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.
Professor Joel P. Trachtman has developed a unique, practical guide to help lawyers analyze, argue, and write effectively.
The Tools of Argument: How the Best Lawyers Think, Argue, and Win is a highly readable 200-page book, available for about $10 in paperback or e-book. Chapters focus on foundational principles in legal argument: procedure, interpretation of contracts and statutes, use of evidence, and more. The material covered is taught only implicitly in law school. Yet, when up-and-coming attorneys master these straightforward tools, they will think and argue like the best lawyers.
For most attorneys, time spent managing the books is a necessary evil at best. Yet it is undeniably a crucial aspect of running a successful practice. With that in mind, we invite you to view or download a free webinar by Above the Law and our friends at Clio to learn how to better manage your finances.
Take this opportunity to learn what it takes to streamline your accounting and get the most out of your time. The webinar agenda:
● The basics of accounting for lawyers.
● How legal accounting differs from regular accounting.
● Report and reconciliation issues surrounding trust accounts.
● How to pick and integrate the best accounting tools for your practice.
● Steps to prepare your tax return for your firm’s income.
Do not miss this crucial chance to optimize your accounting practices. Save time and get back to billing!
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.
Please note that Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney are still in Hong Kong and will stay FOR THE REMAINDER OF THIS WEEK. We still have a handful of available slots for meetings with our Asia Chronicles fans. If we have not been in touch lately, reach out and let us know when we could meet! There is no need for an agenda at all. Most of our in-person meetings on these trips are with folks who understand that improving a legal practice through lateral hiring is an information-driven process that takes time to handle correctly.
Regarding trends in lateral US associate hiring in Hong Kong, we of course keep much of what we know off of this blog. Based on placement revenue, though, Kinney is having one of our most successful years ever in Asia. We are helping a number of our law firm clients with M&A, fund formation, cap markets, project finance, FCPA and disputes openings. These are very specific needs in many cases, so a conversation with us before jumping in may be helpful. As always, we like to be sure to get the maximum number of interviews per submission, using a well-informed, highly targeted, and selective approach, taking into account short, medium and long-term career aims.
Making a well informed decision during a job search is easier said than done – the information we provide comes from 10 years of being the market leader in US attorney placements at the top tier firms in Asia. There is no substitute for having known a hiring partner since he/she was an associate or for having helped a partner grow his or her practice from zip to zooming, and this is happily where we stand today – with years of background information on just about every relevant person in all the markets we serve, and most especially in Hong Kong/China/Greater Asia. So get in touch and get a download from us this week if we can fit it in, or soon in any case!