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.
Here is yet another rumor — somewhat better sourced than the Thacher Proffitt / King & Spalding rumor, but a rumor nonetheless — about a possible law firm merger.
Word on the street is that Seyfarth Shaw is seeking a merger partner. This should not come as a shock, since Seyfarth has been stumbling a bit due to the downturn. As previously reported, the firm has pushed back start dates and trimmed its lawyer ranks.
The Seyfarth partnership recently returned from its retreat, where strategic opportunities were discussed. The scuttlebutt is that the firm is in “serious” merger talks with another firm of roughly equal size. Upon information and belief, that firm is Squire Sanders.
Both firms hover around the 800-attorney mark. The product of their merger — nicknamed “S4″ by one tipster, standing for either “Seyfarth Shaw Squire Sanders” or “Squire Sanders Seyfarth Shaw” — would be a 1600-lawyer behemoth. The combination would give Seyfarth a coveted foothold in Bratislava.
Associate meetings were held in all Seyfarth Shaw offices earlier this afternoon. Associates were briefed on the retreat and told about ongoing merger talks with another firm. Details are scarce; the confidential nature of the merger talks was stressed to the associates “about a dozen times.”
Whether these talks will bear fruit is anyone’s guess. Lately law-firm merger talks have been falling at a high rate.
We’ll keep you posted. If you have any info to share, please email us. Thanks.
Earlier today we reported that Squire, Sanders & Dempsey extended offers to 76% of their summer class, but that an untold number of those summers received staff attorney offers.
Well, after an initial “no comment” on the staff attorney question, Squire Sanders decided to clarify their statement:
The firm made one staff attorney offer. The offer was extended to accommodate a law student’s interest in a practice area that was only hiring staff attorneys for 2009. We did not include the staff attorney offer when we reported to you that 76% of the summer associates received associate offers. We intend to report associate offer numbers to NALP excluding the staff attorney offer as well.
There you go. At least the 24% of the class that was no-offered do not have to feel as bad about themselves as some commenters suggested.
I guess I can stop screaming at NALP about the purity of their report. Earlier: Nationwide No Offer Watch: Squire Sanders
[A summer associate] at Squire Sanders got offered a staff attorney position. Apparently one-third of the class got real offers, some got staff attorney offers, and the rest?
Staff attorney — i.e., a job with a significantly lower salary than an associate position, featuring endless document review and discovery work, and without any prospect of promotion to partnership. Is that a cold offer, or a coldcock?
Or is it “creative accounting” for purposes of reporting to NALP, which collects and publishes data about summer associate programs? Presumably Squire Sanders will count the staff attorney “offers” in the number of full-time employment offers made to summer associates that it reports to NALP. But bringing the summers on as staff attorneys rather than associates will save the firm a lot of money. This is one of the most creative ways of dealing with the downturn that we’ve come across.
Squire Sanders spokesperson Drez Jennings provided us with a prompt and direct response:
[W]e made offers to 76 percent of the summers, and no offers to 24 percent.
Ouch. No-offering a quarter of your class is already pretty harsh.
Jennings declined to comment on the staff attorney question (even though it was explicitly presented), leaving ATL readers to speculate on how many, if any, of Squire Sanders summer offers were for staff attorney positions.
More on Squire Sanders and staff attorneys, after the jump.
In late March, we made a special shout-out to Squire Sanders & Dempsey. It hadn’t participated in the latest round of associate pay raises, and several of you had complained about that to us. So we highlighted their presence on the LIST OF SHAME.
Weeks and weeks passed. But now, after taking its sweet time about it, the firm has followed suit. From a tipster:
Squire Sanders raised salaries last Friday. In Miami, they joined Holland & Knight, among others, at $130k for first years (a $15k raise). They raised senior associates by $20k.
All associates in Miami are still well behind Weil Gotshal and Boies Schiller (at $160k), somewhat behind Hunton & Williams and McDermott Will (at $145k), and just behind Greenberg Traurig (at $135k). Apparently, they’re content to be third-to-fourth tier. But something is something.
No idea how the raises shook out at other offices, but I do know that they occurred.
When we were drawing up our LIST OF SHAME (latest version here), Squire Sanders & Dempsey got dropped along the way. To make the list more manageable, we limited it to firms with a significant New York presence.
Some readers appealed that decision. These two comments are representative:
“The updated List of Shame doesnt include some firms like Squire Sanders and others anymore. I wonder if that’s because they matched (I dont think they did) or because they don’t have big NY offices, so supposedly they shouldn’t be on the list to begin with. If it’s the second explanation that’s right, then we have to get them returned to the List of Shame”.
“PLEASE add Squire Sanders to the list. They’re actively seeking a larger New York presence (currently 2 associates). And they certainly suck as much as any of the other firms on the list. Give them the credit they’ve worked so hard to achieve. Pretty please.”
We’ve also heard, through the grapevine, about a general lack of transparency at SSD concerning associate compensation. So we thought that it might be worth poking around — especially in view of this recent comment:
A post on the Greedy Ohio website indicates that Squire Sanders has raised first year salaries outside of Ohio. Can anyone confirm or deny? Any add’l information?
Is this correct? Do you have any other information about Squire Sanders & Dempsey? If so, please comment on this post, or email us (subject: “Squire Sanders & Dempsey”). Thanks. Re: any info on JD salaries [Greedy Ohio]
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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 six years. You can reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deal flow has clearly picked recently up for most US associates, counsels and partners in Hong Kong/China and Singapore. We are on the phone with a lot of these folks on a daily basis, many of whom we have known for years. Further, the head of our Asia team, Evan Jowers, and Kinney’s founder and president, Robert Kinney, frequently meet in person with leading US partners in Asia to assess their needs and keep on top of the inside scoop at as many firms as possible. The need for legal recruiting help in Asia from experienced recruiters appears to be live and well. In March, Evan and Robert were in Beijing at such meetings, in April, Evan was in Hong Kong, and for half of June Evan will be in Shanghai and Hong Kong. Thus its pretty easy for us to tell when there has been an across-the-market pick up in capital markets and corporate work.
On an average day in Asia when Evan and Robert visit firms, they typically have 5 to 9 meetings a day, mostly with US partners in the market. The reason they have these meetings is not simply because Kinney makes a lot of US attorney placements in Asia and that a particular firm may have openings; instead these are just visits with friends. After years of working together as business partners, the folks at Kinney are actually these peoples’ friends. The firms Kinney work closely with in Asia (which is just about every law firm – call us if you want to know the one firm in the world we will never place anyone with again, ever, and why) look forward to the visits, or at least act like they do. After seven years in the market, many of the client partners are former associate candidates. Also, these US partners see Kinney as a very good source of market information as well, because they know how deep their contacts are in the market and how frequently they are speaking to counterparts at peer firms.
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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