The first quarter of 2014 was relatively good for large law firms. But that hasn’t stopped major firms from trimming their ranks. In fact, some of the strong performance in the first quarter appears to be attributable to prudent management of expenses — including employee compensation.
This week brings word of still more layoffs. The latest reduction is sizable, affecting about 40 employees.
Which firm is making the cuts, and what is the mix between lawyers and staffers?
On multiple days over the past week or so, one of the top ten search terms bringing visitors to Above the Law has been K&L Gates. For whatever reason, people seem keenly interested in what’s going on right now at this major international law firm.
(But maybe we shouldn’t read too much into such queries. Also in the top ten search engine terms: “pictures of tacos.”)
So what is going on at K&L Gates? A significant amount of partner attrition, as various news outlets have recently pointed out….
Earlier this week, we reported that salary cuts have spread to the Pacific Northwest. Now it appears that the salary cutting craze has migrated to the Southwest. Surely, our territories in Guam will be next.
The Phoenix based firm Snell & Wilmer has cut associate salaries by 10%. Above the Law received this statement from the firm:
We held meetings with our associates in each of our offices on Tuesday, June 16, announced the following, and answered associates’ questions:
* Associates’ salaries will be reduced 10% across the board, effective with associates’ July 15, 2009, paychecks; and
* Snell & Wilmer will be paying performance-based bonuses later this year.
We have obtained a letter that Snell & Wilmer partner Tracy Fowler sent to Judge Dale Kimball (D. Utah) concerning Timestampgate.
Our source for the letter expressed the following opinion (opinion! opinion! no verifiable statement of fact!):
Attached is a letter Tracy Fowler sent to Judge Kimball explaining that he is “shocked and embarrassed” that his firm was caught for the SECOND time [allegedly] trying to deceive the court. Not surprisingly, Fowler claims to have no knowledge of what transpired and assures the court that Snell & Wilmer is undertaking a thorough investigation.
The fact that the letter came from Fowler, the partner on the case in question, rather than the managing partner of Snell & Wilmer is kind of like the fox assuring the farmer that he will conduct a thorough investigation into the hens missing from the hen house.
We hope you noticed the colorful rhetoric and hyperbole employed by our source’s “hen house” comparison — which, as noted, is merely opinion (opinion! opinion! no verifiable statement of fact!).
One could hold a very different opinion based on the same facts. For example, one could argue that it was most logical for the letter to come from Tracy Fowler, rather than some other Snell & Wilmer partner, because Fowler is lead counsel in this case.
Okay, enough preliminaries. The letter appears after the jump.
Last week, we did an item on Judge Dale Kimball (D. Utah) benchslapping some Snell & Wilmer lawyers for allegedly engaging in questionable conduct involving the court’s time stamp machine and outside drop box.
Yesterday the WSJ Law Blog put up a post on the controversy. Most of their post will be familiar to readers of our earlier item. But here’s a new tidbit they unearthed:
The Law Blog spoke with Alan Sullivan, managing partner of Snell & Wilmer’s Salt Lake City office, who said that his law firm took responsibility for the improperly dated court filings. He also confirmed said that a Snell & Wilmer associate staffed on the Yamaha matter resigned from the law firm on Friday.
A question: Was the associate in question entirely responsible for the alleged conduct? Or did partner Tracy Fowler, who remains at Snell & Wilmer, know anything about it?
In case you’re curious, we believe that this individual is the associate who resigned last week. Her bio on the Snell & Wilmer website was functional as of Friday, but it has since been taken down. If you go to where her bio used to be, you’re informed that “the current record has been deleted.”
Thank God for Google Cache and Archive.org. For those of you who are curious — nobody’s forcing you to look at it — a screenshot of this associate’s bio appears after the jump.
Dying for just a few extra days on that brief? Ever thought about trying to game that little date stamp machine outside the court house?
The attached order has been causing some buzz here in Salt Lake City. Judge Dale Kimball is not exactly a divo, but I love this order, not only for the slimy behavior of the Snell & Wilmer attorneys that got totally busted (check the docket for the exact attorney names), but also for the clever detective work by the court staff.
This is a good lesson. And a great example of an attorney getting benchslapped!
Here’s the first page of the order:
And now it’s time for this court to rip counsel a new one. The rest of order follows after the jump.
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past seven years. You can reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s that time of year again when JDs are starting to apply for 2L summer jobs and 2L summers are deciding which practice area to focus on.
For those JDs with an interest in potentially lateraling to or transferring to Asia in the future, please feel free to reach out to Kinney for advice on firm choices, interviewing and practice choices, relating to future marketability in Asia, or for a general discussion on your particular Asia markets of interest. This is of course a free of cost service for those who some years in the future may be our future industry contacts or perhaps even clients.
For some years now Kinney’s Asia head, Evan Jowers, has been formally advising Harvard Law students with such questions, as the Asia expert in Harvard Law’s “Ask The Experts Market Program” each summer and fall, with podcasts and scheduled phone calls. This has been an enjoyable and productive experience for all involved.
If you are considering a virtual law practice, you know that many of today’s solo firms started that way. But why are established, multi-attorney law firms going virtual?
Many small firms are successfully moving part—or even all—of their practice to a virtual setting. This even includes multi-jurisdictional practice spanning several states and practice areas, although solo and small partnerships are still the largest adopters of virtual law.
Can you do the same? The new article Mobile in Practice, Virtual by Design from author Jared Correia, Esq., explores how mobile technology bring real-life benefits to a small law firm. Read this new article—the next in Thomson Reuters’ Independent Thinking series for small firms—to explore how a mobile practice:
Reduces malpractice risk
Enables you to gather the best attorneys to fit the firm, regardless of each person’s geographic location
Leverages mobile devices and cloud technology to enable on-the-spot client and prospect communication
Transitioning in-house is something many (if not most) firm lawyers find themselves considering at some point. For many, it’s the first step in their career that isn’t simply a function of picking the best option available based on a ranking system.
Unknown territory feels high-risk, and can have the effect of steering many of us towards the well-greased channels into large, established companies.
For those who may be open to something more entrepreneurial, there is far less information available. No recruiter is calling every week with offers and details.
In sponsorship with Betterment, ATL and David Lat will moderate a panel about life in-house and we’ll hear from GCs at Birchbox, Gawker Media, Squarespace, Bonobos, and Betterment. Drinks, snacks, networking, and a great time guaranteed. Invite your colleagues, but RSVP fast, as space is limited.