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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

    Jeremy Pitcock Jeremy S Pitcock Morgan Finnegan Above the Law blog.jpgIf we hadn’t already named a Lawyer of the Day, the prize might have gone to Jeremy Pitcock of Morgan & Finnegan. From the American Lawyer:

    The former head of intellectual property at Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman was fired in December for “extremely inappropriate personal conduct,” according to the firm.

    Not merely “inappropriate” conduct, but “extremely inappropriate” conduct. We’re guessing it was strenuously objectionable.

    Jeremy Pitcock, 35, joined Kasowitz in March 2006 after being wooed from Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, where he was a senior associate. Kasowitz named him head of IP not long after. But after less than two years, Pitcock left the 200-plus-lawyer firm for 52-lawyer New York IP boutique Morgan & Finnegan.

    Morgan touted Pitcock’s hiring as “an outstanding addition to our successful litigation practice” when it announced his move on January 8. But the Kasowitz firm says he was forced out following an unspecified incident.

    “Mr. Pitcock was terminated for cause by Kasowitz, Benson in December 2007 because of extremely inappropriate personal conduct,” name partner Daniel Benson said in a statement.

    So what prompted the firm’s statement?

    Kasowitz’s statement followed the publication of an article in trade publication IP Law 360 last week, which reported that Morgan had lured Pitcock from Kasowitz. In his statement, directed toward the publication, Benson said, “It was inaccurate to use ‘nab’ in your headline, or to use ‘jump ship’ in your opening paragraph.”

    “We were not looking to publicize this incident, but because of those incorrect news items, we felt compelled to set the record straight,” Benson said in a press release that the firm distributed online.

    We’re intrigued — and the full article in the American Lawyer doesn’t offer much more. If you have details on the alleged conduct, please email us. Thanks.
    Update (6/6/08): Jeremy Pitcock has filed a $90 million defamation lawsuit against Kasowitz Benson. See here.
    Kasowitz Fired its ex-IP Chief for Inappropriate Conduct [The American Lawyer via]
    Jeremy S. Pitcock bio [Morgan & Finnegan]

    Jennifer Blum Jennifer A Blum Jen Blum Jenn Blum lawyer Above the Law blog.jpgIs the complaining about the tough job market for graduates of non-elite law schools overblown? Take, for example, Western New England College School of Law. According to U.S. News, it’s a tier 4 school. But when it comes to career success, its graduates are doing just fine, thank you very much.
    Some WNEC alumni make partner at Sullivan & Cromwell. Others attain fortune and fame on television. From TortsProf Blog:

    I admit to some hesitation in acknowledging watching American Gladiators, which is not by any rational measure a particularly good show. And yet there it sits on our TiVo, and yet we watch it. Such is the mystery of life, no? But today, I get to tie it in both to my law school and to Torts.

    Last night one of the contestants, Jennifer Blum, was identified as a New Jersey lawyer and a professional football player (she plays for the New York Sharks and is an all-time leading receiver). A quick search of our alumni database reveals that she’s a 2002 graduate of Western New England College School of Law! Sources vary; I thought they said on the show that she’s a criminal defense lawyer, but other sites indicate that she’s a civil litigator. Maybe she reads this blog!

    Or maybe this one. Hi Jen! If you’d be willing to be interviewed on ATL, please email us.
    From her American Gladiators bio:

    Jennifer Blum is a women’s football player who grew up sleeping with a football in her bed. When she was 9-years-old, she and her parents sued for her right to be on a boy’s soccer team — an event that was covered in the media nationwide. Always a tom-boy, never afraid to take a hit or hit back, she is ready to jump into the ring with the Gladiators. Blum, a civil litigation lawyer, is 34 years old and currently lives in Franklin Park, New Jersey.

    Jennifer Blum Jennifer M Blum Jen Blum Jenn Blum lawyer Above the Law blog.jpgJen Blum sounds tough and tenacious. How did she fare on the show? Find out by reading Professor Bill Childs’s full post (which also includes excerpts from the incredibly long waiver form that contestants must fill out).
    Update: A tipster informs us that she used to work for the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office. See picture at right.
    Lawyers Ready? Gladiators Ready? [TortsProf Blog]
    Jennifer Blum [American Gladiators]
    Lawyer Profile: Jennifer Blum [Martindale-Hubbell]

    Best Companies To Work For Fortune CNN Money Above the Law blog.jpgCongratulations to this quintet of five law firms, which just made Fortune magazine’s annual list of the 100 Best Companies To Work For (listed below in rank order):

    19. Arnold & Porter: “Staffers get 12 weeks paid maternity leave and profit sharing of 7.5% of salary. The less you make, the less you pay for health-insurance premiums.”

    Actually, a correction: 18 weeks (as of January 1, 2008).

    31. Alston & Bird: “Both the legal and nonlegal staff get super benefits, including 90 days of paid maternity leave, coverage of fertility treatments, and concierge services.”

    Concierge services? Fabulous. Atlantans, stop yer whining!

    41. Bingham McCutchen: “They’re proud of their elite grads: 72 from nearby Harvard Law, 24 from Yale, and 20 from Stanford. They all start at $160,000 a year.”

    55. Perkins Coie: “They value fun at this law firm. At 2007’s Lawyerpalooza battle of the bands, the Perkins Coie rock & rollers brought down the house (and took home the top prize).”

    See also Nixon Peabody: “Fun is not prohibited here.” Speaking of which…

    66. Nixon Peabody: “The law firm excels on policies for GLBT employees (a 100% rating from the Human Rights Campaign); it targets 3% of billable hours annually for pro bono work.”

    Please send us any theme songs that are composed to commemorate these honors. Thank you.
    100 Best Companies To Work For (2008) [Fortune]
    Earlier: Bingham McCutchen: Land of the Amazons?

    * Fed cuts fed funds rate by 0.75%, but stocks are still lower. [AP; New York Times; Washington Post]
    * Clinton and Obama get snippy with each other in debate, raising questions about each other’s legal work. [Washington Post; New York Times; WSJ Law Blog]
    * SCOTUS denies review in gigantic Enron-related investors’ lawsuit. [SCOTUSblog via How Appealing]
    * Statutory interpretation makes for strange bedfellows in 5-4 ruling in Ali v. Federal Bureau of Prisons. [SCOTUSblog (PDF) via How Appealing]
    * New York City revisits the issue of forced disclosure of calorie counts by restaurants. [AP via Drudge]

    law clerk judicial clerkship Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgThe topic for today’s open thread: law firm recruiting of law clerks. From an exchange last week in the comments:

    “The law firm clerkship recruiting season is picking up, with a lot of clerks’ cocktail parties scheduled in the next few weeks in NY. How about an open thread for clerks to discuss firms?”

    “[H]ow about a thread with a list of shame for firms, big and small, that haven’t stepped up and offered clerkship bonuses to make up for the salary hit you take to clerk for a year?”

    “Don’t be upset because you realize your clerkship experience is devoid of any value, as evidenced by the nominal clerkship bonuses. You would have been better off working for a large firm straight out of law school, but I understand that mediocre people need all the experience they can get before applying to a prestigious job, much like my own. P.S.: I didn’t apply to any clerkships because I knew (unlike yourself) that I would never recoup the time invested. I am sorry you wasted your time on a clerkship, but don’t be upset simply because firms place little-to-no value on your clerkship experience (and I use the term “experience” loosely).”

    So here’s an open thread on Biglaw law clerk hiring. In the comments, feel free to trade notes on which law firms are especially welcoming of clerks, who’s leading (and lagging) on the clerkship bonus front, and whether the clerkship experience is worth it — which we expect to bring out the usual trash talking, from both the pro- and anti-clerking camps. Thanks.

    455 Central Park West 455 CPW Above the Law blog.jpgIn Chicago, gay lawyers get to attend exclusive parties. In New York, they enjoy a finer prize: luxury real estate.

    The law schools of Columbia and NYU have been battling over faculty superstars for several years. And now NYU is bringing out the heavy artillery: multimillion-dollar condo purchases. From the New York Times:

    Columbia University, in a never-ending search for a larger campus, has long had an outpost for faculty housing at 455 Central Park West — 53 apartments in an 26-story tower attached to the French Renaissance chateau at West 106th Street.

    So it was something of a surprise when a foundation associated with New York University bought a large condominium in the complex. The unit, which cost $5.2 million, is built into one of the huge turrets of the chateau…. The duplex apartment has a round living and dining room with 37-foot high ceilings and Central Park views, along with three more conventional bedrooms.

    Sounds fabulous! Who gets to inhabit this fabulous pad?

    double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyerly Lairs: Gay Gotham Edition”

    Kumari Fulbright small Facebook Arizona law student beauty queen Above the Law blog.JPG* A Virginia lawyer reveals a secret he held for a decade, causing a death sentence to be commuted to life in prison. [New York Times; Washington Post]
    * Kumari Fulbright 911 tapes released. Truth be told, they’re a little disappointing — nothing Kumari-specific in them. [KVOA News 4]
    * Chief Justice Elliott Maynard of West Virginia recuses himself from further participation in a case involving a coal company executive with whom he traveled (previously discussed here). [New York Times]
    * You can call trial lawyers many things, but don’t say they’re not dogged: John Edwards remains in the presidential race, despite his growing string of losses. Is he aiming for the role of convention kingmaker? [Politico; New York Times]
    * In other election news, the Obama campaign calls for an investigation of alleged voting irregularities in Nevada. [AP]
    * NY AG Andrew Cuomo investigates college study abroad programs. [New York Times]

    Last month, our ATL / Lateral Link job survey asked you when your firms paid bonuses, and whether you were planning on changing jobs once those bonuses got paid. About 20% of you responded that you were considering leaving your current firms.
    For some of you, this meant waiting until you got your bonus. For others, this meant asking the new firm to match the bonus you’d be leaving behind. And for yet another group, the bonus was irrelevant; you just wanted out.
    Well, now that most firms have given associates at least some idea of what their bonuses will be — and most have even paid them — is your job search actually underway?
    [Update: This survey is now closed.]
    We’ll share the results from today’s survey next week. In the meantime, feel free to drop some comments about what your firms are doing to keep you. Cookies? Chair massages? Wear your jeans to work days? New lactation rooms? Or, dare we ask . . . retention bonuses?

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