Vioxx

Last week, I headed downtown to meet with Stephen A. Weiss and Eric Jaso, partners at the Seeger Weiss litigation boutique. Weiss co-founded the firm with Christopher Seeger in 1999. Jaso, who just joined the firm from Stone & Magnanini, is a friend and former colleague of mine from the U.S. Attorney’s Office. They kindly agreed to be interviewed about what it’s like to work at an elite, plaintiff-side litigation firm.

Here at Above the Law, we’ve always had strong coverage of the large, defense-oriented firms that collectively constitute Biglaw. In the past few years, however, we have dramatically expanded our offerings related to smaller law firms. We currently have three columnists — Brian Tannebaum, Tom Wallerstein, and Valerie Katz — writing in this space, in addition to the small-firm coverage generated by our other writers.

Consistent with this editorial expansion, I was eager to meet with Weiss and Jaso and hear about Seeger Weiss (which is relatively large for a plaintiffs’ firm, but small compared to a Biglaw firm). I’ve always wondered why more law school graduates don’t go into plaintiffs’ work and why we don’t hear about this side of practice as much. It can represent a chance to do well while also doing good, by vindicating victims’ rights or blowing the whistle on misconduct — especially in the qui tam practice area, a focus of Seeger Weiss.

Here’s what Weiss and Jaso had to say….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “A Portrait of a Plaintiffs’ Firm: Seeger Weiss”

100 dollar bill Above the Law Above the Law law firm salary legal blog legal tabloid Above the Law.JPGThis item, from yesterday’s WSJ Law Blog, caught our eye:

As the 11th Vioxx trial got underway yesterday in federal court in New Orleans, Merck disclosed in an SEC filing that it’s giving its general counsel Kenneth Frazier a raise and a promotion, effective Nov. 1. The GC who will forever be associated with the Vioxx litigation and the company’s decision to try and battle one case at a time will now have a base salary of $780,000, a plummy 13% jump up from his former base pay of $689,000.

Last year, with cash, bonus and stock, Frazier reportedly took home $1.64 million. In other big pharma GC salaries, Pfizer general counsel Jeff Kindler, promoted to CEO earlier this year, was ranked 18th and earned $1.9 million last year. Robert Armitage, in-house counsel at Eli Lilly ranked 51st and earned $1.17 million.

Serving as a general counsel to Big Pharma: Nice work if you can get it.

This brings us to our next theme for Skaddenfreude, ATL’s ongoing survey of salaries within the legal profession. We’d like to turn our attention to the incomes of in-house lawyers.

If you’re employed as in-house counsel for some corporation, we’d like to learn how much you earn. We will then share it with our readers, as a public service to them — but keeping you and your employer anonymous, as always. We’re especially interested in lawyers below the general counsel level — e.g., associate, assistant, or deputy general counsels — whose salaries are not already matters of public record.

So please, in-house lawyers, help us out. Send us your salary information, by email (subject line: “Skaddenfreude”). Examples of “anonymized” entries, and guidelines for submitting your salary info to ATL, appear here. Thanks!

Drinks on Mr. Frazier? [WSJ Law Blog]

Earlier: Skaddenfreude: Totally Gauche Ogling of Other Lawyers’ Incomes
Prior editions of Skaddenfreude (scroll down)