Paul Weiss

Are you familiar with the website Post Secret? If not, you should check it out. It describes itself as “an ongoing community art project, where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard.”

The secret-spilling postcards are then posted to the web. One of the entries from this past weekend gives a great shout-out to a leading law firm….

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The high-powered law firm of Paul Weiss has a legendary litigation practice. But their corporate department is strong too — they’re working on, for example, the big Warner Music deal — and it’s only getting stronger.

Yesterday corporate lawyers at Paul Weiss received an unusual email: “We would like to ask all counsel and associates to attend a meeting tomorrow morning at 11 to discuss some exciting developments affecting the Corporate Department. The meeting will be held in the concourse. Please make every effort to attend.”

The meeting took place earlier today. What was announced?

UPDATE: Please note that several updates have been added to this post, after the jump.

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The Jones Street townhouses. Number 20 has the purple door.


As small-firm columnist Valerie Katz previously discussed, some partners at small law firms are worth big bucks. The only practicing lawyer in the Forbes 400 is a small-firm attorney, in fact.

So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that some partners at small firms have big and beautiful wives homes. The New York Times recently featured one such lawyerly lair: a magnificent townhouse in Manhattan’s coveted West Village neighborhood, now on the market for almost $7.5 million.

The owner of this house once worked at a large law firm and is now a partner in a small law firm. Which firms?

Find out — and ogle photos of the palatial spread — after the jump.

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Happy Valentine’s Day, Paul Weiss associates! Uncle Brad loves you. PW just matched the Cravath spring bonuses — memo after the jump.

So who are we still waiting to hear from?

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Steven Simkin is too cool for a necktie.

Being married to a Paul Weiss partner is nice; getting divorced from a Paul Weiss partner is even nicer. Thanks to the prestigious firm’s eye-popping profits, getting divorced from a PW partner should give you a seven-figure payday (assuming the Paul Weiss partner has been a partner for a while and is the “monied spouse” — a pretty safe assumption, unless you work at, say, Goldman Sachs).

But when you get that gigantic payment — like winning the lottery, but without all the taxes — can you feel confident in its finality? Or do you have to worry that your ex-spouse, a partner at a firm known for its aggressive and brilliant lawyering, will find a clever way to get some of that money back from you, years later?

Consider the tale of Steven Simkin, a Paul Weiss partner of almost three decades, and his ex-wife Laura Blank, who works in education. It involves a multimillion-dollar marital estate, residential properties in Manhattan and the tony suburb of Scarsdale, and an investment account with one Bernie Madoff.

And yes, for your voyeuristic pleasure, the tale comes with hard numbers, lots of numbers…

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Interesting. Leading litigation firm Paul Weiss just announced its associate bonuses, and it’s using the scale of Sullivan & Cromwell — not the substantially similar but slightly cheaper scale of Cravath.

Some Paul Weiss sources had hoped for better, noting that the firm scored a huge contingency fee in 2010. Last week, one of them wrote to us (before all the other shoes dropped): “I know S&C and STB are the best hopes, but do you really not want to mention PW, litigation powerhouse with $91 MM contingency fee this year? PW has been quiet, while lit-heavy K&E, QE, Cahill, and Sidley have topped market.”

(Oh, and add lit-heavy Boies Schiller to that, as we reported earlier this morning.)

Alas, it was not to be. Paul Weiss has fallen in line behind Sullivan & Cromwell, which (more or less) fell in line behind Cravath.

But let’s look on the bright side. The S&C scale offers slightly better payouts to the most senior classes of associates. Will any of the lockstep New York firms that originally followed Cravath go back and give their most senior people S&C bonuses?

Or is it not worth the hassle? The Sullivan & Cromwell scale is very close to the Cravath scale. Let’s put them side by side — and learn about a SPECIAL GIFT that Paul Weiss gave to its associates, to take the sting off the bonus news….

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Mark Madoff, R.I.P.

Mark Madoff, the oldest of Bernard Madoff’s two sons, committed suicide on Saturday, by hanging himself in his Manhattan apartment. Saturday was a significant day: the second anniversary of Bernie Madoff’s arrest for running a multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme.

Mark Madoff’s lawyer, prominent Paul Weiss partner Martin Flumenbaum, issued a statement yesterday: “Mark Madoff took his own life today. This is a terrible and unnecessary tragedy…. [Mark Madoff was] an innocent victim of his father’s monstrous crime who succumbed to two years of unrelenting pressure from false accusations and innuendo.”

Flumenbaum wasn’t the only powerful Paul Weiss personage named “Martin” with involvement in this case. Mark Madoff’s body was actually found by legendary litigator Martin London, a longtime partner at the firm who is now of counsel at PW.

As noted on his Paul Weiss website bio, “[t]he gamut of Mr. London’s successes is vast.” But his experience is primarily on the civil side, with occasional forays into white-collar criminal work. His docket generally doesn’t include violence and death; he’s not the kind of lawyer who sees dead people (e.g., a homicide prosecutor).

So how did Marty London come to find Mark Madoff’s body?

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I’d have to say I’m not particularly optimistic that they’re going to get this done.

— Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, discussing whether or not the Senate will vote to repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell” before the end of this year.

This legal uncertainty is not going away anytime soon.

Jeh Johnson, general counsel to the Defense Department (and former Paul Weiss partner), also discussing DADT.

Ed. note: Have a question for next week? Send it in to advice@abovethelaw.com

ATL:

I am a 2L at Columbia and I am deciding amongst Cravath, Davis Polk, Debevoise (Elie should chime in now), Paul Weiss, and Sullivan & Cromwell.

I am getting married in December so I would love to work at a family-friendly firm. Like Elie, I’m a raging liberal, and I heard Paul Weiss seems to fit that bill. On the other hand, I want to be at a firm with plenty of lovely women. I am bi and my soon-to-be hubby doesn’t mind if I taste a woman’s sweet nectar. Plus I simply cannot live without a pair of supple breasts in my life. (My man is ripped so no manboobs for me.) I met many cute associates at Davis Polk too and I remember an ATL article that mentions the great number of hotties at DPW.

So many choices! Can you help me out?

— Paradox of Choice

Dear Paradox of Choice,

Nice try, but this question’s a flame because nobody uses the term “sweet nectar” unless they’re (1) referring to the drink Odysseus used to get the Cyclops drunk and poke his eye out, or (2) a copywriter at Cosmo. Nevertheless, we’ll answer it because it’s slim pickings around here this week, and it’s better than another snooze-alert “should I quit law school?” question.  Of course you should quit law school. Don’t be ridiculous.

Let’s break down these firms…

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Back in June, we bestowed Lawyer of the Day honors upon two of the nation’s top litigators: Ted Wells and Martin Flumenbaum, the co-chair and former chair, respectively, of the renowned litigation department at Paul Weiss. Given the sterling reputations of the two lawyers and their firm, it was a surprising development.

We recognized Messrs. Wells and Flumenbaum after a New Jersey judge sanctioned Paul Weiss and its co-counsel — Lowenstein Sandler, one of the Garden State’s leading law firms, and Wells’s former home (before he jumped across the Hudson) — for pursuing a “frivolous” and “ridiculous” legal claim on behalf of billionaire Ronald Perelman against his ex-father-in-law, Robert Cohen.

In June, Judge Ellen Koblitz ordered Paul Weiss and Lowenstein Sandler to pay Cohen’s fees and costs for opposing the claim; she scheduled a hearing to determine the amount. The hearing took place last month, and now we know the amount.

It’s nothing to sneeze at, even for firms as well-heeled as Paul Weiss and Lowenstein. And to add insult to (financial) injury, Judge Koblitz got super-snarky in the opinion setting forth her reasoning….

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