Wow, it’s like White & Case’s attempt to glom on to the spring bonus trend just ticked off these other firms. First Sidley and now Morrison & Foerster have come out with real spring bonus announcements, detailing the amount of money associates can expect to get paid.
We’re running off to the We Know What You Should Do This Summer filming, so we can’t give you the full MoFo treatment. But it’s not that shocking that since O’Melveny, Latham and Gibson went with spring bonuses, MoFo kind of had to step up.
Congrats, MoFos. As one tipster put it, “Tell those bitches at GDC that Mofo makes it rain in Cali… Twenty grand, man. Plus, they gave Dude a beeper.”
On Sunday, Morrison & Foerster sent around its associate bonus memo. For non-New York associates, the news is that the numbers are loosely based on the old Cravath scale, with some compression for mid-level associates. The actual bonus amount paid to any particular associate is determined based on performance factors. But in a nice show of transparency, MoFo also reported the bonus range and average bonus payment for each class year.
The numbers don’t look too bad, especially adjusting for the cost of living outside of New York City.
Inside New York City, MoFo is taking a wait-and-see approach. As we mentioned yesterday when talking about Weil, the stand-off between Cravath and Sullivan & Cromwell over spring bonuses has paralyzed the New York bonus market. For all we know, S&C is preparing to top Cravath in old-school “bonus wars” fashion.
Wisely, MoFo has decided not to get caught up in all of that drama; it’s just going to wait until New York sorts itself out. Let’s look at the memo…
At least one law firm is stepping up to the plate to help domestically-partnered employees with their health-benefit-related tax burdens. The firm of Morrison & Foerster issued the following statement to Above the Law, from firm chair Keith Wetmore: “Starting in 2011, Morrison & Foerster will begin offering an additional benefit payment to assist with the tax obligation that same-sex and opposite sex Staff and Non-Partner Attorneys pay when they elect Domestic Partner health benefits.”
This is excellent news, and we commend MoFo for taking this step. Hopefully it will inspire additional firms to move in this direction. Note also that the policy applies not just to same-sex couples, but also to opposite-sex couples who are similarly situated — which might be a way of addressing the criticismsof some that the gay gross-up is unfair to heterosexual couples.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in “law firms being nice to gay people” news, let’s give some props to Shearman & Sterling….
You know how violent felons treat pedophiles particularly bad in the prison system? I wonder if fraudsters reserve special scorn for people who use their disabled children as part of the scam? A former partner at Morrison & Foerster may soon find out. He’s been arrested for defrauding the state of California out of hundreds of thousands of dollars by way of scam utilizing his autistic kid. The San Francisco Chronicle reports:
A former partner at a well-known law firm and his marketing consultant wife were arrested Wednesday on felony charges of bilking the San Francisco school district and private insurers out of about $400,000 via fraudulent bills for treatment of their autistic son, officials say.
The San Francisco couple, Jonathan S. Dickstein and Barclay J. Lynn, both 43, surrendered Wednesday and are expected to appear in court this morning for arraignment on 30 counts of fraud, theft and conspiracy, authorities say.
We can and will blame the alleged perpetrators of this fraud. But where was the government oversight?
With the summer coming to an end, we are almost done updating the summer associate profiles for all the firms listed in the Career Center. Along with Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman and WilmerHale, Morrison & Foerster was another one of the firms that encouraged their 2010 summer associates to share their experience with us.
Summer associates at MoFo definitely noticed the amount of transparency at the firm and appreciated how the firm “openly communicate[s] with summers regarding expectations.” If you end up summering at MoFo, don’t be surprised if you get to discuss regulatory matters with clients or draft portions of a brief about to be submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court. While every assignment may not involve earth-shattering issues, summer associates are given the opportunity to participate on various pro bono matters throughout the summer.
When MoFo summer associates aren’t busy selecting assignments in different practice areas or attending training sessions, they get to experience “just the right amount of social events to provide a contrast to the work.” In 2010, summer associates would end the workday sailing the Chesapeake Bay, mediating with a Zen Monk, or touring the Museum of Modern Art. In addition to real work experience and quality social events, MoFo had a not-too-shabby offer rate of almost 100% for the 2009 summer class.
Get more details about the summer associate experience at MoFo and other firms by going to the Career Center. Keep an eye out for future posts as we will be publishing the rest of the summer associate survey results in the next week or so.
We’re rolling through the Vault 2011 list of the “prestigiest” firms in the land, so that you can comment on what it’s like to actually live, work, and breathe those firms (when you’re not choking on all the prestige in the air).
We’ve covered #1-10 and #11-20. Here’s the next round-up. Now it’s time for the London-based Magic Circle firms to join in the elite fun:
Lawyers have been all up in The Tonight Show’s grill this year, thanks to the Jay Leno – Conan O’Brien smackdown. But the lawyers were relegated to an off-screen role. Jay Leno never name-checked Gibson Dunn (that we know of) for repping NBC and helping to put him back on his throne.
Another Biglaw firm did get a shout-out from Leno on Monday night, though. During his headlines bit, Leno got laughs thanks to Morrison & Foerster.
Morrison & Foerster tends to attract quirky types. The firm is demonstrably offbeat, from its mildly bizarre website to its embracing the moniker “MoFo.” So we were not particularly surprised when an artist type auctioning off a piece of conceptual art on eBay turned out to be a lawyer from the firm.
Alfred Steiner is a tech and IP lawyer in MoFo’s New York office. He described the piece to us thusly:
In a conceptually reductive context where works are increasingly defined more by an agreement between artist and collector (whether written or oral, tacit or explicit) than by the tangible manifestation of the work itself, what would a work become if it were reduced to be coextensive with that agreement, that is, if that agreement were the work itself?
Yup, the piece of art is a contract. What we were surprised by was how much a contract from a Morrison & Foerster attorney went for on eBay…
Unlike some firms, MoFo has not given up on the class of 2010. The firm is actively looking forward to welcoming its incoming group of associates, and has started informing them about their start dates.
The firm extended offers to “approximately 65 law students” from its 2009 summer associate class. Their start dates are staggered. Some will get to wear a Halloween costume to the firm. Some will get to be part of the Christmas gift exchange, and some will be starting soon after getting over New Year’s Eve hangovers. MoFo chair Keith Wetmore sent out an email memo this afternoon letting current associates know how many people will be starting when:
Today, we will notify approximately 35 members of the class of 2010 of a November 1, 2010 start date. Approximately 20 members of the class (including a number of those arriving from their clerkships) have been given an accelerated start date of October 4, 2010 due to client demands. The final approximately 25 additional associates will join the class of 2010 on January 4, 2011 based either on their prior election to defer to 2011 or, in a few instances, deferral to align associate staffing with anticipated client demand.
(35 + 20 + 25 = 80. So there are 15 folks mixed in there who are not wearing a cap and gown this May. Some of those starting in January are 2009 grads who took the firm’s deferral package last year. And some of the 20 starting in October will be fresh off the clerkship boat. Yay! Clerks can go home again.)
It sounds like some of these wanna-be MoFoers, who hadn’t previously chosen to defer to 2011, got news of being deferred to January today. But they also got news of a stipend. MoFo is not following the Skadden salary advance lead…
The holiday season is upon us, and yet again, you have no idea what to get for the fickle lawyer in your life. We’re here to help. Even if your bonus check hasn’t arrived yet, any one of the gifts we’ve highlighted here could be a worthy substitute until your employer decides to make it rain.
We’ve got an eclectic selection for you to choose from, so settle in by that stack of documents yet to be reviewed and dig in…
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past six years. You can reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We currently have a very exciting and rare type of in-house opening in China at one of the world’s leading internet and social media companies. Our client is looking for an IP Transactional / TMT / Licensing attorney with 2 to 6 years experience. The new hire will be based in Shenzhen or Shanghai. Mandarin is not required (deal documentation will be in English) but is preferred. A solid reason to be in China and a commitment to that market is required of course. This new hire will likely be US qualified (but could also be qualified in UK or other jurisdictions) and with experience and training at a top law firm’s IP transactional / TMT practice and could be currently at a law firm or in-house. Qualified candidates currently Asia based, Europe based or US based will be considered. The new hire’s supervisors in this technology transactions in-house team are very well regarded US trained IP transactional lawyers, with substantial experience at Silicon Valley firms. The culture and atmosphere in this in-house group and the company in general is entrepreneurial, team oriented, and the work is cutting edge, even for a cutting edge industry. The upside of being in an important strategic in-house position in this fast growing and world leading internet company is of the “sky is the limit” variety. Its a very exciting place to be in China for a rising IP transactional lawyer in our opinion, for many reasons beyond the basic info we can share here in this ad / post. This is a special A+ opportunity.
If your firm is in ‘go’ mode when it comes to recruiting lateral partners with loyal clients, then take this quiz to see how well you measure up. Keep track of your ‘yes’ and ‘no’ responses.
1. Does your firm have a clearly defined strategy of practice groups that are priorities of growth for your office? Nothing gets done by random chance, but with a clear vision for the future. Identify the top practice areas for which you wish to add lateral partners. Seek input from practice group leaders and get specifics on needs, outcomes, and ideal target profiles.
2. In addition to clarifying your firm’s growth strategy, are you still open to the hire of a partner outside of your plan? I’ve made several placements that fit this category. The partner’s practice was not within the strategic growth plan of my client, but once the two parties started talking with each other, we all saw how it could indeed be a seamless fit. Be open to “Opportunistic Hires.” You never know where your next producing partner might come from, so you have to be open to it. I will be the first to admit that there is a quirky element of randomness in recruiting.
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