Just last week, Ballard Spahr was sending around inspirational messages to its associates. Today, the firm has decided to cancel its 2010 Summer Program. Thompson Hine has also decided to cancel its 2010 Summer Program. If nothing else the move should give Rogue Associate an opportunity to comment.
It’s one thing to cancel your entire summer program. But what is surprising about Ballard Spahr and Thompson Hine is that the firms did not make any formal, official announcement about the decision. Instead, students learned the information from their respective law school recruiting offices. Update (1:04): Now Squire Sanders is also canceling its 2010 Summer Program. More details after the jump.
Here’s the Ballard Spahr “announcement” (via Penn Law School):
As we near the close of bidding, we wanted to provide you with an update on schedule changes that we received so far today.
Akin Gump went from 40 interview slots in NYC and 40 interview slots in DC to 20 interview slots in NYC and 20 interview slots in DC.
Paul Weiss went from 80 interview slots to 60 interview slots.
Ballard Spahr will not have a 2010 summer program and, as such, has canceled on campus interviews.
All of this information is updated in Symplicity. Please note that we will continue to provide you with updates as is feasible. However, it may not be possible for us to email you with all changes so please be sure to check Symplicity before bidding closes tomorrow, July 21st at 11:59 p.m.
After the jump, we see that Duke students were the first to learn about the Thompson Hine cancellation.
Since the recession began hitting the legal industry, we at Above the Law have received various reports alleging gender or racial discrimination when it comes time for firms to fire associates. Some of our sources have claimed that the rounds of layoffs have disproportionately affect women or racial minorities. Usually, these sources have sparse statistical evidence to back up their claims.
Conversely, other sources have claimed that the layoffs are disproportionately affecting white males. They claim that firms are loath to fire women or minorities, for fear of employment discrimination lawsuits. Again, these sources lack numbers to support their fears.
Well, this week we received some hard data.
In April we reported that Squire Sanders laid off around 30 associates. The final official number of layoffs turned out to be 32 attorneys. But of those 32 attorneys, 20 of them were women. It’s surprising to see 62.5% of firm layoffs affect women.
Did the Squire Sanders layoffs have a disparate impact on women? Of course, numbers don’t tell the full story. And Squire Sanders has some numbers of its own that helps to explain this situation.
Check out the details after the jump.
Yesterday, we reported that Orrick has decided to end lockstep compensation in 2010. Today, the Orrick effect claims its first soul. Above the Law has learned that Squire Sanders & Dempsey also intends to do away with lockstep compensation in 2010. They just aren’t quite sure what they will replace it with.
But why let the details of the new system stay the execution of the old system? Yesterday, SSD associates received this email from the firm:
As you will recall, when we addressed the issue of associate compensation adjustments earlier this year, we indicated that a re-thinking of our approach, generally, to associate compensation would also be in order and that we would focus more broadly on supportive associate growth and development underlying compensation decisions. We are pleased to report to you that efforts in this direction are well underway.
To provide an overview of this important initiative, we are sharing with you the enclosed memorandum summarizing our efforts to date and projected next steps. In doing so, we would appreciate your respecting the confidential nature of this internal memorandum. As emphasized in the memorandum, this initiative will be, and needs to be, a collaborative effort. We welcome your comments and suggestions, and your participation as we move forward.
Above the Law has also obtained the “enclosed memorandum.” It’s heavy on the ills of lockstep, light on the benefits of the new compensation regime.
More details after the jump.
Having already frozen salaries, Squire Sanders is now cutting them outright. Tipsters report that the firm has announced a 10% reduction in associate salaries across the board. The cuts will start in May.
You’ll remember that Squire Sanders was very reluctant to raise salaries in the first place. So it’s not entirely surprising that the firm is showing no hesitation to cut salaries given the opportunity.
But just in case some Squire Sanders associates think about complaining, the firm also fired a number of people.
Squire Sanders was one of the first firms to figure out freezing associate salaries would be tolerable given the current economic situation. I don’t know if the firm will be a trend setter here as well, but the latest news from the firm seems to be in keeping with the general theme of terrible market conditions.
We’ve already reported that Squire Sanders pushed back start dates for its incoming first year associates.
Now the firm is shortening its summer program to seven weeks. But that’s not all. More details after the jump.
As we noted in yesterday’s Morning Docket, even the New York Times has taken note of the salary freeze trend at law firms. The Times reached out to Above The Law’s own David Lat for the story:
Although many associates are angry about the freezes, others are relieved, said David Lat, founding editor of AboveTheLaw.com, a blog about law firms and the profession.
“There is this sense that firms didn’t act prudently during the boom and now they are getting religion, and that it’s better late than never,” Mr. Lat said. “Many associates we have spoken to think the freeze probably saved jobs.”
At the beginning of the month, we did a round-up of firms that have frozen 2009 salary rates at 2008 levels. That list was 16 firms long. Since then, quite a few other firms have announced freezes. Due to frequent requests, we’re updating the round-up list since the number of firms with freezes (that we know of) has more than doubled, to 33 32. Check out the as-comprehensive-as-we-can-make-it list, after the jump.
Yesterday’s staff layoff post generated a lot of tips and rumors. Please keep them coming. It appears that staffs are taking it on the chin even worse than associates and partner profit margins.
While we are still playing “fact or fiction” with some of the rumors, we can now report these additional staff reductions around the world of Biglaw.
First off, Julie Kay at the National Law Journal reports that Squire Sanders laid off a number of staff from a variety of positions:
Alvin Davis, managing partner of Squire Sanders’ Miami office, said on Friday that Miami employees laid off at the firm on Thursday include “a couple runners, some staffers and a few people in accounting.”
Times are so bad firms can’t even afford the accountants who tell them how bad times are.
There were conflicting reports as to whether any attorneys got caught in the crossfire:
But while Davis said no lawyers were laid off, sources inside the firm said that lawyers indeed had been laid off, but were still working at the firm until they find jobs elsewhere.
The memo below was sent to us by a tipster, with this prefatory comment: “No one really knows what the f*** the second half of the first sentence of the memo means.”
So, dear readers: What does this language mean? The most literal interpretation is that Squire Sanders will resist associate pay raises in 2009 — e.g., it won’t go along with any “NY to 190″ movement started by another firm. The overall associate pay schedule will remain unchanged, at least at SSD.
But that’s a bit obvious. Given the dire economic conditions, reflected in Squire’s decision to lay off 30 employees last month, it makes more sense to view this language as a poorly worded attempt to announce a year-long salary freeze (i.e., not giving associates the customary January increases in base salary to reflect their greater seniority).
If it’s a pay freeze announcement, SSD isn’t the first firm to travel down this path (although they are going the farthest). McDermott Will & Emery is freezing salaries until March (at least); Bryan Cave is freezing them until April. Womble Carlyle is freezing salaries for the first half of 2009 (at least).
We have an inquiry in to Squire Sanders partner Timothy Sheeran, who sent the memo. In the meantime, your attempts to parse this language are welcome in the comments.
P.S. Presumably all the bailout-related work the firm is getting isn’t making up for lost work in other practice areas.
Multiple sources reported massive layoffs at Squire Sanders yesterday. The firm has confirmed that 30 associates and paralegals were let go:
We have completed annual reviews of all of our associates and, as a result of that process and with regret have advised some of our associates that they should explore career opportunities elsewhere and we are giving them time to do so. About 30 associates and paralegals will be affected firmwide,including three associates in Phoenix. This is a higher number than usual leaving following performance reviews. Admittedly, current and projected business conditions influenced the timing of these decisions. Like all firms, we are forced to align our resource capabilities with project client service levels and make some hard personnel decisions. That may sound harsh to some and sound like a ‘lay off’ to others but we are working closely with all professionals affected and providing support and assistance.
The Phoenix news is significant. Markets like Phoenix (and Tampa, another Squire branch location) are hurting (because of the housing market) but have not yet felt the brunt of Biglaw layoffs.
We understand that the targets of the cuts were more expensive senior associates. We don’t have any word on what severance package Squire Sanders is offering.
Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP and Squire Sanders & Dempsey LLP have each been awarded a contract for roughly $5.5 million to help shepherd about 2,000 financial firms through the program that would see the government buy company shares, the Treasury Department said on Monday.
Looks like Hughes Hubbard’s strategizing with the acquisition of boutique bankruptcy firm Luskin, Stern & Eisler may have paid off.
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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