White & Case

‘Standing with your arms folded is underrated.’

Hot air balloons, Ice Cube, new socks, Ray Guy, Uzbek food, Kevin Bacon, plus-size models, Pittsburgh… what do the items on this random list have in common? In some nook or cranny of the internet, someone is making the claim that they are “underrated.”

Apparently also underrated? The corporate group at Cahill Gordon, according to the ATL audience. Cahill received the most mentions as having an “underrated” corporate group in our ATL Insider Survey. Biglaw has a fairly stable roster of alpha dogs in each practice category (Weil in bankruptcy, Wachtell in M&A, etc.), but we wondered which firms’ practice groups deserve more recognition. So, among other things, our survey asks attorneys to nominate firms with underrated (and overrated) practices within the respondent’s own practice specialty. Litigators nominate litigation departments, tax lawyers do the same for tax groups, and so on.

Read on and have a look at the top three underrated firms in each practice area:

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The law firm cafeteria is something of an anachronism. Having a large company mess hall where associates can grab a bite to eat without taking too much time to get lunch isn’t really necessary anymore. Nobody takes a “lunch hour” anymore. Associates can use Seamless and eat at their desks.

And we know partners aren’t eating in the firm cafeteria unless they are 80 years old and too busy to head to Peter Luger’s. No law firm cafeteria is nice enough to bring a client to; that’s why God created expense accounts.

But the cafeteria is still useful for secretaries and paralegals. At my old firm, the cafeteria was a great place to grab breakfast. At Debevoise, the cafeteria enjoys the best views of the block. We used to bring lawyers from Schulte Roth, which is housed on the lower floors at 919 Third Avenue, to show them our view (and to console them while they cried).

The point is, even as the Biglaw cafeteria has diminished relevance given our modern conveniences, you don’t want your firm perk to be disgusting. Last March, we learned that a number of Biglaw firms had received poor grades from the New York City Department of Health about the quality of their in-house cafeterias.

But it appears that Cravath’s food fortunes have significantly improved…

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If anyone still actually used MySpace, I think it would be news to a lot of people. That notwithstanding, the OG social networking site made headlines yesterday for settling with the FTC over some major alleged privacy problems.

It’s just more proof that by going on the internet, you are basically getting naked and showing everyone your family jewels. No one should be surprised by stuff like this anymore, but let’s see the details of the allegations, as well as what MySpace has to do now….

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Morton Pierce

This just in: superstar M&A lawyer Morton A. Pierce is leaving Dewey & LeBoeuf, the beleaguered Biglaw behemoth. This news should not shock anyone; rumors of Pierce’s possible departure have been making the rounds for weeks now.

So where is Morton Pierce going?

As we’ve been doing when covering this breaking story, we’ve added multiple UPDATES, after the jump.

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'So then I said to them, 'We have, like, a staggered board AND a poison pill. So suck on that!''

The halls are alive with… the sound of vermin? As we’ve mentioned earlier today, some top law firms (and even one top law school) are experiencing problems with rodents, insects, and other pests.

And, unfortunately, some of these critters have crept into company canteens. Thanks to New York City’s controversial system of rating restaurants, in which establishments receive letter grades based on their health and sanitation violations (or lack thereof), we know which law firm cafeterias are worth patronizing (and which ones are best avoided).

Let’s take a look at which Biglaw behemoths have the best — and the buggiest — dining rooms….

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Stephanie Adams

* Vedel Browne, the man charged with robbing Justice Stephen Breyer, will enter a plea of not guilty. Why turn yourself in and then claim innocence? That makes no sense, mon. [Washington Post]

* Guess which Biglaw firms helped to broker the $173B Greek debt deal? Cleary Gottlieb, Allen & Overy, and White & Case. It’s too bad they’re going to get paid in gyros. [Am Law Daily]

* England has approved of the use of Facebook for service of legal documents. If the files went to “Other” messages, the defendant can probably claim ineffective service of process. [Associated Press]

* A Florida firm is suing the BBB after receiving a grade of “F.” It’s not the firm’s fault its clients complain — they’re just too dumb to “understand legal complexities.” [Orlando Sentinel]

* Former Playboy Playmate Stephanie Adams won a $1.2M jury award in her excessive force case against the NYPD. You don’t drop a woman with implants to the ground, she could pop. [New York Daily News]

Meet the new Biglaw. Same as the old Biglaw.

As we mentioned in Morning Docket, the Wall Street Journal has a good article about how various recession-era cutbacks have become entrenched in Biglaw. If you have been paying attention or are a current law student, you know the issues: smaller entry-level classes, stagnant salaries, and a partnership track long enough to make a first-year Ph.D. student laugh.

Basically, if you were already a Biglaw partner when the recession hit, you are likely to say, “What recession?” Your profits per partner have probably gone up, despite the general economy’s woes. Other industries use economic downturns to retool their business models and develop new ways to compete. Not Biglaw. It appears that Biglaw has used the recession to fire a bunch of people, exclude new partners, and keep associate salaries and bonuses at recessionary levels. They haven’t developed a new business model; they’ve just found a way to reduce the costs of the old business model.

Biglaw partner: It’s great work if you can get it. The WSJ even found one partner who was so busy loving himself and his life that he appears to be totally oblivious to the struggles of everybody else…

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Today we conclude our coverage of the top New York partners to work for, as selected by our readers (see earlier coverage here and here).

These seven partners are proof that you can be a good partner who is good to associates while working at premier Biglaw firms like Chadbourne & Parke, Cadwalader, White & Case, DLA Piper, Baker Hostetler, Weil Gotshal, and Cravath.

Let’s find out how they do it….

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During 2011, Paul Hastings has been picking up partners. We previously mentioned their acquiring two prominent leveraged finance lawyers, Michael Michetti and Rich Farley, from Cahill Gordon. Additional hires, including Michael Baker from Shearman & Sterling and Steven Park from Finnegan Henderson, are listed on the PH website.

Like any large firm, however, Paul Hastings loses partners too. We’ve just learned of two partners who are ankling PH for Nixon Peabody.

Let’s find out who they are, get the backstory on their departures, and also obtain the 411 on some PH staff layoffs….

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(Plus Paul Hastings staff layoffs.)

Smile if you received an offer!

Since our initial call for information about summer associate offer rates at major law firms, a number of people have contacted us with reports. As it turns out, there’s a lot of good news floating around out there for summer associates.

This leads us to two conclusions:

  • Biglaw firms only brought in people they could actually hire.
  • You class of 2011 people are some boring individuals.

Honestly, listening to your summer stories is like looking at the Facebook photos of a Mormon school group’s vacation to Amish country. We know that people are worried about getting offers in this tough market, but the risk-aversion of the summers this year borders on cowardice.

Live a little, have a drink, ask her for her number. It’s a job interview, not an audience with the Pope.

In any event, 100% offer rates abound. Let’s round them up….

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