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  • 30 Oct 2007 at 12:53 PM
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Associate Bonus Watch: MWE Says Hold Your Horses

associate bonus watch 2007 law firm Above the Law blog.jpgPrior to the Cravath bonus announcement, McDermott Will & Emery said it would be announcing bonuses later than usual this year. But now that Biglaw bonus season has been kicked off early, will they stick to their previously announced timetable?
For those of you who are interested, the MWE announcement — which was made on October 11, well before the CSM news — appears after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Associate Bonus Watch: MWE Says Hold Your Horses”

associate bonus watch 2007 law firm Above the Law blog.jpgAs we first reported, Cravath, Swaine & Moore has kicked off the 2007 bonus season, with yesterday’s announcement of “special” and year-end bonuses for its associates. Here’s coverage from the New York Law Journal and the WSJ Law Blog, who actually got Cravath to talk to them. (CSM declined ATL’s request for comment.) Both sources credit ATL; we thank Anthony Lin and Peter Lattman for the shout-outs.
This leads us to the second stage of bonus season: waiting for the other shoes to drop. We intend to cover bonus developments as closely as we did last year. If a firm is a Vault 100 or AmLaw 100 law firm, or even if its name rings a vague sort of bell, we want to hear about its bonus announcement.
We can’t cover this subject without your help. We need you to let us know, as soon as possible, when your firm makes a bonus announcement. Per ATL standard operating procedure, we will NOT identify you as our source.
Here’s how to reach us with bonus news:

1. As you probably already know, you can send bonus news and memos to us by email (subject line: “Associate Bonus Watch: [firm name]“.

2. To be on the safe side, email us from a non-work email account (but preferably one with your real name, so we can confirm that you actually work where you work, by looking you up on the firm website).

3. To be on the super-safe side, save your email in draft form in your non-work account (e.g., Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail, etc.). When you’re ready to send, access that account using the web browser in your Blackberry or other wireless device, open the saved draft, and hit “send.” (You could also send the message when you get home, but that would take forever.)

4. Another way to contact us: send us a Facebook message. Even if your firm monitors the websites you visit, being on Facebook won’t get you in trouble (provided you do it in moderation).

5. Yet another way to reach us: by instant messenger or Gmail chat. If you’re a regular ATL tipster, or if you’re our Facebook friend, you know where to reach us on AIM and on Gmail chat.

6. Yet another way to reach us: by phone. Many of you have our phone number, which is also listed in our Facebook profile.

As you know, we prefer to have full memos (although we’ll take just the numbers if that’s all we can get). Please keep your friends at ATL in mind this bonus season, and send us your news ASAP. The project of bringing greater transparency to associate compensation can’t work unless you do your part. Thanks!
Cravath First! Let BigLaw’s Associate Bonus Season Begin [WSJ Law Blog]
Cravath to Give Associates Special Bonus Plus Year-End Bonus [New York Law Journal]
Earlier: Cravath Announces Bonuses — ‘Special’ and Otherwise!!!

Charles Rangel Rep Charles B Rangel Charlie Rangel tax Above the Law blog.jpgNor does he want to raise your taxes, at least if you’re a member of the middle class (which many Biglaw lawyers are, at least if “middle class” is broadly defined). He actually wants to bring the middle class tax relief.
Since you all felt so strongly about it, judging from the hundreds of comments, we thought we’d bring you this quick follow-up to last week’s post about Rep. Charles Rangel’s new tax plan. In our write-up, we highlighted the 4 percent surtax for single earners with incomes over $150,000, or married couples with incomes over $200,000.
But Rep. Rangel argues that the bill is really all about abolishing the alternative minimum tax (AMT). He makes this argument today in the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal (not the natural habitat of a Charlie Rangel byline).
More after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Rep. Charlie Rangel Doesn’t Want To Eat Your Babies”

What the heck is going on? Is someone slipping Prozac into the Swiss Miss?
Why are Biglaw associates so darn happy these days? Is it the robust base salaries and generous bonuses, or is something else at work?
Over at the WSJ Law Blog, Nathan Koppel has this report:

Newsflash: Law-firm associates are happy!

… In one survey mostly of large-firm associates, 45 percent rated themselves “highly satisfied” while another 45 percent were “more or less” satisfied. Only five percent expressed strong dissatisfaction with their firms, according to survey, which is due to be released next week by legal consultancy Hildebrandt International. The survey was sent in June to more than 20,000 lawyers at firms with more than 80 lawyers. Some 464 associates completed the survey, 80% of whom were from “AmLaw 200″ firms….

In August, in its annual associate poll, the American Lawyer magazine reported that associate satisfaction has inched up over recent years to reach a record high of 3.81 on a five point scale, up from 3.64 four years ago.

What could account for this apparent change of heart among staff lawyers who, despite their six-figure starting salaries, traditionally are a notoriously unhappy lot?

Quit Whining Abovethelaw Above the Law legal blog.jpgKoppel floats the thesis that associate retention measures might be helping. He also notes:

There are other, more pragmatic reasons some lawyers may be complaining less. For one, the legal job market beyond big law is suffering. That’s a reason to be happy with a job if you have one.

Interesting. Is the misery of Biglaw in the eye of the beholder? Is “associate dissatisfaction” just a problem ginned up by whiny, self-entitled Ivy League brats? If you go into Biglaw grateful for your six-figure gig, and with realistic expectations for your professional satisfaction, will you end up “happy”?
The Joys of BigLaw? [WSJ Law Blog]

* The war on punitive damages continues. [USA Today via How Appealing]
* Suspect from Burning Man burning to burn something else. [Reno Gazette-Journal]
* Senators want clarification from Mukasey on waterboarding. [Jurist]
* Lerach pleads guilty. [Los Angeles Times]
* Do we have a de facto moratorium on executions pending this term’s SCOTUS lethal injection case? We should find out today. [New York Times]

animated siren gif animated siren gif animated siren gif drudge report.GIFIt’s very early, but it’s true: Cravath, Swaine & Moore announced bonuses today!!! Here are the numbers:
Class of 2007 — Year end bonus $35,000 (prorated), no special bonus
Class of 2006 — Year end $35,000, special $10,000
Class of 2005 — Year end $40,000, special $15,000
Class of 2004 — Year end $45,000, special $20,000
Class of 2003 — Year end $50,000, special $30,000
Class of 2002 — Year end $55,000, special $40,000
Class of 2001 — Year end $60,000, special $50,000
Class of 2000 — Year end $60,000, special $50,000 (same as 2001)
Cravath Swaine Moore LLP Above the Law blog.JPGUpdate (5:05 PM):

1. No official comment from the firm (we called their spokesperson), but this news is solid. It has been confirmed for us by multiple sources at Cravath, by phone and by email.

2. As noted in the comments, the “special” bonuses will be paid in November (on November 9, to be exact). The year-end bonuses will be paid in December.

100 dollar bill Above the Law Above the Law law firm salary legal blog legal tabloid Above the Law.JPGUpdate (5:40 PM): If you’d like to compare this bonus table to what Cravath (and pretty much everyone else in New York) paid last year, you can check out the 2006 CSM bonus memo over here. As you can see, the year-end bonuses for this year and last year are basically the same; it’s just that this year, there are “special” bonuses that take total compensation higher.
Also, recall that the base salaries in effect in December 2006 were lower than current base salaries. The Simpson Thacher-led move to $160K didn’t happen until January 2007. So between the higher base salaries and the “special” bonuses, CSM associates this year are significantly better off than last year’s batch.
As for timing, last year’s Cravath bonus memo was issued on December 11, 2006. So this year’s bonus announcement comes quite early in the season. The 2006 bonus season was kicked off by Milbank, which announced on December 8, 2006.
Earlier: Associate Bonus Watch [2006]: A Real Milbank Bonus Announcement
Associate Bonus Watch [2006]: Cravath Announced; Cadwalader Rumored
Breaking: Simpson Thacher Raises Associate Base Salaries!!!
Related: Associate Bonus Watch 2007 archives (scroll down)

Heller Ehrman LLP Above the Law blog.JPGAnother day, another report of problems for Heller Ehrman. As usual, the bad news comes not from ATL, but from an MSM source — so don’t accuse us of making this stuff up. We’re just piggybacking on our friends in the print media.
From the Legal Times:

Like a California Beemer spinning its wheels in Potomac River swampland, San Francisco-based Heller Ehrman just can’t seem to gain traction in Washington.

Last year, the firm’s D.C. head count grew by only one attorney. This year, the office is down eight, from 57 attorneys to 49, a 14 percent decline….

[T]here are also signs of trouble firm-wide. Earlier this month the firm suffered two major losses. Partner Patricia Gillette, who helped anchor Heller’s San Francisco office, jumped to Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. Gillette, who was a co-chairwoman of the labor and employment practice, brought another partner and four associates with her. Jerry Marks, Heller’s former Los Angeles managing partner, has signed on at Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy. In September, the firm also laid off 65 support staff members.

Though the 700-lawyer Heller is still considered a solid firm, its recent losses and its moribund Washington numbers have some observers wondering what is ailing the California power.

Is the Legal Times making a mountain out of a molehill? Or is Heller’s D.C. office — located just down the street from us, with a gigantic silver sign over the door — really in trouble?
Firm Has D.C. Discontent [Legal Times (subscription)]
Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of Heller Ehrman (scroll down)

Department of Justice seal DOJ seal Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgSure, the U.S. Department of Justice has some issues right now. But a great many talented and dedicated people still work for the DOJ — and aspire to work there:

You should do a fall recruiting thread on the DOJ Honors Program. Interviews are happening for the next [few] weeks. It would be interesting to hear the thoughts of and get information from interviewees, as well as current and former DOJ attorneys. What do you say?

We say: Sure! Here’s the thread you’ve requested. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Honors Program, here’s a description:

The Attorney General’s Honors Program

The highly competitive Honors Program is only way that the Department hires entry-level attorneys. Selection for employment is based on many elements of a candidate’s background including academic achievement, law review or moot court experience, legal aid and clinical experience, and summer or part-time legal employment. The Department also considers specialized academic studies (including undergraduate and post-graduate degrees), work experience, and extracurricular activities that directly relate to the work of the Department.

More details, including eligibility requirements and a timeline, are available here.

To get things started, we toss out a few possible topics, after the jump.

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Elizabeth Wurtzel 2 Prozac Nation Above the Law blog.JPGWhen we previously wrote about author-turned-lawyer Elizabeth Wurtzel, whom we honored as a Summer Associate of the Day, you had some strong reactions. Now Ms. Wurtzel, a Yale Law School student who summered at WilmerHale, is in the news once again. We expect no shortage of reader opinions.
Wurtzel is the subject of a generally flattering profile in the Sunday Styles section of the New York Times. It’s quite interesting; read it in full here. This struck us as the money quote (quite literally):

Although Ms. Wurtzel received a $500,000 advance for her second book, “Bitch” (and half of that for “More, Now, Again”), she took out loans to pay for her education. Yale’s law school tuition this year is $43,750.

“I’m badly in debt,” she said. “It’s got to be in the six figures.” Ms. Wurtzel has until Nov. 15 to take up WilmerHale’s job offer. She also has an essay collection in the works but no publisher yet.

We realize cocaine is expensive, but we still don’t understand how authors can blow (haha) through six-figure advances so quickly. What next? Will Jessica Cutler, who recently declared bankruptcy, matriculate at Harvard Law School?
Discussion resumes after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Elizabeth Wurtzel: All Grown Up Now”


A brief tour of things we don’t have room to explore in this double edition of LEWW:
This bride is foxy and forty-eight; this bride is twenty-six and hyper-annoying.
– Some MoFo lesbians have made a match of it.
– Graduating cum laude from Harvard wins you admission to a tier-4 law school.
But on to our five featured couples:

1.) Isabel Gillies and Peter Lattman
2.) Lisa Rosenberg and Jonathan Goldin
3.) Ceara Donnelley and Nathan Berry
4.) Jessica Sebeok and Scott Shuchart
5.) Deneta Howland and Bryan Sells

More about the nominees, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Legal Eagle Wedding Watch 10.14 and 10.21: Plantation, All I Ever Wanted”

Donald Marvin Jones Professor D Marvin Jones Above the Law blog.jpgWe’ve written a fair amount about D. Marvin Jones, the University of Miami law professor who has been accused of soliciting an undercover officer for sex. He allegedly offered her a tantalizing $20 for her services.

But a picture is worth a thousand words. And a picture is what’s been making the rounds among UM students and alumni, via email. The tipster who sent the graphic to us introduced it as follows:

I graduated from UM Law (embarrassing, I know)…. [But] I actually have a job.

I hate UM. After [redacted] for undergrad, UM Law was a joke. I’m embarrassed that I went here.

Anyway, this pic is amazing. Please publish it. I don’t know where it came from, but it’s awesome.

Now, we realize that Professor Jones is a popular figure on the UM Law campus. We acknowledge that he merely stands accused of wrongdoing; he hasn’t been convicted of anything. And we know that many ATL readers have rather delicate sensibilities, especially for the readers on an online legal tabloid. If you’re highly sensitive to criticism of Professor Jones, or if you are easily offended, then please stop reading here.

But if you have no particular attachment to Professor Jones, and if you have a reasonably high tolerance for irreverent, crass, politically incorrect humor, then check out what lies after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Nutty Professor: A Commemorative Graphic”

Thacher Proffitt Wood LLP Above the Law blog.jpgHow quickly times have changed. A little over a month ago, Thacher Proffitt & Wood couldn’t hire people fast enough. At Boston University School of Law, they relaxed their traditional on-campus interview standards, to try and get people through the door. From a BU tipster:

“Thacher Proffitt & Wood’ lowers standards — see below. Maybe Loyola 2L can get an interview with them, if he has a 3.9 at Loyola.”

Date: Fri, 14 Sep 2007 17:38:38 -0400 (EDT)
From: [BU recruiting]
Subject: Thacher Proffitt & Wood Resume Collection Still Open

There is still time to submit your resume to Thacher Proffitt & Wood’s resume collection on Symplicity. Hiring criteria: Minimum of a 3.4 and a journal is preferred. Only hiring in Structured Finance and Real Estate. New York Office only. If interested, please submit your resume, transcript and cover letter by NOON on Monday, September 17th through their resume collection in the “2007 Late OCI” session under the OCI tab on Symplicity.

Thanks and have a great weekend!

Now, of course, structured finance and real estate ain’t looking so hot, thanks to the mortgage mess and credit crunch. Firms that are big in structured finance are struggling to keep their lawyers busy. See, e.g., McKee Nelson (previously discussed here).
More about Thacher Proffitt, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Nationwide Layoff Slowdown Watch: Thacher Proffit & Wood”

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