So this month, we went out of our way to nominate potential Lawyers of the Month who were still breathing. The desire of our readers to bestow this honor posthumously is laudable, but we don’t want to this feature to end up like the “dead people” reel at the Oscars, where folks bet on which deceased celebrity will get the most applause.
Being forced to choose only among living candidates, Above the Law readers perhaps started another trend we’re sure to see in future Lawyer of the Month contests: they voted for a guy who is no longer a practicing attorney…
Well, Sidley Austin turned that around more quickly than I thought. Last night I pointed out that any further delay from Sidley Austin regarding spring bonuses would just be causing pain and anguish for Sidley associates for no reason. The firm was going to have to match anyway, so why drag it out?
Sidley Austin associates we’ve spoken to are satisfied. One tipster reports: “Sidley spit the bit on this like Kansas in the tournament. But at least we’re not getting bounced out of the competition entirely.”
Wow, I guess like the VCU Rams, Sidley associates are just happy to be here….
* Chevron gets hit with a record-setting judgment in the Ecuadorian environmental case — and it has to apologize. [Wall Street Journal]
* Musical chairs: David Hoffman — a former Rehnquist clerk and Kash-certified hottie, who previously ran for President Obama’s former Senate seat — is joining Sidley Austin. [Chicago Tribune]
* The Justice Department will investigate the death of the Pace University student shot by police. This comes after a grand jury declined to indict any of the police officers involved in the shooting. [Boston Globe]
* A lacrosse stick, hella yayo, and a horrific sex crime. What is ‘When keeping it bro goes wrong’, Alex? [New York Post]
As you may recall, Schroeder is the 27-year-old Harvard Law School graduate who set fire to a memorial housing the remains of unidentified 9/11 victims, on Halloween 2009. Schroeder then did the right thing and turned himself in to the authorities. Shortly thereafter, Sidley — where Schroeder was headed, after a deferral to do public interest work — rescinded his job offer.
Yesterday afternoon, Schroeder pleaded guilty to criminal charges in connection with the fire he set (more specifically, charges of burglary, criminal mischief and cemetery desecration). He accepted full responsibility for his actions and apologized for them.
What led the handsome Harvard grad — described by ATL sources as “a good guy” and “really smart,” albeit “a little strange” — to set the blaze? One word: alcohol. Schroeder testified that he couldn’t even remember setting the fire, but admitted to a hard-partying Halloween: “I drank many alcoholic beverages.”
So what kind of sentence is Brian Schroeder getting? One that isn’t pleasing prosecutors….
Virginia Seitz: The Finishing School for the Elect's new headmistress?
* How much would you need to be paid to spend 40 hours in prison? Does $200,000 sound about right? [Maryland Daily Record]
* C’mon, libs, John Yoo isn’t heartless — he opposes slavery, for crying out loud. Meanwhile, Richard Epstein agrees with Yoo that the original Constitution was far from perfect. [Ricochet (Yoo); Ricochet (Epstein)]
* Sidley Austin partner Virginia Seitz — a member of The Elect (Brennan / OT 1986), and descended from Article III aristocracy, as the daughter of the late Judge Collins Seitz (3d Cir.) — is looking like President Obama’s pick for the powerful and prestigious Office of Legal Counsel (OLC). [Main Justice]
* Congratulations to the six lawyers selected by incoming New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman for his front office (including Nancy Hoppock, my fantastic former colleague from the U.S. Attorney’s office). [WSJ Law Blog]
* At some point, all the injuries arising out of the ill-fated Spider-Man Broadway musical have to generate at least one lawsuit, right? [Gothamist]
There’s no denying all the good news over at Sidley Austin. The firm just named 28 new partners, up from 15 last year. It recently snagged three leading litigators from Howrey: Gary Bendinger, who served as co-chair of litigation at Howrey, and two of his partners, Gregory Ballard and Kevin Burke.
And as we reported yesterday, Sidley paid out bonuses that made some of its associates very, very happy. Some associates received bonuses that were twice the Cravath scale.
But not all Sidley associates were quite this fortunate — and we have since heard from some of them. We also have the full Sidley memo.
A more balanced view of the Sidley Austin bonuses, plus the full memo, after the jump.
Dear associates at Cravath and Davis Polk (and other firms that have matched the Cravath bonus): you guys are getting screwed. No, seriously, you’re getting rogered but good. If you are going to take this lowball bonus the partners are shoving down your throats and grin and bear it, maybe you deserve what’s happening to you. Cravath could pay you more; Davis Polk could pay you more. The partners are simply refusing to do it so they can pocket a little bit of extra money at your expense.
Because not every Biglaw partnership is that cheap. Oh sure, the partners at Cravath and DPW and a bunch of other firms can pretend that Cahill Gordon is not a “Biglaw” firm. They can throw Cahill and their awesome bonus into the “boutique” category.
But when Sidley Austin is beating the bag out of your bonus — in New York — you simply cannot ignore that. The firm has over 1,500 lawyers. It is BIG.
Sidley has seen the Cravath bonus — and is slamming it. Cravath and DPW should be embarrassed…
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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: email@example.com.
Deal flow has clearly picked recently up for most US associates, counsels and partners in Hong Kong/China and Singapore. We are on the phone with a lot of these folks on a daily basis, many of whom we have known for years. Further, the head of our Asia team, Evan Jowers, and Kinney’s founder and president, Robert Kinney, frequently meet in person with leading US partners in Asia to assess their needs and keep on top of the inside scoop at as many firms as possible. The need for legal recruiting help in Asia from experienced recruiters appears to be live and well. In March, Evan and Robert were in Beijing at such meetings, in April, Evan was in Hong Kong, and for half of June Evan will be in Shanghai and Hong Kong. Thus its pretty easy for us to tell when there has been an across-the-market pick up in capital markets and corporate work.
On an average day in Asia when Evan and Robert visit firms, they typically have 5 to 9 meetings a day, mostly with US partners in the market. The reason they have these meetings is not simply because Kinney makes a lot of US attorney placements in Asia and that a particular firm may have openings; instead these are just visits with friends. After years of working together as business partners, the folks at Kinney are actually these peoples’ friends. The firms Kinney work closely with in Asia (which is just about every law firm – call us if you want to know the one firm in the world we will never place anyone with again, ever, and why) look forward to the visits, or at least act like they do. After seven years in the market, many of the client partners are former associate candidates. Also, these US partners see Kinney as a very good source of market information as well, because they know how deep their contacts are in the market and how frequently they are speaking to counterparts at peer firms.
In a land that is right here and in a time that is right now, a technology has arisen so powerful that it can replace basic human document review. Is it time to bow down before our new robot overlords?
First, here’s a little story about me: my life in the legal world began as a paralegal. My first case was a GIANT patent infringement case that was already six years old and had involved as many as five companies, multiple US courts, the ITC and an international standards committee. I knew nothing about any of this.
On my first day, my supervisor (a paralegal with at least eight other cases driving her crazy) sat me down in front of a Concordance database with a 100,000+ patents and patent file histories. “Code these,” she said. I learned that “coding”, for the purposes of this exercise, meant manually typing the inventor’s name, the title of the patent, the assignee, the file date, and other objective data for each document. I worked on that project – and only that project – for at least the first six months of my job. After a week or so, time began to blur.
What I know, in retrospect and with absolutely certainty, is that as time began to blur, so did my judgment. So did my attention to detail. If you could tell me that I did not make at least one mistake a day – one inconsistent spelling, one reversed day and month, one incorrectly spaced title – I frankly would need to see your evidence. I would not believe it. The human mind is trainable but it is not a machine.
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