As we mentioned on Friday, due to the popularity of Non-Top-Tier Law School Week, we’ve extended it to include all of this week. We will continue to explore — and to challenge — the following claim:
Even if times might be great for Biglaw shops and the top-tier grads they hire, it’s hard out here for graduates of non-elite law schools (especially those not at the top of their class).
The thesis was articulated last week in this post, based on this Wall Street Journal article.
This latest post falls on the “challenge” side of the ledger. Several readers have emailed us to point out that, in essence, not all non-top-tier schools are created equal. Geography — i.e., presence in (or proximity to) a strong legal market, especially one without many top law schools to compete with — makes a big difference.
What do we mean by all this? Find out, after the jump.
Law school can be thought of as a Harry Potter-style “sorting hat” for law students (as Dave Hoffman suggests). Similarly, the recent round of pay raises can be thought of as a sorting hat for law firms.
Nathan Carlile has this excellent article in the current issue of the Legal Times:
Call it a near miss.
Earlier this year, New York’s Simpson Thacher & Bartlett raised starting salaries for first-year associates to $160,000. In the competition to recruit top talent, the tactic was similar to one used by Kenyan marathon runners: a midrace burst to separate elite competitors from the pack of pretenders.
But while Simpson’s bump momentarily opened up a $25,000 gap between top-end New York firms and their Washington counterparts, the pack soon matched the move. Eight months later, starting salaries for first-years at most of the 200 largest firms nationwide remain bunched at $160,000.
More discussion — including rumors of Skadden leading a new round of pay raises in New York City — after the jump.
Last week we honored Judge Samuel B. Kent with our prestigious Judge of the Day award, based on his alleged sexual harassment of a court employee. Now the Fifth Circuit Judicial Council has also recognized Judge Kent. From Texas Lawyer:
The Judicial Council of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals [on Friday] issued an order reprimanding and admonishing U.S. District Judge Samuel B. Kent of Galveston. The order relates to a complaint of judicial misconduct lodged against the judge on May 21 alleging sexual harassment toward an employee of the federal judicial system.
A former case manager for Kent, Cathy McBroom, confirms she filed a complaint against the judge. She declines further comment. McBroom currently works in the clerk’s office in the Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas.
You can access the order here (PDF). But as a tipster notes, “All the juicy stuff will ‘not be disclosed.’ No fun at all.”
Fear not, judicial gossip aficionados. The Houston Chronicle has more details:
Kent is accused of harassing and inappropriately touching his 49-year-old case manager in his chambers in March….
On the day of the incident, other employees saw McBroom crying and visibly upset, according to interviews. A few weeks later, McBroom transferred to another federal court job in Houston. McBroom was so shaken by the encounter, “She (was) a basket case,” an acquaintance said.
McBroom has retained Houston attorney Rusty Hardin, who would not comment for now on the particulars of the case.
Not good news for Judge Kent. Hardin is one of Houston’s top trial lawyers.
And this is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Additional allegations against Judge Kent, after the jump.
Judge Fried issued his decision in response to S&C’s partial motion to dismiss. Though both sides landed blows, it seems that S&C can claim itself the victor of this battle. The Court dismissed Charney’s Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress (“IIED”) and Conspiracy causes of action, albeit without prejudice. However, at least as it stands now, it appears that Charney may have difficulty reviving these claims. But it was not a complete victory for S&C. The Court declined to strike most of the paragraphs from the Complaint that S&C had requested.
More from Jonas here, and Justice Bernard Fried’s order here (PDF). Jonas titled his post “The Empire Strikes Back.” But why did he use a photo of Sharon Nelles instead of H. Rodgin Cohen (who is closer in age and appearance to Emperor Palpatine)?
Professor Arthur Leonard offers the detailed, thorough analysis that we’ve come to expect from him. Here’s an excerpt:
So, what does all this mean? I’m not entirely sure….
I had thought that these additional claims were separate and distinct from the NYC HRL [Human Rights Law] claims, as relating to the activities of S&C and Gallion in reaction to the lawsuit rather than to S&C’s treatment of Charney as an employee. That is, the HRL claims related to what happened before Charney filed his original lawsuit. The intentional infliction of emotional distress claim was addressed to the tactics that S&C then used after the lawsuit was filed to try to pressure Charney to back down, and the conspiracy claim was specifically aimed at the enlistment of attorney Gallion to add to the pressure and sidetrack Grinberg from allying himself with Charney
Does Fried’s action in dismissing these additional legal claims but refusing to strike almost all the factual allegation paragraphs of the complaint that specifically relate to them mean that he believes the events that came after the first complaint are now part of the overall case under the city Human Rights Law? If so, then Charney has lost nothing by this dismissal order, and the judge has at least implicitly ratified the idea that S&C’s response to his complaint becomes part of the retaliation case, at the very least.
* Ann Althouse on the Chelsea Clinton restaurant photo controversy from earlier this week: “‘We reserve the right to exercise any and all options available to us.’ What kind of crap is that?” [Althouse]
* Our apologies to Brian Dalton of Vault for the snark from earlier today. How were we to know that a New York Times reporter would screw up a quote so badly? [Void for Vagueness]
* During a little over a year at Patterson Belknap, Michael Mukasey apparently earned about $1.9 million. And he wants to be AG to a lame-duck president, for a little over a year, because… [Bloomberg News via WSJ Law Blog]
* Congratulations to Hofstra on its #1 status! (Among tier 3 and tier 4 faculties.) [TaxProf Blog]
* John Carney argues that SEC chairman Chris Cox should reject the new proposed proxy access rule, which would actually harm ordinary investors. That Carney, he’s so contrarian. [DealBreaker]
* Are you a young lawyer looking for financial advice? Check this out. [WSJ Law Blog]
Courtesy of ATL’s career partner, Lateral Link, here is the latest Job of the Week: Company: Osiris Therapeutics, Inc. (Columbia, Maryland) Position Description: The medical care company, which commercializes products from adult bone marrow, seeks a Chief Intellectual Property Counsel to work in Columbia, Maryland. As the successful candidate will manage the company’s IP-related matters, the position requires 6+ years of experience, with a law firm and/or biotechnology corporate environment; a scientific background, preferably a Ph.D. in a biological or chemical field; admission to a State bar and the U.S. Patent & Trademark office; and experience with preparation and prosecution of patents (U.S. and foreign). Location: Columbia, Maryland Earlier: Prior Job of the Week listings (scroll down)
This email exchange is rapidly making the rounds. It doesn’t rise to the level of Dianna Abdala, but it’s not bad — and perfectly suitable for a slow Friday afternoon.
The tipster who sent it to us introduced it as follows:
This is pretty funny. It goes to show you that tier four students are just as entitled and obnoxious as their tier one counterparts!
From: [redacted] Sent: Friday, September 21, 2007 9:05 AM To: [Partner at four-person law firm] Subject: Interview?
Sir, let me begin by noting that I understand your time is very valuable
and I anticipate that your work day is very hectic. However, my time is
valuable to me and sitting at the interview location waiting for you has
resulted in a fantastic waste of a potentially productive Friday
I was very interested in your firm. I believe that there are many ways
of becoming a good lawyer, and felt that employment at your firm would
be one of them. Though I find myself being pushed in the direction of
the large firms as a result of my grades, I had high hopes that getting
involved in a smaller and yet equally productive camp would be the best
fit for me. Sadly, it seems that I will not find out if my suspicions
I realize I am just an naive law student in your eyes but I assure you
sir that a day will come when I command a level of respect that would
make [sic] idea of standing me up unimaginable. As I was your first interview
this morning I feel that a phone call was in order from your end. Good
luck with the rest of your interviews.
Right now you might be thinking, “Good for you, Wayne State Guy! Just because you go to a Tier Four doesn’t mean you can be jerked around.”
But the truth turns out to be more complex. Read the partner’s response, after the jump.
We’ve been having a lot of fun with Non-Top-Tier Law School Week here at ATL. So we’re extending it, to include all of next week. As we mentioned before, if you have a story idea that fits under this theme, please email us.
As part of this special celebration, each day we’re going to highlight a successful non-top-tier law school graduate, and honor this person as our Non-Top-Tier Law School Graduate of the Day.
Here is today’s winner: Name: Eric M. Krautheimer Law School: Western New England College School of Law, 1993 Current Position: Partner, Mergers & Acquisitions, Sullivan & Cromwell Why He’s Our Winner: Eric Krautheimer is a partner at S&C, one of the world’s most prestigious and profitable law firms. In 2006, profits per partner at S&C clocked in at $2.82 million. Innumerable Harvard-Yale-Stanford grads would KILL to be in his shoes.
The best part of his job: (allegedly) ordering a prissy little Columbia boy to “bend over” and take it (where “it” = a corporate document).
Talk about living the non-top-tier dream!
How have we not heard of her before? She’s fabulous! And for reasons that will soon become obvious, a Pennsylvania state court jurist, Luzerne County Judge Ann Lokuta, is today’s Judge of the Day.
From the Citizens Voice:
A former intern of Luzerne County Judge Ann Lokuta testified tonight the jurist called her a tramp for wearing a sleeveless shirt to work.
Rebecca Sammon took the stand in Lokuta’s misconduct trial and described another incident where Lokuta yelled at her for being nice on the phone.
Awesome. And there’s more:
Prothonotory Jill Moran testified lawyers got yelled at for clicking pens or writing too loudly in Lokuta’s courtroom. Prothonotary clerk Maura Cusick said Lokuta was either a good judge or a wicked judge.
A dichotomy couldn’t be more false: a wicked judge IS a good judge. The Honorable Ann Lokuta is a delicious judicial diva.
[Ed. note: Yes, we just learned what "prothonotary" means too. See here.]
More obscure terms for judicial staff members, after the jump.
Our last open thread on year-end bonuses, focused on San Francisco, generated a healthy number of comments. Like this one:
Where’s the TEXAS bonus thread? Texas is definitely ahead of SF/SV when it comes to biglaw. With the various carpetbagger firms paying NY bonuses and the Bigtex firms paying anywhere from nothing to 80k, I think Texas deserves some discussion.
We’re not going to get involved in the pissing contest. But we’re happy to provide you with this post, in which you can discuss and speculate about law firm bonuses in TEXAS. Enjoy. Earlier: Year-end bonus open threads for New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, and Washington, DC.
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 (Robert Kinney and Evan Jowers will be in Hong Kong again March 15 to 23), 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.
Are you challenged by the costs and logistics of maintaining your office, distracting you from the practice of law?
Many small firms are successfully moving part—or even all—of their practice to a virtual setting. This even includes multi-jurisdictional practice spanning several states and practice areas, although solo and small partnerships are still the largest adopters of virtual law.
Can you do the same? The new article Mobile in Practice, Virtual by Design from author Jared Correia, Esq., explores how mobile technology bring real-life benefits to a small law firm. Read this new article—the next in Thomson Reuters’ Independent Thinking series for small firms—to explore how a mobile practice:
Everyone is talking about the importance of Social Media in Corporate America. But it is relatively safe to say that most law firms and lawyers are slightly behind the social curve. Most lawyers, at minimum, use LinkedIn, for networking. Some even use Twitter for pushing out short, pithy content, while many have Blogs, where they write their little hearts out. The adage “it is better to give than to receive” is not always true though in the world of Social. In the Social World – it is best to listen, give back and engage.
Social Media is a communications tool that can deeply educate you about the needs and wants of your clients and prospects when used in conjunction social media monitoring and sharing tools.
Take this quick quiz and see if you know how to use Social to help you engage more with your clients or to better service the ones you have.