Gentleman, how emasculated would you feel if your future father-in-law shuttled your bride down the aisle, and then, instead of pecking her on the cheek and handing her over, actually turned around and performed the wedding ceremony? Talk about control issues. That’s exactly what this groom endured last Sunday, as he was married by his father-in-law, United States Federal District Judge Jed S. Rakoff.
The Rakoff wedding didn’t make our final three. Neither did a couple of lesbianunions, a WGWAG, and several other worthy contenders. Here are the three who made the finals:
If you like the fast life, look out for opportunities in your firm’s offices abroad. Judging from the Russian tales of Deidre Dare and the new memoir, China High, by the pseudonymous “ZZ,” life in Biglaw’s foreign offices is full of drugs, sex, and nonstop clubbing.
Of course, these two are no longer with their firms, Dare fired from Allen & Overy and ZZ no longer on the payroll at Sidley Austin. Which leads us to suggest that you not serialize your wild adventures — Dare’s downfall — or get caught running food delivery business or smoking opium-laced hashish in public — ZZ’s sins.
Now ZZ is pursuing a new career: writing. He has spun his adventures and misadventures into a memoir, called China High. From Bloomberg:
The seat of China’s age-old civilization is as seamy on the inside as it looks imposing from the outside, judging from “China High,” a memoir scribbled under the nom de plume ZZ by a Shanghai-born, U.S.-trained lawyer in his 20s.
Written before the global credit meltdown, “China High” lifts a curtain on a side of Beijing seldom seen by tourists. ZZ captures the nocturnal buzz of a city where rave parties in derelict factories are a staple and orgies have become a rite of passage. Then there’s the pot, which locals call the Big Numb….
A Chinese national, ZZ graduated from Brandeis University and Boston College Law School, says his publisher, St. Martin’s Press. Then he went to Hong Kong in late 2000 to work for Sidley Austin Brown & Wood LLP (now Sidley Austin LLP) and transferred to its Beijing office in late 2001.
That bio is detailed enough that we don’t imagine ZZ is going to stay anonymous for long.
Those who have been to Beijing know that it is super cheap. Anyone living there with a $250,000 salary gets to live like a king. A sex-having, drug-doing, dumpling-eating king. More on ZZ’s indulgences and “flings with models, Mrs. Robinsons, kept women and what he delicately terms ‘local girls with jungle fever’,” after the jump.
Incoming associates at Kirkland & Ellis got good news today. They get to start in 2009! November, to be exact. We’ve added the firm to our start date round-up, after the jump.
New associates heading to Sidley Austin, on the other hand, got “optional deferral” news. The firm e-mailed incoming associates yesterday announcing the “Pro Bono Assistance Program:” a January 2011 start date with a $75,000 stipend attached. Says one tipster:
very unclear to what extent each office is effected, what happens if you DONT choose the option, etc. etc.
It looks like at least 17 New York associates will be taking the year off to do good works. From the e-mail that went out yesterday:
The economic downturn has led to a slowdown in workflow for most law firms. As a result, many law firms, including Sidley, are seeking challenging professional alternatives for a number of the lawyers in the class of 2009 – alternatives that will provide a worthwhile experience for our new lawyers and much needed service to the community at large. For this reason, the Firm and the Sidley Austin Foundation are establishing a new Pro Bono Assistance Program (the “Program”). We anticipate establishing between 17 to 20 of these positions under this program in New York. Our other offices will be participating in the Program as well. The Program will enable incoming Sidley attorneys to spend approximately one year working full time for a public interest organization while deferring arrival at the Firm. Participants will be paid a salary of $75,000 per year and will receive benefits from the organization by whom they are employed.
It is anticipated that participants will work on a full-time basis commencing sometime in November of 2009 (subject to adjustment by the employing organizations) and would be welcome to rejoin the Firm effective January 3, 2011, if they choose to do so.
That “if they choose to do so” is a little ominous.
We’re not sure how many associates will be deferred in other offices, as Sidley has not yet responded to our inquiries. If you know more, e-mail us.
Check out the full memo from Sidley, and our updated start date and deferral table, after the jump.
It looks like Sidley Austin decided to just get it all over with today. We reported earlier that Sidley was planning layoffs, and now we have official firm numbers: 89 associates, 140 staff.
Above the Law obtained the internal memo sent out to all Sidley employees:
In addition to routine departures, 89 associates and staff attorneys and approximately 140 staff in our U.S. offices have been told their jobs are being eliminated. We have provided these lawyers and staff with financial and other assistance to help with their transitions. All affected individuals have been notified. The London office has also today announced a period of redundancy consultation.
As we reported earlier, 17 attorneys in London are on their way out. That accounts for over 20% of the associates in that office.
What should we make of the “In addition to routine departures” line? Clearly, it seems like some of the stealth layoff rumors have been true. Since the firm won’t release those numbers, we can’t say what the full Sidley damage report has been. But at least the firm didn’t try to layoff over 200 people under the radar.
What’s particularly interesting about the (now announced) “stealth” layoffs, is that Sidley specifically tried to calm its associates in the immediate aftermath of Lehman’s collapse. On September 16th, Sidley sent around an internal memo. We reported:
While Sidley Austin declined to comment to ATL on the Merrill Lynch/Bank of America merger, they did send around an internal memo to their associates. Sidley essentially told their people: “DON’T PANIC!!!!!!!!!”
Apparently, the firm opened up their books to show the percentage of their business that comes from the companies affected by the yesterday’s meltdown. Merrill Lynch represents well less than 10 percent of the firm’s overall business, so they think they should be fine.
As we noted in yesterday’s Morning Docket, even the New York Times has taken note of the salary freeze trend at law firms. The Times reached out to Above The Law’s own David Lat for the story:
Although many associates are angry about the freezes, others are relieved, said David Lat, founding editor of AboveTheLaw.com, a blog about law firms and the profession.
“There is this sense that firms didn’t act prudently during the boom and now they are getting religion, and that it’s better late than never,” Mr. Lat said. “Many associates we have spoken to think the freeze probably saved jobs.”
At the beginning of the month, we did a round-up of firms that have frozen 2009 salary rates at 2008 levels. That list was 16 firms long. Since then, quite a few other firms have announced freezes. Due to frequent requests, we’re updating the round-up list since the number of firms with freezes (that we know of) has more than doubled, to 33 32. Check out the as-comprehensive-as-we-can-make-it list, after the jump.
In a former life, I did a lot of coverage on Michael Bloomberg’s controversial “congestion pricing” plan for New York City. If you spend any length of time with transit policy — and don’t otherwise have a life — you’re going to find transit policy fascinating. It touches on law, politics, the environment and city planning.
It looks like Sidley Austin attorneys are getting a taste of this great work. The firm is working on behalf of a town which is trying to stop Washington, D.C.’s proposed “Purple Line.” I won’t bother you with the ins and outs of the Purple Line project (light rail versus buses!). But it’s particularly interesting that Sidley is representing the town of Chevy Chase, and the firm is working pro-bono.
When you think of disadvantaged clients in need of free legal services, you don’t really think of the well-to-do town of Chevy Chase do you? According to a press release from Action Committee for Transit:
The town has also engaged the nationally prominent law firm Sidley Austin to represent it
in the transit dispute. Sidley Austin has submitted to the Maryland Transit Administration an extensive request for information, much of which duplicates an informal request previously submitted by Columbia Country Club.
At present, the town’s lawyers are working “pro bono”–without payment. However,
Sidley Austin’s web site states that the firm’s pro bono work is done “to provide legal services to the poor and to charitable, religious, community, governmental and educational organizations that otherwise would be unable to afford legal representation.” The town can easily afford to pay for legal services. Its most recent financial statement shows it has $4.4 million tucked away in the bank–more than its entire annual budget of $3 million.
In these tough economic times, maybe the firm shouldn’t be giving away services for free when the client could pay? But it’s important to remember that pro bono work isn’t just about work a client can pay, it’s also about doing work that nobody will pay for.
Does Chevy Chase fit into that broader category? More after the jump.
The new year is shaping up to be a cold one. As we noted in our 2008 Year in Review series, one of the biggest stories heading into 2009 has been that of the salary freeze. Rather than instituting lock-step raises for associates entering a new class year, a number of firms have informed associates that their salaries will remain at 2008 levels.
There have been two types of freezes: the “Solid Ice freeze”–with salaries frozen through all of 2009–and the “Slurpee freeze”–where firms are sticking with 2008 levels for now, but promise to revisit the decision later in the year.
Many an ATL reader has requested a round-up, and we aim to please. So find your pleasure, after the jump. Some of the firms have been reported on before, and some are new.
If you know of other frozen firms, send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject, “Salary Freeze: FIRM NAME.” Also, if your firm has raised salaries as expected, feel free to send us the news, with the subject “Salary Raise: FIRM NAME.” While freezes are news, raises as expected aren’t, so we will not be covering firm by firm, but we may do a round-up.
Find the list of the sixteen firms that have frozen, after the jump.
Sidley Austin just emailed all of their associates to wish them a happy New Year. How nice. How thoughtful. How … oh wait a minute. The firm also took the opportunity to inform all associates that their pay raises would be delayed until sometime next year.
The firm-wide memo from Sidley is short and to the point:
At this time of the year, we historically have provided information about class-wide and individualized salary adjustments for next year. Given the current uncertainty in the economy and financial markets, and the impact on law firms, we are still in the process of evaluating associate salary levels for 2009. We expect to make a decision on this issue sometime during the first quarter of next year.
On behalf of all of our partners, we thank you for your professionalism and dedication.
Most of our sources are out enjoying the holiday season. But our remote reporters are generally displeased.
On Monday, Sidley Austin held an all-associates meeting in the New York Office. The stated goal was to provide information to attorneys living in constant fear for their jobs.
The most important news to come out of the meeting was that no layoffs are planned or expected at Sidley. That’s the good news. A tipster reports on further details:
[T]hey did mention that the standards for performance reviews would be less lenient than in years past. The firm addressed the NY offices Structured Finance department in some detail. The market for Securitizations has slowed but is not completely dry, and it has meant a drop in revenue firmwide. The NY office has been hit particularly hard, as we did a lot of this work related to Mortgage Backed Securities. … With the lack of demand from the I-banks for people with these skills, it may be 2-3 years before the job market for these associates picks up again.
Many people expected Sidley to be hard hit by the meltdown in the financial sector. When the firm is expecting that it’ll be years before financial services practices pick up again, it’s a good time for those lawyers to start showing that there are other things they can do.
More nuggets from the meeting, and a Sidley associate with the right attitude 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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