Latham & Watkins

Well, spring bonuses are officially late. Last year, Sullivan & Cromwell announced spring bonuses on January 21. Here we are on January 23rd, and we’re still waiting.

It’s too early to worry. Cravath essentially check-raised S&C with spring bonuses last year. There’s a good chance S&C is just trying to figure out how to avoid having that happen again.

I still think spring bonuses will be coming. There are just too many firms paying out more than Cravath in terms of bonus. Cravath partners might be getting high fives from partners around Biglaw for helping to keep bonuses low. But there are so many firms blowing past Cravath (and Cravath followers) that, eventually, the very smart people Cravath hires will wake up and realize they can make more money elsewhere.

The latest firm to make Cravath bonuses look small is Latham & Watkins. Their median bonus is especially more generous than CSM’s as people become midlevel or senior associates….

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The next few State of the Market posts by Lateral Link, as compiled by Director Gary Cohen, will focus on one of the country’s largest states — Texas.

In general, lateral hiring activity in Texas has increased substantially in the past 12 months, with even greater momentum as we head into 2012. Corporate/securities and IP are the busiest major practice areas across the state; however, there are differences between the Dallas, Houston and Austin markets. Overall, the Houston market is the strongest, followed by Dallas, with Austin a distant third. In all markets, partners with solid books of portable business are viable and firms are always on the hunt for new partner-level talent….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Career Center: State of the Market – Texas (Part 1)”

SCOTUS has spoken on S&C's screw-up.

We’ve previously written about the mailroom of death at Sullivan & Cromwell. To make a long story short (read our prior posts for the full background), a mailroom mix-up at 125 Broad Street caused an Alabama death-row inmate to miss a deadline for filing an appeal. The Eleventh Circuit rejected the condemned man’s attempt to reopen his case.

Presumably feeling bad for what had happened, S&C appealed to the Supreme Court. The firm hired a leading SCOTUS advocate — former Solicitor General Gregory Garre, now a partner at Latham & Watkins — to argue that prisoner Cory Maples shouldn’t forfeit his life because of S&C’s screw-up.

This morning, the Supreme Court handed down its ruling in Maples v. Thomas. What did the high court have to say?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Supreme Court Rules on Sullivan & Cromwell’s Mailroom of Death”

We hope you’ve enjoyed following the Career Center’s Top Partners series through which we’ve recognized Biglaw partners from around the country who exemplify what it means to be an exceptional partner who associates are actually happy to work for. Thanks to all the readers who took the time to submit such glowing nominations and give some well-deserved recognition to the 60 partners highlighted in this series.

Today we conclude with the best partners in the smaller legal markets of Chicago, Dallas, and London. While the markets in which they work may be smaller, their firms are some of the biggest names in Biglaw: Winston & Strawn, Sidley Austin, Katten Muchin, K&L Gates, SNR Denton, and Latham & Watkins.

Let’s see who the final six partners are….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Career Center Survey Results: Top Partners to Work For – Smaller Legal Markets (Part 2)”

Today we take one last look at some of the finest Washington, D.C. partners to work for (if you missed Part 1, click here).

Not only are these six partners great at what they do, but perhaps more importantly, they are great people as well. And they work at some of the top law firms in the nation: Dewey & LeBoeuf, Cooley, Kirkland & Ellis, Latham & Watkins, Crowell & Moring, and Bingham McCutchen.

Kudos to these partners for making Biglaw a little less brutal….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Career Center Survey Results: Top Partners to Work For – Washington, D.C. (Part 2)”

It’s late October, so Biglaw bonus news could drop any day now. In 2010, Cravath didn’t kick off the season until November 22. But back in 2009, Cravath announced bonuses on November 2. And in 2007 — yes, the glory days, before the Great Recession — Cravath announced bonuses, regular and “special,” on October 29.

In light of the economic gloom and doom, including the possibility of a double-dip recession, it wouldn’t be shocking if bonuses are modest this year. Better to conserve the cash and avoid layoffs, right? Or maybe repeat what happened in 2010 and save some money for spring bonuses in a few months, when firms might have a better idea of the direction of the economy?

Regardless of how bonuses turn out, there are other pockets of good news in the world of large law firms — even news requiring law firms to open their wallets. Check out the growing number of firms that offer the perk we’ve dubbed the gay gross-up….

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The Am Law Midlevel associate survey came out yesterday. Satisfaction among 3rd, 4th, and 5th year Biglaw associates is down for the second year in a row.

That’s a trend people should get used to. The midlevel survey should be renamed the Survivor’s Remorse Report for the next few years. The thing will be a snapshot of the few who made it through the great winnowing of 2009, or the lucky who got into Biglaw as the industry massively scaled back new associate hiring. As demand for legal services picks up, all we’re going to be looking at here are people working extremely hard on inadequately staffed cases.

My favorite quote from the Am Law piece is from a DLA Piper associate (the associate will be played by Miranda from the Tempest in my mind) who said: “Firms got too lean [after the recession] and consequently realized that associates will work more and more if asked. Quality of life has therefore decreased.”

Oh, brave new world.

These midlevels who are whining right now are slightly missing the big picture. They might have to work long hours, but they are going to make serious bank for the rest of their legal lives….

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Welcome to our latest round-up of summer associate offer rate news. This post contains the latest list of law firms and offices with 100 percent offer rates. In future posts, we’re going to shift gears and focus on firms with lower-than-average offer rates.

An offer rate that’s lower than 100 percent is not necessarily newsworthy. The fall recruiting process by which summer associates are selected isn’t perfect. Sometimes candidates look great on paper and do well during interviews, but then do something during the summer — turning in disappointing work product, getting drunk and acting inappropriately — that causes them to get no-offered. And sometimes people get no-offered for reasons that aren’t their fault — office politics, discrimination. Stuff happens.

We’re not expecting 100 percent offer rates all around. At the same time, there is such a thing as an unusually low offer rate. If you know of an office with an unusually low offer rate — which we will arbitrarily define here as something under 66 percent, or two-thirds — please email us (subject line: “[Firm Name] Offer Rate”).

Now, on to the updated list of firms and offices with 100 percent offer rates….

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(Now we’d like to hear about the no-offering….)

Smile if you received an offer!

Since our initial call for information about summer associate offer rates at major law firms, a number of people have contacted us with reports. As it turns out, there’s a lot of good news floating around out there for summer associates.

This leads us to two conclusions:

  • Biglaw firms only brought in people they could actually hire.
  • You class of 2011 people are some boring individuals.

Honestly, listening to your summer stories is like looking at the Facebook photos of a Mormon school group’s vacation to Amish country. We know that people are worried about getting offers in this tough market, but the risk-aversion of the summers this year borders on cowardice.

Live a little, have a drink, ask her for her number. It’s a job interview, not an audience with the Pope.

In any event, 100% offer rates abound. Let’s round them up….

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Summer offer rates are back and better than ever.

Last week, summer associate programs began to draw to a close. After a summer of fun extravagance work, summer associates are eager to find out if they’ll be getting offers of full-time employment.

We expect the answer to be yes at most places. Sure, during the height of the recession, no offer rates spiked. But Biglaw firms seem to have corrected that problem. As almost any jobless 3L can tell you, firms simply started hiring fewer people to be summer associates in the first place.

What’s bad news for many 3Ls is good news for those who were lucky enough to snag summer associate positions. You know what they say: getting in is the hardest part. Right?

Above the Law has received various reports from summer associates at Biglaw firms, crowing about 100 percent offer rates….

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