The miseries of life at a large law firm are regularly chronicled in these pages. But don’t forget: It’s a living. And if you make partner at a top firm, it’s a very, very good living.
From an anxious reader:
I’m a 2L about to start the whirlwind of OCI at my law school. So I’ve been following the recruiting threads, if not eagerly, at least with an acute sense of anticipation and dread for what life will be like after the honeymoon of next summer.
I’m left with an overriding question: What keeps people in these high-compensation, high-stress jobs? Is it costly court settlements to pay ex-spouses? Mob debts?
I guess it could just be the overwhelming urge to consume luxury goods, but I can’t comprehend someone making their lives hell for 60-80 hours a week just to buy a bag with a fancier pattern on it. Those who leave within three years make sense to me, but what about the tortured, hollow souls who soldier on?
We have a few responses. First, many law school graduates carry significant educational debt loads. By the time these debts are paid off, there are new financial needs: down payments, mortgages, tuition bills for the kids.
Second, some law firm associates — those who “soldier on,” in the words of this tipster — actually enjoy their work. The unhappy associate is a stereotype, and every stereotype has its exceptions. We know a number of Biglaw associates — and partners — who wake up each day excited about going into work.
Third, the lifestyle rewards of working at a big firm should not be reduced to “a bag with a fancier pattern on it.” They also include… nice real estate! Especially for those who snag the brass platinum ring of partnership.
Time for a Lawyerly Lairs post. In Lawyerly Lairs, we take you inside the luxurious abodes of prominent members of the legal profession.
Today we peek inside the multimillion-dollar apartment of Schulte Roth & Zabel partner Richard Presutti (pictured above, with his family). It was featured prominently last month in the New York Times.
Check it out — including floor plans — after the jump.
We’ve been providing salary news updates in the comments because, due to technical difficulties, it’s more reliable than trying to do so here on the main page. For your reference, here are links to the latest announcements:
1. Allen & Overy: Confirmed. Memo is here.
2. Debevoise & Plimpton: Confirmed. Memo is here.
3. McKee Nelson: Confirmed. Memo is here.
(We will spare you the details of the boring debate over whether they should be considered a DC firm with a very large New York office, which is the obvious preference of McKee Nelson’s media relations people, or a firm that’s roughly split between the two cities. How many D.C. associates can dance on the head of a pin?)
4. Schulte Roth & Zabel: Confirmed. Transmittal email for PDF memo is here.
Paging Biglaw boys: Is the retroactive portion of your pay burning a whole in your pocket? Are you trying to figure out how to spend $1,000 in found money?
Fret not. Have we got an idea for you: For the High-End Bathroom, Something Unexpected [New York Times]
Some other noteworthy moves within the legal profession (besides Chief Judge David Levi’s selection as Dean of Duke Law School): Within government:
* This is big news: the new Attorney General for New York, Andrew Cuomo, has hired Barbara D. Underwood as his solicitor general.
Underwood has a resume to die for. She has served as counsel to Eastern District U.S. Attorney Roslynn Mauskopf, as chief assistant U.S. Attorney in the E.D.N.Y., and as principal deputy solicitor general over at the Justice Department (under President Bill Clinton and Attorney General Janet Reno).
Surprise surprise: Barbara Underwood is among the Elect (OT 1970/Marshall). We hear that she beat out other former Supreme Court clerks to win the New York SG job.
The fact that so many high-powered people were vying for the gig shows that state solicitor general posts are acquiring more and more cachet. Being an ex-SCOTUS clerk is rapidly becoming a requirement for these jobs. E.g., Ted Cruz in Texas (OT 1996/Rehnquist); Kevin Newsom in Alabama (OT 2000/Souter).
The rest of today’s transitions, plus links, after the jump.
We must run, although we shall return later today. Please post breaking bonus news in the comments.
We define “breaking news” broadly. Another firm matching the market may not be thrilling, but we keep track of these things anyway.
Before we go, we can report that Schulte Roth & Zabel matched the market bonuses. Schulte matched the market (for 2000 hours), but with additional $10,000 bonuses at 2300 and 2500 hours. Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of bonuses (scroll down)
On the heels of the robust lawyer wedding market over October 21-22, last weekend delivered another bumper crop of attorney nuptials. We picked three couples to write about, per our standard procedure. But there were many others that would have been equally suitable for review.
Three of the wedding announcements that we almost wrote about illustrate an interesting trend: mentioning past employment positions. Typically this is done only if the former post is a big deal — e.g., a Supreme Court clerkship, an ambassadorship, etc. But in three announcements — Lucy Fowler and Travis Glasson, Liora Powers and Steven Spiess, and Robyn Sorid and Joshua Ufberg — past jobs of the bride were mentioned, despite not being exceptionally notable.
(Fowler, Powers, and Sorid were, respectively, former associates at Foley Hoag, Schulte Roth & Zabel, and Paul Weiss. These are all prestigious gigs; but none is on the level of a SCOTUS clerkship or an ambassadorship.)
Sorry for the digression; on to the business at hand. Here are the couples in contention this week:
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 email@example.com 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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