This evening, many of us — and six Supreme Court justices, according to an announcement this morning from the Court — will listen to the State of the Union address. Don’t be shocked if President Obama tells us that the state of the union is “strong.” When was the last time a president appeared before us to announce that the union is in shambles? (Even Jimmy Carter never did that.)
The truth lies somewhere in between strength and shambles. And that’s true not just of the United States, but of the world of large law firms.
Let’s talk about two indicators: layoffs, and bonuses — including a reader poll, on whether firms will match Sullivan & Cromwell’s yummy spring bonuses….
Friday afternoons are for bad news. When you have some news that you want to disappear into the ether, you announce it on Friday afternoon. It’s a favorite time for disgraced D.C. figures to resign from office in order to “spend more time with their families.”
So why did Sullivan & Cromwell, one of the world’s most prestigious and profitable law firms, decide to announce good news — namely, generous spring bonuses for its associates — late on a Friday afternoon? (Was it perhaps in response to the Latham bonus news from earlier today?)
Yes, Cravath and Skadden and Davis Polk associates, you read that right. S&C is paying out healthy springtime bonuses. They’re supplemental to the 2010 year-end bonuses that S&C announced back in December.
So how much are we talking about? And when will these amounts hit associate bank accounts?
There comes a time in every big law firm lawyer’s career when things take a turn for the deeply serious. After two or three years, someone turns to you and says, “Okay – you own this” — and suddenly you’re no longer a glorified secretary or paralegal or guy/gal Friday, you’re an actual lawyer.
That’s when most Biglaw attorneys think seriously about fleeing for their lives.
For me, the moment of truth arrived after a meeting near the top floor of the skyscraper at 70 Pine Street in Lower Manhattan, one of New York City’s iconic spires…
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….
“Essentially,” because there are a few interesting caveats: people in the class of 2003 will get $37,500 — i.e., $2,500 more than the Cravath class of 2003 — and our tipsters say there is language in the memo suggesting that S&C might pay a spring bonus next year. (You’ll remember that S&C did not pay out spring bonuses this year.)
UPDATE (1:07 PM): In addition, people in the class of 2002 will get $42,500. The spring bonuses will depend on the firm’s performance.
UPDATE (1/21/11): Read about the S&C spring 2011 bonuses over here.
If you have more information (or the memo), please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or a text message at 646-820-TIPS.
I uttered those words for the first time back in 2001, over lunch.
I wasn’t putting myself down; I was setting myself free. This was transgression – admitting the whole legal “thing” wasn’t for me. It’s what you’re never supposed to say, because it opens you up for slaughter. It’s throwing down your weapon, taking off the armor and walking away from the fight. (Go ahead – tear into me. I double-dare you.)
It was a weird lunch. I was sitting with another former associate from Sullivan & Cromwell. We weren’t friends. I actually sort of hated him. For two years he did his best to bad-mouth me and let everyone know he was a better lawyer.
Now he wanted to do lunch. That’s because he’d been laid off (you know, the “bad review” routine.) I’d left S&C six months before and done the impossible — gotten a real job outside law, as a marketing exec.
He said he wanted to discuss “careers outside the law.” Yeah. As soon as we sat down he started shooting the shit about our law firm days. No way.
I felt sorry for him. He had a fiance and was clearly a mess. But I wasn’t about to play along with that bullshit. I knew what would get his attention. When he paused from the stream of false bonhomie to catch his breath, I seized the opportunity.
‘Tis the season — for new partner elections at large law firms. Although there are some exceptions, most firms pick and announce their new partner classes around November and December, with partnership effective on January 1 of the following year.
These partnership announcements sometimes contain interesting information, if you read between the lines. As we’ve previously observed, “Partnership decisions often shed light on the current state of a firm, its prospects for the future, and its priorities. How many new partners did a firm make? How does the number of new partners this year compare to past years? In which practice areas did it make new partners? How many of the new partners are women or minorities?”
After the jump, we look at new partner news from ten top firms — perhaps you know some of these law firm superstars (and soon-to-be millionaires)? — and we invite you to discuss the new partners at your firm….
500 West End Avenue: former home of Tina Fey, until she sold - to a law firm partner.
After suffering through a brutal recession that was fueled, in part, by the collapse of the real estate market, you’d think that nobody would want to read about real estate ever again. But that’s not what’s happening in the blogosphere, where real estate is hotter than ever.
Above the Law readers are similarly obsessed with real estate. Is it because everyone had to take Property as 1Ls? For whatever reason, Lawyerly Lairs is one of our most popular and well-trafficked features. The last installment, a visit to the $4.7 million Chicago townhouse of outgoing Northwestern Law dean David Van Zandt, continues to be a top post (even though it dates back to before Thanksgiving).
So let’s give you more of the real estate porn you want and deserve. In today’s Lawyerly Lairs, focused on ATL’s home city of New York, we look at the recently acquired, envy-inducing residences of partners at three leading law firms: White & Case, Sullivan & Cromwell, and Linklaters.
The first featured residence even has a celebrity connection: the seller was Tina Fey, fabulous television and movie star (and Sarah Palin impersonator)….
There comes a time as a lawyer when you split in two –- an angel and a devil.
The angel wants to do well — as I never tire of explaining, lawyers are pleasers. You want to make partner, earn a million bucks, and be the best attorney in the world. To the angel, the firm is like your high school football team — go Skadden! Rah rah rah!!
The devil, on the other hand, would burn the place to the ground while he toasted marshmallows and sang campfire songs.
The irony is that it’s the law firm itself that turns little angels into devils — just by telling you that’s who you are.
A junior partner at a big firm told me how they did it to him. Two senior partners marched into his office and announced he was slacking off and taking advantage of the firm. It was a mistake, they told him, to make him partner.
In reality, this guy was a pleaser’s pleaser. He worked his ass off to make partner, and talked in all sincerity about his “gratitude to the firm for that honor.” He was as rah-rah as it got.
Unfortunately, none of that meant anything, because the economy sucked, and he wasn’t bringing in business. According to firm logic, that meant he wasn’t trying, he didn’t care –- he was a bad guy.
By the end of his grilling, all he wanted to do was slack off and go home. They’d done it –- turned an angel into the freeloading devil they told him he was….
Watch to find out what some of our subscribers received in their May box!
The proper hair styling product might just be the only thing standing between you and your dream job. And the best way to find what works for you is to try the best stuff on the market. Join Birchbox Man for $20 a month and you’ll get customized shipments of the best grooming and lifestyle gear on the market every month—everything from haircare and shaving supplies to style accessories and tech gadgets.
As the leading discovery commerce platform, Birchbox is redefining the retail process by offering consumers a unique and personalized way to discover, learn about, and shop the best grooming and lifestyle products out there. It’s a full 360-degree process: try, learn, buy. Once you sign up and fill out your profile, head over to Birchbox Man’s online magazine to find article and video tutorials on how to get the most out your monthly box products. Pick up full-size versions of anything you like in the Birchbox Shop and earn points for every purchase.
We currently have a number of active openings for associate roles at US and UK firms in HK / China, Singapore and two new in-house openings. As always, please feel free to reach out to us at email@example.com in order to get details of current openings in Asia, as well as to discuss the Asia markets in general and what we expect for openings later this year. Our Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney will be in Beijing the week of March 25 and Evan Jowers will be in Hong Kong the week of April 1, if you would like to meet them in person.
The US associate openings we have in law firms are in the usual areas of M&A, cap markets, FCPA / white collar litigation, finance, and project finance. The most urgent of our top tier (top 15 US or magic circle) law firm openings in Asia (among many other firm openings that we have in Asia) are as follows:
• 2nd to 5th year mandarin fluent M&A associates needed in Beijing and Hong Kong at several firms;
• Korean fluent 2nd to 4th year cap markets associate needed in Hong Kong;
• 2nd to 5th year Japanese fluent M&A associates needed in Tokyo;
• 4th to 6th year mandarin fluent cap markets associate needed in Hong Kong;
• 2nd to 4th year M&A / cap markets mix associate needed in Singapore.
The last time I flapped my wings your way, I tried to make at least enough noise about your mobile phone to make you more than a little bit uncomfortable. I hope I did. If enough of us become anxious enough about the known and unknown unknowns and knowns in our mobile phones, then we can start making wise decisions about how to manage that information and its resultant investigations.
Today, I’d like to put a finer point on the last installment’s topic by asking a question that seemed to catch most attendees off-guard at a conference panel that I moderated last week: is there discoverable personal information in a mobile app? Our panelists’ answer was a uniform “yes” with one stating that, if he had to choose only one type of data that he could discover from a mobile phone, he’d choose app data. Why? Because there’s simply so much of it and because almost all of it is objective – not just user-created like an email – but machine-tracked like GPS, usage duration, log in and log out times, browsed web addresses, browsed actual addresses. Also, most of us seem to have the idea that data doesn’t actually “stick” to our mobile devices the way it “sticks” to our hard drives. Maybe there’s a disconnect based on the fact that our phones are mobile so we assume the data is mobile to?
The traditional job application and interview process can be impersonal, and applicants often struggle to present themselves as more than just the sum of their GPAs, alma maters, and previous work history. ATL has partnered with ViewYou to help job seekers overcome this challenge. ViewYou NOW Profiles offer a unique way for job seekers to make a personal, memorable connection with prospective employers: introduction videos. These videos allow job candidates to display their personalities, interpersonal skills, and professional interests, creating an eDossier to brand themselves to potential employers all over the world. Check it out today!