Firm A: You win a major, high-profile case. The victory is covered by the legal press and mainstream media. The award to your client is huge, and the victory comes at the expense of a rival firm. Your only problem? Your client won’t pay you your millions in legal fees.
Firm B: You lose a major, high-profile case. Your well-known client gets rocked with a huge verdict, a rival firm is taking a victory lap all around town, and all you can do is tweetabout the appeals process. But you are getting paid, and you expect to earn even more in fees as you plan your next move.
All else being equal, which firm would you rather work for?
I did not interview Quinn, though. Instead, I spoke to former Quinn attorneys turned small-firm superstars: Ryan Baker and Jaime Marquart, principals of Baker Marquart LLP.
Baker and Marquart have been doing the small firm thing for nearly five years now, so they know of what they speak. And they both went to HLS and worked at Quinn for many years, so they are smarter than most of us.
When asked for some 2011 predictions by the folks over at Hellerman Baretz, I had this to say (among other commentary): “Although business is generally picking up, some firms still haven’t managed to shake off the effects of the recession — and they are now seeing significant defections, as their partners leave for firms that have weathered the storm better. So, in the next year, look for at least one large — i.e., Am Law 200 — law firm to either dissolve or be swallowed up by another firm as an alternative to dissolution.”
One firm that has been experiencing some major partner departures and general upheaval is Howrey. This post is the first of what we expect to be a series of stories about the firm. If you have information about Howrey that you can share, please email us or text us.
It’s getting hard to keep track of all the partner defections at Howrey. But let’s give it a shot, as well as talk about various Howrey offices that might not be long for this world….
CHECK YOU EMAIL — for some happy bonus news. On Friday, litigation powerhouse Quinn Emanuel announced its 2010 bonus schedule. And it was good.
It’s a little more complex than the standard bonus scale at a lockstep firm. As in years past, Quinn Emanuel bonuses reflect a combination of seniority and hours worked. But one associate provides this concise summary: “Quinn matches Cravath, plus hours increments of $5K at each hour state, plus additional 50% paid in June 2011. So this raises the bar.”
Says a second source at QE: “I’m relatively pleased. So many people are billing so many hours here (we’re swimming in work) that these bonuses will be very substantial. The reason for the June payout is pretty clearly that the firm is try to retain some associates. Our turnover is massive. Anyway, enjoy!”
So, in essence, Quinn is paying 150 percent of the widely adopted Cravath bonus scale, subject to two caveats: (1) there’s an hours requirement of 2100 hours to get the Cravath-level bonus, and (2) the additional 50 percent payment will be paid in June 2011, to associates in good standing and on pace with their hours at that time. (Think of the June payment as a retention bonus of sorts.)
Let’s take a look at the memo, which contains the fine print (such as treatment of pro bono hours), and which also mentions modest bonuses for class of 2010 members — a nice touch, considering that the “stub-year bonus” is a rare thing these days….
Since we last checked in on him on Twitter, John Quinn — founding partner of litigation powerhouse Quinn Emanuel, and one of the nation’s ‘s top business litigators — has gained about 200 followers. And if he keeps tweeting in such insightful, funny, and brutally candid fashion, his following — right now he’s at 665 followers — will only grow.
You’ll be exposed to some interesting tweets — like this one, from over the weekend:
isaac larian, mga owner+adverse party in “bratz” case, showed up at my trial this week; claimed witness was being signaled from audience!
Bizarre — especially since the trial that Larian attended has nothing to do with the ongoing Barbie / Bratz litigation (in which Quinn represents Barbie maker Mattel against Isaac Larian’s company, Bratz maker MGA). The trial that Larian randomly appeared at is in the case of Bren v. Bren, a child support action brought against billionaire Donald Bren, Quinn’s client.
Quinn Emanuel lawyers at summit of Mt. St. Helens on Friday, June 25th
One of the perks of working at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan is an annual hiking trip to an exotic location. Quinnies have hiked in Zion National Park, Havasupai, Durango, and Interlaken, Switzerland, among other places. Last month, the firm went on its fifteenth trip, to Mount St. Helens in the Pacific Northwest, and did a day hike to the top of the crater.
we had 70 plus lawyers on this hike. all but one summitted. it was beautiful–and a challenge.
It was truly challenging: on the way back down the mountain, a couple of summers lost their way. The rest of the partners, associates and summers returned to their hotel by nightfall, but these two, whom we’ll call Hansel & Gretel, wound up shivering in the woods until 3 a.m. CORRECTION: A tipster tells us: “A group of four partners and associates hiked back up the mountain to look for them. Two of them, including a partner, stayed at the mountain until they were located, and the rest of the people were asked to leave by the sheriff.”
If the summer associate experience really were like an episode of Survivor, these two law students would not make the cut…
In case you haven’t noticed, Twitter is all the rage right now. Everyone is signing up — including your ATL editors.
Given that bloggers are in the business of taking in and pushing out content, our use of Twitter isn’t surprising. A more interesting development is that lawyers at large law firms, including fairly senior partners, are taking to the social networking site. One notable example is Frank Aquila of Sullivan & Cromwell, the high-powered M&A attorney who was named a Legal Rebel by the ABA Journal in part because of his use of Twitter (where he has over 1,300 followers).
The latest is even more prominent: superstar litigator John Quinn, founding partner of Quinn Emanuel. Over the weekend — because QE lawyers are always working, or at least always checking their email — this firm-wide email went around:
John Quinn is on Twitter. He will be tweeting legal developments, firm victories and events, as well as miscellaneous musings at @jbqlaw.
For whatever reason, Quinn Emanuel — the highly prestigious, super-profitable litigation powerhouse, with offices in California and New York — has received a disproportionate amount of coverage here at ATL. As we previously wrote, “we have a lot of tipsters over there. It seems that QE associates love to talk about their firm, for good or ill.”
And it’s not just associates. Last night we received an email from John Quinn, the “legal titan” and “known litigation genius” who founded Quinn Emanuel. In his long and detailed email, Mr. Quinn addresses several of the criticisms of QE that have surfaced on ATL. This was our favorite part:
it has been suggested that i do not use capital letters in my typing in an effort to be “cool.” i am not cool; wish i was, but after 56 years i don’t think it is going to happen. the fact is i am not coordinated enough to hit the shift button with one hand and a letter with the other.
Check out his complete email — in which he addresses a whole host of topics, including billables, bonuses, partnership decisions, partner compensation, and even office supplies — after the jump.
We currently have a number of active openings for associate roles at US and UK firms in HK / China, Singapore and two new in-house openings. As always, please feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org in order to get details of current openings in Asia, as well as to discuss the Asia markets in general and what we expect for openings later this year. Our Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney will be in Beijing the week of March 25 and Evan Jowers will be in Hong Kong the week of April 1, if you would like to meet them in person.
The US associate openings we have in law firms are in the usual areas of M&A, cap markets, FCPA / white collar litigation, finance, and project finance. The most urgent of our top tier (top 15 US or magic circle) law firm openings in Asia (among many other firm openings that we have in Asia) are as follows:
• 2nd to 5th year mandarin fluent M&A associates needed in Beijing and Hong Kong at several firms;
• Korean fluent 2nd to 4th year cap markets associate needed in Hong Kong;
• 2nd to 5th year Japanese fluent M&A associates needed in Tokyo;
• 4th to 6th year mandarin fluent cap markets associate needed in Hong Kong;
• 2nd to 4th year M&A / cap markets mix associate needed in Singapore.
In a land that is right here and in a time that is right now, a technology has arisen so powerful that it can replace basic human document review. Is it time to bow down before our new robot overlords?
First, here’s a little story about me: my life in the legal world began as a paralegal. My first case was a GIANT patent infringement case that was already six years old and had involved as many as five companies, multiple US courts, the ITC and an international standards committee. I knew nothing about any of this.
On my first day, my supervisor (a paralegal with at least eight other cases driving her crazy) sat me down in front of a Concordance database with a 100,000+ patents and patent file histories. “Code these,” she said. I learned that “coding”, for the purposes of this exercise, meant manually typing the inventor’s name, the title of the patent, the assignee, the file date, and other objective data for each document. I worked on that project – and only that project – for at least the first six months of my job. After a week or so, time began to blur.
What I know, in retrospect and with absolutely certainty, is that as time began to blur, so did my judgment. So did my attention to detail. If you could tell me that I did not make at least one mistake a day – one inconsistent spelling, one reversed day and month, one incorrectly spaced title – I frankly would need to see your evidence. I would not believe it. The human mind is trainable but it is not a machine.
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