Cleary Gottlieb

The late, great James Stockdale put it best: Who am I? Why am I here?

You’re probably wondering the same thing as you read a Monday post from the heretofore “Thursday morning guy.” Well, I’m pleased to announce that I am your new ATL assistant editor. Moving on up from humble contributor to a spot on the masthead.

I will cover all manner of subjects, but with a particular eye on legal tech. Basically I’m the Kreiger of the ISIS operation that is ATL.

And yes, I’m going to be upping the Archer references at this publication because Archer is awesome.

More about me, including a real picture and my résumé for your crippling judgment, after the jump.

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Congratulations! You made it!

Few people are happier about the world’s surviving the Mayan Apocalypse than new partners at top law firms. Can you imagine slaving away in Biglaw for almost (or even over) a decade, finally winning election to the partnership in late 2012, and then having the world end before your hard-won partner status took effect?

Fortunately that didn’t happen. Heck, we didn’t even go over the fiscal cliff. But some people will have to pay higher taxes this year (and for many years to come).

Like these people: the talented and hardworking lawyers who, as of January 1, 2013, became partners of their respective law firms. Let’s find out who they are, so we can congratulate them….

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Congratulations to the new partners at Cleary Gottlieb and Proskauer Rose. Cleary elected eight new partners and Proskauer elected three new partners, both good-sized classes.

And congratulations to the associates at Cleary and Proskauer. They just learned that their firms will be matching the robust bonuses announced by Cravath earlier this week.

Let’s get the details — including the early payment date at Cleary, and the lovely memo from Proskauer….

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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….

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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….

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Maybe they’re on to something….

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….

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He’s going to Disney World? No, not this veteran M&A lawyer….

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?

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Who wants to do some document review?

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….

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Stephanie Adams

* Vedel Browne, the man charged with robbing Justice Stephen Breyer, will enter a plea of not guilty. Why turn yourself in and then claim innocence? That makes no sense, mon. [Washington Post]

* Guess which Biglaw firms helped to broker the $173B Greek debt deal? Cleary Gottlieb, Allen & Overy, and White & Case. It’s too bad they’re going to get paid in gyros. [Am Law Daily]

* 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]

* A Florida firm is suing the BBB after receiving a grade of “F.” It’s not the firm’s fault its clients complain — they’re just too dumb to “understand legal complexities.” [Orlando Sentinel]

* Former Playboy Playmate Stephanie Adams won a $1.2M jury award in her excessive force case against the NYPD. You don’t drop a woman with implants to the ground, she could pop. [New York Daily News]

The floodgates are open and we are awash in bonus news. Sources are reporting that Simpson Thacher and Cleary Gottlieb are both matching the Sullivan & Cromwell bonus scale.

That means a little extra money for those at the very top of the scale.

But does it mean spring bonuses?

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