At least one law firm is stepping up to the plate to help domestically-partnered employees with their health-benefit-related tax burdens. The firm of Morrison & Foerster issued the following statement to Above the Law, from firm chair Keith Wetmore: “Starting in 2011, Morrison & Foerster will begin offering an additional benefit payment to assist with the tax obligation that same-sex and opposite sex Staff and Non-Partner Attorneys pay when they elect Domestic Partner health benefits.”
This is excellent news, and we commend MoFo for taking this step. Hopefully it will inspire additional firms to move in this direction. Note also that the policy applies not just to same-sex couples, but also to opposite-sex couples who are similarly situated — which might be a way of addressing the criticismsof some that the gay gross-up is unfair to heterosexual couples.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in “law firms being nice to gay people” news, let’s give some props to Shearman & Sterling….
We feel like we’re taking magic Biglaw pills today and having hallucinatory flashbacks to 2006. The good news has been rolling in. Just today, we covered raises at Sheppard Mullin, and a 100% offer rate for D.C. summer associates at Latham & Watkins.
And over at Am Law Daily, Zach Lowe predicts good things for 2011. There will be more summer associate spots to go around next year, law school kiddies:
On-campus interviewing starts in two weeks at some schools, and early indications are that hiring at premier law firms will jump–in some cases by a lot–after plummeting this summer, according to sources at law schools and firms.
Cravath, Skadden, and Ropes & Gray, among others, plan to hire more warm bodies next summer than this one. This summer was dismal, after all, in terms of summer associate hiring, as demonstrated by these charts from the National Law Journal and Am Law Daily.
The upside of hiring fewer summer associates, though, is an increase in the likelihood of all of them getting hired. We’ve had more reports of 100% offer rates from a few firms today, along with fun ways of spreading the good news. Eyewitness accounts, after the jump.
We’re rolling through the Vault 2011 list of the “prestigiest” firms in the land, so that you can comment on what it’s like to actually live, work, and breathe those firms (when you’re not choking on all the prestige in the air).
We’ve covered #1-10 and #11-20. Here’s the next round-up. Now it’s time for the London-based Magic Circle firms to join in the elite fun:
Shearman & Sterling is setting off some fireworks at the start of this Fourth of July weekend. It sent out a memo this morning to its deferred associates from 2009. (Remember them? They got $65,000 last year if they volunteered to go away until September 2010.)
The deferred associates expected a letter two months ago telling them about their practice groups and start dates, as well as $15,000 salary advance checks starting on June 15th. Those dates passed with no information or money. Today, the firm finally contacted them.
It has announced the start dates for these folks and they’re not in 2010. A Shearman tipster sent along the memo noting:
Here is the text from the just received memo that is f***ing me over… I am so pissed that I can’t really talk about it right now.
Most New York lawyer types have given up on the idea of cooking for themselves; they’re far more likely to get their dinner from Seamless Web than from their own fridge and stovetop. But not Serena Palumbo. She’s now in-house counsel for an Italian bank, and has persevered in making nightly home-made dinners, despite prior stints at Schulte Roth and Shearman & Sterling.
And her perseverance has led to a possible career opportunity: TV celebrity chef. She’s one of the competitors in The Next Food Network Star, a Bobby Flay and Giada de Laurentiis-hosted reality competition, which is exactly what it sounds like.
Palumbo looks great in photos, but a former colleague who caught the premiere told us she struggled a bit in the first episode:
Wolfgang Puck told Giada that the Food Network might have to make room for a new Italian princess.
She did a good job with the food but struggled in front of the camera; she came across a bit forced so she’s not a front-runner but can probably turn things around.
Curses. Corporate lawyers don’t get to spend time in a courtroom, practicing their TV face in front of a jury.
We caught up with Serena by phone this week and asked her how she got onto the show, and more importantly, how she finds time to cook dinner every night at home in Manhattan…
It’s summer time! A lucky few are being paid to warm seats in law firms across the land. (Very few — thanks to the minimal numbers of offers extended to law students in Recession Land.)
Some firms are very excited about their summer associates, to the point of issuing pressreleases about them. Firms are planning fun events. Hopefully, Williams & Connolly offers cooking classes at a culinary institute again this summer (for those who don’t get offers and may not be able to afford to eat out one day). We’ve got a round-up of our favorite summer “happenings,” after the jump.
But one thing firms may not plan to do this year is bill for summer associates’ time. Nate Raymond reports in the New York Law Journal that Citigroup Inc. has told its outside counsel that it will not pay for law students’ time. Citi does not stand alone:
J. William Dantzler Jr., a tax partner at White & Case who oversees hiring in New York, said with regard to billing clients for summer associates, it has been “a slide for 10 years.”
“More and more clients don’t want summer associates to bill to them,” he said. “When I started almost all clients would accept it. And it’s evolved to where a lot of clients don’t.”
Ironically, because of the huge decline in the number of summers brought in, they’re more likely to actually do substantive work this year. One Biglaw firm, for example, instituted a requirement last year that every summer associate produce at least one piece of seriously impressive legal writing. Which firm is it?
* Bloomberg files a lawsuit to crack the Fed’s secrecy. “It’s like what it was like 30 years ago. Back in the days when journalism was exciting — really exciting,” said Amanda Bennett, Bloomberg’s investigations editor. [New York Times]
* Perhaps under pressure from Mike Ghaffary and his BarMax iPhone app, BarBri changes its policy. You can take the course again without paying. [TechCrunch]
* Revenue is down but profits are up at Shearman & Sterling. The firm says that the deferrals and sabbaticals of 90 associates helped it stay on target, and claims that it did not have to resort to lawyer layoffs. But…? [AmLaw Daily]
* Student suspended for creating a “Ms. Sarah Phelps is the worst teacher I’ve ever had” Facebook page can sue. That’s not cyberbullying, that’s free speech, according to a federal judge’s ruling. [New York Times]
So far, firms that have deferred their 2009 summer associates to 2011 have been noncommittal about whether they will be giving a deferral stipend. Many class of 2009 graduates received money from firms for the year long wait. It’s not clear that class of 2010 graduates will be as lucky.
With the market still up in the air, Shearman & Sterling is giving its incoming class of 2010 the same offer it gave to its incoming class of 2009. A tipster reports:
Shearman NY has announced deferral stipends of $65k.
Could transatlantic law firm mergers become the hot new trend? Last week brought news of merger talks between Hogan & Hartson and Lovells. And now we’re hearing rumors of a possible merger involving Allen & Overy, a top U.K. firm and a member of the prestigious Magic Circle.
This is not, of course, the first time we’ve heard such buzz. A year ago, the word on the street was that A&O was thinking about getting with Shearman & Sterling.
For the record, Allen & Overy denies the latest rumors. Here’s the firm’s official statement, responding to an inquiry from Above the Law:
As a global player who has been quite open about the importance of the US market, we are often subject to such rumours. We have openly stated for a number of years now that we have the desire to expand in the US market and as such we would consider any opportunities that may arise with a suitable US partner. That remains the case, but at the current time we are not in any merger talks whatsoever with a US partner. Your [reports seem] to refer to a global call our management held with all partners recently on our current view on strategy, though your questions below do not reflect the content of what was said whatsoever.
Find out what they were reacting to, after the jump.
In these difficult times for the legal profession, it’s more important than ever to know all your options. So we resume our series on career alternatives for attorneys — jobs for J.D. holders that don’t involve working as a Biglaw associate or contract attorney.
In a prior post, we discussed the career alternative of entrepreneurship. If you’re tired of working for a boss, then become the boss: start your own company.
Today we focus on two lawyers who, interestingly enough, have started their own businesses in the same area: admissions consulting and academic coaching. Perhaps this is the start of a hot new trend? Cf. the cupcake craze sweeping the nation, which another lawyer is capitalizing on. Adam Nguyen, formerly of Paul Weiss and Shearman & Sterling, is the president and CEO of Ivy Link. Jon Palmer, formerly of Schulte Roth & Zabel, is the president and founder of The Admissions Experts.
Both businesses are headquartered in New York — which makes sense, given how obsessive Manhattan parents can be about getting their offspring into elite educational institutions. NYC ≠ TTT!!!
Read more about these gents and their new enterprises, after the jump.
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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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