McDermott Will & Emery

Recently on my blog I have been posting different viewpoints as to whether the e-discovery industry should have its own specialized certification. In the past year there has been a push by several organizations to establish standards of testing in the industry.  In fact, a few weeks ago, the newly formed Association of Certified E-Discovery Specialists or ACEDS (prenounced “A-Saids”) held an inaugural conference in Hollywood, Florida. Although ACEDS was just founded last year by the Intriago Group, led by a former McDermott Will & Emery partner, Charles Intriago, the meeting had over 300 attendees — not bad for a first conference.

I had the chance to speak with two attorneys who spoke at the ACEDS meeting. They provided me with a better understanding of whether the movement toward certification is simply a passing trend or a sign of things to come…

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Judge Linda Van De Water

* Musical chairs: Orrick partners to Dechert and Gibson Dunn; Weil Gotshal partners to McDermott. [Am Law Daily; McDermott Will & Emery]

* Some of the questions in this survey, designed to assess how law students use online media when evaluating law firms, are amusing. If you’re a law student, please take the survey — you can win a gift card — and talk about how important Above the Law is to your assessment of firms. [Survey Gizmo]

* Judge of the Day candidate #1: Linda Van De Water, for allegedly “kicking and jumping on her ex-boyfriend’s car after confronting him outside the home of another woman.” [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]

David Zornow

* Judge of the Day candidate #2: Tom Carney, for allegedly wielding a gun like a gavel, in an incident with another motorist. And don’t forget that snazzy pink necktie. [Erie Times-News]

* Peter Lattman looks at David Zornow, the global head of litigation at Skadden, and Zornow’s obsession with Bob Dylan — reflected in a mock indictment of “The Judges,” drawn up by “special assistant U.S. attorney Bob Dylan.” [DealBook / New York Times]

* There’s a new post up on the blog of Sophia Chua-Rubenfeld, daughter of Yale law professors Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld. Critics of Amy Chua have speculated about whether her “Tiger Mother” ways have damaged her daughters psychologically. But based on her blogging, young Sophia seems grounded, charming, and funny. [new tiger in town]

Earlier this week, associate bonuses were announced at McDermott Will & Emery. We’ve heard about the news from multiple McDermott sources — and, without exception, all expressed happiness with their bonuses.

“McDermott essentially matched market for average billers and beat market for above average billers,” said one source. “They also combined year-end and spring bonuses, and are paying out on March 16.”

Bonuses at McDermott are individualized, so there’s no bonus table to post. As you may recall, last year MWE announced its move to a non-lockstep compensation system with three levels, each with a different base salary: Level 1 at $145,000, Level 2 at $175,000, and Level 3 at $200,000.

At the time the new merit-based system was announced, some worried that it might just be a sneaky way for reducing overall compensation. But based on what we’ve been hearing, McDermott associates under this system are doing as well as or better than their counterparts on the Cravath compensation scale.

Let’s get into some specifics….

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Sometimes lawyers at Cadwalader are the victims of theft. And sometimes they’re the ones doing the stealing.

Here’s the promised follow-up to yesterday’s post about Cadwalader’s successful raid on the energy law practice of McDermott Will & Emery. It’s big news in Biglaw. As of now, nine partners are moving — Paul Pantano, Karen Dewis, Greg Lawrence, Greg Mocek, Tony Mansfield, Ken Irvin, Rob Stephens, Daryl Rice and Doron Ezickson — but if they’re followed by associates, a few dozen lawyers could be involved.

In an email sent out on Wednesday by MWE leaders Jeff Stone and Peter Sacripanti, reprinted in full after the jump, McDermott tried to minimize the losses. Stone and Sacripanti pointed out that “[t]his group of partners focused mainly on one aspect of our overall energy practice, which was commodities and derivatives trading for financial clients,” and that “the departing partners’ total collections in 2010 amounted to about three percent of overall firm revenue.”

Still, three percent of total MWE revenue is nothing to scoff at. In 2009, McDermott had total revenue of $829 million, according to the American Lawyer. Assuming that 2010 revenue is similar (the Am Law numbers aren’t out yet), three percent amounts to $24.87 million. Dividing that out over nine partners yields revenue per partner of about $2.8 million — not a bad book of business.

Let’s check out some reader views on this news….

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500 North Capitol Street (click to enlarge).

One of our odd obsessions around here: real estate. Just take a spin through our Lawyerly Lairs archives, which chronicle the adventures of attorneys in the world of real property, residential and commercial. We may not be as real obsessed as the folks over at Curbed, but we’re getting there.

As a former resident of Washington (2006 to 2008), I take a particular interest in D.C. developments. And not just litigation between law firms and burger joints.

So I was interested to learn about McDermott Will & Emery’s big move — to a building that will be named after the law firm. How many law firms get naming rights?

(Not many. The most prominent example might be the Paul Hastings Tower in Los Angeles, which had a cameo in the Transformers movie.)

News of MWE’s move even made the pages of the Washington Post….

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We’re doing our annual march through the Vault prestige rankings, to give ATL readers the opportunity to have their say about perks and pitfalls at these firms. If your firm actually let you swap your Blackberry for your iPhone, brag here. Or if your firm has such a strong stench that it makes you nauseous, vent here.

We’ve been doing open threads in batches of ten, but now we’re going to pick up the pace. Here are the Vault #41 – 60. This is when the prestige list gets a little more geographically diverse, with firms based in Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Palo Alto and even Pittsburgh:

41. Winston & Strawn
42. Baker Botts
43. Jenner & Block
44. Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft
45. Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati
46. Proskauer Rose
47 (tie). Dewey & LeBoeuf
47 (tie). King & Spalding
48. Goodwin Procter
49. Baker & McKenzie
50. Fulbright & Jaworski
51. Vinson & Elkins
52. McDermott Will & Emery
53. DLA Piper
54. Morgan Lewis & Bockius
55. Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman
56. Bingham McCutchen LLP
57. Dechert LLP
58. Cooley LLP
59. K&L Gates LLP
60. Alston & Bird LLP

We took a spin through their Vault rankings and awarded superlatives, after the jump.

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In a couple of months, the class of 2012 will embark on its quest to find an elusive Biglaw summer associate gig. But let’s not forget that many in the class of 2009 are still sitting on the sidelines, waiting to start.

Most of McDermott Will & Emery’s 2009 class has started already. But last week a few of the stragglers received some bad news. A tipster reports:

Just a heads up, McDermott Will & Emery rescinded offers to most of their deferred 2009 graduates on Wednesday via a phone call.

We reached out to MWE, and their spokespersons strongly disagree with characterization that offers to “most” of the deferred associates were rescinded….

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It’s summer time! A lucky few are being paid to warm seats in law firms across the land. (Very few — thanks to the minimal numbers of offers extended to law students in Recession Land.)

Some firms are very excited about their summer associates, to the point of issuing press releases about them. Firms are planning fun events. Hopefully, Williams & Connolly offers cooking classes at a culinary institute again this summer (for those who don’t get offers and may not be able to afford to eat out one day). We’ve got a round-up of our favorite summer “happenings,” after the jump.

But one thing firms may not plan to do this year is bill for summer associates’ time. Nate Raymond reports in the New York Law Journal that Citigroup Inc. has told its outside counsel that it will not pay for law students’ time. Citi does not stand alone:

J. William Dantzler Jr., a tax partner at White & Case who oversees hiring in New York, said with regard to billing clients for summer associates, it has been “a slide for 10 years.”

“More and more clients don’t want summer associates to bill to them,” he said. “When I started almost all clients would accept it. And it’s evolved to where a lot of clients don’t.”

Ironically, because of the huge decline in the number of summers brought in, they’re more likely to actually do substantive work this year. One Biglaw firm, for example, instituted a requirement last year that every summer associate produce at least one piece of seriously impressive legal writing. Which firm is it?

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* Sen. Arlen Specter — a Yale Law School grad and former Philadelphia district attorney, by the way — loses the Democratic primary in Pennsylvania; ophthalmologist Rand Paul, son of Rep. Ron Paul, wins the Republican primary in Kentucky. [Washington Post]

* BP hires Kirkland & Ellis for the oil spill litigation — a sign that BP intends to fight. [Chicago Tribune via ABA Journal]

* McDermott Will & Emery gets hit with an age discrimination lawsuit. [Am Law Daily]

* Lawyers at Weitz & Luxenberg, the prominent personal injury firm — perhaps you’ve heard their radio ads? — have donated heavily to the New York attorney general campaign of Kathleen Rice. [New York Times]

* Obama’s aunt will not be deported to Kenya. [CNN]

* Elena Kagan has submitted answers to the Senate questionnaire for her Supreme Court nomination (in a record five days). Her net worth is almost $1.8 million, a sizable increase from the last reported figure (apparently thanks to the sale of her Cambridge house). [Washington Post]

* A portrait of Lady Kaga as a young graduate student: in her Oxford thesis, she wrote that it was “not necessarily wrong or invalid” for judges to “try to mold and steer the law” to achieve social ends. [New York Times]

In yesterday’s post about the departure of D.C. power broker Lanny Davis from McDermott Will & Emery, a firm he joined a little over six months ago, we put out a request for more information. That request was promptly answered — by none other than Lanny Davis himself.

The drama lover in us was hoping for an epic tale of office intrigue and power struggle at McDermott Will (and commenters were happy to speculate). As it turns out, however, the parting of Davis and MWE is quite amicable — and far from total. As Davis explained to us, he’s setting up his own shop, but he will continue to work closely with McDermott lawyers, serving McDermott clients. In fact, Davis isn’t even leaving the building (so no office exorcism necessary).

What’s going on here? Information from our chat with Lanny Davis, plus the complete press release mentioned previously by the Washington Post, after the jump.

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