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Ropes Gray LLP One International Place Above the Law legal blog.jpgWe think this latest Vault 100 law firm thread will be a good one. Here are the five firms now on the table for discussion (in Vault 100 order, with prestige scores in parentheses):

26. Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft (6.648)
27. Hogan & Hartson LLP (6.622)
28. Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw LLP (6.615)
29. Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP (6.588)
30. Ropes & Gray LLP (6.566)

We expect (formerly bedbug-infested) Cadwalader to generate a fair amount of discussion, since we hear associate morale over there ain’t so hot. Consider this comment, from the morning’s open thread on happy hours:

At my anonymous law firm they pour water in a trough and hang a feed bag in a conference room daily, they then ring a bell and let us know we have 2 minutes to eat and drink before we must get back to work … Man, I love working at Cadwalader… Oops.

And we also expect interesting stuff about Mayer Brown. From a tipster:

Would you consider running a piece on the troubles at Mayer Brown? You’ve already reported on their partners being fired/leaving, the Refco mess, and their unhappy associates. I think some open speculation on where their firm is going would be very enjoyable at this point.

So have at ‘em, in the comments. Thanks.
The Vault Top 100 Law Firms [Vault]
Earlier: Vault 1-5; Vault 6-10; Vault 11-15; Vault 16-20; Vault 21-25

George Ryan Illinois Governor George H Ryan Above the Law blog.jpgSince the tireless Howard Bashman is in transit, we’ll temporarily assume his role as super-timely provider of appellate litigation news.
This just in: A divided Seventh Circuit panel has affirmed the criminal convictions of former Illinois Governor George H. Ryan and his associate, Lawrence Warner. The majority opinion is by Judge Diane Wood (who is a judicial hottie); the dissent is by Judge Michael Kanne (who is reportedly not fat).
This is especially bad news for Winston & Strawn. As some of you may recall, the firm reportedly blew $20 million on defending Governor Ryan, on a pro bono basis.
United States v. Ryan [U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit]

happy hour law firm happy hour Above the Law blog.jpgMany of the hours that Biglaw attorneys are familiar with are of the billable (and unhappy) variety. But some firms try to make up for the misery by plying their employees with alcohol. Welcome to the latest perk to be discussed in these pages: happy hours. [FN1]
A few questions, from an associate-to-be:

This fall I’ll be starting at a firm that advertises the fact that it has regular happy hours. Do these things actually occur? Does anyone go to them? Will I look like a boring schmo if I don’t attend?

We know of a number of firms that have happy hours (although we’re missing some of the specifics). For example, Cahill Gordon in New York is said to have monthly happy hours. Here in Washington, DC, Kirkland & Ellis has happy hours at Old Ebbitt Grill. At least during the summer, Arnold & Porter has a weekly happy hour each Friday, on the premises — they have an on-site bar set up in one of their conference or reception rooms.
Does your firm sponsor a “happy hour”-type gathering? Will this associate “look like a boring schmo” if he skips out on them? Please opine in the comments.
[FN1] We previously had an open thread about firm retreats and “other company-sponsored social events,” but in the ensuing discussion, only one comment mentioned happy hours.

* Biglaw gets all Facebook. [LexBlog]
* The Bush Administration is just bound and determined to keep children from having health insurance. [New York Times]
* Another arrest in Newark shootings. [CNN]
* Competition for Westlaw and Lexis? [WSJ Law Blog]
* Saddam aides to face trial. [BBC]

Morrison Foerster 425 Market Street San Francisco Above the Law blog.jpgOkay, folks, you know what to do. Here are the next five law firms up for discussion (in Vault 100 order, with prestige scores in parentheses):

21. Arnold & Porter LLP (7.012)
22. Jones Day (6.932)
23. Morrison & Foerster LLP (6.898)
24. Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy (6.752)
25. Clifford Chance LLP (6.747)

The virgin territory of the comments is yearning for your touch.
The Vault Top 100 Law Firms [Vault]
Earlier: Vault 1-5; Vault 6-10; Vault 11-15; Vault 16-20

Linklaters LLP Magic Circle Above the Law blog.jpgIt’s fall recruiting season, and rumors are flying about every law firm under the sun. Here’s something from the ATL mailbag about Linklaters:

I’m going through [the on-campus interview program at my law school] and each day I kept hearing the same thing. Apparently Linklaters’s summer associates had such a terrible time the last few months that many of them have not yet accepted their offers.

Despite the salary, they are going through EIW hoping to get hired by someone else, because they
hated being at Link. Can you confirm this?

We hadn’t heard about this. We do know that morale in the Stockholm office of Linklaters is pretty high (in an “I’ll have what he’s having” kind of way).
Anyway, we contacted the firm for comment. Josh Berick, Co-Hiring Partner in New York, had this to say:

In 2007, Linklaters had its largest and strongest summer associate class ever. The firm is thriving, and many of our summer associates have been able to work on some of the largest cross-border transactions of the year.

It is anticipated that all of our summer associates will receive offers to join us, once the program is concluded. Linklaters traditionally has had a very high acceptance rate, and we are confident that the vast majority of our 2007 summer associates will accept their offers.

As always, we welcome any tips by email (subject line: “Linklaters”). Thanks.

Wachtell Lipton Rosen Katz WLRK Above the Law blog.jpgOver on AutoAdmit (via Concurring Opinions), folks have been talking about Wikiscanner. This neat application allows you to see recent edits to Wikipedia and who made them, in terms of the editor’s IP address (which often reveals their employer).

As Professor Dave Hoffman notes at Concurring Opinions, law firm lawyers seem to love playing with Wikipedia. A tipster is more specific:

Apparently members of Vault 15 law firms have been making, umm, questionable edits to wikipedia. For example:

– Vandalizing Ann Coulter’s page
– Shameless self-promotion
– Editing articles on BDSM (WTF?)
– Hiding links to Skull and Bones
– Taking shots at Noam Chomsky
– Taking shots at other firms

Eric Turkewitz, over at the NY Personal Injury Law Blog, zeroes in on edits made from computers at Wachtell Lipton (where we once worked). He accuses the firm of “duplicity,” since someone at WLRK is making (flattering) edits to the firm’s page, even though the firm claims it doesn’t engage in advertising or marketing.

But what if the edits were made not by Wachtell firm management, but by a mere associate? Would that be as problematic? Should Wachtell, or any other law firm, prohibit firm employees from touching up firm write-ups in Wikipedia (at least from law firm computers)?

With respect to the Wachtell Wikipedia edits, we have some interesting speculation. Check it out, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Wachtell and Wikipedia: Not So Perfect Together?”

Michael Vick middle finger Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgWoof woof! This just in, from Fox News (via AFP via Drudge):

The lead attorney for pro football star Michael Vick said Monday that the Atlanta Falcons quarterback will plead guilty to dogfighting and related charges and will “accept full responsibility for his actions and the mistakes he has made.”

Billy Martin, heading up Vick’s legal team, issued the following statement:

“After consulting with his family over the weekend. Michael Vick ask that I announce today that he has reached an agreement with Federal prosecutors regarding the charges pending against him. Mr. Vick has agreed to enter a plea of Guilty to those charges and to accept full responsibility for his actions and the mistakes he has made. Michael wishes to apologizes again to everyone who has been hurt by this matter.”

Especially all the poor pooches, God rest their doggie souls.
But wait — are we sure about this?

The statement apparently took federal officials by surprise.

Jim Rybicki, a spokesman for U.S. States Attorney Chuck Rosenberg, said he had not heard of an agreement in the Vick case, and that he was trying to reach prosecutors.

We’ll keep you posted.
Update: This looks solid; CNN has this report. Apparently a status conference is taking place this afternoon.
Vick Attorney Says Star Quarterback Will Plead Guilty in Dogfighting Case [Fox News]
Vick agrees to plea deal, prison possible [CNN]

East San Marino Drive 205 E San Marino Dr Above the Law blog.jpgIn Lawyerly Lairs, the ATL feature that takes you inside the luxurious homes of legal luminaries, we focus a lot on New York City. We’ve previously peeked inside the residences of Schulte partner Rick Presutti, ex-S&C associate Aaron Charney, Cravath partner John Beerbower, Columbia law profs Hans Smit and Sarah Cleveland, and lawyer-turned-TV-personality Greta Van Susteren (to name a few).
Our obsession with Gotham isn’t surprising, since NYC is one of the nation’s biggest and most expensive legal markets. But today, to mix it up a bit, we take you down south, to another town where real estate is an obsession: MIAMI.
Miami real estate has taken a tumble lately. But that hasn’t stopped one top lawyer from wheeling and dealing. From the Daily Business Review:

A prominent attorney has sold one waterfront estate and bought another along the Venetian Causeway linking Miami and Miami Beach.

Dale Hightower, founder and managing partner of Hightower & Partners, and his wife, Anna, sold their San Marino Island property on Biscayne Bay for $6.9 million.

El Popular publisher Marco Laureti and his wife, Giovanna, bought the 5,982-square-foot bayfront Mediterranean-style estate at 205 E. San Marino Drive (at right).

More after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyerly Lairs: Livin’ La Vida Loca”

Bingham McCutchen Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgAs you may recall, earlier this year there were rumors about there not being enough work to go around in the San Francisco office of Bingham McCutchen. Some of these rumors were prompted by the firm offering buyouts to some associates.
The rumors of slowness are starting to resurface:

I am a 2L at [a top ten law school], and we are mid-EIP. Early this summer I bid for Bingham’s San Francisco office, only to receive an email after bidding closed that they would not be coming to EIP and my bid was cancelled.

I just spoke to a friend who bid for their DC office and received an interview. She got an email (last week I believe) saying Bingham DC would not be attending either, and her interview was cancelled.

What’s up? Sinking ship? Not enough work?

Not so, according to firm spokesperson Claire Papanastasiou:

We carefully assess our hiring needs and annually review our OCI approach to maintain a balance of entry-level attorneys in all of our offices. Class sizes change from year-to-year, and we adjust our on-campus schedules accordingly.

For example, in San Francisco and D.C., we had a higher-than-anticipated acceptance rate for this past summer. To maintain the appropriate balance of entry-level lawyers in those offices, we’ve adjusted next summer’s class size.

If you have more light to shed on the situation, please feel free to email us (subject line: “Bingham McCutchen”).
Update: Remember the Fried Frank policy on entering one’s billable time? Bingham is also anxious about time entry (even if their policy is more forgiving). Memo after the jump (or click here).
Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of Bingham McCutchen (scroll down)

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “What’s Up With Bingham McCutchen?”

Sidley Austin One South Dearborn Chicago Above the Law blog.jpgAlthough the pace seems to be slowing, our open threads on Vault 100 firms continue to generate a decent quantity (and quality) of comments. So we’ll press on, for the benefit of those of you who are now in the throes of the law firm application process.
Please pose questions about and share insights into these five law firms (in Vault 100 order, with prestige scores in parentheses):

16. Williams & Connolly LLP (7.234)
17. Sidley Austin LLP (7.232)
18. Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP (7.158)
19. O’Melveny & Myers LLP (7.105)
20. White & Case LLP (7.092)

You can discuss them in the comments. Thanks.
The Vault Top 100 Law Firms [Vault]
Earlier: Vault 1-5; Vault 6-10; Vault 11-15

Ford Harrison LLP no billable hours Above the Law blog.jpgIt’s easy if you try.
No billable minimum below us.
Above us only sky (high bonuses).
The billable hour has its critics. See, e.g., this great piece by Scott Turow. Alternatives to the billable hour are slowly emerging. But nobody seems to think it’s going away anytime soon.
If you’re a first-year associate at Ford & Harrison, however, the billable hour is already history for you. From the National Law Journal (via WSJ Law Blog):

Ford & Harrison, a 190-attorney labor and employment firm, has tossed out billable-hour requirements for first-year associates. The program aims to close the practical-skills gap of law school education and increase value to clients. The firm also hopes it will enable associates to handle meatier matters more quickly.

Overall, Ford & Harrison’s leaders expect the new program to help retain beginning lawyers and appease clients.

“Everyone sits around and complains about the problems,” said C. Lash Harrison, managing partner of the law firm. “I figured, what the heck, maybe we can try something.”

More after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Imagine There’s No Billables”

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