Davis Polk

President Barack Obama now supports marriage equality. And so do many major law firms, it seems. More than 30 top firms provide the “tax offset for domestic partner health benefits” or the “tax equalization for same-sex health benefits.” (If you’re not familiar with this benefit, also known as the “gay gross-up,” see this explanation.)

Since our last discussion of which Biglaw firms offer the tax offset, a few more names have jumped on the bandwagon. Let’s find out which ones, shall we?

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In the nascent spirit of positivity around here, let’s take a look at where, according to our research, Biglaw’s happiest troopers can be found.

To be sure, lawyers are a notoriously depressive lot. Various studies — and presumably Will Meyerhofer — suggest that the characteristics that make a good lawyer actually correlate with clinical depression. Combine these alleged traits with crushing debt, an oversaturated job market, and an uncertain future, and the industry seems mired in malaise.

But what about those fortunate ones who’ve managed to snag a coveted Biglaw gig? Why, not only are they employed, but they have a realistic chance to pay off their loans. Are they any more upbeat than the industry’s rank-and-file? Our own survey data strongly suggests the answer is definitely maybe.

Respondents to our ongoing ATL School & Firm Insider Survey give their “firm morale” a mean rating of 6.81 out of 10. (By the way, if you haven’t yet, please take the survey here.) For context, lawyers rate morale a bit higher than “hours” (6.55) and bit lower than “training” (6.88). So, generally speaking, firm morale is not conspicuously singled out by lawyers as a negative.

But which are the happiest firms? And the unhappiest? Let’s have a look at the Biglaw shops getting top marks for esprit de corps….

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'So then I said to them, 'We have, like, a staggered board AND a poison pill. So suck on that!''

The halls are alive with… the sound of vermin? As we’ve mentioned earlier today, some top law firms (and even one top law school) are experiencing problems with rodents, insects, and other pests.

And, unfortunately, some of these critters have crept into company canteens. Thanks to New York City’s controversial system of rating restaurants, in which establishments receive letter grades based on their health and sanitation violations (or lack thereof), we know which law firm cafeterias are worth patronizing (and which ones are best avoided).

Let’s take a look at which Biglaw behemoths have the best — and the buggiest — dining rooms….

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... to take a survey.

The ATL School and Firm Insiders Survey continues to roll along at a nice clip: we expect our 3,000th respondent any minute now. While we’re pleased with this response, of course we encourage all of you who haven’t yet to take 3-5 minutes and head over here to take our absolutely confidential survey. Thanks in advance.

Last week, we shared a few broad trends we’re seeing, and today, we’ll get a little more specific and name some names.

Among other things, the survey asks law students for their perceptions of a select group of firms as potential employers. In our analysis, we’ll look at which firms are considered the most (and least) attractive by law students. We’ll also consider how these perceptions jibe with what lawyers at these firms are telling us….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “ATL Survey Update: Student Favorites and the Ghosts of Layoffs Past”

She definitely loves wieners.

* Vedel Browne has been charged in the machete robbery of Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer. He faces up to 20 years if convicted, and with that sentence, we’re betting he wishes he got away with more than $1,000. [CNN]

* ¡Viva México! These days, Mexico’s got more than just drug cartels, violence, and prison riots. More and more U.S. and international law firms (like DLA Piper) are crossing the border to set up shop. [Wall Street Journal]

* Which Biglaw firms own New York’s congressional delegation in terms of donations? The same Biglaw firms that have handed out bigger bonus dollars: Boies Schiller, Davis Polk, and Paul Weiss. [Politicker]

* Jury selection in the Tyler Clementi case is under way. Dharun Ravi, the Rutgers student who allegedly spied on his roommate, faces up to ten years in prison. Should’ve taken the plea bargain, bro. [New York Post]

* Some women like their wieners with a side of abuse, but that doesn’t mean they want the encounter memorialized on film. A federal judge says that’s too bad, so let the cameras roll. [Hollywood Reporter]

* Katherine Darmer, a Chapman University law professor, passed away after falling from a building last week. Her death is now being probed as a possible suicide. Rest in peace, professor. [Los Angeles Times]

Professors Richard Epstein (left) and John Yoo

* Are you still trying to make sense of the conflicting opinions in United States v. Jones, the GPS tracking case recently decided by the Supreme Court? Professor Barry Friedman has this helpful round-up. [New York Times]

* Elsewhere in law professors opining on SCOTUS, what do Professors Richard Epstein and John Yoo predict the Court will do regarding Obamacare? [National Review Online]

* A Spanish CFO, a Finnish tax lawyer, and a moody Hungarian CEO walk into an Amsterdam coffee shop…. [What About Clients?]

* Musical chairs: prosecutor Greg Andres is leaving DOJ for DPW. [DealBook]

* In case you missed this fun Friday story, it got picked up by MSNBC today. [Digital Life / MSNBC]

* Did your law firm give you an iPad? Are you wondering what to do with the darn thing? Here’s an idea, after the jump….

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* Andrews Kurth had such a good year that they’re not just giving their high performers bonuses, they’re giving raises to 25 associates! [Texas Lawyers]

* Davis Polk is taking a jump across the pond. [The Lawyer]

* When I’m struggling to think creatively, I have a drink. When that doesn’t work, I have another. [What About Clients?]

* How bloodthirsty do you have to be to believe that the death penalty, as applied, is actually working? [SAFE]

* If I had a kid, I’d start a parenting blog. I’d call it: How To Avoid Raising A Lawyer. [WSJ Law Blog]

This is not the case for Biglaw partnership (and hasn't been for quite some time).

As mentioned yesterday in Non-Sequiturs, the white-shoe law firm of Milbank Tweed, in a recent press release about its new partnership class, gave a special shout-out to Atara Miller. It identified Miller as “likely the only Orthodox Jewish woman partner at a major Wall Street firm” (emphasis in the original).

The release continued: “Milbank has four other Orthodox partners who cope with the same issues, but each of them has a wife to run the household and children, while Ms. Miller takes on those duties at home.”

A big shot in Biglaw, and a baleboste to boot — that’s nice, very nice. But is it accurate to assert that Miller is unique?

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The pulchritudinous law firm of Davis Polk & Wardwell just announced its year-end bonuses. Are they as hot as DPW attorneys?

Apparently not. One of the sources who sent it our way had this one-word summary: “Ugh.” Said a second: “Bummed but not surprised.”

The Davis Polk bonus scale matches the Sullivan & Cromwell scale. It starts at $7,500 for the class of 2010 and tops out at $42,500 for the class of 2003 and more senior.

Is there a stub bonus for the class of 2011? What about mention of spring bonuses?

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'Til billable hours requirements do we part.

Since getting engaged, I’ve been wondering whether we should even bother trying to get into the New York Times wedding section. I’m sure that almost every newly engaged couple has similar thoughts, especially the blushing bridezillas in training. After all, the NYT wedding section is the place to announce your upcoming nuptials. Being featured in those hallowed pages is viewed as the ultimate sign of marital prestige.

You literally cannot go wrong with a write-up in the NYT wedding section (unless, of course, you end up with a Sex and the City situation and it looks like you’re a woman with a Hitler-esque mustache). So is there an easy way to get into the esteemed wedding section?

As proven by our very own Legal Eagle Wedding Watch, lawyers seem to have been featured in abundance. But that’s just the first part of the equation, according to a new demographics study….

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