Weil’s strong move up the Vault charts — the firm was ranked #9 last year — shows the power of high profile work. The Lehman bankruptcy and the General Motors restructuring were just two of the many recognizable matters Weil has had its hands on in the past 12 months.
But Weil also seems to have timed the Vault rankings quite well. The firm didn’t start deferring incoming first years until March, didn’t start laying off staff until May, and didn’t start laying off associates closing offices until the end of June.
Regardless of whether or not those moves catch up with Weil next year, right now is Weil’s time to shine in the warm recruiting light of sixth place. Congrats.
Let’s look at the other firms after the jump.
Which New York law firm, having already completed two rounds of layoffs, has hired the Five O’Clock Club to help it carry out additional layoffs (in August, October, and November)?
After we ran the item, several firms came forward to declare they’re not the firm in question. And now they’re joined by one more: Morgan, Lewis & Bockius.
A spokesperson for Morgan Lewis contacted ATL to say that it isn’t the firm with layoffs in the works. In fact, Morgan Lewis claims that it shouldn’t even be on the shortlist of contenders.
Read why — and check out the list of the Five O’Clock Club’s clients, including some very prestigious law firms that haven’t publicly admitted to layoffs — after the jump.
Simpson Thacher laid off a number of staffers yesterday. Our sources report that there was massive confusion for associates and clients while the cuts were being made. People around the office have been calling it “Black Monday,” and it looks like the firm isn’t done laying people off. Simpson Thacher did not respond to our multiple requests for comment.
But our sources report that the layoffs started Friday night. On Friday, the firm fired its overnight document duplication team, and made reductions to the shift that starts at 6:00 p.m. Sources report that the cuts affected 10 – 20 people.
The employees were escorted out by security Friday evening.
But that is not what caused the confusion on Monday morning. More details after the jump.
We’ve been talking for months about how summer associate programs will be scaled back this year. It’s a recession, baby. Frugality is the new black.
Last month, Cleary issued a humorous memo about how to treat its summer associates. It encouraged associates to take SAs out for value meals at McDonald’s, Burger King, and Wendy’s, or better yet, to invite them over for a home cooked meal (“Pair hot dogs with frozen fish fillets for a surf and turf treat.”)
This week, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett issued its real Summer Meal Program memo as its first SAs start at the office on Monday. Things are dramatically scaled back in comparison to prior years, says a tipster:
summer 2007 – unlimited summer lunches summer 2008 – 15 summer lunches per associate (entire summer) no limits on how many lunches summers attended summer 2009 – one lunch a week (for associates AND summer)
More details, and the memo, after the jump.
Lots of firms are starting to let associates know the budget for SA entertaining this year. We encourage you to dish on the policies at your firm in the comments.
Last Thursday, Mark Levy, a Kilpatrick Stockton attorney who had been laid off, tragically committed suicide at the firm’s office. Sadly, we have more disturbing news to report today. Above the Law has learned that a Simpson Thacher associate died two weekends ago in an apparent suicide. We understand that the female associate was recently let go from the firm.
The firm issued this brief statement to Above the Law:
A Simpson Thacher associate has passed away and the family requests privacy.
Associates were informed in one-on-one meetings by partners at the firm last week.
The death took place more than a week before Mark Levy took his own life, so this is clearly not a copy-cat situation. Instead, the news underscores the need for people to seek professional help during these difficult times. If you are feeling depressed, we implore you to avail yourselves of the counseling services offered by your firm, state bar association, or your law school.
After the jump, the National Law Journal reports that more attorneys are doing just that.
Last month, Simpson Thacher announced a new public service fellowship program. The move was widely praised as a creative, public-spirited way of dealing with the downturn.
Some commenters wondered whether it reflected work slowness at Simpson. If STB is willing to let 15 junior associates go off and do public interest work for a year, could it mean that there isn’t enough work to go around?
In this slow economy, billing over eight hours a day might seem… harsh. Is it fair for STB litigators to stay at work until 10, while the private-equity folks leave by 6?
If you’re a Simpson associate, however, you should refrain from complaint. Instead, after getting staffed on doc review for some stupid reinsurance case, email Barry O. and say: “Thank you sir, may I have another?”
* America can call off its search for Lance Armstrong’s stolen bike. I think we’ve found the culprit. [TaxProf Blog]
* For the avoidance of doubt, please see enclosed link (“Enclosure A”). [Courtoons]
* Jim Newell, blogger, thinks that lawyers in D.C. are not losing their jobs fast enough. Jim Newell may soon learn the downside to publishing under his real name. [NBC Washington]
* Residents of Miami high rise condo Buckley Towers won a $20 million verdict against an insurance company for damage sustained during Hurricane Wilma. With that kind of money in the mattresses, next week’s canasta tournament promises to be a nail biter. [South Florida Business Journal]
* Profits per partner are… wait for it… wait for it… DOWN at Simpson Thacher and Paul Hastings. And yet they still make more money than you. ZING. [The Lawyer]
How should law firms respond to the recession? As reflected in the dramatic events of yesterday, which will go down in Biglaw history as the Valentine’s Day Massacre of 2009, lawyer layoffs are a common route.
But there are other options. We recently wrote about how unemployed (or underemployed) lawyers can do pro bono work — a way of enhancing their skills, while serving the public. Now one leading law firm is taking this idea and running with it.
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP is pleased to announce a Public Service Fellowship Program which offers associates the opportunity to spend one year working on a public service project of their choosing, supported by a stipend from the Firm, with the option to return to the firm at the Fellowship’s conclusion. The Fellowship Program is designed to enable associates to provide greatly needed assistance, on a full-time basis, to organizations, communities, or individuals in the United States or abroad; encourage associates’ commitment to public service; and advance associates’ own vision of social justice.
One associate is pleased and proud:
I think it’s a creative, win-win solution for the firm, as well as for those of us — meaning, anyone with a paycheck and a pulse — who live in dread of layoffs. The firm saves $100k+ a year and doesn’t have either the spectre of layoffs or gaps in its associate classes when business turns around. It also sends a strong, morale-boosting signal to the associates that the firm is looking to do all it can to avoid laying off attorneys — and is actually willing to spend money to that effect (while, of course, also saving a good deal of money).
The reference to saving money while spending money refers to the stipend. Fellowship recipients receive a lump-sum stipend of $60,000, paid in advance. Yes, this is an upfront expenditure for the firm; but it’s less than the going rate for a first-, second-, or third-year associate.
Some of our friendly commenters frequently gripe about the high number of Rabbi-officiated weddings featured in this space. They’ll be delighted to know that only one of our three weddings this week is a straight-up Rabbi wedding. The others were jointly officiated by a Rabbi and a Mennonite minister and a Rabbi and a bankruptcy judge. Yay for diversity!
The winter wedding announcements are often a prestige wasteland, but we’re actually quite pleased with the caliber of the couples we’ve been able to round up for the first 2009 edition of Legal Eagle Wedding Watch (which admittedly includes some entries from late 2008).
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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