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100 dollar bill Above the Law Above the Law law firm salary legal blog legal tabloid Above the Law.JPGThe powers that be in the Atlanta office of Paul Hastings just announced associate pay raises for fiscal year 2008, which will take effect on February 1. Apparently ATL — the website, not the city — got a shout-out at the meeting, when the announcing partner asked, “Who is going to be the first one to email Above the Law?”
Here’s the memo and salary table:
We are pleased to announce the Firm will be increasing base-level salaries for U.S. associates in the Atlanta office effective as of the new fiscal year which commences February 1, 2008.
FY 2009 Compensation by Class Year is as follows:
Paul Hastings Atlanta associate salary table pay raise Above the Law blog.jpg
These increases reflect the Firm’s commitment to paying at the top tier of the market in Atlanta.
We thank you for and commend your performance, commitment and hard work throughout the year and your contributions to our success.

In last week’s ATL / Lateral Link survey, we asked you to submit your nominations for Lawyer of the Year. Today, you get to vote!
The nominees, and select comments explaining why, are below:
Aaron Charney

For both the attention focused, success of action, and for the visibility [he] brought to the secondary issue of partner/associate relations (but not those kinds of relations).

Alberto Gonzales

Exemplifies why lawyers are so mistrusted in this country.

Barack Obama

The man had the credentials to do Biglaw. He chose public service instead. Although he is obviously politically ambitious, he at least appears to be in it for the people. He’s almost as hot as Judicial Hottie Jeffrey Sutton. I mean, did you see the Obama Girl videos? We’ve all got a crush on Obama. And he just might be president next year.

Hillary Clinton

She’s fabulous.

Loyola 2L

He’s generated the most thoughtful discussion of law school. That, and perhaps the publicity will help him get a job.

Ray Beckerman

For his tireless defense and continuous commentary in countless RIAA cases.

Whoever helps Chipmunk lady.

Because.

We know that last one should really be a 2008 Lawyer of the Year, not a 2007 Lawyer of the Year, but we just don’t care. You demanded the nomination right now.
So who should win? Cast your vote below.
Update: This survey is now closed. Click here for the results.

associate bonus watch 2007 law firm Above the Law blog.jpgA report on bonuses (such as they are) at K&L Gates in New York:

No notice — not even an email. Apparently, the “highly confidential” memo appearing on ATL last year less than 24 hours after its release wasn’t appreciated.

We were told that we would find out what the bonus was when it hit our bank accounts. The money hit our accounts this past Saturday, and it was a friggin’ joke. Since our handlers are doing their best to hamper communication, we’ve been forced to piece together an unofficial chart. Here’s the sad tale, by class year:

2007: Zero
2006: 0 — $15,000
2005: $20,000 — $30,000
2004: $30,000
2003: $35,000
2002: $35,000
2001: $35,000 — $40,000
2000: $40,000 — $50,000

The high end of each class’s range was obtained by one, maybe two associates.

And that’s in New York; we’d expect other offices to be lower. If you have info on them, feel free to email us.

For whatever reason, Quinn Emanuel — the highly prestigious, super-profitable litigation powerhouse, with offices in California and New York — has received a disproportionate amount of coverage here at ATL. As we previously wrote, “we have a lot of tipsters over there. It seems that QE associates love to talk about their firm, for good or ill.”

And it’s not just associates. Last night we received an email from John Quinn, the “legal titan” and “known litigation genius” who founded Quinn Emanuel. In his long and detailed email, Mr. Quinn addresses several of the criticisms of QE that have surfaced on ATL. This was our favorite part:

it has been suggested that i do not use capital letters in my typing in an effort to be “cool.” i am not cool; wish i was, but after 56 years i don’t think it is going to happen. the fact is i am not coordinated enough to hit the shift button with one hand and a letter with the other.

Check out his complete email — in which he addresses a whole host of topics, including billables, bonuses, partnership decisions, partner compensation, and even office supplies — after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Wherein We Hear From john quinn of Quinn Emanuel”

Kumari Fulbright small Facebook Arizona law student beauty queen Above the Law blog.JPGSo what’s going on with everyone’s favorite beauty queen turned law student turned alleged kidnapper, Kumari Fulbright?
First, she’s still suspended from the University of Arizona’s law school. As reported yesterday in the UA student newspaper, The Wildcat (yes, The Wildcat — how apropos):

On Jan. 7, Fulbright and her lawyer, Marc Beginin, met with UA officials and Fulbright was placed on interim suspension by the Dean of Students Office, said Johnny Cruz, a university spokesman.

“There’s no designated end date as to when the status will change,” Cruz said Thursday. “Any student on interim suspension cannot be on campus.”

Beginin pointed out that the suspension is a mandatory part of school policy. “It’s only an administrative suspension that is an automatic function when someone’s involved in an investigation,” he said Thursday. “It wasn’t a decision based on merits of the case.”

Second, on a much more exciting note: Kumari Fulbright has contacted us! Since the scandal broke, she hasn’t been speaking with the media, letting her lawyer to do the talking. So we were thrilled and honored to receive this message from her, via Facebook:

You forgot a quote of mine on your blog…..

“God gave you 2 ears and 1 mouth…. Take the hint”

With all that Ivy League education under your belt that should be reasonably self explanatory… but maybe not.

Well, God also gave us two (2) hands, with which to type up blog posts. Anyway, back to Kumari:

Also, where is your country of origin? In the United States we believe in innocent until proven guilty.

THANKS FOR ALL YOUR SUPPORT!

We usually enjoy being abused by beautiful legal divas, but for some reason we didn’t take kindly to this. Read our response, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “An ATL Exclusive: Kumari Fulbright Gets Saucy With Us!”

New York Observer logo small Above the Law blog.jpgAssociate layoffs have been the big news in 2008 thus far. Appropriately enough, they’re the subject of our latest column for the New York Observer. Here’s an excerpt:

“It’s tough. People are scared,” [one] jettisoned Cadwalader associate said. “It’s so rare that this happens. The first-years are freaked out. People are wondering: Is this continuing on a rolling basis, or did they take one big hit? People worry about [the impact on] recruiting efforts, both on a lateral basis and for incoming law students.”

The associate, like the others laid off that day, was given barely more than a week’s notice: His last day of work would be the following Friday, Jan. 18.

He’s getting three months of severance, paid out every two weeks, just as when he was employed. But he’s no longer able to tell prospective employers he’s still at the firm, which he predicts will make his job search harder.

“It’s like dating,” he said. “When you’re with someone, everyone wants you; when you’re on your own, it’s that much harder.”

You can read the complete column by clicking here.
P.S. We’ve been writing this column for a few months now. The archives are accessible here.
Will Work for Dinner at Nobu [New York Observer]
Lawyers Column archives [New York Observer]

For Sale By Owner FSBO Above the Law blog.jpgOr maybe yesterday. From Tuesday’s New York Times, an article that still sits on top of the Most Emailed Articles list:

Marty Ummel feels she paid too much for her house. So do millions of other people who bought at the peak of the housing boom. What makes Ms. Ummel different is that she is suing her agent, saying it was all his fault.

Ms. Ummel claims that the agent hid the information that similar homes in the neighborhood were selling for less because he feared she would back out and he would lose his $30,000 commission.

Real estate lawyers and brokers say the case, which goes to trial in North County Superior Court on Monday, is likely to be the first of many in which regretful or resentful buyers seek redress from the agents who found them a home and arranged its purchase.

It’s an interesting case. We’re a bit skeptical, but maybe that’s just us. Read the full NYT article, which contains more of the facts, then feel free to take our poll if you like:


Feeling Misled on Home Price, Buyers Sue Agent [New York Times]

Jose Padilla 2 Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpg* Jose Padilla gets 17 years. [New York Times; Washington Post]
* A merger between Anderson Kill and Reed Smith? Maybe not. But 55 of Anderson Kill’s 126 lawyers have decamped for Reed Smith. [WSJ Law Blog; WSJ Law Blog]
* Ted Frank on yesterday’s Enron cert denial: Extortion, interrupted? [New York Sun]
* China shuts down “real-time” porn site, as part of its crackdown on online porn. [Reuters]
* Law tie (however tenuous) to Heath Ledger story: “Nicole Vaughan, 24, a law student at New York University, was in a seminar about Jesus when someone sent her a message about Mr. Ledger. She checked the Web, then walked to the apartment ‘because of the way our generation is; we sort of feel we’re a part of each other’s lives.’” [New York Times]
* Apparently Bill Clinton enjoys the Yale Law / Harvard Law rivalry: “I kind of like to see Barack and Hillary fight.” [NYDN via Drudge]

associate bonus watch 2007 law firm Above the Law blog.jpgLast week, a Boston tipster told us:

As you probably know, the rest of the Boston firms will begin announcing bonuses next week (finally). Anyway, just thought I’d let you know that associates at Goodwin Procter received a very short email yesterday that there would be a meeting on Tuesday at 1pm to discuss “this year’s attorney review process, review delivery and total compensation determinations.” We’ll be crossing our fingers that the firm will match NYC and the bigger Boston firms (Ropes, Proskauer, Weil) with the special bonuses.

Goodwin is on a 9/31 fiscal year and 2007 was their best year in the firm’s history. If they cheap out, there will be a LOT of complaining.

It looks like they didn’t “cheap out.” From a different source, who was at this afternoon’s meeting:

Goodwin Procter matched regular and special bonus – 1850 billables (I know not a true match from you perspective, but in reality there are very few firms in the city who do not have some hours requirement; all things considered, theirs is low). No memo, had an all associate meeting. All other offices on the NY scale w/o special bonus.

P.S. Completely unrelated to law firm life, Heath Ledger has been found dead in New York. He was a talented young actor. May he rest in peace.

Last year we wrote about Peter “P’Ta Mon” John, whom we named an ATL Lawyer of the Day. In an innovative advertisement, Peter John dubbed himself “The Thugs Lawyer,” with the following motto: “No Evidence — No Conviction!”
Now, a quick update. The latest edition of the Baton Rouge phone book contains Mr. John’s newest ad (see below). He no longer calls himself “The Thugs Lawyer,” but he still uses the “no evidence — no conviction” slogan. And he’s offering an “Expungement Special,” for just $500! (Plus filing fees.)
Peter John P'Ta Mon Peter P'Ta Mon John Trial Lawyer Above the Law blog.jpg
P.S. We don’t know about how state systems deal with this issue. But in the federal system, in most circuits, expungement is a tough row to hoe. We worked on one such case in the Third Circuit: United States v. Rowlands (PDF; via Third Circuit Blog).
No jurisdiction to expunge criminal records in absence of challenge to underlying conviction [Third Circuit Blog]
Earlier: Lawyer of the Day: Peter ‘P’Ta Mon’ John

Fred Thompson Senator Fred Dalton Thompson Fred T Thompson Above the Law blog.jpgFormer Senator Fred Thompson (R-TN) — who has played a lawyer on television, as well as in real life — is dropping out of the presidential race.
Look for an official announcement by the close of business today.
Update: Here is Fred Thompson’s statement on his withdrawal from the 2008 presidential race. Additional thoughts on the Thompson candidacy appear here (Marc Ambinder) and here (Adam Nagourney and Michael Powell).
Thompson Decides To Drop Out [Marc Ambinder / The Atlantic]
Fred Thompson Drops Out of the Presidential Race [New York Times]

New York skyline Manhattan skyline Above the Law blog.jpgIn last week’s ATL / Lateral Link survey, we asked you whether it was fair for associates in New York to get bigger bonuses than associates in other cities, even if they worked the same hours.
We appear to have struck a nerve.
Over two thousand of you responded. Among New Yorkers, 94% of associates thought that the higher bonuses were just fine. More than three fifths of respondents in other cities disagreed, with outrage and arguments spilling over into the comments.
But despite their differences in pay, both New Yorkers and the smattering of other associates who supported those differences came together to give the same reasons for why the higher bonuses are ok, although not in exactly the same order:

  • The higher cost of living in New York (94% of New Yorkers, 80% of others)
  • The higher hourly rates in New York (68% of New Yorkers, 50% of others)
  • The greater competition for hiring associates in New York (53% of New Yorkers, 28% of others)
  • “Because Boston sucks. So does Texas.” (24% of New Yorkers, 18% of Bostonians, 9% of others)
  • “Because New York sucks.” (21% of Bostonians, 9.46% of traitors New Yorkers, 17% of others)
  • Poor Boston. First their bagels, and now this?
    Earlier: Featured Job Survey: Bonuses in New York and Beyond

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