Several offices of Seyfarth Shaw met yesterday and today to discuss the results of the Am-Law Mid-Level Associate Survey, as well as those from an internal survey distributed. [T]he data revealed in these surveys reflected a considerable level of dissatisfaction from associates regarding a variety of areas, and [discussion was held] to cover some of the things the firm is doing to address them (as discussed at the Partners retreat in late September).
When this non-descript “Associates Meeting” was announced last week, most of the associates believed it was to discuss that fact that Seyfarth was finally going to get off ATL’s List of Shame and raise to 160k. However, to our surprise, the whole issue of salaries was completely glanced over. It was merely conveyed that the Compensation Committee was still compiling data regarding recent “market trends in compensation” and would be “meeting” (not necessarily deciding anything) in December.
Seyfarth really continues to amaze….
Okay, so you’re getting below-market pay (except in New York, where associates start at $160K). But look on the bright side — at least your firm makes awesome videos! From an earlier message:
I am not sure how you can get your hands on this, but Seyfarth Shaw did a professional-quality “MTV-Cribs” spoof for the opening of its new Chicago office last fall where Steve Poor (managing partner) walked around in a Hugh Heffner-style smoking jacket showing off the firms new office space. It was clearly a joke (unlike the Nixon Peabody fiasco) and the firm showed it to the new first year associates during first year orientation. However, I would pay money to see that video again….it was hilarious!
If any of you has a copy of said video, or knows how one might be obtained, you know where to reach us.
We always get excited about law-related movies. E.g., Michael Clayton; A Lawyer Walks Into a Bar. If you hear of any in the pipeline, please let us know.
Today we’re pleased to present an exclusive clip for the upcoming release by Magnolia Pictures, Terror’s Advocate, which opens in theaters tomorrow. Here’s a brief blurb about this legally-themed film:
TERROR’S ADVOCATE is a controversial documentary that explores the legal practices of the charismatic and devious-until-proven-innocent French lawyer Jacques Vergès. He is best known for defending Carlos the Jackal and members of the Nazi party. In addition, TERROR’S ADVOCATE features the recently arrested former Khmer Rouge Second in Command, Nuon Chea.
“Jaw-dropping and all the more amazing for being true.” A.O. Scott – NY Times
“A riveting drama. This fascinating drama is fresh and epic” – Time Magazine
An Official Selection at Cannes Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival and Telluride Film Festival.
After Sullivan & Cromwell announced its new bonus program for senior associates, we received a bunch of messages like this one:
Can you please do a thread to see if other NYC firms have matched or plan to match the S&C recent bonus pool system for senior associates? Seems like there’s been no reaction to this by any other firms.
Does this mean the other firms no longer offer top-of-the-market compensation for senior associates?
We’re not aware of any other New York firms matching the S&C move. But we hear that Skadden is… establishing a committee!
More after the jump.
This firm-wide email was sent out by Skadden Executive Partner Robert C. Sheehan about 15 minutes ago:
From: Robert Sheehan Sent: Thursday, October 11, 2007 11:50 AM To: EVERYONE EUROPE DL; EVERYONE NORTH AMERICA DL; EVERYONE PACIFIC RIM DL Subject: Another Milestone
October 11, 2007
TO: All Personnel
FROM: Bob Sheehan
RE: Another Milestone
Sometime in the last few days our contingent of attorneys passed the 2,000 mark. This is a remarkable achievement for any firm, but for one established not so very long ago (e.g., I was the 30th attorney here when I arrived in 1969), it is an indicator of astounding success.
Congratulations to all of us, past and present, for helping to make Skadden, Arps the success that we have become. Special thanks go to Messrs. Skadden, Arps and Slate for their decision to form the Firm on April 1, 1948 and for the decision to hire Joe Flom as their first associate later that year.
Two thousand souls, fed into the billable-hours machine that is Skadden. But accredited U.S. law schools graduate over 40,000 students a year, some of whom have souls, so there’s still room for growth.
Onward and upward, SASMF!!! Update: We’ve just learned that Mr. Sheehan went to our alma mater, Regis High School. Deo et Patriae — et Skadden!
The most famous student or graduate of Regent University School of Law, the conservative law school founded by the American televangelist Pat Robertson, is probably the fabulous Monica Goodling. If you’re on Facebook, you can join her fan club here.
But a husky, heavily tattooed freak-show 2L is giving La Goodling a run for her money. From the Virginian-Pilot:
Regent University officials have threatened to discipline a law student for posting on his Facebook page an unflattering photo of Regent President Pat Robertson.
The student, Adam M. Key, defended his action as constitutionally protected free speech in a 14-page legal brief he presented to the dean of the law school.
Regent officials gave Key two choices: publicly apologize for posting the picture and refrain from commenting about the matter in a “public medium,” or write a brief defending the posting. He faces punishment that could include expulsion.
Key, a second-year law student, said he refused to apologize and “be muzzled” by the university, so he composed the document, which includes citations from noted First Amendment cases.
* Politician busted for cheating in marathon. Seriously. [Sports Illustrated] [FN1]
* iPhone sued over exclusivity. [MSNBC]
* Hospital employees suspended for violating HIPAA after Clooney visit. [CNN]
* Suspected killer escapes to St. Martin, so far evades extradition. [CNN]
[FN1] Shameless plug: Speaking of marathons, David is running the New York City marathon next month, to raise funds for cancer research. If you’d be willing to support him with a tax-deductible donation, please click here.
On Tuesday, we reported on several sightings of former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, in the vicinity of 13th and F Streets here in Washington, DC. Now we know what he was doing in that part of town:
[F]ormer AGAG has retained George Terwilliger of White & Case to represent him in the investigation surrounding his mismanagement of Justice. White & Case is on 13th between F and G.
* Check it out: the Los Angeles Daily Journal has a brand new blog. Welcome to the blogosphere, Mr. Hurley! [Washington Briefs]
* Don’t you wish you had attended a non-top-tier non-T14 law school? At U. Conn. Law, Professor Robert Birmingham (at right) screens prostitution training films in class. [TaxProf Blog]
* ESPN’s Stephen Smith lawyers up, retaining Willie Gary — a/k/a the “$22,000 an Hour Man.” [FishBowl NY]
* Fake Lawyer of the Day. [AP]
* Dubious Lawsuit of the Day. [Orlando Sentinel]
* Another interesting interview with Jeffrey Toobin, author of the bestselling Supreme Court book, The Nine. [On the Media / NPR]
It’s tough being a federal judicial nominee. Your entire legal career is gone over with a fine-toothed comb, and every mistake or misstep is brought to light, no matter how minor.
From the ABA Journal:
A lawyer nominated to a federal appeals court was lead attorney on an $8 million appeal that got tossed because the trial transcript was not filed by the deadline.
E. Duncan Getchell Jr. of McGuireWoods asked the Virginia Supreme Court to hear the appeal anyway, but the judges refused, the Virginian-Pilot reports. Getchell’s five-page brief did not explain the reason for the failure, except to say there was a “miscommunication or misunderstanding.”
Perhaps there was a misunderstanding about whether trial counsel or appellate counsel (Getchell) should have filed the transcript. From the Virginian-Pilot:
The fact that Getchell’s firm filed the post-trial motions three weeks after the verdict “kind of suggests the baton was passed,” said William S. Geimer, a professor emeritus at Washington and Lee University Law School who teaches civil procedure.
“It’s definitely the law firm’s responsibility,” Geimer said. “I don’t see any way for the law firm to escape responsibility if it was even partly or jointly responsible for the failure.”
Getchell did not return repeated calls to his office.
First the case of the $54 million pants was dismissed. And now another ridiculous but amusing lawsuit, previously covered here and here, bites the dust.
From a piece by Sheri Qualters for the National Law Journal:
The federal court battle over a Massachusetts bar examination question about homosexual marriage has ended with the court accepting the plaintiff’s voluntary dismissal of the case.
On Oct. 9, a Massachusetts federal judge granted Stephen Dunne’s request to dismiss his case against the bar examination testing agency, the state Supreme Judicial Court and four individual justices over a question on the state’s bar exam concerning homosexual marriage.
In a lawsuit filed in June, Dunne claimed he failed the Massachusetts bar examination because he didn’t answer a question about homosexual marriage.
In terms of our associate compensation coverage, we’ve been on a bit of a Philly kick recently. We recently covered the pay raise announcements of Ballard Spahr and Blank Rome.
We’re happy to continue this theme. In response to requests from several ATL readers, here’s a bonus thread dedicated to PHILADELPHIA.
In the comments to this post, please discuss year-end bonuses in the City of Brotherly Love — billable-hour cutoffs, rumors about what they’ll be like, etc. Thanks. Earlier: Year-end bonus open threads for Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco, Texas, and Washington, DC.
In our column for this week’s New York Observer, we take Michael Clayton, the new legal thriller starring George Clooney, and use it as a jumping-off point for a discussion of the senior associate. Here’s an excerpt:
“Who is this guy?”
That’s what an icy general counsel (Tilda Swinton) wants to know about George Clooney—of all people—in the new legal thriller Michael Clayton. At the prestigious New York law firm of Kenner, Bach & Ledeen, Mr. Clooney’s title character has the nifty-sounding job of “Special Counsel,” as well as a snazzy corner office overlooking Sixth Avenue. But while he’s been at the firm for 17 years, he’s never made partner. As a salaried employee, with no management role or equity stake in the firm (as he bitterly notes more than once), Michael Clayton is what we politely call a senior associate.
So, who are these guys? Senior associates are typically associates who didn’t make partner. They’re generally viewed by their colleagues as perfectly competent worker bees, but not superstar material. They’re no longer in junior-associate hell, and they’re very well paid, but their predicament within the legal profession’s prestige-obsessed precincts is difficult: They’re indefinitely trapped in the purgatory of nonpartnership, with its attendant lack of dignity.
But is the “plight” of senior associates overstated? Read the rest of the piece by clicking here.
The evolution of relationships between the genders continues. Currently, in law firms, there is an interesting conundrum; balancing the desire for a gender-blind workplace where “the best lawyer gets the work and advances” and the reality of navigating the complicated maze created by the fact that, in general, men and women do possess differences in their work styles. These variations impact who they work with, how they work, how they build professional connections and how organizations ultimately leverage, reward and recognize the talents of all.
Henry Ford sat on his workbench and sighed. A year earlier, he had personally built 13,000 Model Ts with his own hands. Fashioning lugnuts and tie rods by hand, Ford was loath to ask for help. Sure, there were things about the car that he didn’t quite understand. This explains the lack of reliable navigation systems in the Model T. But Ford persevered because he knew that unless he did everything, he could not reliably call these cars his own.
“Unless my own personal toil is responsible for it, it may as well be called a Hyundai,” Ford remarked at the time.
The preceding may sound unfamiliar because it is categorically untrue. And also monumentally stupid. Henry Ford didn’t build all those cars by hand. He had help and plenty of it. Almost exactly one hundred years ago, Henry Ford opened up the most technologically advanced assembly line the world had ever seen. Built on the premise that work can be chopped up into digestible pieces and completed by many men better than one, the line ushered in an age of unparalleled productivity.
Today, an attorney refers business because he can’t do everything the client asks of him.
There are three reasons why this is way dumber than a made-up Henry Ford story…
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, 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.