We have a new favorite catchphrase: “You have a Monica problem.” We’ve added it to our favorite quotations, and we may put it in our email signature file, too.
As explained here, the words “You have a Monica problem” were typically uttered to Justice Department job applicants whose credentials might be deemed insufficiently conservative by Monica Goodling — the uber-powerful ex-DOJ official who played a key role in hiring.
But these days, “You have a Monica problem” might also apply to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. From Jason McClure of the Legal Times:
Now it’s all about Monica.
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales emerged mostly unscathed from last week’s face-off with Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee over his role in the U.S. attorney firings….
But there’s one big wild card that’s yet to be thrown into play, and that’s Monica Goodling, Gonzales’ former White House liaison.
If you don’t share our Monica obsession, you can stop reading here. But if you find her as fascinating as we do, there’s more after the jump.
Law school snobs — or “tierists,” as some call them — should check out this interesting article, by Lindsay Fortado of Bloomberg News. It’s about how high demand for summer and permanent associates is pushing large law firms to expand their recruiting efforts, to include law schools outside the “top 10.”
When Josh Kleiman, a student at Brooklyn Law School, interviewed at 17 law firms for a summer position, 12 called back. He joined New York’s Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobsen, one of the city’s most profitable.
The competition has increased for Kleiman and other students at so-called second-tier law schools for jobs that pay more than $3,000 a week, plus free lunches and cocktail parties. New York’s largest law firms have hired record numbers of summer associates to deal with an abundance of work and defections of lawyers to banks and private equity clients.
Kleiman had the pick of the Biglaw litter:
Kleiman was also offered summer positions at Sullivan & Cromwell; Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker; White & Case; Shearman & Sterling and Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel. He said he chose Fried Frank, ranked 14th in the city in revenue per partner, because the attorneys were “diverse and interesting.”
Presumably Kleiman chose Fried Frank over the conventionally more prestigious S&C sometime this past fall (pursuant to the NALP deadlines). But if similarly situated law students turn down S&C in higher-than-usual numbers this coming fall, we’re blaming it on this guy.
(To whom, by the way, law clerks may owe their newly improved bonuses. Some speculate that S&C raised its clerkship bonus to $50,000 because it feared a tough recruiting season this fall, due in part to L’Affaire Charney. Eventually Simpson Thacher followed suit, followed by many other top shops. And the rest is history.) Lawyer Search Spurred by M&A Sends Manhattan’s Best to Brooklyn [Bloomberg]
If you want to get a raise to the $160K pay scale, but without a corresponding “adjustment” to your bonus. Or if you want to bill only 1800 hours a year, and still make a decent living.
From a source at the firm:
Today’s Judge of the Day hails from the other side of the pond. From Reuters:
A British judge admitted on Wednesday he was struggling to cope with basic terms like “Web site” in the trial of three men accused of inciting terrorism via the Internet.
Judge Peter Openshaw broke into the questioning of a witness about a Web forum used by alleged Islamist radicals.
“The trouble is I don’t understand the language. I don’t really understand what a Web site is,” he told a London court during the trial of three men charged under anti-terrorism laws.
These internets can be so confusing…
So is this Judge Openshaw positively ancient? Actually, no:
Prosecutor Mark Ellison briefly set aside his questioning to explain the terms “Web site” and “forum.” An exchange followed in which the 59-year-old judge acknowledged: “I haven’t quite grasped the concepts.”
In an earlier post about the legal secretary at Akin Gump who worked for the alleged D.C. madam, Deborah Jeane Palfrey, we described the secretary as “no Miss Popularity.” A source at the firm told us that “[m]ost people don’t like her,” due to her supercilious attitude. Various commenters echoed these views.
But a different source has more positive things to say about the Akin Gump Escort:
She was a secretary (never a paralegal) to partner John Dowd (attorney/author behind the Pete Rose gambling investigation and Rose’s subsequent ban from baseball and the HoF).
[Ed. note: We previously pointed out that fact, as well as the coincidence that Dowd is now representing the fabulous Monica Goodling, back in this post.]
She was a moderately friendly, attractive woman, late 20s/early 30s, with dark blonde hair. I think she lived on a farm in southern Maryland and liked horses.
Sorry, we have nothing new to report concerning either associate pay raises or clerkship bonuses. The best we can offer is yet another non-announcement announcement (like these two).
Today’s email, which actually made the rounds earlier in the week, comes from McDermott Will & Emery:
As you are probably aware, over the last two weeks there have been a number of developments in various of our markets in the US with respect to associate salaries. It is very clear, for example that the market in California has increased to a level of $160,000 for first year associates with commensurate increases in more senior classes.
The Firm intends to continue our practice of paying competitive compensation in all of our markets. Rather than taking action on a serial basis, we are continuing to monitor the relevant developments and plan to make a final decision by May 30 with retroactive effect back to May 1.
Thank you for your patience in the interim.
Dawna Butala for Donald A. Goldman, Esq. McDermott Will & Emery LLP
One source’s gloss on this: “A likely bump for the california offices, but looking grim for Chicago, Boston and D.C.”
We have to step away from the computer for a little while. Please discuss compensation issues, and post the text of any new announcements, in the comments. Thanks.
* No confidence in Gonzalez. [Washington Post via How Appealing]
* That’s f***ing faking retarded. [CNN]
* Yep, it’s official: Wolfowitz is stepping down on June 30. [BBC News]
* Really? Cause I thought she had a good case on appeal (eyes rolling). [CNN]
* Sorry Tancredo; there went your issue. [Jurist]
Earlier this week, we reported on the unexpected early promotions of four corporate associates at Cahill Gordon. According to various comments, the four soon-to-be partners, whose promotions will take effect in July, are Doug Horowitz, Corey Wright, Bill Miller, and Jonathan Frankel.
As some speculated, this quartet was promoted early to prevent them from leaving for greener pastures. Here are more details:
The way it apparently went down is that all 7th and 8th year litigators were sat down individually by a partner and told, a week or so ago, that 7th and 8th year corporate associates — corporate associates only — were going to be voted on this summer. The given reason was to prevent these people from leaving to go to i-banks.
Litigators were apparently told that they should not consider this to be a negative commentary on their value to the firm, and that they would be considered in the normal course, either end of this year (8th years) or end of next (7th years). Their chances of making it were described as “the same as they were yesterday.”
It’s my understanding that there is a growing rift between corporate and litigation at the firm. Each group — partners included — increasingly resenting the other. Corpies think litigators are lazy, don’t have to work nearly as hard for the same amount of money. Litigators resent being treated as second-class citizens.
Very interesting. Some food for thought:
1. Several top law firms have struggled to deal with the problem of star associates leaving for investment banks, hedge funds, and other opportunities in the world of finance. Will other Biglaw shops start employing this strategy of early promotion to retain their best associates? Could we be witnessing the start of a trend?
2. According to conventional wisdom, corporate lawyers generally have “better” — or at least more lucrative — exit opportunities than litigators. As a result, law firms face more outside competition for them. Could we eventually see a system in which partnership tracks are shorter for corporate associates than for litigation colleagues, in reflection of the different markets for the two practice areas?
* There’s an 80s French pop song that translates as “She made a baby herself,” and clearly this happens a lot (accidentally or by design). But for a man? It looks like the law has you covered too. [Baltimore Sun]
* Holiday tipping protocol is complicated. I thought the worst that could happen as the result of a less than generous trip was having to hail a cab yourself, but I’m obviously wrong. [UPI]
* Judge gets all game-theory on their ass. [The Plain Dealer (Cleveland)]
* Lawyers, nannies… They always screw things up, don’t they? But Mom always does know best. [Daily Mail]
In the next few weeks, summer associates will be arriving at large law firms around the country. And they’ll get treated to lavish, three-hour lunches, paid for by Biglaw shops that want to win them back on a permanent basis.
But the summer lunches may be a trifle rushed over at Dewey Ballantine. Here’s a rumor (unconfirmed) that’s making the rounds:
The word on the street is that Dewey Ballantine announced today that summer activities/lunches/etc. won’t count towards the billable hours minimum of 2000 for a bonus (cliff effect: 1999 you get nothing, 2000 you get market).
This sounds like a recipe for recruiting suicide. Do most firms with minimums exclude summer associate activities from the total? I like lunch at Nobu57and karaoke as much as the next guy, but I’m not giving up $40,000 for it.
We see our tipster’s point. But we think that many (if not most) firms don’t count such activities towards billable minimums. Did Dewey count them in previous years, as this rumor implies? Update: We are getting some vague rumblings from sources that the Dewey rumor above is incorrect (although they won’t spell out how). We warned you to take this gossip as unconfirmed. Anyway, the real point of this post is what appears below…
In any event, our correspondent isn’t actually at Dewey, whose Los Angeles office will be hosting this comely young law student (as profiled in Stuff Magazine):
A quasi-racy picture, after the jump.
No, not that Bjork. We’re talking about a different idiosyncratic Scandinavian, who also harbors musical aspirations.
By way of introduction:
This email was sent to the whole of Linklaters by one of their Swedish assistants associates!
Oh those crazy Swedes…
Check out the email — which has made the rounds worldwide, is still being forwarded as we speak, and was going to wind up in your inbox eventually, so we feel no qualms about posting it — after the jump.
It has been a while since our last update on associate pay raises. That’s because we have nothing to report. If you hear of anything, please email us.
In the meantime, here’s something from a Texas tipster:
Thought I would pass along information I’ve compiled over the last few days re: Texas associate salaries.
First, here’s an article where all the big Texas shops basically give the finger to the idea of pay raises any time soon.
Second, here’s the list of firms (that I know of) with offices in Texas that have raised to $150K or higher (current big firm average in Texas right now is $135K). The name of the city and number of associates in the offices in those cities is also listed (source, NALP). There may be others that have gone up that I don’t know about. Please use your vast network of informants and resources to find out.
The rest of the message, including the list, appears after the jump.
The holiday season is upon us, and yet again, you have no idea what to get for the fickle lawyer in your life. We’re here to help. Even if your bonus check hasn’t arrived yet, any one of the gifts we’ve highlighted here could be a worthy substitute until your employer decides to make it rain.
We’ve got an eclectic selection for you to choose from, so settle in by that stack of documents yet to be reviewed and dig in…
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@example.com.
We currently have a very exciting and rare type of in-house opening in China at one of the world’s leading internet and social media companies. Our client is looking for an IP Transactional / TMT / Licensing attorney with 2 to 6 years experience. The new hire will be based in Shenzhen or Shanghai. Mandarin is not required (deal documentation will be in English) but is preferred. A solid reason to be in China and a commitment to that market is required of course. This new hire will likely be US qualified (but could also be qualified in UK or other jurisdictions) and with experience and training at a top law firm’s IP transactional / TMT practice and could be currently at a law firm or in-house. Qualified candidates currently Asia based, Europe based or US based will be considered. The new hire’s supervisors in this technology transactions in-house team are very well regarded US trained IP transactional lawyers, with substantial experience at Silicon Valley firms. The culture and atmosphere in this in-house group and the company in general is entrepreneurial, team oriented, and the work is cutting edge, even for a cutting edge industry. The upside of being in an important strategic in-house position in this fast growing and world leading internet company is of the “sky is the limit” variety. Its a very exciting place to be in China for a rising IP transactional lawyer in our opinion, for many reasons beyond the basic info we can share here in this ad / post. This is a special A+ opportunity.
If your firm is in ‘go’ mode when it comes to recruiting lateral partners with loyal clients, then take this quiz to see how well you measure up. Keep track of your ‘yes’ and ‘no’ responses.
1. Does your firm have a clearly defined strategy of practice groups that are priorities of growth for your office? Nothing gets done by random chance, but with a clear vision for the future. Identify the top practice areas for which you wish to add lateral partners. Seek input from practice group leaders and get specifics on needs, outcomes, and ideal target profiles.
2. In addition to clarifying your firm’s growth strategy, are you still open to the hire of a partner outside of your plan? I’ve made several placements that fit this category. The partner’s practice was not within the strategic growth plan of my client, but once the two parties started talking with each other, we all saw how it could indeed be a seamless fit. Be open to “Opportunistic Hires.” You never know where your next producing partner might come from, so you have to be open to it. I will be the first to admit that there is a quirky element of randomness in recruiting.
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