We continue our series of perk posts. Today we cover a perk that we expect will generate some heated discussion: part-time status.
From a reader:
In keeping with your recent series of posts regarding law firm perks, I thought I would suggest a thread on the availability of part time options. This isn’t exactly a perk, but some real info might be appreciated by those law students and attorneys who want to have a career and family. It’s especially timely in connection with this recent article.
I can tell you that I was at Cadwalader and saw part time people being treated like utter crap; they worked their tails off and still got treated with contempt by the partnership, and even worse, by senior associates and of counsel who no longer gave them good work. I can also say that, per the article, 9 hours a day in the office doesn’t exactly seem like part time (who can’t bill the cited 1900 hours per year at 9 hours a day in the office, plus extras at home?).
More discussion, plus links to a few recent articles about working part-time, after the jump.
Although located uncomfortably close to the site of yesterday’s steam pipe explosion, Davis Polk & Wardwell has some of the nicest offices around. When we were in law school, Davis was known as “Land of the Beautiful People.” They had the most gorgeous offices, and the best-looking associates (and summer associates).
DPW also seems to have great — or at least distinctive and unique — perks. First we heard about their marriage bonus. And now, in the wake of yesterday’s calamity, we get this news:
I am an associate at Davis Polk, a few blocks from the explosion in midtown [yesterday] afternoon. We were evacuated and I took the firm-provided emergency kit as I left. No real news from the evacuation but here is something that came up as I was walking home.
A friend from White and Case was having a drink at a nearby bar and I stopped on my way home. She saw my emergency kit and asked what it was. I said “you know the emergency kit that all the firms give you on your first day.” Well, needless to say she was pissed that White and Case has no such kit!
I think this would be another fun “perks” thread. So kicking it off, the Davis Polk kit has a flashlight, glow stick, emergency blanket, battery powered radio. But the real kicker is that we have this hood that you can wear in a smoke-filled room and still breathe for about a half hour.
So if a “dirty bomb” goes off in New York City someday (God forbid), bet on the Davis Polksters to emerge alive. Along with a few Milberg Weiss partners cockroaches. Update: From our original DPW source:
“By the way, forgot to mention that besides the f’ing awesome smoke hood, the safety kit also has potassium iodide tablets to prevent radiation poisoning.”
We continue our series examining perks or fringe benefits provided by legal employers. We’ve already covered technology allowances, gym memberships, marriage bonuses, and help with housing.
Today we tackle a subject that’s kinda boring, but very important: retirement benefits and financial planning. If you don’t think about this stuff now, you’ll be chewing ramen with your dentures in fifty years.
So what does your employer do on this front? Do you get a 401(k) or an IRA? Is there an employer contribution?
And one reader also wants to know: Do any firms provide their associates with help in terms of financial planning? Do they assist you in navigating the maze of confusing options?
Please discuss in the comments. Thanks.
Oops, we briefly dropped the ball on our continuing series about perks or fringe benefits provided by legal employers. In prior posts, we covered technology allowances, gym memberships, and marriage bonuses.
Recently a tipster asked us if any law firms out there would help him out with buying a house. We believe he was thinking in terms of financial assistance (e.g., a low-interest home mortgage).
We’re not sure about that. But we do know that some law firms will help out associates with other real estate and housing-related matters, such as moving expenses and broker fees.
Here’s an open thread for discussion of fringe benefits related to housing and real estate. Have at it! Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of perks and fringe benefits (scroll down)
We have heard from the subjects of a couple of today’s posts, and would like to post a couple of clarifications based on what they told us.
First, a source from Davis Polk wants to make it very clear that the marriage bonuses are not “bonuses” per se, but are instead gifts from the partnership, which always happen to be in the exact amount of $500.
Second, we stated in the Mayer Brown post that the firm had not commented on the examiner’s report in the Refco case. We made that statement based on the fact that two online sources reporting on the case had reported that Mayer Brown had not commented at that time. The statement was not based on any specific request for comment from ATL. However, we now have received an official statement from Mayer Brown, and it is posted in its entirety after the jump. Earlier: Does It Pay to Be Married In Biglaw? Court-Appointed Examiner Blows The Whistle on Mayer Brown In Refco Case
A rather odd rumor recently came across our desk that Davis Polk hands out marriage bonuses of $500. That’s right, $500 for being married (and if you’re married to someone at Davis Polk, you each get $500, according to the rumor).
We hadn’t heard of this at Davis Polk or anywhere else previously, so we decided to float it to some Davis Polk sources. Here’s what they had to say:
Source 1: We do get a $500 marriage bonus… I got mine last year.
Source 2: I know that people got them in the past, but I am under the impression that this benefit no longer exists.
I think the most accurate characterization of it is that the benefit “once existed but may no longer exist.”
Source 1 (upon being told about Source 2′s claim that the benefit no longer exists): It definitely still exists. You have to ask for it, though.
So, can any Davis Polk folks out there tell us if this benefit still exists? Are any other firms doing this?
We continue our series of posts about perks/fringe benefits provided by legal employers. In prior posts, we covered technology allowances and gym memberships.
Today we’re all about the children. Let’s talk about… child care benefits!
As reflected on the NALP website, here are some of the options that law firms offer:
As we mentioned yesterday, over the next week or two we’ll be doing a series of posts on fringe benefits at law firms. Each day we’ll have a post dedicated to discussion of a specific type of perk.
Today’s fringe benefit: gym memberships. Although you might never have guessed, based on the proliferation of pasty and portly associates, many top law firms offer free or discounted gym memberships for their lawyers.
Some firms even have on-site gyms. The market leader here may be Skadden, which has gyms in some of its larger offices, like New York and Washington. We’ve visited the gym of Skadden DC, and it’s impressive. Personal trainers are available, and they’ll even furnish you with freshly laundered workout clothes, emblazoned with the Skadden logo (down to jockstraps — although we don’t think those have the logo).
An in-house gym is great. You can head down for an afternoon pick-me-up, before settling in for the evening session of work. Or you can squeeze in a quick work-out while waiting for word processing to turn around some document.
But exercising with co-workers has its downsides. When we were at a firm, a former colleague who worked out at the super-high-end gym frequented by partners once returned in a shellshocked state. She declared: “I just saw [partner X] on the elliptical. In a tank top and short-shorts. I didn’t need to see that.”
Please discuss free or discounted gym memberships, in-house exercise rooms, and similar law firm perks, in the comments. Thanks. Earlier: An Open Thread on Tech Allowances
On Friday, we reported that if you’re at Skadden, you can use your $3,000 technology allowance to buy an iPhone. We now have some clarifications about that good news.
From a Skadden source:
1. While you can use your tech allowance to buy just about anything “tech-y” at Skadden, the tech dept has made it clear that the iPhone is NOT compatible with Skadden tech infrastructure. See below [posting reproduced after the jump].
2. The iPhone isn’t excluded [from the tech allowance], but since you’re basically required to have a Blackberry for business purchases, they would likely frown on purchasing both a Blackberry (the monthly Blackberry service comes out of the tech allowance) and an iPhone (where the entire monthly phone-data package would likely be redundant).
3. What’s the point of having two devices strapped to your hip? Isn’t one enough? As soon as a reliable Blackberry client comes out for the iPhone, I think demand will force the tech folks to support the iPhone. Right now don’t even bother asking to get your Skadden email working on an iPhone.
We thank our tipster for explaining these finer points.
In the comments to our prior post, people expressed an interest in a forum for discussing workplace perks — i.e., “the fringe benefits that vary between Biglaw firms — tech allowances, book allowances, gym memberships, home loans, etc.”
We’re happy to oblige. But let’s do this in an organized way. Over the next week or so, we’ll put up a series of posts on fringe benefits, with each post dedicated to discussion of a specific type of perk.
Let’s get the ball rolling. Please treat this post as the open thread for discussion of technology allowances. Thanks.
Lots of interesting debate in the comments over the wild rumor that Skadden might raise starting salaries to $195,000 before the year’s end.
Some think it’s crazy talk. Others note that it might simply mark a return to Skadden’s prior practice of paying above-market base salaries, combined with smaller year-end bonuses (designed to bring total comp for Skadden associates up to market, depending upon other firms’ year-end bonuses).
Anyway, regardless of what you think about that gossip, here’s something that’s confirmed:
tipster: interesting tidbit ATL: I’m all ears tipster: skadden will reimburse associates for iphone purchases from their tech allowance ATL: oh cool! tipster: Pretty much makes skadden associates the coolest on the planet!
Here are more details on the Skadden technology allowance, from the firm website:
The firm provides up to $3,000 to attorneys for the purchase of technology equipment at the commencement of employment. After 2 years of service, the firm provides additional allowances for the purchase of approved technology equipment.
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Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past six years. You can reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deal flow has clearly picked recently up for most US associates, counsels and partners in Hong Kong/China and Singapore. We are on the phone with a lot of these folks on a daily basis, many of whom we have known for years. Further, the head of our Asia team, Evan Jowers, and Kinney’s founder and president, Robert Kinney, frequently meet in person with leading US partners in Asia to assess their needs and keep on top of the inside scoop at as many firms as possible. The need for legal recruiting help in Asia from experienced recruiters appears to be live and well. In March, Evan and Robert were in Beijing at such meetings, in April, Evan was in Hong Kong, and for half of June Evan will be in Shanghai and Hong Kong. Thus its pretty easy for us to tell when there has been an across-the-market pick up in capital markets and corporate work.
On an average day in Asia when Evan and Robert visit firms, they typically have 5 to 9 meetings a day, mostly with US partners in the market. The reason they have these meetings is not simply because Kinney makes a lot of US attorney placements in Asia and that a particular firm may have openings; instead these are just visits with friends. After years of working together as business partners, the folks at Kinney are actually these peoples’ friends. The firms Kinney work closely with in Asia (which is just about every law firm – call us if you want to know the one firm in the world we will never place anyone with again, ever, and why) look forward to the visits, or at least act like they do. After seven years in the market, many of the client partners are former associate candidates. Also, these US partners see Kinney as a very good source of market information as well, because they know how deep their contacts are in the market and how frequently they are speaking to counterparts at peer firms.
In a land that is right here and in a time that is right now, a technology has arisen so powerful that it can replace basic human document review. Is it time to bow down before our new robot overlords?
First, here’s a little story about me: my life in the legal world began as a paralegal. My first case was a GIANT patent infringement case that was already six years old and had involved as many as five companies, multiple US courts, the ITC and an international standards committee. I knew nothing about any of this.
On my first day, my supervisor (a paralegal with at least eight other cases driving her crazy) sat me down in front of a Concordance database with a 100,000+ patents and patent file histories. “Code these,” she said. I learned that “coding”, for the purposes of this exercise, meant manually typing the inventor’s name, the title of the patent, the assignee, the file date, and other objective data for each document. I worked on that project – and only that project – for at least the first six months of my job. After a week or so, time began to blur.
What I know, in retrospect and with absolutely certainty, is that as time began to blur, so did my judgment. So did my attention to detail. If you could tell me that I did not make at least one mistake a day – one inconsistent spelling, one reversed day and month, one incorrectly spaced title – I frankly would need to see your evidence. I would not believe it. The human mind is trainable but it is not a machine.
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