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.
One other note: Law Shucks is changing server hosts this weekend. Please forgive any intermittent downtime.
Private equity is one of the largest benefactors of BigLaw.
PE firms are massive consumers of all sorts of legal work, from fund formation, to investment transactions, to exits. Investment banks – and perhaps government (see, e.g., Davis Polk, Cleary Gottlieb, and Simpson Thacher slurping from the TARP firehose), thanks to recent events that have pumped that above traditional norms – are probably the only providers of more billable hours.
Cornell Law School recently circulated to its students in the class of 2012 — i.e., rising 2Ls –a list of class of 2010 and 2011 members who landed jobs through the fall recruiting process. Most of these positions, not surprisingly, are at large law firms (aka “Biglaw”). The class of 2010 graduates will presumably be working for their firms in a few months (or in a year or so, if they’ve been deferred); the class of 2011 students are presumably summer associates at their firms right now.
Many law schools circulate such lists to their students. This gives rising 2Ls an opportunity to connect with graduates or fellow students and maybe learn a little bit more about law firms before fall recruiting really heats up.
The Cornell Law employment lists offer an interesting snapshot of the employment prospects for students and graduates of a top law school. The lists provide the name of the graduate or student, their law firm employer, the city they’ll be working in, and the graduate or student’s email address. We have reprinted the lists, but with names and email addresses redacted, after the jump.
Should Cornell Law students be pleased or pissed off by their school’s track record at Biglaw placement? We hear from one CLS student and then debate the question, also after the jump.
Welcome to the next in our series on the results of the 2010 ATL/Career Center Associate Satisfaction survey. We’ve used the survey results to revamp the Career Center, powered by Lateral Link, with completely updated profiles. Each week, we are highlighting insider information that Members shared about their firms in the eight key areas of associate satisfaction covered by the Career Center.
Today, we look at how your firm and others measure up in one very important aspect: Billable Hours.
This Texas-based firm, with one of the world’s leading energy practices, does not have a billable hours requirement, although bonus amounts are contingent upon meeting certain hours thresholds.
While this "top-notch" New York-based firm has no official billable hours requirement, Lateral Link Members report that the unofficial expectation is between 2,100 and 2,400 hours.
This California-based firm, which focuses on intellectual property, has an unusual billing system based on "billed, not billable, hours," and although the billable minimum is only 1,700 hours, hours "recorded but not billed out to the client are disregarded."
First-year associates at this East Coast firm are required to bill 1,900 hours per year, while other associates are required to bill 1,950 hours, a requirement that Members concur is “attainable and reasonable.”
More highlights — check to see if your firm is featured — after the jump.
If you were friends with somebody who was laid off from Biglaw during the past 18 months, you probably tried to cheer your friend up with some sort of platitude. You probably told your friend, “It’s their loss,” or perhaps, “[The firm] will be sorry.”
You probably didn’t believe it when you said it, and neither did your friend. The sad reality is that for every associate fired, law schools produce ten more that are dying to replace them. It’s hard for individual associates to make their former employers “pay” for giving them the axe. The revenge quest becomes even harder when you take into account the fact that being laid off in this market was a career killer for most of those involuntarily kicked off the Biglaw bandwagon.
But at least one laid-off lawyer has been able to get a small measure of revenge against his former employer. The associate brings a message of hope to the fallen associates who walk the earth with cold dishes to serve their old employers…
Are Biglaw firms outsourcing legal work, or not? We don’t know, because apparently firms don’t want clients to know. The ABA Journal reports that most firms declined to even answer an outsourcing questionnaire:
About 83 percent of the 30 responding law firms declined to participate in the survey, according to Fronterion, the Chicago-based outsourcing consulting firm that conducted the study. Fronterion managing principal Michael Bell believes a majority of top law firms are using legal outsourcing providers, at least on an ad hoc basis, but they are reluctant to admit it because of the sensitivity of the issue.
Apparently all that criticism of the quality of international LPOs has made firms afraid to talk about outsourcing.
But since we’re dealing with top law firms, not talking =/= not doing…
[Last] Thursday, Google [began] covering a cost that gay and lesbian employees must pay when their partners receive domestic partner health benefits, largely to compensate them for an extra tax that heterosexual married couples do not pay. The increase will be retroactive to the beginning of the year.
“It’s a fairly cutting edge thing to do,” said Todd A. Solomon, a partner in the employee benefits department of McDermott Will & Emery, a law firm in Chicago, and author of “Domestic Partner Benefits: An Employer’s Guide.”
Why do gay and lesbian employees pay more in taxes to begin with?
Yes, you read that headline correctly. Out of nowhere, Cahill Gordon & Reindel has decided to give out a mid-year bonus. Not Cravath, not S&C, but Cahill Gordon. The same Cahill Gordon that is one of the few firms to have significant layoffs in 2010. This is the firm that could push the market towards mid-year bonuses?
Apparently so. A tipster reported the bonus scale to Above the Law. It’s not a huge amount of money, but it’s something….
Welcome to the next in our series on the results of the 2010 ATL/Career Center Associate Satisfaction survey. We’ve used the survey results to revamp the Career Center, powered by Lateral Link, with completely updated profiles and each week, we are highlighting insider information that Members shared about their firms in the eight key areas of associate satisfaction covered by the Career Center.
Today, getting away from it all (or not): face time and vacation policy.
Face time at this firm, “one of the best names to have on your resume, bar none," varies by partner and practice group, but in general, Members report that the firm puts no particular emphasis on face time.
This firm, a Beltway insider, offers a Reduced Workload Policy, which allows attorneys to work reduced schedules to fulfill family care responsibilities as well as activities designed to enhance professional development or stature in the legal community.
This firm’s extensive overseas office network may contribute to its "generally good" attitude about respecting vacations and the fact that most associates are generally "able to use all of [their] vacation time."
This Chicago-based "powerhouse" recently made the switch to an unlimited vacation policy, allowing attorneys to take vacation days at their discretion; Members say most attorneys use the policy judiciously and average between two and three weeks of vacation.
Who else is getting more vacation than you are? Additional highlights, after the jump.
It’s not every day that a partner leaves the storied firm of Cravath, Swaine & Moore. But it’s not every day that a suitor with comparable prestige, wealth, and WASPiness comes calling. Dealbook reports:
Morgan Stanley said on Thursday that it has hired Francis P. Barron, a partner at the law firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore, as its chief legal officer. Mr. Barron will replace Gary G. Lynch, who will remain with Morgan Stanley as a vice chairman in London…. The hiring is the latest management shake-up under James P. Gorman, Morgan Stanley’s chief executive since the beginning of the year.
At Cravath, where he has worked for 32 years, Mr. Barron specialized in litigation, corporate matters and advising boards. Among his clients are financial firms like Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, UBS and Goldman Sachs, as well as General Electric.
Moving from a law firm to Wall Street isn’t uncommon. On New York magazine’s recent list of hottest Wall Street bachelors — co-authored by Bess Levin, of our sister site Dealbreaker, and Jessica Pressler — two out of the 15 “foxes of finance” have law degrees (one from Harvard and one from Seton Hall).
A move at this high a level, from a Cravath partnership to an investment bank, is less common. But such moves happen — and, interestingly enough, Frank Barron isn’t even the first ex-Cravath partner to wind up in a top position at Morgan Stanley….
Is this part of a larger trend? And will it continue?
“In under a year, White & Case has lost nearly 40 partners, most of whom have the largest books of business in the firm,” according to one source. “Many of the partner departures have been widely covered by the media — e.g., the 13 departures to Latham in London — but many more have been under the radar screen.”
We’ve received divergent opinions, however, on the extent and significance of the partner losses. Some say that many of the partners who left are not major names and have limited books of business, and that 40 is far too high for the number of departures in the past year. According to the Lawshucks Lateral Tracker, at least 28 attorneys have left W&C since October 2009, but we don’t know the number for the trailing 12 months.
Who are some of the other White & Case lawyers that have left for other firms? What are the broader implications of these departures? And what does the firm have to say about all of this?
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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