* Billable hours in Biglaw are down 1.5 percent, and 15 percent of U.S. firms are planning to reduce their partnership ranks in early 2013. Thanks to Wells Fargo for bringing us the news of all this holiday cheer! [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]
* Hostess may be winding down its business and liquidating its assets, but Biglaw will always be there to clean up the crumbs. Jones Day, Venable, and Stinson Morrison Hecker obviously think money tastes better than Twinkies. [Am Law Daily]
* How’s that “don’t be evil” thing working out for you? Google’s $22.5M proposed privacy settlement with the FTC over tracking cookies planted on Safari browsers was accepted by a federal judge. [Bloomberg]
* Perhaps the third time will be the charm: ex-Mayer Brown partner Joseph Collins was convicted, again, for helping Refco steal more than $2B from investors by concealing the company’s fraud. [New York Law Journal]
* H. Warren Knight, founder of alternative dispute resolution company JAMS, RIP. [National Law Journal]
As you will see, it’s not all about the money in life: it’s about health, love, respect, happiness and then at some point about the money, which is the only thing that will survive all of us.
– Emel Dilek, the pulchritudinous plaintiff who is suing her former employer for breach of contract. Dilek was the mistress of the company’s former chief operating officer, who hired her; after he passed away, the company fired her.
(A closer look at this sexy plaintiff and her salacious suit, including some rather amusing deposition excerpts, after the jump.)
In August, New York Law School (NYLS) was hit with a class action lawsuit over the school’s allegedly deceptive post-graduate employment data. The case was filed by plaintiffs’ lawyers Jesse Strauss and David Anziska. In October, NYLS — represented by an alumnus who managed to ascend to the ranks of Biglaw partnership — filed a motion to dismiss that claim. Yesterday, the lawyers ventured down to the New York Supreme Court to argue the merits of the case.
A day later, everyone wants to know what happened during the oral arguments. Were any rulings made in this closely watched and hotly debated case?
In August, New York Law School was hit with a class action lawsuit over the school’s allegedly deceptive post-graduate employment data. The suit accused NYLS of fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and deceptive business practices. Now, two months later, NYLS is packing some Biglaw heat and moving to dismiss the complaint.
In a case of David v. Goliath, Jesse Strauss and David Anziska, the small-firm lawyers who brought the suit on behalf of the plaintiffs, are now up against the lawyers at Venable, whose motion to dismiss on behalf of NYLS was accompanied by a cutting 25-page memorandum of law.
But why is the NYLS brief so harsh? Because the school argues that the Gomez-Jimenez suit isn’t about the plaintiffs at all, but instead is part of a “crusade” against the American Bar Association….
On Wednesday, we commended the firm of Paul Hastings for moving so quickly to support Haiti earthquake relief efforts. Since then, a number of other top law firms have pledged their support to this worthy cause.
(Okay, Rush Limbaugh questions the worthiness of the cause. But we suspect that Limbaugh’s position — like that of Pat Robertson, who blames the earthquake on Haiti’s supposed pact with the devil — is a minority view.)
The WSJ Law Blog and Am Law Daily have gathered information about what various law firms are doing to help Haiti. We’ve combined their reports with information we’ve received from our own sources, to create a more comprehensive list.
Check it out, after the jump.
We all know that Venable is a “wacky” place to work. But is the firm also cheap? Last week, the firm announced its 2010 salary structure. It’s almost like Venable looked at all the different ways firms are handling salaries and decided to try all of them, at the same time. The firm-wide memo from managing partner Karl Racine truly has it all:
As you know, 2009 has been a difficult year for the practice of law. The impact of the recession on our clients has been severe. As a result of this unprecedented downturn in business activity, law firms were forced to take significant action to fundamentally realign their business models with the reality of a market place characterized by a significant decline in the demand for legal services. In a real way, the law firm business model has experienced a demonstrable market correction. While Venable has not been immune from these economic forces, the firm has exhibited remarkable and enviable resilience.
As we prepare to close the books for 2009, the firm will likely end the year less than one percent below 2008 revenues. There is no doubt that the firm’s solid performance is attributable to the superior work and effort of all of its staff, lawyers, legislative advisors, legal professionals, and management team. Perhaps like no other year in the firm’s history, Venable charted its own course in the face of disparate actions taken by our competitors.
I suppose, technically speaking, doing a random mash-up of all the things your competitors have done constitutes “chart[ing] [your] own course.”
Let’s break it down after the jump.
We are so close to the end of the Vault open threads that I’m starting to get my second wind. I don’t know much about the firms on this part of the list, but you guys do. You know a lot. You’re so smart, you probably don’t even need this quick recap of the next group of firms. But I’ll go through it anyway:
So it appears that Detroit’s ex-mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was carrying on other text-based affairs. His exchange of over 14,000 steamy, adulterous texts with his chief of staff made headlines last year. Now, it’s been revealed that he exchanged some inappropriate SMSes with another woman: Sheryl Robinson Wood
At the time, Wood was at Kroll, a New York-based risk assessment firm, and had been appointed to monitor Detroit’s Police Department reforms. Now, she’s a partner at Venable in the firm’s Baltimore office.
From the Detroit Free Press:
Saul Green, Detroit’s group executive of public safety, briefed the media after a closed meeting with Detroit City Council after shocking revelations that Sheryl Robinson Wood, who resigned as monitor last week, had a relationship with Kilpatrick.
Green said the Justice Department turned over text messages from fall of 2003 through January 2005 that show Kilpatrick and Wood met in Detroit, Washington and other cities.
“They showed contacts between the monitor and the former mayor that were inappropriate and also an exchange of information related to the litigation,” Green said. “It was a personal relationship in which they met, in which they went to dinner… not in an official time or context.”
There’s nothing better than a little litigation information exchange over drinks.
Wood resigned from the monitor position, but trouble looms for her. One tipster points out that a judge recently slammed the police department reforms as “grossly inadequate.” The monitoring of those grossly inadequate reforms cost Detroit over $13 million. Now the Justice Department is considering a criminal investigation of Sheryl Robinson Wood.
Question: Will my Vault 100 firm protect my salary despite the recession? Answer: You must be using some other kind of 8-ball. Venable might be Washington, D.C.’s weirdest law firm, but you can’t eat quirky. Yesterday evening, Venable announced pay cuts for everybody. Associates, counsel, staff, non-equity partners, and even equity partners will be affected.
First year associates will be taking the increasingly standard 10% pay cut. But then things get crazy! According to the firm wide memo, most associates and counsel will be taking a wacky 8% pay cut. How adorably off-beat.
* Base compensation for all other associates will be reduced by 8%, although there will be a floor of $150,000 and $155,000 for second year and third year associates, respectively.
* Base compensation for all of counsel will be reduced by 8%.
A college graduate without student loan debt is akin to reading a kind quote about Kim Kardashian in a tabloid—it’s rare.
In the past eight years, student loan debt has nearly tripled to a whopping $1.1 trillion, and in the past 10 years, the percentage of 25-year-olds with such debt has risen from 25% to 43%
It’s gotten so bad, in fact, that New York Fed economists warned last month that the burden of student debt could stilt consumer spending by twentysomethings, as well as further hamper the recovery of the housing market and economy.
To get a better idea of what massive student loan debt (we’re talking over $100,000 massive) looks like, we talked to an attorney who graduated with a large student loan debt. We also consulted LearnVest Planning Services CFP® Katie Brewer to see just how their repayment plans stack up.
S. Fischer, 36, Attorney Graduated: 2001
How Much I Borrowed: $100,000
What I Still Owe: $45,000
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Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past six years. You can reach them by email: email@example.com.
Deal flow has clearly picked recently up for most US associates, counsels and partners in Hong Kong/China and Singapore. We are on the phone with a lot of these folks on a daily basis, many of whom we have known for years. Further, the head of our Asia team, Evan Jowers, and Kinney’s founder and president, Robert Kinney, frequently meet in person with leading US partners in Asia to assess their needs and keep on top of the inside scoop at as many firms as possible. The need for legal recruiting help in Asia from experienced recruiters appears to be live and well. In March, Evan and Robert were in Beijing at such meetings, in April, Evan was in Hong Kong, and for half of June Evan will be in Shanghai and Hong Kong. Thus its pretty easy for us to tell when there has been an across-the-market pick up in capital markets and corporate work.
On an average day in Asia when Evan and Robert visit firms, they typically have 5 to 9 meetings a day, mostly with US partners in the market. The reason they have these meetings is not simply because Kinney makes a lot of US attorney placements in Asia and that a particular firm may have openings; instead these are just visits with friends. After years of working together as business partners, the folks at Kinney are actually these peoples’ friends. The firms Kinney work closely with in Asia (which is just about every law firm – call us if you want to know the one firm in the world we will never place anyone with again, ever, and why) look forward to the visits, or at least act like they do. After seven years in the market, many of the client partners are former associate candidates. Also, these US partners see Kinney as a very good source of market information as well, because they know how deep their contacts are in the market and how frequently they are speaking to counterparts at peer firms.
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