A prominent partner left his white-shoe law firm some time ago, purportedly for falsifying expenses. A juicy detail that is less widely known: some of the fake expenses were for what might be described as improper forms of entertainment.
(This blind item — relating to someone who left his firm prior to 2010 — has nothing to do with Ted Freedman, the former Kirkland & Ellis senior partner whose recent departure we covered last month. Please note the update we’ve appended near the end of our earlier post, quoting a source stating that Freedman simply retired.)
I don’t know much about life as a staff attorney or living in a ghetto. But I believe high debts, high stress, and low public regard are endemic to both. The difference is that you can usually find an apartment in the ghetto without spending tens of thousands of dollars on three years of education. Raise your hand if you would trade in your J.D. for a nice set of rims.
Obviously, things are tough for everybody during this recession, but a new NAWL report illustrates that things are especially tough for female attorneys. And not just for the obvious reasons. Sure, women are still criminally underrepresented in law firm partnerships and management positions. But we knew that already.
The exciting new type of discrimination that women face involves the one attorney job where they make up the majority…
It’s that time of year again, when most Biglaw firms announce their partnership promotions. But this year, it’s not only the senior associates who are on edge. As shown in our recent associate morale survey results, 62% of associates at all levels attributed the decline in morale at their firms to poor partnership prospects.
Please take this short survey and tell us if and how partnership prospects have changed at your firm since last year, and what really happens to senior associates who don’t make the cut. We’ll bring you the results next week.
In the meantime, head over to the ATL Career Center, powered by Lateral Link, to find out more about partnership prospects at each of the top law firms.
There are two ways to make diversity mean something to Biglaw partners. The first involves clients caring about whether or not their legal counsel has made a commitment to diversity. The second involves incoming and lateral talent caring about whether or not they go to a diverse workplace.
But for people to make informed decisions about these issues, they need hard numbers.
Thankfully, we’ve got some hard numbers. Thanks to the hard work of the people at NALP and at Building a Better Legal Profession (BBLP), we’ve got some statistics showing that diversity is taking a hit, thanks to recession — but the pain isn’t being spread to all firms evenly.
This is news you can use, especially if you’re considering going to a handful of firms that we’re about to mention….
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?
Ed. note: Law Shucks focuses on life in, and after, Biglaw, including by tracking layoffs, bonuses, and laterals. Above the Law is pleased to bring you this weekly column, which analyzes news at the world’s top law firms.
We’ve hit another lull in the Biglaw calendar. Recruiting is pretty much over. 2Ls and 3Ls lucky enough to have offers for summer jobs and full-time employment, respectively, have accepted or are finishing up the decisionmaking process (and for those no-offered or otherwise shut out, or interested in a good read, don’t miss ATL’s new column about one guy who made it back to BigLaw). May’s graduates have either just started or are sitting out the last months of their deferrals — and either way, they’re waiting for bar exam results.
But there are two significant events on the horizon, and glimmers of hope and speculation are starting to appear. Much like Christmas advertising creeps earlier and earlier into the fall, so too does speculation about law-firm bonuses. We, at least, have had the decency to wait until after Halloween.
Multiple tipsters report that Howrey laid off 35 support staffers over the course of last week. What should be particularly disturbing to attorneys is that Howrey previously conducted staff layoffs in advance of significant attorney cuts…
Ed. Note: Will the Lost Generation ever find its way back into Biglaw? This new column is written by a member of the Lost Generation who initially was thrown off of the Biglaw bandwagon but was able to get back on, and is now trying to hang on to his Biglaw second chance.
When I was no-offered in the summer of 2009, I felt worthless. I am not used to failing in significant endeavors. I prefer to reserve failure my smaller undertakings, you know the ones that are not worth over six figures a year. And this particular failure had an even harsher sting because I felt like an ineffective sell-out.
I had started law school with the fresh and heady eyes of a bachelor of arts who had no employable skills and wanted to save the world. I would wield the law as a tool to empower the weak and oppressed. I was seriously regulating my debt and pinching pennies so that it would be manageable with the $50K salary that I expected.
That was before I found out exactly how much Biglaw associates make per week. My public interest façade didn’t even put up a fight. I think I registered for O.C.I. the next day.
One year later, I was offended by lunches that did not cost at least $20, and I was happy to represent any client in any capacity for any purpose as long as I made enough money so that the amount I paid in taxes exceeded any of my pre-law salaries. I was no longer worried about taking out the maximum amount of student loans available to me. The days of conservatively accepting only part of my loans, and pinching pennies, were gone.
Sadly, I started spending before I actually secured post-graduate employment. Does that sound familiar to anyone…
If you’re in Biglaw, chances are that not all of the first-year associates currently working at your firm are of the fresh-out-of-law-school-and-still-tan-from-post-bar-trip variety. With many firms just now welcoming back some Class of 2009 associates after a yearlong deferral, Class of 2010 associates have to wait their turn to start work in 2011 or 2012. But now that the great recession is over, surely business has picked up enough so that there is plenty of doc review and due diligence to go around for first-year associates, right? Or is work still so slow that the more senior associates have to hoard all the grunt work?
In this week’s survey, we want to know whether the first-year associates at your firm are being welcomed with open arms, or viewed as the competition…
A college graduate without student loan debt is akin to reading a kind quote about Kim Kardashian in a tabloid—it’s rare.
In the past eight years, student loan debt has nearly tripled to a whopping $1.1 trillion, and in the past 10 years, the percentage of 25-year-olds with such debt has risen from 25% to 43%
It’s gotten so bad, in fact, that New York Fed economists warned last month that the burden of student debt could stilt consumer spending by twentysomethings, as well as further hamper the recovery of the housing market and economy.
To get a better idea of what massive student loan debt (we’re talking over $100,000 massive) looks like, we talked to an attorney who graduated with a large student loan debt. We also consulted LearnVest Planning Services CFP® Katie Brewer to see just how their repayment plans stack up.
S. Fischer, 36, Attorney Graduated: 2001
How Much I Borrowed: $100,000
What I Still Owe: $45,000
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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.
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