We bring you some news from the University of Virginia School of Law, which last year was voted America’s Coolest Law School by the readers of Above the Law. UVA has a new dean: Professor Paul Mahoney. Congratulations, Dean-To-Be Mahoney!
Professor Mahoney, who will replace John C. Jeffries Jr. as dean when Jeffries steps down in July, has a glittering resume: MIT, Yale Law, clerkships for Judge Winter (2d Cir.) and Justice Marshall, and four years at S&C. He joined the UVA law faculty in 1990. Word on the street is that Paul Mahoney was “the internal favorite” and that “students [are] pleased” by his selection, which didn’t come as a surprise:
[H]e was widely expected to be the guy. I’m sitting in his wife’s class right now (she’s a prof here too), and not even she [Professor Julia D. Mahoney] has said anything about it. Just prattling on about bailments…
Meanwhile, while we’re training the spotlight on Charlottesville:
Journal tryouts are ongoing at UVA and presumably other law schools. This is the official Feb Club blog’s take on journal tryouts…
We tend to emphasize Biglaw over the in-house world here at ATL. When we do talk about in-house lawyers, it’s often in the context of their complaining about the legal bills they get from large law firms — and how much first- and second-year associates earn these days, despite being short on knowledge and experience.
But don’t shed tears for chief legal officers, general counsels, and the in-house lawyers who work under them. As shown in our latest batch of survey results, they’re very happy with their jobs.
Part of that happiness may stem from their compensation. Check out this Inside Counsel report (PDF) on in-house compensation, or this Legal Blog Watch summary of the report. While they may make less than their counterparts in large law firms, they’re still doing very well for themselves. For GCs’ Salaries, Survey Says: Ka-ching! [Legal Blog Watch] Payday: How does your compensation compare? [InsideCounsel] Payday: Full Report (PDF) [Inside Counsel] Earlier: Featured Job Survey: Does the In-House Always Win?
The powers-that-be at Mayer Brown have made their decisions on bonus and salary adjustments, as announced in an email last night. And it appears that they’ve taken a page from the Dechert playbook, according to one associate:
“The second paragraph [of the memo] is a shock. We were never informed of financial ramifications for failing to enter our time.”
It might be slightly annoying, but it’s the growing trend. Expect more firms to adopt policies that tie compensation to timely time entry. Email exhortations without financial consequences don’t seem to be very effective.
(And it’s arguably not that big an imposition. You already slave away at the firm for ten or twelve hours a day — so what’s another five minutes at the end, to enter your time before heading home? It’s just a matter of getting into the habit of doing it, instead of letting a backlog build up.)
The Mayer Brown memo, after the jump.
We received 1,062 responses to our ATL / Lateral Linksurvey on in-house aspirations.
As shown in the charts below, over half of associates are satisfied or even “very satisfied” with their current positions, but about half would still like to go in-house. Associate Responses: Are You Satisfied With Your Current Job?
Associate Responses: Would You Like To Go In-House?
Find out why and where associates want to move, and what in-house counsel are thinking themselves, after the jump.
Until recently, fans were limited in their ability to become involved in the business side of sports. Now, however, three businesses are bringing fans a tad closer: (1) a soon-to-be launched, publicly owned professional football league known as the UFL; (2) a democratically run British soccer club called Ebbsfield United FC; and (3) an Internet-based business that sells future interests in the earnings of minor league baseball players. UFL Public Offering
The story of fan ownership in pro sports inevitably begins with a New York Times article that ran last summer, announcing that financier Bill Hambrecht and Google executive Tim Armstrong were planning to launch a new publicly owned professional football league called the UFL. The UFL is slated to begin play in August 2008 with eight teams, each owned 50 percent by wealthy investors and 50 percent by public shareholders. A date for the initial public offering (“IPO”) is still pending.
The UFL is in the process of choosing its host cities, and it is doing so in an interesting way. With help from an online ticketing partner, prospective customers currently may purchase seating options in thirteen different cities. Whichever eight of these cities sells the most options will land the league’s first franchises.
Column continues, after the jump.
* DNC accuses Sen. McCain of election law violations. [CNN; Washington Post]
* “Vista capable” class action certified. [MSNBC]
* EA makes $2B bid for Grand Theft Auto’s Take-Two; execs respond by lighting street fires and shooting at cars. [New York Times]
* Exxon Valdez case finally reaches SCOTUS, potentially turning on obscure piracy law. [Washington Post]
* Security experts trace criminal ninja hackers. [cnet]
* “Like to Golf? San Diego Law Firm Seeks Associate Rainmakers.” Maybe the associate who can lift 25 pounds can be your caddy. [ABA Journal]
* Columbia law professor Hans Smit, whose Manhattan mansion we have coveredextensively in these pages, turns down a $20 million offer for the property (which he bought for $325,000, back in 1979). [WSJ.com (scroll down to last item)]
* Not getting a “World’s Greatest Kid” mug: “Our son hired a hit man to kill us.” [ABC News]
* Request for submissions: “Most Screwed Victims in Caselaw History.” [PrawfsBlawg]
Here are the “official” numbers for Seyfarth NYC and “Others,” excluding Atlanta (no idea where they are — presumably lower). Great for the mid/upper classes, but no so great for 1st-2nd years. Some grumbling also from income partners since they don’t get paid a whole lot more than a senior associate and have to deal with all the administrative headaches associated with income partner status.
For those of you who are interested, the salary ranges appear after the jump.
One nice thing about unpublished or non-precedential opinions is that judges feel free to have fun when writing them. When your words aren’t going to be memorialized in the august pages of F.3d or F. Supp. 2d, you can take some stylistic liberties.
A source drew our attention to Vitaich v. City of Chicago, No. 94 C 692, 1995 U.S. Dist LEXIS 11804, at * 3-4 (N.D. Ill. Aug. 16, 1995), a colorful unpublished decision by Judge David H. Coar (N.D. Ill.). Here’s a squib from the recitation of the facts:
Even though plaintiffs have filed a total of three complaints, the essential facts do not vary. They allege the following: plaintiffs had been throwing down a few cool ones at a neighborhood watering hole euphemistically named, “The Great Beer Palace.” Around the witching hour our two princes crossed the threshold of the establishment into the moonless night. The princes and the palace’s draughtsman exchanged vulgar calumnies as they left. Of a sudden, the princes were set upon by the three of the Dreaded Wearers of the Blue [i.e., police officers] known commonly as Cole, Ignowski, and Ogliore. The princes suffered unmentionable tortures at the hands of these rabid beasts. Prince Vitaich attempted to escape on his trusty steed “Harley” but a masked Blue Wearer felled the steed, trapping Sir Vitaich (of Virginia) under it and causing him great pain and anguish. The princes shouted for a paladin or a shire reeve to aide them in their distress, but what great irony upon their discovery that the very Wearers of the Blue were the self-same Defenders of Justice they had summoned, like an invocation gone awry. Oh cruel fate. “We are the defenders of the land of stinking onions whom you seek!” they cried. With that, they vanished into the night, their laughter echoing through the deserted appia on the Avenue of Lincoln. By such a tortuous troubled path have come our wounded princes to this High Court by sealed writ, calling the Wearers of the Blue and the hamlet that gives them succor to task for invading the rights set down by the Tapestry of Edicts known as the Constitution. (citations omitted).
If you go in for a clerkship interview with Judge Coar, bring your 20-sided dice.
Here’s some follow-up on last week’s post about bonuses at Heller Ehrman. We don’t mean to pick on them, but we have talkative sources over there, it’s been a slow day (even setting aside earlier technical difficulties that took the site offline for a while), and this is what we happen to have in the hopper.
A tipster tells us:
[T]he big news from [last week's] meeting was the news that the firm will not be departing in any way from the bonus memo that was put out at the time of Heller’s non-raise last summer (click here (PDF)). In other words, a class of 2002 associate with over 2400 hours last year is guaranteed only $45,500 — approximately $55k less than s/he would have received for billing 2100 hours down the street at Quinn.
After last month’s news that MoFo (which had announced a very similar non-raise and bonus structure) was upping everyone’s bonus by $10k-$20k, the associates here were hopeful (and basically expected) that Heller would do the same; the firm always claims that it doesn’t pay attention to what NY firms or LA firms do (without giving any good explanation, given that it has more associates in those two offices (combined) than it does in SF), and generally names Orrick and MoFo as the firms it looks at as “peers” — though it notably stopped mentioning Orrick as soon as Orrick raised without slashing bonuses last summer. It’s unclear who the firm now sees as its “peers,” since I don’t know of any AmLaw 100 firms that pay as little as Heller does.
The firm will likely respond to this discontent, if at all, by trotting out its old schtick about how its “culture” is so different from that of law firms that pay more. This may have been true 10 years ago, and is undoubtedly still true if you’re comparing it to, say, Skadden. But this place is no different than Orrick or MoFo or Latham in terms of how associates spend their time (and how much of it they spend), and how they’re treated. I can’t think of any reason I could legitimately give to a law student of why they should come here if they had offers from these other CA firms; I certainly would choose differently if I were a 2L now. Expect increased lateral departures, regardless of what the firm says it will do for bonuses next year.
Here is today’s ATL / Lateral Link Job of the Week. In 2007, Lateral Link secured attorneys offers at more than half of the Vault Top 100 firms and numerous corporations and funds. Position: Senior Vice President and Counsel Location: Orange County, California Description: Investment firm focused on growth companies in both the US and in Asia is seeking a Senior Vice President/Counsel. Firm has offices in both Newport Beach, CA and Hong Kong, and manages both public and private investments through various portfolios in both jurisdictions. Duties will include:
* Oversee legal structure of the firm and monitor investment advisor regulations.
* Draft basic legal documents, including term sheets and letters of intent/memorandums of understanding.
* Set up US investment vehicles.
* Liaise with HK outside counsel on setting up foreign investment vehicles and with China based transactions.
* Negotiate investment subscriptions with clients. Position Requirements:
• Mid-senior level associate with transactional, investment management and securities experience
• The position is based in Newport Beach or Los Angeles (company prefers if candidate can work from Newport Beach Office several days a week)
• Flexibility to travel between LA and Hong Kong every 5 to 6 weeks (and more frequently depending on needs)
• Compensation will be based on candidate experience but will include base salary, bonus, and a comprehensive benefits package Company Description: This investment firm is focused on growth companies in both the US and in Asia is seeking Senior Vice President/Counsel. The firm has offices in both Newport Beach, CA and Hong Kong, and manages both public and private investments through various portfolios in both jurisdictions.
For more information, see job # 8063 on Lateral Link. Earlier: Prior Job of the Week listings (scroll down)
This morning we’ve been hearing rumors of associate layoffs at Thacher Proffitt & Wood. As you may recall from ATL’s prior coverage (scroll down), TPW has reduced its ranks over the past few months, through voluntary departures. But those departures took place after the firm warned that it might have to resort to layoffs.
Apparently something went down at the firm yesterday afternoon. Some sources characterized what happened as layoffs, with affected associates given until May to leave. But we contacted the firm, which denied the rumors and issued this statement:
Thacher Proffitt has not done layoffs. We have increased our efforts to provide associates with outplacement in practice areas that have been most affected by current market conditions.
We take the firm at its word; they’ve been prettycandid in the past about their personnel decisions and how they’ve been affected by the credit crunch. If you have the inside scoop on what took place yesterday, please email us. Thanks.
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 seven years. You can reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s that time of year again when JDs are starting to apply for 2L summer jobs and 2L summers are deciding which practice area to focus on.
For those JDs with an interest in potentially lateraling to or transferring to Asia in the future, please feel free to reach out to Kinney for advice on firm choices, interviewing and practice choices, relating to future marketability in Asia, or for a general discussion on your particular Asia markets of interest. This is of course a free of cost service for those who some years in the future may be our future industry contacts or perhaps even clients.
For some years now Kinney’s Asia head, Evan Jowers, has been formally advising Harvard Law students with such questions, as the Asia expert in Harvard Law’s “Ask The Experts Market Program” each summer and fall, with podcasts and scheduled phone calls. This has been an enjoyable and productive experience for all involved.
If you are considering a virtual law practice, you know that many of today’s solo firms started that way. But why are established, multi-attorney law firms going virtual?
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:
Reduces malpractice risk
Enables you to gather the best attorneys to fit the firm, regardless of each person’s geographic location
Leverages mobile devices and cloud technology to enable on-the-spot client and prospect communication
Transitioning in-house is something many (if not most) firm lawyers find themselves considering at some point. For many, it’s the first step in their career that isn’t simply a function of picking the best option available based on a ranking system.
Unknown territory feels high-risk, and can have the effect of steering many of us towards the well-greased channels into large, established companies.
For those who may be open to something more entrepreneurial, there is far less information available. No recruiter is calling every week with offers and details.
In sponsorship with Betterment, ATL and David Lat will moderate a panel about life in-house and we’ll hear from GCs at Birchbox, Gawker Media, Squarespace, Bonobos, and Betterment. Drinks, snacks, networking, and a great time guaranteed. Invite your colleagues, but RSVP fast, as space is limited.