That means it’s time for law firm HR departments to send out their annual summer fashion memos. Otherwise, associates might start showing up to work in bikinis and speedos. Because after a long winter spent hibernating under fluorescent lights, packing on the cold-month pounds, that’s exactly what law firm associates want to do…
Weil Gotshal & Manges sent around a flyer to its associates today, with the subject, “Reminder: New York Office Guidelines on Business Casual Attire.” It lays out Fashion Dos & Don’ts for its associates. Happily, the bulletpoint list of “Unacceptable” attire is actually longer for men than it is for women.
The list doesn’t seem to be season-specific, as both genders are forbidden from wearing “hiking/snow boots” this summer.
In journalism, there are certain go-to stories that one writes around big events. At Halloween, everyone writes the “most popular costume” story. At Christmas, it’s the “most popular toy” story. At Thanksgiving, it’s the “how the community is giving back” story.
Over the last two years, a recurring event has been “the big bankruptcy.” And it seems that the journalistic go-to is the “how much are the greedy lawyers making off of this” story. We’ve seen it with the GM bankruptcy, the Tribune bankruptcy, and the Chrysler bankruptcy. Yesterday, the New York Times applied the story model to the Lehman bankruptcy, but they got pay czar Kenneth Feinberg to weigh in — and lay into the firms working on the case: Weil, Jones Day, and Milbank.
“It violates any sense of proportion,” says Kenneth Feinberg, the Washington lawyer who serves as the “pay czar” for banks bailed out by the government and whom the court appointed last June to monitor fees associated with the Lehman bankruptcy. The court asked him to participate after concerns were raised in the news media about the soaring fees in the Lehman case.
“Unemployment is over 9 percent, and to be paying first-year associates $500 an hour angers the public,” he observes. “People read about all of this and say that lawyers and the legal system are one more example of Wall Street out of control.”
The article outlines the fees that have outraged — tangential Nationwide Perk Watch: Weil attorneys get limo transport — and the new limits that have been placed on bankruptcy attorneys on the case. No first class for you!
April 1 is a dangerous date. It’s a day when punking people becomes the national sport. It’s not just traditional pranksters like College Humor marking the holiday. Law firms and law schools have been getting in on the fun today as well.
Shortly after your ATL editors got back from lunch, we got an alarmed email from a Columbia Law student, upset about Columbia’s plan to block some popular websites starting Monday:
When the Dean’s Advisory Committee addressed the Senate last month, it conveyed the faculty’s concern regarding student inattention and declining participation in class. The consensus among professors is that in-class Internet use is the primary cause.
Yesterday, we were informed that IT will begin blocking access to certain Internet sites inside the Law School’s three main buildings, while classes are meeting. Selective site blocking is scheduled to begin Monday morning. Among the 2-3 dozen sites affected are Facebook, Gmail and Above the Law. Others may be added later.
We’re honored to be part of that Holy Trifecta of websites, though Elie was initially quite upset at Columbia — until he visited the linked website and “got Rick-rolled for the first time in years.” Judging from the flood of emails we’ve gotten, he’s far from the only one.
Weil Gotshal and Yale Law School also performed some prestigious pranks. You’d think legal types’ natural cynicism would help protect them today. But you’d be wrong…
The Texas judge who ordered Microsoft to pay $290 million for infringing a patent included a $40 million enhancement that he said was partly justified because of alleged trial misconduct by a lawyer from Weil, Gotshal & Manges.
U.S. District Judge Leonard Davis tacked on the $40 million penalty because of evidence of willful infringement. But also “favoring enhancement,” he said in an opinion, was trial conduct by lawyer Matthew Douglas Powers, a Weil Gotshal partner.
Matthew Douglas Powers is a big name in IP circles. And he’s the co-chair of Weil’s litigation department. But he’s not going to comment on Judge Davis’s $40 million critique of his trial performance.
What were the judge’s reasons for admonishing Powers? Check after the jump.
So should Weil Gotshal associates be rooting against a government bailout of GM and the other big automakers?
GM bankruptcy –> more fees for Weil –> bigger bonuses (which WGM has not yet announced)?
UPDATE (1:00 AM): As of now, it looks like the auto industry bailout talks have failed. This makes a GM bankruptcy even more likely.
But even if GM does file for Chapter 11 (or even Chapter 7), thereby generating thousands of billable hours for Weil associates, it’s unlikely that Weil will pay out Skadden-sized bonuses (although the speculation sure is fun). As noted in the comments, Weil generally follows the market, and the market has settled around Cravath.
Paying above market could create problems for Weil. As one reader previously noted, “Weil will never be a bonus leader because there is concern at the firm that it would seem unsightly by the firm’s bankruptcy clients to lead the market with bonuses.”
That concern seems warranted. As GM director George Fisher told Bloomberg last week, “We are fearful, very fearful, of a prolonged [bankruptcy] proceeding that would just destroy our brand in the marketplace and therefore that is not considered a viable option…. These Wall Street geniuses and law firms are coming up with all these solutions that make them a lot of money.”
Herrera’s complaint — “for discrimination, retaliation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress and fraud” — reads like a reality TV show pitch about the lives of paralegals. Herrera has been a paralegal in Weil’s Silicon Valley office since 2004. In his complaint, he talks about:
a female paralegal who thinks men are inferior to women;
a male paralegal who thinks women are inferior to men (and referred to a co-worker as “milky creamies” in honor of her breasts);
a paralegal who expressed prejudice against Latinos;
good old inter-office gossip about who liked and hated whom; and
the use of the “pimp hand” and the “mojo hand” to intimidate and cajole.
Here’s an excerpt from the complaint (“Mr. Schmoller” refers to senior paralegal Chris Schmoller):
(For those who don’t know, Matt Powers is one of the most feared, respected and successful patent litigators in the country.)
(Also for those of you don’t know, the ever-useful urban dictionary defines “pimp hand” as “the hand used to smack your ho’s around,” but has no definition for “mojo hand”)…
Reached Friday at Weil Gotshal where he still works, Herrera told Legal Pad he sued because he was out of options for resolving the problems. He has yet to serve the firm, and said he was contemplating Friday just how to do it.
Wikipedia says the mojo hand is a kind of magic charm. We still don’t know what a mojo hand is, but we want one!
As a former paralegal, Kash was most amused by Herrera’s complaint that he was given “repetitive, unchallenging and un-enriching tasks.” Welcome to being a paralegal!
Just as Weil, Gotshal & Manges welcomes back legendary bankruptcy partner Harvey Miller, the firm is saying goodbye to four other restructuring stars who are leaving to join a rival firm.
Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft is set to announce today that it has recruited George A. Davis, Deryck A. Palmer, John J. Rapisardi and Andrew M. Troop as partners in New York. The move, involving four of Weil Gotshal’s most prominent bankruptcy partners apart from Miller and practice co-heads Martin Bienenstock and Marcia Goldstein, points to a major realignment among elite bankruptcy practices.
In our post from last week, we had all of the names except for Troop.
Our tipster chalked up the move to the departing partners’ desire “to swim in Bob Link’s shark tank and make the big $$$.” The NYLJ piece seems to confirm that:
[Deryck Palmer] praised Cadwalader’s famously performance-driven culture, where top partners are rewarded handsomely and weaker ones are winnowed out.
“Cadwalader provides an environment where every lawyer can achieve their potential,” said Palmer.
This morning brings some big news in the world of bankruptcy law. From the WSJ Law Blog:
You can go home again, especially if you’re Harvey Miller (at right). The legendary bankruptcy lawyer is expected to rejoin to Weil Gotshal, whose partners are scheduled to vote on his return tomorrow.
“I would be delighted to have Harvey back, but it’s premature at this stage to comment on his rejoining the firm until the partnership votes on the issue,” says Stephen Dannhauser, firm chair.
Before decamping to investment bank Greenhill & Co. in 2002, Miller had spent the previous 33 years at Weil, building its bankruptcy department into one of the most prominent debtor-side practices in the country.
And from a little bird (so consider this to be nothing more than rumor at this point):
It appears four bankruptcy partners are leaving Weil and moving to Cadwalader (apparently to swim in Bob Link’s shark tank and make the big $$$). Partners include Deryck Palmer, John Rapisardi, and George A. Davis.
Could the return of Harvey Miller to Weil be related to the (rumored) departures of these younger partners?
We are following up on this rumor and will let you know what we find out.
UPDATE: Harvey Miller’s return to Weil is official. The WGM press release is available here. A longer version of the release, which was circulated by email at Weil, appears after the jump.
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.
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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