Biglaw

FYI Jami and Therese: On Wednesdays, we wear pink!

* SCOTUS justices added 11 cases to this term’s docket yesterday following their megaconference earlier this week. Alas, no same-sex marriage cases have been added yet. [New York Times]

* The Fifth Circuit allowed Texas to enforce its new abortion clinic restrictions. The only thing that will stop its “devastating impact on abortion access” is SCOTUS intervention. [MSNBC]

* Two more women just joined the ranks of the highest tier of Biglaw firm leadership. Congrats to Jami Wintz McKeon of Morgan Lewis and Therese Pritchard of Bryan Cave. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Gibson Dunn poached a prominent partner from U.K. firm Ashurst following his fall from grace as its leader last year. He’s thrilled to work for “one of the strongest U.S. firms around.” [Am Law Daily]

* The Thomas Jefferson School of Law may be “California’s worst-performing law school,” but it certainly performs well in terms of providing entertainment for those who are big fans of schadenfreude. [City Journal]

* Many schools pay their grads to count them as employed — but not UNC Law. Its career services office is aware that “jobs don’t grow on trees,” but hey, at least they’re trying to be transparent. [Daily Tar Heel]

Ed. note: This is the latest installment in a series of posts Lateral Link’s team of expert contributors. Larry Latourette is Principal at Lateral Link, focusing exclusively on partner placements with Am Law 200 clients.

As a partner, you may ask, “Why should I work with a recruiter and why should it be you?”

The quick answer is because I can provide material value to you that you can’t obtain any other way. Let me explain, using the experiences of three candidates with whom I recently worked. Each were lawyers in their mid-to-upper thirties, had a book of business in the high six-figure range, and had concluded they wanted to explore other options…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Much To Gain And Little To Lose In Working With The Right Recruiter”

Bruce Stachenfeld

This is a continuation of the past two articles that I published in ATL over the past month. My first article gave my view that the profitability metric of Profits Per Partner is a good servant but a bad master and, as a master, it is a root cause of serious problems for Biglaw. In my second article, I put forth a Profits Per Partner Emancipation Plan as a different way of doing business that I hope will eventually be adopted. Now, here I am giving my theory on what I think is a higher level of law firm profitability analysis, which is to “Embrace Volatility.”

Let me start by asking you: what is it that we all crave in our hearts? I mean, we all want money and power and fame and to be cool and good-looking and talented at sports or music or acting — but in addition to that — I think it is one of the basest human emotions to crave:

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Reinventing The Law Business: Beyond Profits Per Partner — Embracing Volatility”


Justice Antonin Scalia

* Justice Scalia spoke at CU-Boulder last night. For his sake, we certainly hope he didn’t speak about any issues that might someday appear before SCOTUS, lest he be asked to recuse. [Boulder Daily Camera via How Appealing]

* Another one bites the dust over at Main Justice: David O’Neil, the head of the criminal division, is stepping down in the wake of the BNP Paribas case, and will likely have many white-shoe law firm suitors. [DealBook / New York Times]

* Fox Rothschild picked up a 18-lawyer boutique firm in Texas, which will serve as the home of its first outpost in the Lone Star State. Energy law, surprisingly, wasn’t the driving factor. [Legal Intelligencer]

* “I have a heart and I have two kids.” That’s a pretty damn good reason for Biglaw attorneys to take a break from their corporate billable hours to represent undocumented children pro bono. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Scott Greenfield reviews Lat’s forthcoming novel, Supreme Ambitions (affiliate link). Of course, in SHG style, it contains a spoiler. Try to skip that clearly marked paragraph. [Simple Justice]

It doesn’t seem like now is a particularly good time to be suing a Biglaw firm. Much like the old adage, when it rains it pours, and the victories just seem to be piling up on the Biglaw side.

Today’s update is from an age discrimination claim filed last year…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Another Biglaw Victory Against A Contract Attorney”

Tracy Morgan

* Weil Gotshal is tired of winnowing its workers, so this time around, the firm is relinquishing some of its real estate. The firm will have the same address as usual, but its space will be smaller — 20 percent smaller. [WSJ Law Blog]

* It’s not just leaders of Biglaw firms who are looking to downsize. Leaders of midsize firms are trying to do the same thing, but with their management responsibilities instead of their people. Charming. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

* Lawyers are typically stereotyped by the uninformed as being some of the richest people in America. As luck would have it, some lawyers are the richest people in America. Which ones? We’ll have more on this later. [Am Law Daily]

* “If I could redo a year ago, I would still go. Just because I know that [law school] still opens doors.” We’ve got a correction: Silly 2L, Columbia Law — not law school in general — still opens doors. [USA Today]

* Tracy Morgan has spoken out for the first time since his tragic accident this summer, but only after Wal-Mart blamed him for getting hurt in the first place. It’s a rollback on pure class. [New York Daily News]

Ed. note: This is the latest post by Above the Law’s guest conversationalist, Zach Abramowitz, of blogcasting platform ReplyAll. You can see some of his other conversations and musings here.

I never wanted to be a corporate lawyer. After three mind-numbing years of law school, I barely wanted to be a lawyer, but at least being a litigator seemed mildly bearable. So when I got the call two weeks before starting that I was getting placed in the firm’s M&A department, I didn’t know the first thing about due diligence. I had done zero corporate work during my summer internship, and I didn’t have any idea what corporate lawyers did on a daily basis. Smash cut to me sitting in a dimly lit office in December aimlessly plugging provisions into a chart while being mentally and verbally abused by the midlevel associate above me in the deal. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing or why any of this was important. Throughout my two years as an associate, I tried convincing myself that diligence was interesting — it was a way to learn about a company from the inside out.

Bulls#@%.

The real truth is that I couldn’t figure out why they didn’t give this work to a paralegal or, better yet, a robot. Both could have done my job better and cheaper. Well, wouldn’t you know it, savvy former Weil Gotshal associate Noah Waisberg has built DiligenceEngine, a piece of software that will find key provisions in documents for you, put them into charts, and save your clients time and money on due diligence. And if I know Biglaw partners, they LOVE to save their clients money and shave hours off the bill.

This week, I’ll speak with Noah about why diligence sucks, why human lawyers suck at it, and how he left law to make your life as a reviewing attorney easier and a little less miserable…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Why Diligence Sucks, Why You Suck At It, And Why Robots Want Your Job”

Sometimes, the internet seems to exist largely in order to rate things. User-generated and unverified reviews of everything from movies to cars abound. The thing with this proliferation of ratings, be they on Yelp, or Amazon, or whatever, is that we usually don’t have any idea whether or not the reviewer has any basis for his rating. (In fact, the spoof product review has become its own literary micro-genre.)

Spurious or baseless ratings are not a problem when it comes to ATL’s Insider Survey (17,300 responses and counting — thanks everyone!), in which practicing attorneys and current students evaluate their own schools or employers. Among other things, our survey asks attorneys to nominate firms with over- and underrated practices within the respondent’s own practice specialty. Litigators nominate litigation departments, etc.

Which firms do those in-the-know consider to be better (or weaker) than their reputations?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Over- And Underrated Biglaw Practice Groups”

A time-sensitive matter comes in. An experienced hand is needed to help. Where to look for that help? In Biglaw, the answer is usually an easy one: call up Partner No. 37 in distinguished branch office No. 6, and keep the billable hours rolling — with a happy nod towards a successful “cross-sell,” and instant validation of the underlying “size is good” concept behind so many of today’s firms. But is Partner No. 37 really the best lawyer to help out? Hard to believe that the answer is “yes” more often than not. Because Biglaw firms are constructed the way they are, however, there is a premium on making sure that existing firm resources are utilized as much as possible.

At the same time, we know the legal industry is struggling to cope with demand fluctuations, or all too often a lack of demand for expensive legal services. In the current environment, it is not a surprise to see Biglaw firms contorting themselves to reach optimal size, whether through mergers, layoffs, or lateral growth. Despite their efforts, there are very few firms that are optimally size-calibrated in relation to the demand for their services. For those firms fortunate enough to experience the occasional demand spike, retaining the ability to be nimble on staffing can mean the difference between a satisfied client or one who looks elsewhere “next time there is a big need.” Firms want repeat business, and being able to incorporate experienced additional lawyers — within the budget for a particular matter — onto the legal team can make a real difference in whether or not that repeat business happens.

But where else can firms (of all sizes) go for experienced help on short notice?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Beyond Biglaw: In-House Talent — Access Denied?”

Amanda Bynes

* “[T]he ‘superstar’ model of Supreme Court advocacy marketing is prevailing”: recent Supreme Court litigation has been dominated by Biglaw and boutiques, and five of them handled about half of last term’s cases. [WSJ Law Blog]

* It’s not a “done deal” yet, but Albany Law School is in serious talks with the University at Albany to form an affiliation by the end of the year. There’s been no word on whether Albany Law would remain a stand-alone school under the yet-to-be inked arrangement. [Albany Business Review]

* The dismissal of lawsuits concerning allegedly deceptive employment statistics at several Chicago-area law schools was affirmed by an Illinois appeals court. ::insert sad trombone here:: [National Law Journal]

* If you’re still thinking about applying to law school for some reason, you might find these tips on what not to write in a personal statement to be useful. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News & World Report]

* Amanda Bynes, one of our favorite fading starlets who was already on probation, was arrested this weekend on a DUI charge after stopping her car in the middle of an intersection. [Los Angeles Times]

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