Ed. note: This is the latest installment of The ATL Interrogatories. This recurring feature will give notable law firm partners an opportunity to share insights and experiences about the legal profession and careers in law, as well as about their firms and themselves.
Jim Maiwurm, chair and global CEO of Squire Sanders, has more than 30 years of experience as a business and transactional lawyer. His work involves the representation of a diverse range of businesses — from technology startups to Fortune 50 manufacturers — in private equity infusions, public offerings and sophisticated domestic and international acquisitions, dispositions, financings and joint ventures.
Voted ‘Mr. Congeniality’ by a panel of Biglaw partners.
The best competitions reward the winner with something related to their skill. If you win American Idol, you get a recording contract. On Project Runway, you get a clothing line. In the Hunger Games, you get to be alive.
Tying the tested skills to the ultimate reward is a concept so strikingly obvious that even we at Above the Law grasped the concept. In 2008, we held a competition among writers, which we called ATL Idol, and we hired the guy who won.
At Case Western Reserve University School of Law, the Career Development Office has announced a “Job Idol” competition, to determine which lucky Case Western Spartan has the chops to earn a law firm job.
We had a similar competition when I went to school. It was called “Early Interview Week,” and the top 98 percent of competitors won a job.
So what do the winners get at Case Western? We have the official advertisement for the competition.
Is lateral partner hiring a game of musical chairs that law firms can’t win? Anecdotes about unsuccessful lateral hires abound. You hear stories about high-profile partners moving from Firm A to Firm B, often lured by huge guarantees, only to leave Firm B a few years later, after failing to integrate or deliver the expected business.
And some of the most successful firms in all the land, places with immense prestige and sky-high profits, do very little lateral hiring. Their refusal to engage in the lateral market hasn’t seemed to hurt them.
When it comes to lateral hiring, should firms “just say no”? Well, that’s not what’s actually happening in the marketplace. Last year, lateral partner hiring climbed, suggesting that it must be working out — at least for some firms….
We talk a lot here on Above the Law about the difficulties attorneys have in finding a work-life balance. Often Biglaw life becomes all work, all the time. Or sometimes, burned out attorneys run in the other direction entirely and open a bike shop, but it rarely feels like there is a viable in-between.
I’m inclined to say that if you have a passion, you should go for it, no matter what other people think. Lawyers should be allowed to wear different hats. Sometimes that means allegedly showing off your new boobs to co-workers. Sometimes it means making rap music.
And in one Ohio attorney’s case, it means writing, directing, producing, and starring in epically bizarre, Camelot-inspired heavy metal videos….
Say this for lawyers: they get around to things. Sure, the process might take a while, much longer than one would reasonably expect. But at the end of the day, lawyers do their paperwork.
Apparently, somebody at Squire Sanders in the U.K. has been catching up on old emails. Really old emails. Like, job application emails that were sent during the height of the recession.
I bet people who applied to Squire Sanders in 2009 thought that the firm had forgotten about them, but that is not the case! The firm just needed to get its ducks in a row. Now that it’s had time to full assess the economic landscape, the firm has decided that it’s no longer hiring….
Peter Crossley of Hammonds and James Maiwurm of Squire Sanders
A hot trend for the law firm world in 2010: transatlantic mergers. This year we’ve seen the creation of Hogan Lovells, from Hogan & Hartson and Lovells, and SNR Denton, from Sonnenschein and Denton Wilde. Today we learn of a third U.S./U.K. law firm merger: the combination of Squire, Sanders & Dempsey and the British firm of Hammonds, to form a behemoth with 1,275 lawyers in 37 offices and 17 countries (according to the merged firm’s new website).
The merger was approved by both partnerships over the weekend and will take effect on January 1, 2011. The combined entity will be in the top 25 firms by number of lawyers, with gross revenue of $625 million (based on 2009 figures).
As you may recall, not everyone was a fan of this merger. The famously outspoken John Quinn of Quinn Emanuel, for example, characterized it as “[t]wo rocks that think if they hug each other tight enough they won’t sink.”
But enough of the Debbie Downer sentiments. Let’s look at all the positive aspects of this transaction, shall we?
You can’t get two clicks into the legal blogosphere today without seeing a repackaged press release from Sidley Austin. Here’s one of the headlines we received today, which blares louder than a New York City fire engine stuck in mid-tier midtown traffic:
Sidley Austin LLP has received 20 first-tier national rankings in the inaugural U.S.News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” survey, the most of any U.S. law firm.
Okay Sidley, we hear you; congratulations. Maybe you and Lady Gaga should confer and figure out how to get U.S. News to rank music video award shows.
Meanwhile, if you’ve spent any time clicking around the U.S. News law firm rankings since they went live last night (no, I haven’t really slept), you’ll notice that Sidley doesn’t seem to show up in the bottom right corner of the page under the heading “Featured Firm.” Instead of Sidley (or any of the other firms that garnered many first-tier practice area mentions), if you keep clicking refresh — I’ve done that about 100 times in the last hour, via multiple Firefox tabs — you see a bunch of firms that are outside the Am Law 100. And Squire Sanders.
Why aren’t the most well-respected firms the “featured” ones? The answer is obvious: the featured firms bought ads with U.S. News. Which begs the question: just how is U.S. News making money off of this exhaustive gambit into the law firm rankings market?
Since we last checked in on him on Twitter, John Quinn — founding partner of litigation powerhouse Quinn Emanuel, and one of the nation’s ‘s top business litigators — has gained about 200 followers. And if he keeps tweeting in such insightful, funny, and brutally candid fashion, his following — right now he’s at 665 followers — will only grow.
Squire, Sanders & Dempsey already deferred its incoming class of 2009 to January 2010. Yesterday, the firm informed half of those incoming associates that they were getting the Bird — i.e., the firm indefinitely deferred half of its incoming class.
But before the firm decides what it will do with half of its incoming associates, Squire Sanders needs to make a decision about whether to keep its current associates. SSD’s chairman, James J. Maiwurm, told associates to expect layoffs over the next 45 days.
Above the Law has received the official Squire Sanders statement. Take a look after the jump.
Here we are. The end of the Vault 100.
To be on the Vault 100 is to be a well-known firm. Sure, maybe not well-known to law students or junior associates who can’t see past the mountain of doc review boxes in their windowless conference rooms. But known to partners … and clients. Look down your nose at these firms if you wish, but remember the old African proverb: “The smallest elephant can still crush your Lexus.”
Here is the final batch of top law firms for discussion:
What does it mean to be “newly admitted?” To us, it means endless possibilities!
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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.
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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