Lovells

Earlier this year, partner bonuses at Hogan Lovells generated some controversy across the pond. Certain partners in London questioned the process by which payments were determined and wondered whether partners in management received too much relative to rank-and-file partners. Squabbles over partner pay are something the firm’s incoming CEO, D.C.-based Stephen Immelt, can look forward to addressing when he takes over next summer.

Let’s now turn from partner pay in London to associate pay in New York. The NYC office of Ho-Love recently showed its associates some love, in the form of year-end bonuses. Were they as controversial as the London partner payouts?

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Yesterday Elie offered some predictions for 2012. I’ll get even more specific and offer a prediction for January 2012: energy lawyers will be making moves this month.

January is generally a popular time for partner moves, and energy lawyers are popular people. Right now their practice area is as hot as New York City is cold. As you may recall, this time last year a slew of energy attorneys moved from McDermott to Cadwalader.

We’ve recently received word that at least two prominent partners in the energy space are switching firms. Let’s find out who they are and where they are heading….

UPDATE (2:30 PM): After the jump, we’ve added an update with additional context, details, and partner names. A source states that five partners are leaving and that the departures constitute a major move — a much bigger deal than our original report might have suggested.

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In our recent post on the top 10 most generous large law firms — based on analysis by ATL’s new director of research, Brian Dalton — the firm of Hogan Lovells placed second. Under the rankings, this meant that Hogan partners are taking the second-biggest hit to their own bottom lines in order to keep their associates happy and well-compensated.

But is this still the case today? Based on what we’re hearing about the most recent Hogan bonuses, announced shortly before Christmas, one wonders whether the Ho-Love partners have turned from Santas into Scrooges….

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Every day that major law firms do not announce spring bonuses makes them look like below-market, “non-peer” institutions. It has become very clear that firms claiming to pay market compensation need to be providing spring bonuses.

The latest firm to yield to market realities is Hogan Lovells. The relatively new Ho-Love, formed by the merger of Hogan & Hartson and Lovells, showed love to its hos on Friday. The firm matched the Cravath scale for spring bonuses.

You can read the full memo below. But you should also listen to how surprised and happy Ho-Love associates are about the bonuses. Hogan associates are like bizzaro Sidley associates….

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Last week, Hogan Lovells announced its associate bonuses. It’s the first bonus season for the firm since the merger of Hogan & Hartson and Lovells. Unfortunately for some associates, the transatlantic deal apparently did not pay off for them at bonus time.

The memos are individualized, but the associates who have reached out to Above the Law are not happy. Here’s one tipster’s report:

Most people with whom I’ve spoken received $2500-$5000 less than the Cravath-model for billing around 2150 (our hours requirement is 1950). This is true no matter the class year.

A number of associates left the office as soon as the memos came out because they were so disgusted. I predict a mass exodus of associates leaving HoLove this coming year, because a lot of people have been pissed about the hours anyway and these bonuses are just insulting.

But according to a Hogan Lovells spokesperson, the HoLove bonuses matched the market. So why are associates upset?

(Please note that we’ve added some UPDATES after the jump.)

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With fall recruiting gearing up, and the lateral market warming up, we continue our annual series of open threads about the law firms featured in the Vault prestige rankings. These threads provide ATL readers with a forum to discuss the different firms and their various strengths and weaknesses.

The end of the Vault 100 is in sight. We’re covering the firms in batches of 20 now. Here are the firms ranked #61 to #80, which will provide today’s discussion fodder:

61. Greenberg Traurig, LLP
62. Holland & Knight LLP
63. Fish & Richardson P.C.
64. Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP
65. Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP
66. Foley & Lardner LLP
67. Perkins Coie LLP
68. Nixon Peabody LLP
69. Patton Boggs LLP
70. Kaye Scholer LLP
71. Hunton & Williams LLP
72. Reed Smith LLP
73. Steptoe & Johnson LLP
74. Chadbourne & Parke LLP
75. Howrey LLP
76. Bryan Cave LLP
77. Lovells (US) [now part of Hogan Lovells]
78. Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP
79. Crowell & Moring LLP
80. Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP

This is a very eclectic group, including a few New York-centric firms, some D.C.-dominated places, and a bunch of national and even international giants.

Let’s take a closer look at some of these shops….

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The prior reports of additional payments to some associates at Hogan Lovells, designed to reward these associates for making their billable-hours targets, were accurate — at least with respect to the New York office. And it turns out that these payments constitute what in ATL-speak we call “true-up payments” — i.e., payments designed to give associates the pay they would have received had a salary freeze never occurred and they had received the customary annual raise for seniority.

This may sound confusing, but it’s really not. Let’s take a look at the memo from Hogan Lovells….

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Last Wednesday, the firm of Hogan Lovells — formerly known as Hogan & Hartson, before its recent merger with U.K.-based Lovells — made an announcement about associate salaries.

So what went down?

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Why are British lawyers always getting caught with their pants down? We all remember the classic scene in A Fish Called Wanda, in which an unsuspecting family walks in on a naked barrister, Archie Leach (John Cleese), as he’s getting ready for a roll in the hay with Wanda (Jamie Lee Curtis).

But this kind of thing happens in real life, too. And sometimes the lawyers involved are partners at top firms — e.g., Lovells, which recently merged with Hogan & Hartson to form Hogan Lovells.

Check out this Daily Mail headline: “The top lawyer, his lover and a drug-fuelled sadomasochistic sex session that led to bloodshed at the Hilton.”

Wow. That’s almost as delicious a headline as this one.

And the headline, even though it’s a mouthful, doesn’t quite say it all. There’s more, much more — including leather thongs, nipple clamps, and a pile of blow….

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One merger is an accident. Two mergers … well, that could be a trend.

The merger of Hogan & Hartson and Lovells is in the books. The new firm is up and running, and it’s already saying goodbye to people. The Blog of the Legal Times reports that Hogan Lovells had some departures over the weekend:

A six-lawyer insurance litigation group left Hogan to launch a D.C. office for Hartford, Conn.-based Shipman & Goodwin. James Ruggeri, who leads the group, said that the move was made because of conflicts created by the merger for his group’s chief client, The Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. Ruggeri serves as The Hartford’s national counsel for complex insurance coverage matters. He had been at Hogan since 1991.

Hogan Lovells has gotten a lot of attention in part because it is the highest-profile law firm merger to take place after the recession fully took hold.

But over the weekend, a tipster reported that there might be another notable merger on the horizon. Our source tells us that Townsend and Townsend and Crew and Kilpatrick Stockton are in talks…

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