Let’s get the details — including the early payment date at Cleary, and the lovely memo from Proskauer….
Manhattan is going back to work today. The power is on, pretty much. The subways are running, basically. And, well hell there’s money to be made, so get your asses to your desks.
While Staten Island is still a soggy disaster, Emperor Bloomberg has gotten the corporate centers of wealth generation back online in his “luxury city.” And so the city that never sleeps is waking up.
But just because we have power doesn’t mean there is heat. Yeah, the power is back on in SoPo, but in many places the heat isn’t yet working. (This is the case in Lat’s apartment; luckily he’s already in Nashville for an event tomorrow at Vanderbilt Law.)
So, I guess you need to be able to type with gloves on? A tipster at one Biglaw firm tells us a chilling story….
- Antitrust, Bankruptcy, Biglaw, Cadwalader, Career Center, Career Files, Cleary Gottlieb, Cravath, Davis Polk, Fish & Richardson, Intellectual Property, Jones Day, Labor / Employment, Morgan Lewis, Paul Hastings, Quinn Emanuel, Shearman & Sterling, Skadden Arps, Sullivan & Cromwell, Tax Law, Weil Gotshal
Around here, one can’t mention the concept of something being “overrated” without reference to one of the weirdest and most enduring ATL comment memes, a play on the late, great Hitch’s assertion that the four most overrated things in life are “champagne, lobster, anal sex, and picnics.” So who are the, um, lobsters of Biglaw?
Last week, we had a look at what our audience considered to be the most underrated Biglaw firms, by practice area. Today, inevitably, we turn it around and have a look at what you’re telling us are the most overrated firms.
Among other things, our ATL Insider Survey asks attorneys to nominate firms with overrated practices within the respondent’s own practice specialty. Litigators nominate litigation departments, etc.
To be sure, these survey results need to be taken with some buckets of salt — we realize that, for some, answering this question might be a chance to take an easy shot at a more successful rival or competitor. Of course, there are crazy people who will tell you that such paragons as Benjamin Franklin or Tom Brady are “overrated,” but that probably says more about the person making that statement than anything else. But that said, these survey responses are a fun glimpse at which firms Biglaw attorneys think are more sizzle than steak….
- Biglaw, Cleary Gottlieb, Cravath, Davis Polk, Debevoise & Plimpton, Dewey & LeBoeuf, Killing Lockstep, Money, Partner Issues, Partner Profits, Wachtell Lipton
Here’s an interesting irony: some of the Biglaw firms that spend the least amount of time thinking about money are the ones that enjoy the most of it. A number of super-elite New York law firms have lockstep compensation systems, in which partners are paid purely based on seniority, and these firms are among the most profitable in the country. These firms focus on doing great work for their clients, not on divvying up the spoils from such work — and, in the end, there’s more than enough filthy lucre to keep everyone smelling like money.
On an individual level, some of the wealthiest lawyers in Biglaw — the ones who make partner, and remain partner, for years and years — don’t fixate much on money either. They focus instead on their work, which they seem to just love (often more than any hobbies, and sometimes more than their families). As for the money, well, it just comes — in copious quantities.
Let’s take a closer look at these phenomena….
- Biglaw, Cleary Gottlieb, Fried Frank, Lateral Moves, Latham & Watkins, Media and Journalism, Mergers and Acquisitions, Musical Chairs, Partner Issues, Wall Street
Let’s say you graduated from a leading college, summa cum laude, and from an elite law school, also summa. You began your legal career as a transactional lawyer at one white-shoe law firm, where you made partner. You left that firm for investment banking, where you encountered significant success. Then you returned to the legal world, first as an M&A partner at one top firm, then at another. At your final firm, you served as global co-chair of the firm’s renowned mergers and acquisitions group, working on some of the biggest deals around the world.
Then, in your 70s, you decide to leave your firm and also the legal world. Where would you go next?
- Arnold & Porter, Biglaw, Carlton Fields, Cleary Gottlieb, Debevoise & Plimpton, Feminism, Fenwick & West, Gay, Gender, Hughes Hubbard & Reed, Jenner & Block, Minority Issues, Morrison & Foerster, Munger Tolles & Olson, Paul Weiss, Racism, Rankings, Ropes & Gray, Shearman & Sterling, Vault rankings, Weil Gotshal, Women's Issues
We’re entering on-campus interviewing season. If you’re a law student going through OCI, or if you’re a lawyer involved in your firm’s recruiting process, be sure to check out Above the Law’s new law student career center, a repository job search resources, and our law firm directory, where law firms get letter grades in different categories.
One area that interviewees are always interested in is diversity. Diverse attorneys — okay, that’s a bad way of putting it — minority attorneys want to know where they’ll feel welcome. Even lawyers who aren’t minorities want workplaces that are open and inclusive. And corporate clients are increasingly keen on sending their work to firms that show a commitment to diversity.
So which Biglaw firms are the biggest on diversity? Let’s check out the latest rankings….
- Allen & Overy, Biglaw, Breasts, Cleary Gottlieb, Facebook, Morning Docket, Police, Stephen Breyer, Technology, United Kingdom / Great Britain, White & Case
* England has approved of the use of Facebook for service of legal documents. If the files went to “Other” messages, the defendant can probably claim ineffective service of process. [Associated Press]
That means a little extra money for those at the very top of the scale.
But does it mean spring bonuses?
- Biglaw, Cleary Gottlieb, Cooley Godward, Gay, Gay Marriage, Health Care / Medicine, McCarter & English, Money, O'Melveny & Myers, Perks / Fringe Benefits, SNR Denton, Tax Law, Weil Gotshal
Here in the great state of New York, marriage equality is the order of the day — as it is in five other states, plus D.C.. But due to the Defense of Marriage Act, the federal tax code does not recognize same-sex unions. As a result, as explained by the law firm of McCarter & English, “the Internal Revenue Code treats the value of employer-provided healthcare benefits for a civil union or domestic partner as ‘imputed income’ to the employee. This means that employees who elect domestic partner benefits must pay income tax on the value of those benefits, which is in direct contrast to employees with different-sex spouses.”
To address this inequality, a number of law firms — including McCarter & English, as of this June — have adopted what we here at Above the Law have dubbed the “gay gross-up.” This benefit consists of “a bump in income such that, post-tax, the employees are in the same position as similarly situated employees electing healthcare benefits for their opposite-sex spouses.”
In addition to McCarter, a number of prominent law firms have adopted this policy since our last report. Let’s find out which ones….
UPDATE (8/25/11): We’ve added to the list since it was originally published. See the updated list below.