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The 2007 Weblog AwardsThanks to everyone who answered our plea and nominated Above the Law as “Best Law Blog,” in the 2007 Weblog Awards. We’re pleased to announce that ATL is one of the finalists.
Now we need your help once again. We’re getting our a** kicked by the Volokh Conspiracy, which is currently leading the voting for Best Law Blog, with 49.5 percent of the vote (compared to ATL’s measly 9 percent). If you’d like the associate compensation and bonus coverage to keep coming, please click here, and vote for ATL.
You can vote in the poll once every 24 hours, and the polls will remain open until November 8. So please vote for ATL, early and often. Thanks!
P.S. Is our campaigning undignified? Maybe. But ATL has never been about dignity (except for the stripping of it). And if distinguished law professors like Glenn Reynolds and Eugene Volokh are campaigning, then surely it’s appropriate for us to do so.
Best Law Blog [The 2007 Weblog Awards]
2007 Weblog Awards [Volokh Conspiracy]
Earlier: What’s Your Favorite Law Blog?

* North Dakota at #11? [TaxProf Blog]
* Speaking of wacky law school rankings… [ABA Journal]
* We need your vote. [ Blawg Review]
* I want these mutha f**kin’ snakes off this mutha f**kin’ bus! [Reno Gazette-Journal]
* WTF can you say on TV? [SCOTUSblog]
* Speaking of lawyers who like the younguns, Lakin to get separate trials for drug and sex charges. [Belleville News-Democrat]

* North Dakota at #11? [TaxProf Blog]
* Speaking of wacky law school rankings… [ABA Journal]
* We need your vote. [ Blawg Review]
* I want these mutha f**kin’ snakes off this mutha f**kin’ bus! [Reno Gazette-Journal]
* WTF can you say on TV? [SCOTUSblog]
* Speaking of lawyers who like the younguns, Lakin to get separate trials for drug and sex charges. [Belleville News-Democrat]

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The two-headed monster has matched. Memo’s after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Associate Bonus Watch: Dewey & LeBoeuf Matches”

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And the bonus news just keeps rolling in. Willkie Farr has matched. The memo:

From: The Executive Committee
Sent: Friday, November 02, 2007 4:51 PM
To: ASSOCIATES – NY; ASSOCIATES – DC
Cc: PARTNERS – NY; PARTNERS – DC
Subject: Associate Bonuses
The Executive Committee is pleased to announce the following year end bonuses for associates:
Class of 2007: Year-end bonus of $35,000 (pro-rated)
Class of 2006: Year-end bonus of $35,000; special bonus of $10,000
Class of 2005: Year-end bonus of $40,000; special bonus of $15,000
Class of 2004: Year-end bonus of $45,000; special bonus of $20,000
Class of 2003: Year-end bonus of $50,000; special bonus of $30,000
Class of 2002: Year-end bonus of $55,000; special bonus of $40,000
Class of 2001: Year-end bonus of $60,000; special bonus of $50,000
Class of 2000 and senior: Year-end bonus of $65,000; special bonus of $50,000
Bonuses will be paid in December, consistent with our customary practices.
All of the Firm’s partners greatly appreciate your hard work and contributions to our success.
We are also pleased to announce that the firm will be paying a special bonus to our administrative staff, whose hard work, dedication and loyalty have been a critical part of our accomplishments.

A bonus for the staff too! Good on ‘em. We haven’t seen any other firms doing this, but we think it’s great. You should always show your staff that you appreciate them too.

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Cahill Gordon & Reindel has matched, but won’t pay until January 2008. From the memo:

MEMORANDUM TO COUNSEL, SENIOR ATTORNEYS
AND ASSOCIATES
November 2, 2007
We are pleased to announce that our regular and special merit bonuses for 2007
for associates in good standing at December 31, 2007 will be as follows:
Class Regular Bonus Special Merit Bonus
Class of 2007 – $35,000 (pro -rated) —
Class of 2006 – $35,000 $10,000
Class of 2005 – $40,000 $15,000
Class of 2004 – $45,000 $20,000
Class of 2003 – $50,000 $30,000
Class of 2002 – $55,000 $40,000
Class of 2001 – $60,000 $50,000
Class of 2000 – $65,000 $50,000
Class of 1999 – $65,000 $50,000
Class of 1998 – $65,000 $50,000
Bonuses for Counsel, Senior Attorneys and other associates will be determined on
an individual basis. Bonuses will be paid by January 11, 2008. Counsel, Senior Attorneys and
Associates who were on unpaid leave or worked part-time during any part of this year and those
who started during this year will be eligible for pro-rated bonuses.
Thank you for your dedication, hard work and continued contribution to the success
of the Firm.
Executive Committee

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It seems like you can’t throw a web cam these days without hitting a lawyer trying to use the internet to sexually prey on our kids. Reference recent lawyers of the day here and here, for just a couple of examples. And remember that prosecutor in Texas that blew his head off because To Catch a Predator was coming? Well, here’s another one:

An attorney arrested in an Internet child-sex sting in the basement of the Ohio Statehouse thought he was going to meet a 15-year-old girl he had met online, authorities said.
Barry Mentser, 48, a former children’s services lawyer, was taken into custody Wednesday moments after the police officer who conducted the sting testified two floors above in favor of a bill that would increase penalties for such offenses.
Lt. Jeff Braley, a detective from Hamilton Township in Warren County in southwest Ohio, said he posed as the girl to set up a Statehouse meeting with the man.

[FOX News]
Wow, the Statehouse, really? Is that the hot hangout spot for the teenagers in Columbus? Perhaps Mentser should have been a little suspicious.
What’s the deal with all these lawyers getting busted for this? Is there something about the legal profession that drives lawyers to this in higher than usual numbers? Or do we just hear about all the lawyers that get busted because everybody hates lawyers and is looking for any excuse to ridicule them? We suspect it’s the latter, but we’re still given a little pause by it all.
A little more discussion after the jump.
Attorney Seeking 15-Year-Old Girl He Met Online Arrested in Sex Sting at Ohio Statehouse [FOX News]

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyer of the Day: Barry Mentser”

Job of the Week

Here is the latest Job of the Week, courtesy of ATL’s career partner, Lateral Link. Because Lateral Link does no cold-calling and is more efficient than traditional recruiting firms, successful candidates receive $10,000 upon placement.
Position: Bankruptcy Attorney
Location: Los Angeles
Description: One of the most selective firms in the Los Angeles market, with numerous recognitions for its top notch litigation practice, is currently seeking a Bankruptcy Attorney with 3 – 5 years of experience. Among Vault’s Top 50 most prestigious firms. “Uppers” include:
Egalitarian culture; Geniuses for colleagues; and Lots of responsibility early on. “Notable Perks” include: Friday in-house happy hour (“the Sherry Sip”); Annual weekend retreat for attorneys and their families; In-house lunches served three days per week with frequent prominent guest speakers; and Generous clerkship bonuses.
To apply for this position, or to learn about other career opportunities, please visit laterallink.com.
Earlier: Prior Job of the Week listings (scroll down)

We would’ve had this up a few minutes ago, but the technical difficulties that Lat mentioned yesterday are still lurking around. Bring on the new fancy servers.
At any rate, Cleary Gottlieb has matched, and the memo is after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Associate Bonus Watch: Cleary Matches”

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McDermott, Will & Emery has come up with a more creative way to deal with soaring associate salaries. The firm has announced that it will be creating a “second tier” of associates to deal solely with low-level tasks like, e.g., document review.
As Cal Law points out, hiring cheaper lawyers to do this type of work is nothing new; this type of stuff is the staple of contract attorneys in most biglaw firms these days. The new part is making these contract attorneys a lower class of associates, essentially making them “permanent contract attorneys”, as Cal Law puts it:

While some firms quietly turn to contract attorneys, or even ship grunt work overseas, McDermott, Will & Emery plans to create a new tier of attorneys — think of them as permanent contract associates — to handle lower-end tasks at lower billing rates.

First-year associates at big firms now earn $160,000. Meanwhile, electronic discovery has dramatically increased the amount of basic work that usually goes to those high-priced associates.
“This is a topic of great importance, since the cost of document review has become intolerable for everyone,” said David Balabanian, the head of Bingham McCutchen’s litigation group.
While hiring contract attorneys is nothing new, creating a second class of full-timers is.

[The Recorder via Cal Law]
Is this a good or bad thing? On the one hand, it increases the competition even more for the “real associate” positions and institutionalizes to an even greater extent the law school tier system into biglaw law firms.
On the other hand, it may be beneficial to those attorneys now doing the contract work. It will establish them as associates in the firm, even if not on the same level as the top tier associates. They will likely receive things like benefits. The top tier associates will likely do more substantive work sooner. And the clients won’t find themselves paying top tier prices for stuff like document review, as still occasionally happens.
So what do you guys think? Will other firms adopt this model? Once again, it makes sense to us.
And hey, L2L, maybe you should apply.
Related:
Firm to Fill Cheap Seats [The Recorder via Cal Law]
McDermott To Create a New Class of BigLaw Attorneys [WSJ Law Blog]

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The Atlanta firm Arnall Golden Gregory is refusing to match the recent round of raises to $145,000 for first year associates by Alson & Bird and several other competitor firms. They put a lot of thought into the decision:

AGG matched the February increase on March 1. Ever since, Kitchens said, he and his partners have been pondering their response to the inevitable next round of raises. “Before now, we didn’t feel we needed to study the matter as much as we’ve studied this,” he said.

[Fulton County Daily Report via Law.com]
Ultimately they decided that the best way to deal with the infamous Atlanta compression was to let first and second-years take the hit:

AGG’s new salary plan tries to reward more experienced and productive associates, he said. “What we tried to do was to have a correlation between the economic value of an associate to the firm and the base compensation.”
Kitchens declined to say how much his firm will raise pay for midlevel and senior associates, but said the base salaries are comparable to those set by Alston & Bird in August, with roughly $10,000 increases between classes.
Clients were concerned that additional salary increases for newer associates would increase their legal bills, said Kitchens. “We don’t want to be in a position where we can’t use first- and second-year associates. We don’t want clients to think they’re not getting value.”
“We have to write off a portion of first- and second-year time because they’re learning,” Kitchens said. “We don’t make a profit. It’s a sunk investment, so adding the additional sunk investment of $15,000 didn’t make sense.”
“We’re trying not to have our midyear and higher associates feel they’re underpaid in the marketplace based on their situation and their peer group at other firms. Obviously, with first- and second-years there will be a differential.”

Easy for us to say, since we’re not in biglaw and certainly not one of those first-years taking the hit, but this actually seems like a good explanation for a reasonable course of action to us. What you do guys think?
Arnall Golden Gregory Holds the Line on Associate Pay [Fulton County Daily Report via Law.com]

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The Atlanta firm Arnall Golden Gregory is refusing to match the recent round of raises to $145,000 for first year associates by Alson & Bird and several other competitor firms. They put a lot of thought into the decision:

AGG matched the February increase on March 1. Ever since, Kitchens said, he and his partners have been pondering their response to the inevitable next round of raises. “Before now, we didn’t feel we needed to study the matter as much as we’ve studied this,” he said.

[Fulton County Daily Report via Law.com]
Ultimately they decided that the best way to deal with the infamous Atlanta compression was to let first and second-years take the hit:

AGG’s new salary plan tries to reward more experienced and productive associates, he said. “What we tried to do was to have a correlation between the economic value of an associate to the firm and the base compensation.”
Kitchens declined to say how much his firm will raise pay for midlevel and senior associates, but said the base salaries are comparable to those set by Alston & Bird in August, with roughly $10,000 increases between classes.
Clients were concerned that additional salary increases for newer associates would increase their legal bills, said Kitchens. “We don’t want to be in a position where we can’t use first- and second-year associates. We don’t want clients to think they’re not getting value.”
“We have to write off a portion of first- and second-year time because they’re learning,” Kitchens said. “We don’t make a profit. It’s a sunk investment, so adding the additional sunk investment of $15,000 didn’t make sense.”
“We’re trying not to have our midyear and higher associates feel they’re underpaid in the marketplace based on their situation and their peer group at other firms. Obviously, with first- and second-years there will be a differential.”

Easy for us to say, since we’re not in biglaw and certainly not one of those first-years taking the hit, but this actually seems like a good explanation for a reasonable course of action to us. What you do guys think?
Arnall Golden Gregory Holds the Line on Associate Pay [Fulton County Daily Report via Law.com]

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