Yes, LEWW hears the howls of protest from our readers about the weeks we skipped recently. We’ll do a makeup post soon, we promise. The weddings pages have been such a wasteland lately that it’s been hard to pull together the kind of legal and nuptial excellence you’ve come to expect here. And it’s crushing our spirit.
Take this week. The NYT featured just seven weddings total, with only two LEWW contenders and one Ivy degree (from U. Penn). Here are the two finalists:
Jeremy Pitcock, 35, joined Kasowitz in March 2006 after being wooed from Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, where he was a senior associate. Kasowitz named him head of IP not long after. But after less than two years, Pitcock left the 200-plus-lawyer firm for 52-lawyer New York IP boutique Morgan & Finnegan.
Morgan touted Pitcock’s hiring as “an outstanding addition to our successful litigation practice” when it announced his move on January 8. But the Kasowitz firm says he was forced out following an unspecified incident.
“Mr. Pitcock was terminated for cause by Kasowitz, Benson in December 2007 because of extremely inappropriate personal conduct,” name partner Daniel Benson said in a statement.
So what prompted the firm’s statement?
Kasowitz’s statement followed the publication of an article in trade publication IP Law 360 last week, which reported that Morgan had lured Pitcock from Kasowitz. In his statement, directed toward the publication, Benson said, “It was inaccurate to use ‘nab’ in your headline, or to use ‘jump ship’ in your opening paragraph.”
“We were not looking to publicize this incident, but because of those incorrect news items, we felt compelled to set the record straight,” Benson said in a press release that the firm distributed online.
Sometimes we wish we had the breastses. Then we could enjoy the luxurious lactation room at Davis Polk & Wardwell.
Back in this post, we wrote about the lactation room at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett. We’re sure it’s plenty nice. But we doubt it’s as snazzy as what the competition on the other side of Lexington Avenue is offering.
Check out this Davis Polk email, which went out late last year (exclamation mark in the original):
From: **** On Behalf Of Associate Development To: all.lawyers.ny Subject: Nursing Room
We are pleased to announce that the firm now has a private nursing room!
Located on the 10th floor, this cozy room is equipped with brand-new furniture, including a comfortable chair and end table, refrigerator, and reading materials of interest to new mothers. Access to the secure room is available through the Security Desk. A small sign on the outside of the door indicates when the room is occupied.
We hope that this amenity will provide returning mothers who wish to continue nursing their babies additional support during this important transition. Your privacy and comfort are our priority.
Please do not hesitate to contact [xxxx] or any member of the Associate Development Department if you have any questions. Thank you and congratulations to all of our new DPW Parents.
We’re curious about the “reading materials of interest to new mothers” at DPW. Draft asset purchase agreements? SEC proxy filings?
Meanwhile, in other happy news for parents, Arnold & Porter has jumped on the improved parental leave bandwagon. Following the recent trend, which we’ve been following in these pages, they’ve increased the paid leave they provide to women who give birth or primary caregivers of a newly adopted child. It used to be 12 weeks; now it’s 18 weeks, which appears to be the “market” rate these days.
Transmittal email, plus A&P’s full leave policy, after the jump. Earlier: Biglaw Perk Watch: Lactation Rooms
Almost one year ago, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett announced a major associate pay raise, unveiling a new pay scale with a starting salary of $160,000. The move sent tremors throughout Biglaw. Firms in New York quickly followed suit; firms in markets outside New York took longer, but eventually matched (for the most part).
But if you’re looking to STB to lead the market higher still, you’ll be disappointed. Yesterday the firm sent around this memo:
SIMPSON THACHER & BARTLETT LLP
MEMORANDUM TO ALL ASSOCIATES AND COUNSEL
Effective as of January 1, 2008, the annual base salary for each class year will be as follows
Class of 2007 – $160,000
Class of 2006 – $170,000
Class of 2005 – $185,000
Class of 2004 – $210,000
Class of 2003 – $230,000
Class of 2002 – $250,000
Class of 2001 – $265,000
Class of 2000 – $280,000
Class of 1999 – $290,000
Salaries for counsel and classes senior to 1999 will be addressed on an individual basis and discussed with those individuals during the Annual Review process. Increases will be reflected in the January 30, 2008 paycheck.
January 14, 2008
We’re a week or so into 2008, which raises the question: a new year, a new associate pay raise?
One might expect pay raises to be announced around fall recruiting time, to entice the 2Ls. Historically, however, the last two base salary increases were announced in January (perhaps in an effort to reduce the post-bonus exodus of associates). In January 2007, Simpson Thacher announced its new pay scale, with a $160,000 starting salary. The prior raise, by Sullivan & Cromwell to $145,000, was announced in January 2006.
But don’t expect more of the same in January 2008. From the National Law Journal:
As law firms wrapped up operations for 2007, the associate compensation picture looked eerily similar to the boom before the bust seven years ago.
The ratio of bonuses to base salaries for first-year associates at the nation’s top law firms in 2007 was on par with the figures in 2000, a year that precipitated a dramatic plunge in those annual perks that help to make the punishing associate hours more tolerable.
For 2007, beginning associates made as much as $45,000 in bonuses in addition to the $160,000 in base pay at top firms in New York and on the West Coast, with some shops doling out “special bonuses” and getting bragging rights ahead of competitors.
But all that cheer in 2007 may become a distant memory as 2008 is looking increasingly leaner.
“There’s more concern out there now than there was in the summer,” said James Cotterman, an attorney-compensation consultant with Altman Weil. “There’s more talk about a recession.”
Indeed. If we’re not already in a recession, we’re about to enter one. Sure, some firms have strong countercyclical practices. But litigation and bankruptcy never make as much as transactional work and M&A in boom times.
More doom and gloom, plus the promised digression on billables, after the jump.
We have a lunch meeting today, so we’re going to be offline for a while. We’ll leave you with a food-related post to chew over while we’re gone. Hopefully it won’t cause you to lose your appetite.
Over at Keeping Up With Jonas, Jonas Karp has filed a great investigative report: a look at how various law firm cafeterias fared in unannounced annual inspections by the New York City Department of Health. If you’re hoping for a healthy dose of schadenfreude, you might be disappointed. As Karp writes, “All of the firms surveyed passed their inspections, and none had Serendipity 3-like 100 live cockroach violations.”
Darn. But as Jonas notes, “some firms did a lot better than others.”
Which ones? Read the full post to find out. As you review the results, consider this question: Is cafeteria cleanliness inversely proportional to law firm prestige? Simpson Thacher and Cravath came within a few points of failing inspection, while a perfect score was earned by… Greenberg Traurig!
Maybe GT associates won’t be getting a pay raise anytime soon. But at least their New York office has an immaculate cafeteria.
Feel free to opine on the quality of your law firm’s cafeteria, or any other Biglaw canteen that you have personally sampled, in the comments. Law Firm Cafeterias: Inspection Results [Keeping Up With Jonas]
As the old adage goes, “A lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client.” And there is some anecdotal evidence in support of that proposition. See, e.g., Elana Glatt / Elana Elbogen (depending upon how you view the merits of her case against her wedding florist).
Here’s another example of what can happen when Biglaw litigators represent themselves. From TaxProf Blog:
The Tax Court today decided Hynes v. Commissioner, T.C. Summ. Op. 2008-1 (1/2/08), a case involving Shawn T. Hynes, a fifth year securities litigation associate in Cleary Gottlieb’s New York City office. The taxable year at issue was 2003, when Hynes was a Penn 3L (he tranferred to Penn after completing his first year at Oregon).
More about the facts of Shawn Hynes’s case, and how he got benchslapped by the Tax Court, after the jump.
We have to hit the road; we’re going out of town. So this is the last you’ll hear from us in a little while. If you have new bonus announcements to pass along, please email us, or note them in the comments to this post. We will follow up when we return.
But there’s no need to tell us about the Simpson Thacher & Bartlett bonus announcement. We already have it, and we’ve reprinted it after the jump. Thanks!
Law school can be thought of as a Harry Potter-style “sorting hat” for law students (as Dave Hoffman suggests). Similarly, the recent round of pay raises can be thought of as a sorting hat for law firms.
Nathan Carlile has this excellent article in the current issue of the Legal Times:
Call it a near miss.
Earlier this year, New York’s Simpson Thacher & Bartlett raised starting salaries for first-year associates to $160,000. In the competition to recruit top talent, the tactic was similar to one used by Kenyan marathon runners: a midrace burst to separate elite competitors from the pack of pretenders.
But while Simpson’s bump momentarily opened up a $25,000 gap between top-end New York firms and their Washington counterparts, the pack soon matched the move. Eight months later, starting salaries for first-years at most of the 200 largest firms nationwide remain bunched at $160,000.
More discussion — including rumors of Skadden leading a new round of pay raises in New York City — after the jump.
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.
In a land that is right here and in a time that is right now, a technology has arisen so powerful that it can replace basic human document review. Is it time to bow down before our new robot overlords?
First, here’s a little story about me: my life in the legal world began as a paralegal. My first case was a GIANT patent infringement case that was already six years old and had involved as many as five companies, multiple US courts, the ITC and an international standards committee. I knew nothing about any of this.
On my first day, my supervisor (a paralegal with at least eight other cases driving her crazy) sat me down in front of a Concordance database with a 100,000+ patents and patent file histories. “Code these,” she said. I learned that “coding”, for the purposes of this exercise, meant manually typing the inventor’s name, the title of the patent, the assignee, the file date, and other objective data for each document. I worked on that project – and only that project – for at least the first six months of my job. After a week or so, time began to blur.
What I know, in retrospect and with absolutely certainty, is that as time began to blur, so did my judgment. So did my attention to detail. If you could tell me that I did not make at least one mistake a day – one inconsistent spelling, one reversed day and month, one incorrectly spaced title – I frankly would need to see your evidence. I would not believe it. The human mind is trainable but it is not a machine.
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