We’re entering the second half of the Vault 100. This is part of a series of open threads to discuss the firms considered to be the profession’s most prestigious. Because we know you love prestige. And the opportunity for “TTT” accusations. [FN1]
Here’s the next bunch of firms, with prestige scores in parentheses:
Vault notes that attorneys at Pillsbury are treated to “freshly baked cookies.” But they also have to put up with being referred to as “Pillsburians” by Vault.
Compare, contrast, discuss… and if you’re at Pillsbury, have a chocolate chip cookie for us. Earlier:Vault 100 Open Threads – 2009
[FN1] We periodically get e-mails asking for the definition of “TTT,” which appears so often in comment threads. As the uninitiated have surely gathered, it’s a derogatory term. Likely originating on AutoAdmit, it stands for “third tier toilet.” For more, see Urban Dictionary.
These aren’t the best of times for Biglaw, in case you hadn’t noticed. The most recent evidence: staff and lawyer layoffs at Sonnenschein, news that we broke last night (and might write more about, so feel free to email us with info).
But here is a tiny sliver of good news. In response to our open call for information about delayed start dates for incoming associates, which some law firms have been using to reduce expenses, we received very little.
First, we learned that DLA Piper has instituted a nationwide start date of October 1. This isn’t terribly exciting, since October 1 isn’t that late. Other firms that have announced delayed start dates have gone for late October or even January.
The change also doesn’t appear to be economically motivated. From DLA spokesperson Jason Costa:
The changes were made to provide a uniform start date across all our offices. The new collective date allows us to have a uniform orientation process. We think it will also be good for the associates, since the shared start date will probably lead to a tighter knit class.
Our tipsters mentioned the availability of pay advances if needed, which Costa confirmed: “We are more than happy to give pay advances to any incoming associates who had planned to start earlier than October, and who may need the extra cash.”
Second, we received more details about Pillsbury Winthrop, which previously said it was spacing out start dates “over several months.”
Read the rest, after the jump.
Thanks to the worsening economy, law firms don’t have enough work for the lawyers already on their payrolls. Some firms have decided to save money by having incoming first-year associates start later than originally planned. What’s the point of bringing new kids on board, at starting salaries of $160,000 each, if you don’t have enough work to give them?
The latest Biglaw shop to push back start dates: K&L Gates. The original firm-wide start date was September 15; the new start date is October 20.
We contacted K&L Gates for comment. The firm’s director of recruiting, Roz Pitts, explained that the change was made not for any economic reason, but due to “crazy scheduling.” She explained that the firm’s partner retreat in Phoenix is taking place in early October, and they didn’t want the first-years to start work only to have the entire partnership disappear a few weeks later. She added that the firm stands by all its offers — i.e., no offers have been rescinded — and that all incoming associates will be notified of the start date change by today. (Some offices started notifying associates on Friday, which is when we learned of this change.)
But even if K&L Gates were making this change for economic reasons, would there be any shame in that? Other prominent law firms have already announced postponed start dates:
3. Thelen Reid: start dates for first-year associates pushed back from September 2008 to January 2009.
Do you know of a Biglaw shop that has announced it’s pushing back start dates? If so, feel free to drop us a line. Thanks.
P.S. When it comes to start dates, maybe there’s no way to please everyone. Back in February, some Sidley Austin associates complained about excessively early start dates.
[Ed. note: Apologies for the radio silence for much of today. Alas, we've been experiencing some rather severe technical difficulties, in connection with the site redesign and relaunch. The next few days (and perhaps weeks) may be a little bumpy around here; please bear with us. Thanks for your patience.]
Here are two pieces of information that we’ve heard about Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman:
1. For incoming first-year associates, their start dates, originally set for early October 2008, are being pushed back. These new associates could start as late as January 2009. The delay is due to “a serious slowdown in business.”
2. For 2008 summer associates, the summer program has been reduced from 12 weeks to 10 weeks. Summer associates will not be allowed to work more than 10 weeks, even if they want to.
With respect to the first tip, concerning incoming full-time associates, we’ve heard it with respect to the Los Angeles office specifically. With respect to the second tip, concerning summer associates, we believe it to be a firmwide policy.
We contacted PWSP for confirmation and comment, earlier this week and again today. A firm spokesperson confirmed receipt of our inquiries but had no comment (as of the time of this posting; if we hear from her, we’ll update this post).
More details, plus reactions from some of our tipsters, after the jump.
For those of you who never got to watch the PWSP video, it was described pretty well over at Legal Pad, “smooth jazz” and all. But we regret not being able to add our two cents. We were looking forward to describing the archival photographs of sweaty, shirtless men, featured in the “history” section of the talk, as well as to deploying this line: “I’m not just the firm chairman, I’m also a client.” Sadly, that last quip is useless without the video evidence, since you can no longer witness for yourself the uncanny similarities between Jim Rishwain’s demeanor and Sy Sperling’s.
But don’t worry, Pillsbury peeps; we don’t take it personally. We’re used to having the videos we write about yanked from YouTube. See, e.g., here (University of Miami 1L modeling montage), here (Quinn Emanuel recruiting video featuring sexy associate “Ivy”), here (Harvard Law School parody), and here (Columbia Law Revue). Jim Rishwain’s Good Answer [Legal Pad / Cal Law]
Law firm mergers have transformed the Biglaw landscape over the past decade. Several of the five firms in our latest open thread on Vault 100 firms have been involved in merger mania.
Here are the firms to talk about this morning:
It’s the Friday before a major holiday — and firms are scrambling to get their pay raise announcements out the door. It’s a nice way to send your bedraggled and overworked hardworking associates into a three-day weekend (assuming they don’t need to come in on Monday).
We’re about to sign off for the weekend, and we won’t be back until Wednesday. (Billy Merck, who has filled our shoes in the past, will be your guest editor on Tuesday.)
Before we go, here are the latest salary announcements that we’ve confirmed:
But the Manatt “raise” has a catch. Its effective date? January 1, 2008.
HA. That’s kind of funny, in a sick sort of way — provided you’re not at Manatt.
Memos appear after the jump. And we’re out the door. Have a great holiday weekend! Update (2:50 PM): We’ve verified the Pillsbury Winthrop raise news. Memo below. Update (3:25 PM): Jeez, you’re going to make us miss our flight to Las Vegas. Memo from the D.C. office of Winston & Strawn, added after the jump.
Over the next few weeks, hordes of summer associates will arrive at top law firms around the country. And many full-time associates — or at least the less harried and/or curmudgeonly ones — will rejoice, delighted by the opportunity to take summer associates out to fancy lunches, on their employer’s dime.
But maybe not at Pillsbury Winthrop. Earlier this month, someone posted as follows, over at Infirmation/Greedy NY:
If you think things are tight in NYC, listen to this: Pillsbury Winthrop (NoVa/DC) just sent out a memo limiting associates to one meal per week, “and in no event should meals cost more than $15/person.”
I s**t you not, they actually sent out that memo this afternoon!!!!!
We haven’t verified this rumor; maybe it’s apocryphal, or a joke. But if it’s true, please file it under “hilarious” and “pathetic.”
On a budget of $15 a head, you can maybe dine at Au Bon Pain or Cosi. Just don’t indulge in (1) a cold beverage with your meal, AND (2) a post-meal coffee drink.
If you can confirm, or have a copy of the memo to share, please email us (subject line: “Pillsbury Winthrop Is Cheap”). Thanks.
(We wouldn’t be completely surprised if this rumor is true. After all, Pillsbury Winthrop is one of the firms that is publicly dragging its feet on associate pay raises.) Update: Lots of dispute in the comments over the accuracy of this rumor. We will gladly accept corrections and clarifications by email. Please provide us with your real name; we keep our sources anonymous, but we need real names so we can confirm that you actually work at Pillsbury.
One thing we can confirm, from a verified source in Pillsbury’s San Francisco office:
I am an associate at Pillsbury and just read the posting about Pillsbury lunch limitations to $15 once per week. It’s not true! Of course, we can take summer associates to lunch as often as we like, and they ask that we keep it to $25 per person, but can exceed that for special occassions.
But the rumor in question concerns Pillsbury’s offces in northern Virginia and Washington, DC — not San Francisco. If you work in one of those offices, we would be especially interested in hearing from you. Thanks. Further Update: The consensus in the comments appears to be that the rumor of a $15 lunch limit IS true, but ONLY for northern Virginia (Tysons Corner). Cheapest Lunch Date EVER? [Infirmation / Greedy NY] Earlier: Nationwide Pay Raise Watch: In a Holding Pattern?
We now bring you… a pair of non-announcement announcements on the associate pay raise front. They’re from Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman and DLA Piper.
As our tipster noted, Pillsbury Winthrop practically “threatens” its associates with a pay raise. Here’s an excerpt from their memo (emphasis added):
We want to take the time to thoughtfully consider your views and take into account your concerns, which we share, regarding the need to stay competitive, together with the implicit work-life balance impact of additional salary increases.
In other words: “Be careful what you wish for; you might just get it.”
The full text of the Pillsbury memo, plus a similar “hold your horses” memo from DLA Piper, after the jump.
In the past week or so, the romantic exploits (and misadventures) of lawyers and law students have been in the news. Here are a few noteworthy links:
1. ‘ABORT’ SHOCK IN GIANT DIVORCE [New York Post]
Football star Amani Toomer (at right), a wide receiver for the Giants, is divorcing his wife, Dr. Yola Dabrowski. The parties’ divorce filings are full of salacious allegations, but here’s what jumped out at us:
Dabrowski’s papers complain that Toomer: … * Sabotaged her dream of becoming a lawyer by stealing her computer and files, making it impossible to study for her law-school exams and leading to her getting an incomplete for the term.
If the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, the way to a law student’s heart — or the way to break her heart, as the case may be — is through her papers.
[W]hen she didn’t want to have sex, Toomer acted “irrationally and outrageously” – once urinating on her clothes, and another time tossing her BlackBerry into the Hudson River.
Destroying your spouse’s Blackberry? Now you’ve thrown down the gauntlet. If The War of the Roses were updated for 2007, there would surely be a scene of Blackberry destruction.
2. Date Lab [Washington Post]
“Date Lab,” in which the Post sets up two people on a blind date and then writes it up, is one of our favorite guilty pleasures. This recent date, involving Pillsbury Winthrop associate Damon Colbert (at right), actually went fairly well. (The column is more fun when the dates are disasters.)
But the WaPo reader comments — “the two shallowest people in all of Creation,” “this Date Lab made me unbearably sad” — are kinda vicious. And we thought ATL commenters were harsh….
3. Page Six: Ready To Wed [New York Post] Gillian Hearst Engaged! [Socialite Rank]
From Page Six:
LOVE is in the air for Hearst heir Gillian Hearst-Shaw and her yearlong boyfriend, Christian Simonds. Sources say the gorgeous brunette socialite and philanthropist was proposed to with “a blindingly huge diamond engagement ring” from Simonds. Her hubby-to-be, a mergers and acquisitions lawyer, popped the question last weekend, following a romantic sleigh ride for two in the Berkshires. Mazel tov!
Page Six doesn’t identify his firm, but as Socialite Rank points out, Christian Simonds is an associate in the New York office of Lowenstein Sandler. Next time you make a disparaging remark about the New York office of a New Jersey law firm, ask yourself: “If my firm is so much better, then why am I not marrying a beautiful media heiress?”
4. Wendi Adelson and Dan Markel [New York Times]
Happy Anniversary to Wendi Adelson and fellow legal blogger Dan Markel, of PrawfsBlawg fame!
Watch to find out what some of our subscribers received in their May box!
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We currently have a number of active openings for associate roles at US and UK firms in HK / China, Singapore and two new in-house openings. As always, please feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org in order to get details of current openings in Asia, as well as to discuss the Asia markets in general and what we expect for openings later this year. Our Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney will be in Beijing the week of March 25 and Evan Jowers will be in Hong Kong the week of April 1, if you would like to meet them in person.
The US associate openings we have in law firms are in the usual areas of M&A, cap markets, FCPA / white collar litigation, finance, and project finance. The most urgent of our top tier (top 15 US or magic circle) law firm openings in Asia (among many other firm openings that we have in Asia) are as follows:
• 2nd to 5th year mandarin fluent M&A associates needed in Beijing and Hong Kong at several firms;
• Korean fluent 2nd to 4th year cap markets associate needed in Hong Kong;
• 2nd to 5th year Japanese fluent M&A associates needed in Tokyo;
• 4th to 6th year mandarin fluent cap markets associate needed in Hong Kong;
• 2nd to 4th year M&A / cap markets mix associate needed in Singapore.
The last time I flapped my wings your way, I tried to make at least enough noise about your mobile phone to make you more than a little bit uncomfortable. I hope I did. If enough of us become anxious enough about the known and unknown unknowns and knowns in our mobile phones, then we can start making wise decisions about how to manage that information and its resultant investigations.
Today, I’d like to put a finer point on the last installment’s topic by asking a question that seemed to catch most attendees off-guard at a conference panel that I moderated last week: is there discoverable personal information in a mobile app? Our panelists’ answer was a uniform “yes” with one stating that, if he had to choose only one type of data that he could discover from a mobile phone, he’d choose app data. Why? Because there’s simply so much of it and because almost all of it is objective – not just user-created like an email – but machine-tracked like GPS, usage duration, log in and log out times, browsed web addresses, browsed actual addresses. Also, most of us seem to have the idea that data doesn’t actually “stick” to our mobile devices the way it “sticks” to our hard drives. Maybe there’s a disconnect based on the fact that our phones are mobile so we assume the data is mobile to?
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