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Stroock Stroock Lavan LLP Above the Law blog.JPGA few more news items concerning associate compensation:

1. Stroock & Stroock & Lavan: Multiple sources confirm that they’ve raised salaries in their Los Angeles office. Effective date of June 1; no changes to the bonus structure. The new scale is 160-170-185-195, plus discretionary raises for year 5 and above, who previously were at $200K plus discretionary raises (small, usually $5K a year).

In addition, we’ve learned that the firm pays associates 10 percent of any business they bring in. Do other large law firms have similar policies? Feel free to discuss in the comments.

2. Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP: We haven’t confirmed this (and their NALP form doesn’t reflect it). But according to a memo posted in the comments, the firm is “increasing starting salaries in our Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Silicon Valley and Washington, DC offices to $160,000. We will be adjusting salaries for all other associate classes in these offices effective July 1, 2007 to take into account the increase in the starting salary.”

3. Reed Smith LLP: Also not confirmed. But according to a memo posted in the comments, the firm “ha[s] decided to increase our starting salary for first year associates in California, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. to $160,000 effective January 1, 2008. In addition, we will accelerate to January 1, 2008 the implementation of the previously announced increase to $145,000 in Philadelphia/Wilmington.”

The firm has also made changes to its bonus program: “In addition to the current bonus thresholds, we will make further payments of $5,000 at each of 2000 and 2100 chargeable hours and $10,000 at 2300 chargeable hours. This means, for example, that associates with 2300 chargeable hours for 2007 will earn additional bonuses of $20,000.”

If you can confirm the Sonnenschein or Reed Smith news, or if you have additional info to share, please drop us a line. Thanks.

Harvard Law Review Andrew Crespo Above the Law blog.jpgWe continue our series of posts chronicling rampant internal strife at America’s top law journal, the Harvard Law Review. Prior posts appear here, here and here.
The standard caveats apply:

1. This material is not for everyone. If you don’t share our appreciation for tempests in teapots, you may have a “So what?” reaction. But if you do enjoy the hilarity of petty law school squabbles, then keep reading.

2. The internal emails reprinted below speak for themselves. After reading them, you may end up siding with the HLR editor or with president Andrew Crespo. We take no side in this controversy.

3. If you feel that we’ve missed something in our coverage, please email us (subject line: “Harvard Law Review”). We’re eager to hear from all parties to this dispute.

(Alas, it’s usually the case that one side leaks info to communicates with us more than the other. As a result, that side’s viewpoint may receive more coverage in these pages. E.g., Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell. If you want to level the playing field, you need to feed us information that supports your position.)

Discussion of the latest controversy, plus internal Harvard Law Review emails, after the jump.

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Department of Justice official Brad Schlozman — who currently serves as Associate Counsel to the Director, in the Executive Office for United States Attorneys — is about to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee. His testimony is part of a panel entitled “Preserving Prosecutorial Independence: Is the Department of Justice Politicizing the Hiring and Firing of U.S. Attorneys?”
Maybe we’ll tune in, at least for a few minutes; but we don’t expect to watch the entire proceedings. Brad Schlozman is no Monica Goodling. And we can barely pronounce his last name.
On Friday night, in preparation for today’s session, the DOJ’s Office of Legislative Affairs (OLA) sent the Republican members of the committee a list of proposed “softball” or friendly questions for Schlozman. This question caught our eye:
Ty Clevenger Regent University Law Review Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.JPG
Clevenger, you may recall, has raised allegations about the politicization of hiring at Main Justice. But he may be best known to ATL readers as a source for stories about that delicious DOJ diva, Shanetta Cutlar (about whom we’ve heard nothing new, sadly).
By the way, in case you’re wondering, question #5 wasn’t well-received by GOP staffers on Capitol Hill. We hear that the Republican staffers “are offended that DOJ expects them to do its political dirty work.”

Seattle skyline Space Needle Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgOur tour of the country’s less-than-gigantic legal markets has swung through Denver, Hartford, and Philadelphia. Now we head out to the West Coast, to pay a visit to one of our favorite American cities: Seattle.
We couldn’t locate a good news article to kick off the discussion. But we combed through the ATL archives to find a few Seattle data points. Here are three firms and their starting salaries in the Emerald City:

1. Heller Ehrman: $145,000.

2. Susman Godfrey: $140,000.

3. Wilson Sonsini: $145,000.

These are all firms with their origins outside Seattle. What about homegrown firms, like Perkins Coie or Davis Wright Tremaine?
Please discuss Seattle associate salaries in the comments to this post. Thanks.

Lewis Libby Scooter Libby I Lewis Scooter Libby Above the Law Blog.jpgThirty months? Judge Walton, that was way harsh. Paris Hilton won’t even serve thirty days.
Guess the mash notes from former Administration officials like Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz, or Beltway insiders like Mary Matalin and James Carville, didn’t help much.
Thoughts on the Libby sentence from Guidelines guru Doug Berman are available here and here.
Libby Sentenced to 2 1/2 Years in Prison [Associated Press]
Libby gets within-guideline sentence of 30 months [Sentencing Law and Policy]
30 Months for Scooter! [Wonkette]
Children by the Millions Sing for Scooter Libby [Wonkette]
Scooter Libby’s Sentence: 30 Months in Prison; $250,000 fine [WSJ Law Blog]

100 dollar bill Abovethelaw Above the Law law firm salary legal blog legal tabloid Above the Law.JPGHere is a completely unsubstantiated rumor, which we’ll pass along anyway (’cause that’s what we do around here):

I cannot confirm this, but a friend of mine at Simpson Thacher claims that NYC firms are going to $190K soon.

Apparently, one of his friends from [law school] was on an interview and requested credit for her clerkship experience, whereupon the hiring partner said he was 90% sure that his firm was increasing first year salaries to $190K.

Wish I could provide more information.

We don’t know if New York law firms will raise associate starting salaries all the way to $190,000. But in light of the recent move to the $160K scale by most top firms in California, Washington, and Chicago, we wouldn’t be surprised to see New York City — with its hardworking associates, high-paying clients, and off-the-charts cost-of-living — increase base salaries again before the year is up.
(Another option: maybe they’ll just pay extra-large bonuses this year.)
Perhaps New York firms will raise starting salaries to $175,000 or $180,000, rather than all the way to $190,000. And they probably won’t move until the fall recruiting season, since there’s not much of an incentive to take action right now.
But that’s just our opinion. What do you think?
Take our two reader polls, which appear after the jump.

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Louisiana state seal Abovethelaw Above the Law.jpgCongratulations to Judge G. Thomas Porteous Jr., a past winner of ATL’s prestigious Judge of the Day award. He’s now back on the federal bench. From the New Orleans Times-Picayune:

After a year away from the bench, U.S. District Judge Thomas Porteous Jr. will regain both his criminal and civil dockets next month, signaling an end to the long criminal investigation into his personal bankruptcy and possible misdeeds while a federal and Jefferson Parish jurist.

Chief Judge Ginger Berrigan said Thursday that Porteous will return to the U.S. District Court, Eastern District [of Louisiana], in mid-June after spending the past year secluded from friends and under the weight of grand jury hearings into his actions….

Porteous’ attorney, Kyle Schonekas, said federal prosecutors told him a few weeks ago that they didn’t intend to indict Porteous. He said the court then asked Porteous to resume duties at the court.

Isn’t it great to have indictment-free judges? We live in one helluva country.
(But if you’re a Louisiana citizen hoping for your legislators to be indictment-free too, you may be asking for too much.)
Judge Porteous returns to the bench []
Federal judge returning to bench [New Orleans Times-Picayune]
Nation Shocked at Jefferson Indictment [Wonkette]
Earlier: Send That Robe Out for Dry Cleaning
Judge of the Day: G. Thomas Porteous Jr.

Paris Hilton small mugshot Paris Hilton mug shot pic photo photograph Above the Law blog.JPG* Yawn… [MSNBC]
* Job opportunities for the disbarred. [ABANet]
* Libby sentencing today. [CNN]
* Advice for Paris. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Polsky divorce settlement hits $184 million. [CNN]

Bingham McCutchen Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgAs far as we know, Bingham McCutchen has not joined in the latest round of associate pay raises. Many people have been wondering why — even the media:

Add Morgan, Lewis & Bockius to the list of Cal Law 25 firms that now pay associates on the $160,000 scale.

The only real holdouts now are Bingham McCutchen and Reed Smith, both huge firms with big California presences and fairly high profits that could probably absorb the raise.

This comment is representative of others:

[I]t is time to turn your attention to Bingham. The firm has a national presence in four major markets that have all raised to 160k base (DC/SF/LA/Boston) and 2006 profits per partner well in excess of peer (and lesser) firms that are paying those market salaries.

What exactly is Bingham’s problem? Its associates deserve answers, and after one month of hearing about raise after raise, there is nothing but silence. Please do anything you can to squeeze some information from firm management before the firm starts bleeding associates and decimates its summer recruiting program for the year.

Any thoughts on why Bingham is sitting on the sidelines? Please discuss in the comments, or email us (subject line: “Bingham McCutchen”). Thanks.
Earlier: Morgan, Lewis follows the Salary Leaders (Legal Pad / Cal Law)

21 Jump Street Johnny Depp Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpg* 21 Jump Street in action! Perennially young and quirky Johnny Depp could probably still pull it off today. [Seattle Times]
* Can you think of anything better to do after renouncing the practice of law? [Law and Magic Blog (seriously)]
* Some perspective: at least there’s no evidence he ever videotaped high school boys showering after tennis practice. [Charleston Daily Mail]
* Some perspective: half of rich is still rich. And no embarrassing evidence of voyeurism had to come out in the proceedings. [Chicago Tribune]
* Speaking of which, eHarmony might be just the thing to cheer up Monica Goodling. [Time]

Alberto Gonzales 3 Alberto R Gonzales Attorney General Above the Law blog.jpgTime for an installment of ATL’s legal celebrity sightings column, The Eyes of the Law. This one is especially juicy.
We hear that last week, embattled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales was sighted in the Houston office of Vinson & Elkins — the firm where he was once a partner. His presence was not kept a secret, since he walked right past the offices of several summer associates.
Was AGAG just paying a friendly visit to some of his former partners? Or could his drop-by signify that he might be resigning as Attorney General and returning to his former stomping grounds (a la Harriet Miers, who returned to Locke Liddell after stepping down as White House Counsel)?
If you think we’re getting carried away, we’d like to remind you: office visits can be very revealing. Remember when a bunch of Weil Gotshal bankruptcy partners defected to Cadwalader back in March? A week before their move was announced, the ex-Weil partners were sighted in the Cadwalader offices, on an evening tour led by CWT chairman Robert Link and bankruptcy chairman Bruce Zirinsky.
If you have any scuttlebutt to add about Gonzales and V&E, please email us. Thanks.
Update: According to this comment, “He was there for the funeral of a former partner — Rush Record.” This explanation sounds plausible to us, since Mr. Record did pass away last week.

Steptoe Johnson LLP logo Abovethelaw Above the Law.jpgThis just in: Steptoe & Johnson has raised starting salaries in its Washington office to $160,000. We don’t know what they’re doing up the seniority ladder or in non-D.C. offices.
An email to incoming associates and a memo to first-year associates appear after the jump.

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