Kaye Scholer

When we covered the American Lawyer’s annual summer associate satisfaction survey last year, we noted that “[b]eing a summer associate just isn’t what it used to be.” All work and no play may make summer associates dull boys and girls, but it also makes them highly confident they’ll receive offers of full-time employment when their programs end.

Despite the fact that it’s a “buyer’s market for law firms,” many of them tossed out offers to their summer classes like Mardi Gras beads. Summer associates were no longer praying for offers, as they were in certain years past; no, this summer, they almost expected offers to be handed to them.

These were the conclusions drawn from the American Lawyer’s 2014 Summer Associate Survey. Am Law polled 5,085 law students at the nation’s largest firms about their summer experiences and used the results to rank 96 programs. This year’s crop of would-be lawyers was seemingly at ease about their situations, despite the fact that there is still a general unease permeating through Biglaw.

This summer’s overall rankings were overwhelmingly positive. If you’re a law student trying to figure out where to spend your summer, you’re probably asking: which law firms came out with the highest scores?

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Woo, Biglaw! Being a summer associate is the best!

Summer associate class sizes may be smaller than they were back in the good old days, but Biglaw firms seem to have used the shrinking summer pool as an excuse to throw events that were overflowing with an abundance of awesomeness. Offers are still being tossed out like Mardi Gras beads, and life was very, very good for this summer’s crop of Biglaw initiates.

But just how good are we talking here? We think the fact that we received an overwhelming number of nominations for this year’s summer associate event contest speaks volumes. We managed to whittle down the list of 20+ gushing nominations we received to just eight of the most amazing. Some were cultural extravaganzas, others were athletic outings, but all were fun and absolutely fabulous. Thanks to everyone who submitted a nomination.

Did your firm make the cut this year? Take a look to find out…

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* Lawyers from top New York City firms like Skadden, Proskauer, Stikeman, Weil Gotshal, Kaye Scholer, and Bailey Duquette took to the ice to compete for the Lawyers’ Cup. The team with Canadian imports won, obviously. [Forbes]

* Andre Bouchard was nominated to replace Judge Leo Strine as Chancellor of the Delaware Court of Chancery. We can only hope he’ll be as outspoken as his predecessor. [WSJ Law Blog (sub. req.)]

* UNC Law has been receiving fewer applications, and perhaps that’s the reason why its acceptance rates have gone up, up, up — from 36 percent to 45 percent — in the last year alone. Yikes. [Daily Tar Heel]

* A woman alleges her Uber driver “fondled [her] legs, groin area and breasts” as she tried to give him directions. That extra customer service is what makes it cost more during peak times. [Chicago Tribune]

* A watch repairman was so pissed about this Yelp review he sicced his lawyer on the man who handed out the two-star report. Of course his lawyer’s one-paragraph demand letter barely makes sense. [Gawker]


This is the latest in a new series of ATL infographics — visual representations of our own proprietary data, relevant third-party data, “anecdata,” or just plain jokes. This infographic is brought to you by our friends at Prestige Legal Search. Earn another $5,000 to $50,000 with their Rewards Program.

For the most part, Biglaw associate bonuses remain stuck at last year’s levels, reflecting expectations that firm profits will be flat at best. This might seem fair, with everyone feeling the pinch of the “New Normal” and so on. But when we take a small step back and see how these bonus numbers compare as a percentage of partner profits to the bonuses of just a few years ago, these bonuses are arguably pretty measly.

The current $10,000 “market” (i.e., Cravath-following) rate for first-years is just 0.29% of Cravath’s profits per partner (according to the American Lawyer). Back in 2007, first-year bonuses equaled 1.36% of PPP. In other words, the Cravath partnership was nearly five times more generous to its associates back then.

Obviously, Cravath is among the most profitable firms in the world. What are the implications of matching Cravath’s bonus scale for those firms with much lower profit margins? Today’s infographic takes a look at how big a hit to PPP partners willingly take in order to Keep Up With The Cravathians….

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It’s Friday the 13th, and many consider this day to be unlucky, especially if they’re at a lockstep firm in New York. There simply isn’t any suspense left to be had for these people. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t received your bonus yet because you know exactly what you’re going to get.

Cravath has spoken, and even Sullivan & Cromwell has fallen in line behind the king of bonus compensation. But some firms — like Boies (with a jaw-dropping $300K bonus), Ropes & Gray, and Schulte Roth & Zabel — are giving especially industrious associates some additional monetary awards for all of their hard work.

If you’re employed at a firm like Kaye Scholer and you worked your tail off in 2013, you must be jumping for joy right now. How high did their bonuses climb?

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* President Obama’s top lawyer, Kathryn Ruemmler, is staying on the job longer than planned. That cushy Biglaw partnership can wait a while longer. [Reuters]

* The ABA Journal talks to Joel Hamner about the continuing stain of the online advertisement mentioning his firm that he says he never ordered, paid for, or authorized. [ABA Journal]

* Ohio judge’s wife charged with poisoning him with antifreeze. When will she learn to make a decent Thanksgiving dinner? [ABC News]

* Robe Rules Rag Not Racist! [New York Observer]

* Woman shoots her husband outside a law firm in Tennessee. She already faced charges in Mississippi for a different shooting. You’d think someone might have taken her gun away before this, but she must be critical to that “well regulated militia.” [WKRN]

* Kaye Scholer lost the co-managing partner of its California offices. They’ve been hemorrhaging partners out there — trouble in paradise. [ABA Journal]

* D.C. Judge Natalia Combs Greene gets ripped for “inappropriate comments.” She should have some choice words in response. [The Blog of the Legal Times]

What do you do when the demand for legal services falls into the gutter? Did you answer: make up a new, unnecessary service to artificially drum up business? Then congratulations, you’re well on your way to making partner!

A Biglaw firm is pitching a “second opinion” service, asking clients to throw a couple of bucks their way to confirm or reject the conclusions of the client’s primary lawyers. Lawyers love being second-guessed, so this practice makes firms and clients alike more than a little nervous.

However, it’s all about how you pitch it, and with the right spin this just might be the best idea anyone’s had to shore up some business in a while….

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The Biglaw on-campus recruiting season is a subject of decreasing relevance for most aspiring lawyers, as illustrated by this grim infographic. We are all familiar with the parade of horribles that is the law firm recruitment market, at least from the student point of view. Since the halcyon days of 2007, summer associate class sizes are down at the overwhelming majority of large law firms, often by fifty percent or more. And of course nobody is seriously arguing that class sizes will ever rebound to their pre-recession levels. But 50 percent is not 100 percent; there are still 2Ls who have just made their way through the OCI cattle call.

About a month back, we asked our readers to share their experiences of the OCI process. We wanted to learn where student priorities fall during this era of “New Normal.” For those of you fortunate enough to be in a position to choose among employers, what are the factors driving your decisions? What, if anything, is likely to make you reject an offer? And what, in this unbalanced buyers’ market for legal talent, is the actual interview experience like?

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Kaye Scholer welcomes you to Flori-duh!

* It looks like it’s time for yet another rousing game of Biglaw musical chairs. This time, 11 of Bingham McCutchen’s securities enforcement partners are hightailing it over to Sidley Austin en masse. [DealBook / New York Times]

* This week in on-shore outsourcing: there may be a job waiting for you at Kaye Scholer’s new operations center (so new we bet you didn’t know about it), so hurry up and apply, because the interviews are soon. [Tallahassee Democrat]

* “We’re trained in the law and persuasion, not firearms.” But maybe you should be? After the targeted killing of attorneys in Texas, prosecutors are now on high alert. [New York Times]

* When looking at the current law school model, Paul Caron of TaxProf Blog urges law deans to take advice from Jimmy McMillan because “law school tuition is simply too damn high.” [Businessweek]

* Change our admissions practices amid the worst legal economy we’ve seen in decades? “Ain’t nobody got time for that,” scoffed Sarah Zearfoss, director of admissions at Michigan Law. [AnnArbor.com]

* Drexel Law will accept applications for its two-year law degree program in May 2014. The higher-ups at the ABA are scheduled to laugh their asses off on or about the same date. [Philadelphia Inquirer]

* “[F]or James Eagan Holmes, justice is death.” In a move that shocked absolutely no one, the prosecution in the Aurora, Colorado movie theater massacre case is seeking the death penalty. [CNN]

Now that Sullivan & Cromwell has weighed in on bonuses, there’s not much suspense left regarding associate bonuses at the major New York lockstep firms. Attention will now turn to top firms with individualized bonuses, like Kirkland & Ellis and Latham & Watkins.

Most of the big New York-based firms have matched the Cravath scale. But at least one — besides Boies Schiller, home of the whopper (aka a $250,000 bonus) — is going above and beyond Cravath.

At Kaye Scholer, high billers get something extra stuffed in their stockings. How much are we talking about?

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