Bryan Cave

In August of 2009, while driving around Silicon Valley after speaking at Santa Clara Law, I saw an office park in East Palo Alto with a sign that jumped out at me. Being a Biglaw groupie, I stopped and snapped a picture:

I parked, got out of my rental car, and walked around. I was struck by the beauty of the overall office complex, with its expansive plaza, immaculate landscaping, and fountains. It was a veritable law firm Xanadu!

Or maybe an old Indian burial ground….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyerly Lairs: Dewey Have An Exorcist In The House?
(Plus more potential partner departures.)”

According to the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.), small law firms have adopted the mantra: merge or die. Indeed, the number of law firm mergers is staggering. “At least 60 mergers occurred in the U.S. and abroad last year, the highest level since 2008 and a 54% jump from 2010, according to legal-industry consulting firm Altman Weil Inc. Industry experts expect the figure to rise this year.”

Why the up-tick in mergers? The economic downturn has caused a shift when it comes to legal service providers: it is a “seller’s market for the first time in 20 years.” In other words, law firms are not able to raise rates in order to increase profits. So, small firms turn to mergers as a way to increase their revenue and allow them to compete with all-purpose, larger firms. Randall H. Miller, who as managing partner at Denver-based Holme Roberts & Owen LLP helped engineer its acquisition by Bryan Cave, explained that “[l]ittle by little, our ability to service our clients’ needs ha[d] been limited by our smaller size,” which was why he pushed for the merger.

Yet, small firm to large firm mergers are not the answer for all small firms. The article featured several potential problems….

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* Herman Cain’s got Wood over all of these sexual harassment accusers. No, seriously. He hired Bryan Cave defector L. Lin Wood to handle his possible defamation claims. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Sad and depressing old man news: Joe Paterno’s legal innocence was irrelevant. Instead of letting him retire at the end of the year, the Penn State Board of Trustees fired him last night. [New York Times]

* A woman from Idaho with some real backwoods charm. What to do when your husband — a lawyer — plots to kill you? Stand by your man and blame the corrupt government. [ABC News]

* Tired of getting screwed? Mayor Bloomberg makes nice with the OWS people, congratulating them for “generally . . . not break[ing] the law.” What a sad great accomplishment. [New York Post]

* And this is why you don’t play games with your résumé, folks. Here’s some proof that next time you lie about being covered in Ivy, you’re going to get a wicked bad rash. [Boston Herald]

* If assignments like this appeared more often, I bet people would stop procrastinating so much and do their homework all day, every day (and then do it again for extra credit). [Arizona Republic]

* Have the Biebs’s lawyers learned nothing from Bill Urquhart? Always CHECK YOU EMAILS to avoid a public Maury Povich-esque paternity problem. [New York Daily News]


With fall recruiting gearing up, and the lateral market warming up, we continue our annual series of open threads about the law firms featured in the Vault prestige rankings. These threads provide ATL readers with a forum to discuss the different firms and their various strengths and weaknesses.

The end of the Vault 100 is in sight. We’re covering the firms in batches of 20 now. Here are the firms ranked #61 to #80, which will provide today’s discussion fodder:

61. Greenberg Traurig, LLP
62. Holland & Knight LLP
63. Fish & Richardson P.C.
64. Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP
65. Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP
66. Foley & Lardner LLP
67. Perkins Coie LLP
68. Nixon Peabody LLP
69. Patton Boggs LLP
70. Kaye Scholer LLP
71. Hunton & Williams LLP
72. Reed Smith LLP
73. Steptoe & Johnson LLP
74. Chadbourne & Parke LLP
75. Howrey LLP
76. Bryan Cave LLP
77. Lovells (US) [now part of Hogan Lovells]
78. Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP
79. Crowell & Moring LLP
80. Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP

This is a very eclectic group, including a few New York-centric firms, some D.C.-dominated places, and a bunch of national and even international giants.

Let’s take a closer look at some of these shops….

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Things haven’t been easy for Bryan Cave and its associates during this recession. But today is a good day. There is no need for an A.K.

Last night, we received word from tipsters that BC associates across most of the firm’s offices will be told that they are getting a raise:

Bryan Cave announced to associates that associates will be getting a pay raise effective august 1 and another at the “normal” pay raise date of January 1.

Our sources tell us that associates in all U.S. offices, and London, will receive a raise.

However, the salary bump will not affect first years. The BC starting salary will remain at $145K in Chicago.

The amount of the raise will obviously vary by office, but we’ve got some information for the Chicago people…

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Do you remember the scene in the Amityville Horror House movie where the toilet says to the family, “Get out”? That seems to be what firms are telling incoming associates when they defer first-years until 2012.

Today, we’ve got another firm that has decided to put some of its incoming associates on the long march towards nowhere in particular. Missouri Lawyers reports:

St. Louis-based Bryan Cave is among the firms that have pushed off start dates on new associates to 2012.

The firm’s St. Louis office made 14 total offers last fall to 2010 law school graduates, but told seven of them at the time that they wouldn’t be starting until January 2012, said managing partner Peter Van Cleve. The other seven were extended offers to start in January 2011.

Remember, Bryan Cave is still trying to absorb the members of the class of 2009 — at least the ones who didn’t already take the firm’s offer to split…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Incoming Bryan Cave Associates: Welcome to 2012.”

Every now and then, we like to offer our readers some career alternatives — things you can do with your law degree and legal training that don’t involve, say, working in a large law firm or as a contract lawyer. We’ve profiled a wide range of individuals, from lawyers who have left the law for everything from football coaching to CEO-ing to therapy (giving, not receiving).

A number of past profiles have involved attorneys turned entrepreneurs. We’ve looked at lawyers who have started restaurants and gone into college admissions consulting. We’ve profiled a lawyer who makes hot tamales, and a lawyer who is a hot tamale.

Today we continue down the path of attorneys who have gone from representing companies to launching them. Our latest interviewee has started a company, Urban Interns, that might be of interest to any ATL readers who are looking to hire interns — or any ATL readers who are looking for internships, which can provide valuable experience and/or a paycheck (of great value during these times of still-high unemployment).

Meet Cari Sommer, a Biglaw alum who last year launched Urban Interns….

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Last month, Midwestern firm Polsinelli Shughart raided Bryan Cave. Approximately 22 attorneys from Bryan Cave’s Phoenix, D.C., and Chicago offices spread their wings and flew over to Polsinelli. The Phoenix flock was the largest, consisting of 12 partners and associates.

When a big group of attorneys leave, it sometimes spooks those left behind. We hear that one partner at Bryan Cave was really spooked.

The attorneys that left had all been on the 22nd floor, the main floor of the Phoenix office on which clients are greeted. Their departure left the floor eerily vacant, so the firm asked some partners and attorneys to move into the empty offices. One of those asked to move was longtime partner Bob Shely. He felt his new office was tainted, though; according to reports circulating widely at the two firms, he said it had an “evil feeling.”

I see defected people?

According to the rumor mill, he wanted the carpets torn out and the office renovated. But a recruiting coordinator at the firm offered a cheaper solution: a do-it-yourself spiritual cleansing kit….

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