Biglaw

We’re doing this a little bit late this year. We’re into the fourth quarter and we haven’t yet asked you guys: how many hours are you on track to bill this year?

It’s an important question.

Remember firm leadership has already started trying to manage expectations about 2011 bonuses.

And between the natural inclination to keep as much money as possible and prudent concerns over a double-dip recession, many firms will want to hold the line on associate bonuses.

But that’s going to be harder to do if people have been busting their tails…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Hours Open Thread: How Are Your 2011 Billables?”

Ed. note: This post is by Will Meyerhofer, a former Sullivan & Cromwell attorney turned psychotherapist. He holds degrees from Harvard, NYU Law, and The Hunter College School of Social Work, and he blogs at The People’s Therapist. His new book, Way Worse Than Being A Dentist, is available on Amazon, as is his previous book, Life is a Brief Opportunity for Joy (affiliate links).

As The People’s Therapist, my door is always open. I don’t turn away poor clients.

“Pay whatever you can afford,” I tell them.

Naturally, they get what they pay for. If I’m a little sleepy, or staring at the clock – who are they to complain? Come to think of it, why do we have to talk about them all the time anyway….

Just kidding.

But let’s be real — are things any different with the the high-fidelity first-class traveling set than they are with folks flying “comfort class”? I ask myself that question a lot. I do it to stay honest….

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'But I'm too pretty to go to jail.'

* The AT&T/T-Mobile antitrust suit is so big that not even Big Government law can handle it. The DOJ is bringing in even bigger guns with a partner from Biglaw firm Munger Tolles. [Bloomberg]

* Obama has nominated former Kozinski clerk, Paul Watford, to the Ninth Circuit. Way to go, because he’s kind of cute. Isn’t that what everyone looks for in a federal judge? [San Francisco Chronicle]

* Is Paul Ceglia’s Facebook lawsuit completely doomed? His own lawyer, Jeffrey Lake, wants to defriend him. This will be the fourth firm to dump Ceglia as a client. [Wall Street Journal]

* Blind item: which Hollywood actress is suing IMDb for $1M for revealing her true age? And we say “true age” because everyone knows that Botox knocks a few years off your face. [Reuters]

* Lindsay Lohan is due in court today for a progress report hearing, and prosecutors want to throw her in jail. Hope she’s been brushing up on her acting skills. [New York Daily News]

* Cry me a river? A Florida lawyer will be arguing before the state Supreme Court this winter over his First Amendment right to blast Justin Timberlake from his car stereo. [NBC Miami]

Hot on the heels of support staff layoffs and on-shore outsourcing efforts at O’Melveny & Myers, we have news of another law firm doing the exact same thing. Except this law firm has figured out a way to do it with half the tears and way less relocation angst.

On-shore outsourcing might be better for the American economy than sending the jobs overseas, and Pillsbury Winthrop has figured out a way to do it that doesn’t involve shipping people to the third world country known as “West Virginia.”

Pillsbury is moving staff operations farther south, and the firm is bringing some of its executives with it, too….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Is On-Shore Outsourcing the Biglaw Wave of the Future?”

Partners are usually best remembered for behaving badly, or worse, treating associates badly. But not the partners who made our “Top Partners to Work For” list.

Last week, we asked you to nominate the best Biglaw partners you work for, tell us why they are the best, and rate them in six categories: expertise within the practice area, quality of work given to associates, hands-on training given to associates, provision of feedback on associate work, respect for associates’ schedules, and professionalism with associates.

Over the next several weeks, we will reveal who these exceptional partners are in a multi-part Career Center survey results series, sponsored by Lateral Link. We kick off the series this week with the New York partners, and then we’ll make our way around the country.

Let’s get to know the first eight partners and find out why associates say they are the best to work for….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Career Center Survey Results: Top Partners to Work For – New York (Part 1)”

When news emerged last week that the Wall Street protests were spreading to London, I dared to dream. Maybe I could inculcate myself among the protesters, I wondered, and persuade their leaders to target a Biglaw firm rather than a bank. Then, I fantasized, having obtained the relevant door-code from one of my disgruntled Biglaw contacts, perhaps I could lead the protesters inside to set up an encampment. At which point, I hallucinated, I’d be able to live-tweet my experiences and, as the only journalist on the scene, become a star.

Disappointingly, it didn’t work out that way. The protesters proved frustratingly unmoved by my suggestions that they target a law firm. Instead, they tried to occupy the square in front of the London Stock Exchange. Prevented from doing so by the police, they ended up milling around the adjoining forecourt of St. Paul’s Cathedral, where their hard-core was diluted by confused tourists. What the New York Times accurately described as “a picnic atmosphere” prevailed, with “people streaming in and out of a nearby Starbucks.”

Even an appearance by Wikileaks founder Julian Assange — who arrived mid-afternoon wearing a Guy Fawkes mask to deliver a sermon on the steps of St. Paul’s — wasn’t enough to kick-start some proper rebellion. Indeed, with his claim that the Occupy Wall Street/London Stock Exchange movement “is not about the destruction of law, but the construction of law,” Assange sounded less like a revolutionary, and more a regulatory expert in the U.K. on a business trip….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Letter from London: Occupy Biglaw”

The big news this morning is bad news for the staff at O’Melveny & Myers. News started leaking out last night that the firm would be laying off 75 support staff members.

The firm has confirmed the news that was first published in The Recorder.

Approximately half the of the laid-off O’Melveny staffers will be cut outright. The other half will have the opportunity to be relocated to scenic West Virginia….

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In 25 years working at law firms, I never offered this to a client. In two years working in-house, no outside law firm ever before offered this to me. But I heard it moments ago, and I couldn’t believe how foolish I’ve been. I smiled, shook my head, hung up the phone, and popped open the blogging software for your benefit.

“When we’re handling a major case that is so terribly expensive to defend,” says my outside counsel, “we like to have an ‘all-hands’ meeting with the client once a quarter. Our entire team will fly to your headquarters for the event. We’d like you to invite not just any appropriate in-house lawyers, but also relevant people from the business unit and any senior managers who might either be concerned about the cost of the litigation or have ideas to offer. We find that people who aren’t directly involved in the litigation often suggest great ideas.

“We won’t charge you anything for these quarterly meetings. We’ll write off our time, and our firm will pay the travel expenses. We just think it’s a good idea to have these meetings regularly in cases as important as this one.”

Brilliant!

I personally had nibbled around the edges of this idea when I was in private practice: “We’d like you to schedule a two-day educational conference about the product involved in the litigation,” I had said in the past. “Have each of your folks who helped to design the product, know its regulatory history, and so on, speak for an hour. We want to educate our entire team and to meet the key players in person. Naturally, we won’t charge you for our time or travel expense.”

That’s okay. It’s a nice offer; it serves an important function; and it causes a bunch of your lawyers to meet a bunch of client representatives. But the offer I just heard is much better. It achieves so much more. Why?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Inside Straight: Unbelievable! A Smart, New Idea!”

You spend three years of your life going to law school. You spend over a hundred thousand dollars on getting that education. You take a difficult entrance exam to prove that you are qualified to practice law. You’d think that after all that you’d be able to convince sophisticated clients of your value as a lawyer.

You would, of course, be wrong.

The Wall Street Journal reports that over 20% of corporate clients simply refuse to pay for first- or second-year associate work on some matters.

This is a terrible indictment of the value of a legal education….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Clients Won’t Pay For What Law Schools Churn Out”

In August, New York Law School was hit with a class action lawsuit over the school’s allegedly deceptive post-graduate employment data. The suit accused NYLS of fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and deceptive business practices. Now, two months later, NYLS is packing some Biglaw heat and moving to dismiss the complaint.

In a case of David v. Goliath, Jesse Strauss and David Anziska, the small-firm lawyers who brought the suit on behalf of the plaintiffs, are now up against the lawyers at Venable, whose motion to dismiss on behalf of NYLS was accompanied by a cutting 25-page memorandum of law.

But why is the NYLS brief so harsh? Because the school argues that the Gomez-Jimenez suit isn’t about the plaintiffs at all, but instead is part of a “crusade” against the American Bar Association….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “New York Law School Files Motion to Dismiss Suit Over Employment Data”

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