needs to be done, his family will be taking custody of his body, according to the NYT’s City Room blog.
2. Pending projects. Heath Ledger’s sudden passing raises issues with respect to projects he was involved with. From the Hollywood Reporter:

Of particular importance to Hollywood will be the future of Terry Gilliam’s The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, which had very recently begun shooting. After dealing with the shock of losing Ledger to unfortunate circumstances, the film’s producers and lawyers will have to consult with their production lawyers and the insurance firm that indemnified the film to decide whether to recast, restage and/or rewrite the film to work around Ledger’s absence, or whether Ledger’s death presents an irresolvable barrier to completion of the film.

More analysis, including discussion of insurance recovery issues, over here.
3. Funeral protestors. Exact funeral plans for Heath Ledger are not yet known. But when it does happen, it could get ugly. A tipster raises a legal question:

Check out this story [about how members of the antigay Westboro Baptist Church plan to protest at Heath Ledger's funeral, because of his work in "Brokeback Mountain"].

Here’s my question. These [SOBs] are saying horrible, offensive, disgusting things. When does the fighting words doctrine come into play, and does the fighting words doctrine protect me if I punch out one of these bastards? Because I would really like to.

Feel free to opine in the comments.
Update: More about that Jesus seminar, from the WSJ Law Blog.
Heath Ledger’s Death Leaves Big Legal Question [THR, ESQ. / Hollywood Reporter]
Anti-Gay Church to Protest Ledger Funeral [ABC News]
What Are They Teaching at NYU Law These Days? [Traditional Notions]
Where Were You When? [Concurring Opinions]
The Passion of the Christ: The Trial of Jesus [NYU School of Law]

Venable LLP Abovethelaw Above the Law legal blog.jpgSome good news from a tipster over at Venable:

You can finally remove D.C.’s Weirdest Law Firm from your List of Shame. (Does the List even exist now, or is it being revamped for $190K?)

A memo was just issued announcing that first-year salaries at Venable will be raised to $160,000 effective July 2008. Sure, we’re a tad bit behind the times, but at least we finally came through. The firm also mistakenly upped first-years’ salaries for the pay period that ended this week, but in a move that shows their infinite generosity, they decided the first-years could keep this “bonus” money, with the next paychecks going back to the $145K level (until July 2008).

Memo after the jump.
Earlier: Venable: DC’s Weirdest Law Firm?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Nationwide Pay Raise Watch: Venable to $160K”

Skadden Arps teddy bear Above the Law blog.jpgYes, we did see Lisa Belkin’s “Life’s Work” column in yesterday’s New York Times, entitled “Who’s Cuddly Now? Law Firms.” Truth be told, we didn’t find it terribly exciting, since most of the law-firm lifestyle improvements she mentions are ones that are familiar to ATL readers. We also shared the reaction of the WSJ Law Blog, which found it sort of random for Thursday Styles: “Since when did the NYT Styles section become a legal trade?”
But since the article has zoomed to the top of the NYT Most Emailed Articles list, with which we are obsessed, we’re compelled to write about it. Excerpts and discussion, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Don’t Know If Law Firms Are ‘Cuddly,’ But Whatever”

Monica Lewinsky's ex boyfriend's wife for president.jpg* Does the Bush Administration have Blackwater’s back? The U.S. pushes for specific legal protections from Iraqi law for civilian contractors. [New York Times]
* West Virginia: a little less corrupt than last week? WV Supreme Court agrees to rehear Massey Energy case (previously discussed here). [AP; WSJ Law Blog]
* D.C. Circuit Chief Judge Douglas Ginsburg steps down early, to make way for Chief Judge David Sentelle. [D.C. Circuit (PDF) via How Appealing]
* NYT endorses Hillary Clinton (but not for the reasons identified in the bumper sticker at right). [New York Times; New York Times]
* A more detailed report on the Georgetown Law event with Justice Ginsburg that we wrote about last night. [Georgetown Hoya via How Appealing]

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