Cravath

Apparently, there is news happening today that is not coming from the Supreme Court. No, I’m not talking about the impending contempt vote on Attorney General Eric Holder — which is going to look really partisan after what Roberts did today.

I’m talking about news from one of the most prestigious law firms in the country. Evan Chesler, presiding partner of Cravath Swaine & Moore is at the end of his term. Chesler will now be “Chairman” of Cravath, and the firm has elected a new presiding partner.

Who will lead Cravath as it establishes the “new normal,” post-recession?

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The new Vault Rankings are out. It’s a fun day for large law firms — a day when their prestige is matched against that of their peers.

The day is even more significant this year, since it appears that so-called “top” Biglaw firms are now paying bonuses largely in “prestige points.”

Vault ranks the prestige of firms based on nearly 17,000 surveys sent to law firm associates all across the country. Just by looking at the top ten firms, I think we can agree that associates who fill out these surveys have no memory and have really enjoyed this period of salary stagnation.

As I mentioned last week when talking about associate hours, it seems Biglaw partners really know what they’re doing. Whether we’re talking about prestige or associate hours, partners have figured out that associates will take less money and like it….

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Not cool, bro.

Californians tend to be quite protective of the state’s reputation as a progressive paradise. Where equality is important for everyone, no matter your race, gender, sexual orientation, whatever. Where organic food is simply better, no matter how much it costs. Where the earthquakes are a fine price to pay for an entire year of temperate weather.

So, when the New York Times ran an extensive article this weekend about an accomplished female attorney who sued the major venture capital firm where she is a partner for sex discrimination, it puts a real fly in the state’s — and specifically the tech industry’s — collective ointment.

The Times’s extensive story concerns Ellen Pao, a graduate of Harvard Law School and a former associate at Cravath. She has sued Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, a major VC firm.

Let’s take a look at the specifics of the suit, as well as what it might mean for attorneys who work within the emerging “brogrammer” culture in Silicon Valley…

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Early last week, we asked readers to submit possible captions for this photo:

On Thursday, you voted on the finalists, and now it’s time to announce the winner of our caption contest….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Caption Contest Winner: Biglaw Beach Blanket Bonus Bingo”

Earlier this week, we asked readers to submit possible captions for this photo:

Let’s have a look at what our readers came up with, and then vote on the finalists….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Caption Contest Finalists: Biglaw Beach Blanket Bonus Bingo”

As we mentioned last week, the American Lawyer recently released its highly influential, closely watched Am Law 100 law firm rankings. And despite all the doom and gloom permeating the legal profession, as well as the stagnant bonuses for associates lucky enough to make it into Biglaw, partners at large law firms are living just as large as ever.

In a way, the recovery in Biglaw is not unlike the recovery in America in general. If you were already well-off, you’re doing great now. It’s just not trickling down to anybody else. See, e.g., anemic spring bonuses.

Interestingly enough, the division of the world into “haves and have-nots” continues even into the world of major law firms. Partners at super-top-tier firms are putting even more distance between themselves and partners at less high-powered or less profitable firms.

Let’s look at the numbers, shall we?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The 2012 Am Law 100: Revenue and Profits Continue To Climb”

Brother, can you spare a dime? This year’s spring bonuses from Sullivan & Cromwell made legions of attorneys feel like they were hustling for spare change instead of living the Biglaw high life. With the bar on bonuses set so low, Cravath now has the opportunity to blow S&C out of the water.

And truth be told, many lawyers are hoping that the former market leader on spring bonuses will leave SullCrom all wet. Aww, don’t worry, we’ll get you a towel.

Here’s the photo for our latest caption contest….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Caption Contest: Biglaw Beach Blanket Bonus Bingo”

If you consider Sullivan & Cromwell’s Spring Tip as if it were a real tip on a meal that cost $160,000, S&C tipped at .6%. Not 6%, but .6%.

Cravath Swaine & Moore should be able to match that if every partner at the firm went home and shook the loose change out of their couches.

So, I’m not even going to ask if they’ll match. That’s a pathetic question. I’m going to ask if Cravath will beat the S&C spring bonus.

I mean, it’s not hard. S&C has set the bar so low that Cravath can crawl over it. For the love of God, I’ll get a better “spring bonus” from Breaking Media than S&C associates are getting.

If Cravath moves, we can assume S&C will follow….

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Lat here. In late March, I wrote a story with this title: “Sullivan & Cromwell Will Pay Spring Bonuses — But Will They Be Too Small To Be Worth Matching?”

I’m sad to report that my prediction has come to pass. Sullivan & Cromwell has announced spring bonuses, but they’re nothing to write home about. They are probably too modest for other firms to bother matching. The spring bonuses of Quinn Emanuel will surely exceed the S&C amounts.

Sullivan promised spring bonuses in its 2011 year-end bonus memo, and it reiterated that promise on subsequent occasions. But the powers that be at S&C never said anything as to amounts, leading some to forecast wimpy payouts.

So how much are we talking about? Let’s find out, and get some color commentary from my colleague, Elie Mystal….

UPDATE (4:20 PM): We’re continuing to update this post. Go after the jump and refresh.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Breaking: Sullivan & Cromwell Announces (Paltry) Spring Bonuses”

It’s time to crown February’s Lawyer of the Month. Yes, we realize that it’s a little late to be conducting a poll for February, but we’d still like to give our candidates a chance to extend their 15 minutes of fame (or infamy).

Last month, we saw some wacky antics from judges and former Biglaw associates, and some lawyering that has the potential to rock the world of legal education for the rest of time.

That being said, let’s check out our nominees for the month of February….

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