With fall recruiting season just around the corner (or already upon us at some schools), we’ve launched a series of open threads, where people can compare notes about law firms in different cities.
Here are the threads that we’ve put up so far (which we encourage people to revisit, even after they get bumped from the ATL front page):
We’ve hit the East Coast and the Midwest. Now let’s show some love to the West Coast (where the lunch hour is approaching — a peak time for visiting ATL).
Here’s an open thread for talking about law firms in San Francisco and Silicon Valley — the Bay Area. Please gossip away, responsibly, in the comments. Thanks. Earlier: Fall recruiting open threads for Boston and Chicago
People, please, be patient. We heard you the first time you asked us to confirm that Kirkland & Ellis has raised its clerkship bonus. It was not necessary to reiterate this request in the comments to every single post on ATL.
We reached out to Kirkland earlier this week, shortly after we started hearing this rumor, but we didn’t hear back from them until just now. From firm spokesman Brian Pitts:
I can confirm Kirkland’s clerkship bonus has increased to $50,000 and that it applies across all offices. As for serial clerkships and/or multi-year clerkships, Kirkland’s practice is to evaluate those on a case-by-case basis. Please let me know if you need anything else.
We thank Mr. Pitts and K&E for this information. We appreciate it greatly when firms respond to our requests for information that are relevant to prospective associates (many of whom read ATL).
The $54 million pants, as they’ve come to be known, were the subject of a widely mocked lawsuit that garnered international attention. Now, they have their own security guard….
On display [at a fundraiser last night] were what the Chungs say are the pants that Roy Pearson brought in, were misplaced, and were later found. The guests had appetizers and cocktails, and under the stern gaze of the security guard, some posed for photos with the pants.
In this week’s New York Observer, there’s an article (by yours truly) that may be of interest to ATL readers. It’s entitled Profits vs. Partners: Are the country’s top law firms going the way of the dinosaur?
You can check it out by clicking here. The piece has also been picked up by DealBook and the WSJ Law Blog (with a somewhat snarky title — but if we can dish it, we can take it).
The point of the article is not that law firms are becoming more businesslike and profit-oriented (yawn), but what this means for the profession — and also for firms as profit-maximizing businesses. Here’s an excerpt:
It’s a noteworthy shift for the legal profession, whose denizens like to think of themselves as intellectual types—and view their Wall Street cousins as money-obsessed philistines. Many angst-filled attorneys suspect they should have gone into something more tweedy and creative than relocating commas within merger agreements. As Clarence Darrow said, “Inside every lawyer is the wreck of a poet.”
Such questions of professional identity aren’t just theoretical; they have ramifications for law firms as businesses. If law firms become “just like banks,” but with smaller paychecks, firms may lose their appeal to the talent they must attract in order to thrive.
In other words: Is Biglaw, by emphasizing money so much, hoisting itself by its own petard? If it’s all about the benjamins (baby), why not just go to an i-bank or hedge fund? Are firms going to lose their top talent to the world of finance — which would then impair Biglaw’s ability to thrive as a business?
(If Biglaw has nothing to offer but monetary rewards, which are offered in larger amounts by Wall Street, will law firms end up as dumping grounds for the mathematically-impaired? (Please don’t take offense; that includes us. We can’t balance our checkbook without a calculator.))
More excerpts and discussion — including predictions from law firm consultants about when the next round of associate pay raises is coming, which we know you’re dying to hear — after the jump.
We continue our series of posts about summer associate misadventures. If you have an anecdote you’d be willing to share, please check out the submission guidelines, and then email us.
We’re continuing with our theme of summer associates as superheroes. Move over, X-Men; make way for the X-Summers!!!
1. Superhero name: The Nekkid Sleeper
2. Special power: Drunken, semi-nude slumbering.
3. Summered: Baker & Hostetler, Cleveland, summer 2001
4. Claim to fame: From a Midwestern tipster:
“After a Saturday-night firm event, followed by a non-firm-sponsored night of drinking, The Nekkid Sleeper found himself stranded downtown without a car. It was after the rapid (light rail line) shut down for the evening, and he didn’t have enough money for a cab, so he decided he’d crash in his office at the firm.”
“One problem: That summer, the firm didn’t have enough office space for all the summers, so every other week, the summers would have to rotate offices. This particular week, The Nekkid Sleeper’s office was a cube in the firm’s library. The Nekkid Sleeper stumbled up to the firm library, found a sofa, and passed out in a drunken haze. It was hot and humid, so he unconsciously (or so he claimed) removed his shirt sometime in the middle of the night.”
“All was well until 6 a.m. Sunday, when a female partner who had a big upcoming trial wandered into the firm library to get a book — and saw what she thought was a half-nude hobo, sprawled out on the firm’s nice sofa….”
5. What happened next: “Rumor was that the incident happened about a week before the mid-summer reviews were to take place, and he got a stern lecture about inappropriate behavior… Word on the street was that he got an offer, but took a clerkship and then never returned to the firm.”
(The usual rules apply. Please don’t name the Nekkid Sleeper or speculate about his identity. Thanks.) Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of summer associates (scroll down)
You know you’re a celebrity when everyone has an opinion about you. And by that standard, Nina Totenberg, who covers the Supreme Court for NPR, is definitely a celebrity. Ever since we first started writing about Ms. Nina, we’ve received tons of messages and stories about her.
We feel like we’re running confirmation hearings for La Totenberg — or maybe hearings to decide whether she should be reappointed dean of the SCOTUS press corps. Witnesses have been coming forward with alternating positive and negative accounts.
Since our last post was decidedly anti-Nina — excerpts from the memoir of John Hockenberry, a former NPR colleague of hers — it’s time for something positive. This message comes from one of Nina Totenberg’s current colleagues, Ari Shapiro:
I interned for Nina seven years ago, and I’ve been her colleague at NPR ever since. I have to disagree with the assertion that she’ll “ruin the career of anyone who crosses her.” I think Tom Goldstein and Jan Crawford Greenburg got it exactly right. Nina has been unfailingly kind, generous, and helpful to me. Because I cover the Justice Department and she covers SCOTUS, we work together all the time. My cubicle is just outside of hers (yes, she has a cubicle – no office, no couch), so I see her nearly every day. She has been an extraordinary mentor and colleague, and she is always supportive. Having seen seven years’ worth of her interns come and go, I know that most of them feel the same way.
I do agree with you on one point, though. Nina is utterly fabulous. I’ve never met anyone like her, and I mean that in the best possible way.
We thank Mr. Shapiro for these thoughts.*
So, after reading all about her, what do you think of Nina Totenberg? Take our reader poll, after the jump.
When we posted yesterday’s open thread on Chicago law firms, to create a forum for people to talk candidly about Biglaw shops now that fall recruiting season is approaching, we weren’t sure how it would turn out. We worried that the comments would descend into useless trash talk, or that there wouldn’t be enough participants to make the thread useful.
We were pleasantly surprised. Most of the commentary on the Chicago thread is thoughtful and informative.
So we think we’ll do more of these city-focused threads — maybe two or three a day for the next week, until we’ve hit all the major legal markets.
Here’s the Boston thread. Please discuss Beantown’s big law firms — e.g., Ropes & Gray, WilmerHale, Goodwin Procter — in the comments. Thanks.
* D.C. Circuit wants truckers to get some rest. [New York Times]
* Malpractice defendants 2, Weis 0. [Fulton County Daily Report]
* This is one of those cases where the best punchline is so obvious that the headline already used it, so I’ll just quote it: “Levi’s sues the pants off of Polo.” [CNN]
* Gonzo on the hill again. [Jurist]
* The New York bride who was jilted by the 50 bullets pumped into her husband on their wedding day sues the NYPD. [CNN]
We’ve received three of them thus far. It appears that the bar examiners have been having, er, technical difficulties — some pretty serious computer problems. Needless to say, the hapless test takers are not happy campers.
For those of you who are interested, we reprint the stories after the jump.
Here is the latest unverified gossip making the rounds among summer associates in New York City:
“I’m not summering at Davis Polk, but I have some friends who are, and I’ve been to a few of their events. The general assumption among people there was that the firm is going to $180,000, probably in time for fall recruiting season.”
“My career adviser at Cornell said that it is all but declared that NYC associate starting salaries will be going up to $195K. Is there truth to this? I haven’t heard it anywhere else?”
At this point, since such rumors have been percolating for weeks, we don’t put much stock in them. But maybe we can have a meta-conversation about them: What does the persistence of these (perhaps ridiculous) rumors say about law students and young lawyers?
(Other than that they have huge-ass student loans and/or a taste for the finer things in life. E.g., Cristal.)
Some of you have requested a place where you can trade notes about different firms, in advance of fall recruiting season (which is arguably already upon us, since some law students have to submit their bids for interview slots now or very soon).
There are already a number of places to give and receive such information. E.g., Infirmation, AutoAdmit, Vault. But maybe we can do a little of this on ATL.
We’re going to try an experiment. It may or may not work, but that’s why it’s called an experiment.
Here is an open thread to talk about Chicago law firms. Please discuss, pose and answer questions, and gossip away — responsibly, of course — in the comments.
(If this thread yields worthwhile discussion, then maybe we’ll do threads for other legal markets, and maybe even threads about specific firms. But if the discussion ends up being stupid, then we probably won’t bother, and just leave this task to the other sites mentioned above.)
As part of a nationwide tour, Above the Law is coming to the great city of Chicago.
Join preeminent law firm management consultant Bruce MacEwen, Katten Muchin Chicago managing partner Gil Sofer, and JPMorgan Chase & Co. assistant general counsel Jason Shaffer for a panel discussion (sponsored by Pangea3) on the evolutionary and market forces bearing down on the law firm business model. Come on by Thursday, November 20, at 6 p.m., for thought-provoking discussion, food, drink, and networking.
Space is limited and there will be no on-site registration, so please RSVP
Average law school debt for graduates of private universities hovered around $122,000 last year. With only 57% of new attorneys actually obtaining real lawyer jobs, recent graduates have a lot to consider when it comes to managing their student loan payments. Thanks to our friends at SoFi, today’s infographic takes a look at student loan debt, including the possible benefits of refinancing for JDs…
Kinney Recruiting’sEvan Jowers is currently in Hong Kong for client meetings and still has a few slots available through October 22. Evan will also be in Hong Kong November 14 to December 15. Further, Robert Kinney has been in Frankfurt and Munich this week and is available for meetings with our Germany based readers.
One of our key law firm clients has referred us to one of their important clients in the US, Europe and China – a leading global technology supplier for the auto industry – in order to handle their search for a new Asia General Counsel and Asia Chief Compliance Officer.
Kinney is exclusively handling this in-house search.
This position will have a lot of responsibility and include supervision of eight attorneys underneath them in the Asia in-house team. The new hire will report directly to the global general counsel and global chief compliance officer, who is based in the US. The new hire’s ability to make judgement calls is going to be as important as their technical skill set background.
The position is based in Shanghai and will deal with the company’s operations all over Asia and also in India, including frequent acquisitions in the region.
It is expected that the new hire will come from a top US firm’s Shanghai, Beijing or Hong Kong offices, currently in a top flight corporate practice at the senior associate, counsel or partner level. Of course, the candidate can be currently in a relevant in-house role.