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Last week, our Associate Bonus Watch kicked back into high gear, with news (or teasers) from Ropes & Gray, Sidley Austin, Chadbourne & Pourke, Arnold & Porter, Wachtell, Fried Frank, and O’Melveny & Myers, as well as pay raise news from Boies Schiller. Today’s ATL / Lateral Link Featured Job Survey keeps that thread alive.
Update: This survey is closed. Click to see results for New York, Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles San Francisco / Silicon Valley, Boston, and Texas.
More results from last week’s survey, which inquired into billing rates, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Featured Job Survey: Bonuses”

Paul J Morrison Kansas Attorney General Paul Morrison Above the Law blog.jpgSome quick updates on law-related sex scandals previously covered in these pages:
First, Kansas Attorney General Paul Morrison, a recent Lawyer of the Day, is resigning. We’d say that this is pretty lame; what prominent public official hasn’t had an affair? But there are other allegations in the mix, including a claim that he tried to get dirt on a political rival from his lover, which make the resignation more understandable.
Second, yes, we missed last week’s juicy NYM story about financier Jeffrey Epstein, alleged former paramour of model Maximilia Cordero. Fortunately, our colleagues over at DealBreaker didn’t; Bess Levin’s post appeared here.
Finally, a sex scandal that’s new to these pages: some 1Ls at UVA getting busted for bonking, in a cell phone booth at the law library. Of course, library sex is nothing new. But it seems to be moving up the U.S. News rankings.
Maximilia Cordero small Jeffrey Epstein Dealbreaker Above the Law blog.JPGAttorney General Paul Morrison scandal (collected coverage) [Topeka Capital-Journal via WSJ Law Blog]
In Kansas, Top Official Announces Resignation [New York Times]
Jeffrey Epstein, Owner Of An Enormous Townhouse, Doesn’t Bitch About Having To Answer The Front Door When He’s In The Middle Of A 4th Floor Breast-Feeding [DealBreaker]
The Fantasist [New York Magazine]
Law Lib Bump ‘n Grind? [BLOTUS via TJ's Double Play]
Earlier: Lawyer of the Day: Attorney General Paul Morrison
Sex in Your Law School Library Is Illegal, and ‘Necessity Is Not a Defense’

gun pistol firearm Second Amendment Harris Parker dc gun control case.JPGYesterday’s New York Times contains an interesting op-ed about how to read the Second Amendment. Adam Freedman — author of The Party of the First Part: The Curious World of Legalese, a potential stocking stuffer for the lawyer in your life — parses the use of commas in the amendment. He concludes:

[At the time of the Second Amendment's drafting,] lawmakers took a devil-may-care approach to punctuation. Often, the whole business of punctuation was left to the discretion of scriveners, who liked to show their chops by inserting as many varied marks as possible.

Another problem with trying to find meaning in the Second Amendment’s commas is that nobody is certain how many commas it is supposed to have. The version that ended up in the National Archives has three, but that may be a fluke. Legal historians note that some states ratified a two-comma version. At least one recent law journal article refers to a four-comma version.

The best way to make sense of the Second Amendment is to take away all the commas (which, I know, means that only outlaws will have commas). Without the distracting commas, one can focus on the grammar of the sentence.

… [W]hen the justices finish diagramming the Second Amendment, they should end up with something that expresses a causal link, like: “Because a well regulated militia is necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.” In other words, the amendment is really about protecting militias, notwithstanding the originalist arguments to the contrary.

In fairness to the other side of the debate, that’s just one scholar’s opinion. Many others, including prominent liberal academics, disagree.
What do you think? Take our poll, after the jump.

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George Mitchell former Senator George J Mitchell baseball steroids MLB Above the Law blog.jpg* Bush administration seeks greater power over promotions of military lawyers. [Boston Globe via How Appealing]
* Saudi king pardons rape victim who had been sentenced to 200 lashes (for being alone with a man at the time of the attack). [AP via New York Times]
* Limited effects of recent SCOTUS sentencing decision? [Chicago Tribune]
* CNN’s guide to Mitchell report players. [CNN]
* Law Blog’s guide to Sen. George Mitchell (including a funny story of a minor faux pas). [WSJ Law Blog]
* Poll suggests support for individual rights reading of Second Amendment. [CNN]
* Comcast v. NFL Network dispute produces another lawsuit. [
Sportsline]

associate bonus watch 2007 law firm Above the Law blog.jpgFor non-New York associates of Sidley Austin, Monday is the big day. The firm just sent out a memo informing them that bonuses will be distributed at that time. As you may recall, the firm previously announced special bonuses, but only for its New York office — news that was not well-received outside of NYC.
If you’re hoping for hard numbers, you’ll be disappointed; the memo is rather vague. It states:

[W]e continue to determine bonuses on an individual basis and consistent with our culture and practice, will communicate with you individually about them. Because year-end bonuses remain discretionary and are tailored to individual circumstances, no description of the relevant factors could be exhaustive. As in recent years, however, we again have considered the hours that each associate has spent on chargeable, pro bono, and certain non-chargeable matters such as legal services to the Firm, as well as the quality of each associate’s work and other special contributions to the Firm.

You can read the whole thing, in all of its glorious opacity, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Associate Bonus Watch: Sidley Austin (Non-New York)”

New York University Law School NYU Law School Above the Law.JPGLaw school list serve trainwrecks are a staple here at ATL. We’ve written about several — see, e.g., Cumberland Law School; Washington University School of Law — and they tend to be popular with readers.
A student at NYU Law School brought a recent listserv debacle to our attention:

[This listserve controversy] touches on many law school and other legal topics. They include grades, finals, state vs. T14 schools, Jesus, the Constitution, Jesus vs. the Constitution, and [people] who were arrested at Harvard [see April 24, 2:21 AM entry] and feel the need to announce it to the whole law school.

Perhaps it’s just exam stress all around, but having just taken my crim pro final earlier today, the last bit made things extra hilarious.

The reader then included several emails from the thread. But fortunately for us, another NYU law student already collected and posted them over here (which saves us the trouble of cutting and pasting).
More after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Because Listserv Clusterf**ks Happen at Top Five Schools, Too”

Here are the results from yesterday’s Featured Job Survey, brought to you by ATL and Lateral Link, which inquired into billing rates.
More than 700 of you responded to yesterday’s survey, not counting a few dubious entries. In case you were wondering, yes, we really do discard your response if you claim to be billing out at $25 an hour at Sullivan & Cromwell. We’re asking for your rates for legal services.
For those of you wondering what the average rate for an hour of lawyerly time is these days — and whether your firm is selling you cheap — here are the national averages based on our (admittedly unscientific) survey:
Average Hourly Rates By Class.jpg
How many associates think they’re worth more than that? Find out, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Featured Job Survey Resuts: How Much Is Your Time Worth?”

ski skiier skiing Morgan Lewis Bockius Stratton Mountain Above the Law blog.jpgLast month, Morgan Lewis & Bockius issued a bonus non-announcement — a placeholder memo, indicating that bonus news would be forthcoming.
Perhaps MLB associates have reason to be optimistic. The firm must be saving some money, since it’s making associates pay their own way on the ski trip of Business and Finance Practice Group. Our tipster observes: “[T]his is yet another reflection of Morgan Lewis’ caring attitude.”
When law firms hold “destination events” — e.g., the Boies Schiller firm meeting in Jamaica, the Kirkland & Ellis retreat at the Hotel Hershey, and other retreats mentioned here — they often pay for their associates to attend. But there’s no rule holding that they must do so, especially if attendance is voluntary (which is the case here).
And hey — at least the firm has negotiated a special ML&B discount!
(ML&B ski trip memo, after the jump.)

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Morgan Lewis to… Free Ski Trips?”

associate bonus watch 2007 law firm Above the Law blog.jpgOur recent open thread about boutique law firms prompted another request for more beyond-Biglaw discussion:

Not really a tip, but how ’bout a thread on midsize firms — not quite big law, which has been going on for a while, and not quite boutique, which you just recently posted. I’m talking 75-200 attorney type firms that still pay $125K-$150K base in New York (don’t know much about other regions).

Our tipster provided a few examples of the firms in question, with starting salaries (note — we have not independently verified these numbers):

pryor cashman – 140k
anderson kill – 140k
herrick feinstein – 150k
otterbourg – 150k
olshan grundman – 150k
fox rothschild (philly-based) – 125k

If you have information to share on year-end bonuses (or compensation more generally) at midsize / regional law firms, please share in the comments. It would be optimal if you could identify the firm by name; but if you can’t, please provide as much information as possible. Thanks.
Earlier: Associate Bonus Watch: Beyond Biglaw

gorilla lawyer ad advertisement advertising Above the Law blog.jpgThe ethical rules governing advertising by lawyers are designed in large part to protect the public from misleading pitches. But maybe it’s the lawyers who need protecting — from themselves.
If these lawyers scratch themselves inappropriately during meetings, or hog the cold cuts at lunch, don’t say they didn’t warn you.
Magilla Gorilla, Esq. [copyranter]
Earlier: Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My — Is It a Law Firm Ad Campaign?

Here’s the latest Job of the Week, courtesy of ATL’s career partner, Lateral Link. If you’re not already a member of Lateral Link, you can sign up through their website. Membership, which is free and confidential, allows you to learn about new legal opportunities as they become available.
Position: Staff Counsel
Company: ActBlue
Location: Boston, MA
Position Description: Staff Counsel will report to Executive Director. Initial responsibilities will include:
• Research of campaign finance laws and regulations at the federal, state and local levels.
• Developing and implementing legal and lobbying strategies to expand ActBlue’s ability to operate at the state level.
• Ensuring compliance with all applicable campaign finance and privacy laws.
• Cultivating relationships with election offices and local campaign finance attorneys across the country.
• Responding to legal inquiries and complaints.
Additional information, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Job of the Week”

associate bonus watch 2007 law firm Above the Law blog.jpgWe have confirmed the rumor that has surfaced here and there in the comments: Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz once again paid year-end bonuses to its associates that were 100 percent of their base salaries (which are already above-market; starting salary at WLRK is $165,000). This is consistent with past practice; Wachtell has paid 100 percent bonuses for several years running now.
Due to the new “special bonus,” the gap between Wachtell associates and their counterparts at other top shops, while still large, isn’t as enormous as it has been in the past. But when you’re a senior associate taking home roughly $600,000, it’s not very gracious to complain.
P.S. Disclosure: We worked at Wachtell from 2000 – 2003. For our thoughts on that experience, click here.
Earlier: Associate Bonus Watch: Wachtell Lipton Windfalls

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