White & Case

'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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An old white male and his younger diverse peeps.

Law firm diversity matters. It matters to corporate clients, many of them public companies that want to demonstrate their commitment to diversity through their selection of vendors and service providers — which is what law firms are, at the end of the day. It matters to the law students and lawyers that firms are trying to recruit — which is the premise behind the data collection conducted by Building A Better Legal Profession.

So there should be keen interest in the latest edition of the American Lawyer’s Diversity Scorecard 2011, which the magazine just released. As Am Law explains, the Scorecard constitutes its annual ranking of large law firms by their percentage of minority attorneys and minority partners.

Let’s take a look at the top firms for diversity. Did your firm make the list?

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Let’s all take a deep breath. Associate bonus season, which usually wraps up sometime in January, looks like it’s been extended well into April. This is just more proof that Biglaw firms don’t actually collude. No rational business person would want to be making decisions in April 2011 about how much to pay employees for 2010 performance.

For those trying to keep score, there seem to be the following categories of firms (roughly using a letter-grade system):

A – Firms that are paying Cravath-level spring bonuses in all offices. (Example: Cravath.) [FN1]
B – Firms that are paying Sullivan & Cromwell-level spring bonuses in all offices. (Example: S&C.)
C – Firms that are paying spring bonuses in New York but not elsewhere, like California or D.C.. (Example: Read more below.)
D – Firms that are not paying spring bonuses because their year-end bonuses beat the Cravath year-end bonuses, and they’re hoping their associates can’t add. (Example: CHECK YOU QUINN EMANUEL.)
F – Firms that are not paying spring bonuses and invite disgruntled associates to S some D if they don’t like it. (Example: Jones “We can still hear all the poors who live inside your black box” Day.)

Right now, we want to focus on Group C. Group B gets a pass because they started the spring bonus phenomenon and goddamnit we’re going to respect that. Partners at firms in Groups D & F will have to examine their own motives for why they want their associates to secretly hate them.

But Group C is weird. Why create inter-office jealousy and rage when most top firms are paying spring bonuses in all of their offices? Why look that desperate to save a little bit of money?

And you can’t spell “Weird Cost-Cutting” without White & Case

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Two months ago, when spring bonuses were new and fresh and exciting, we reported on spring bonus deliberations at Cadwalader (which eventually matched the market). At the time, I wrote: “If Cadwalader jumps into the spring bonus pool, we’re going to have to start asking questions about Paul Weiss, Willkie Farr, White & Case (don’t laugh), and other well-known New York City firms.”

Well, I’m not here to say “I told you so.” I’m here to say “I was wrong.” It turns out that you are most certainly allowed to laugh. Because White & Case wants to jump into the spring bonus pool without actually telling people if it is matching the spring bonus market. The White & Case “spring bonus” could be a goddamn unlimited MetroCard for all we know. Do the managers at White & Case think they can appear to be paying market compensation without actually paying market compensation?

That’s funny….

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* Watch out, Ivy League law schools: UC Irvine is coming after your faculty members (starting with the clinical professors). [National Law Journal]

* White & Case hires Charlie Monteith, an expert in the U.K.’s new Bribery Act (discussed in Gabe Acevedo’s last column). [WSJ Law Blog]

* How are employment prospects for Yale Law School graduates these days? [Law and More]

* Musical chairs, D.C. edition: some notable moves and partner promotions inside the Beltway. [Washingtonian]

* Are you a law student in or from New York, with an interest in antitrust? Then check this out. [Truth on the Market]

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