Before we go hard-core with the lawyerly nuptials, we must mention a couple of recent Vows columns that are worth a look. First, this offbeat pair had three children together before finally deciding, at the ages of 63 and 39, to tie the knot. And the geriatric groom sounds way too horny: “I lusted after Nina, and still do, in a very primal way.” Yuck. If you’re over 40 and not John Slattery, Pierce Brosnan, or Captain Jean-Luc Picard, we don’t want to hear about your primal lust.
Then there’s this uncomfortable write-up, in which the couple cheerfully airs a story that makes the groom sound like a massive cad at best (he “shacked up” with someone else while she was studying abroad and failed to mention that detail in the cheesy love letters he was sending her). “I’m still pretty incredulous that she’s with me,” says the wannabe-player groom. So are we.
On to this week’s slate of newlyweds, which we believe sets a new record for number of Harvard and Yale degrees:
The folks over at Law Shucks don’t think so — and, despite my loyalty to my former firm, I see their point. Wachtell is a great firm, but its small size precludes it from being all things to all people. It’s a high-end boutique, not a superstore.
So perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that a former Wachtell partner has gotten the best of his ex-wife in contentious divorce proceedings. Leigh Jones of the National Law Journal reports:
It may have been the result of some crafty legal maneuvering by a Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz partner, or it may have simply been part of his tempestuous marriage to a “European Playmate” nearly 30 years his junior. Whatever the reason, the now-retired partner has thwarted a second bid by his ex-wife to invalidate a prenuptial agreement and collect a share of the annual retirement payments that he receives from the firm.
The Appellate Court of Connecticut, in a decision released on Thursday, affirmed a divorce judgment between retired Wachtell partner Peter McKenna, now 72, and Roberta Delente, a one-time model from Brazil who was working for an agency called “European Playmates” when the couple met in 1997. She was 32 at the time.
The divorce judgment left Delente, from whom McKenna sought a divorce less than a year after their wedding in August 1999, with virtually nothing from the marriage.
Let’s cut to the question that everyone is curious about: How big is McKenna’s (retirement) package?
UPDATE: And how hot is Roberta Delente? We’ve added a photo — as well as a link to the appellate court’s opinion, but that’s less exciting — after the jump.
Here in New York, we’re in the midst of the JPMorgan Corporate Challenge, a race sponsored by JPMorgan that raises money for the Central Park Conservancy. An ATL reader at a major New York law firm described the race (which is really two races; it’s now run over two consecutive evenings, due to the large number of participants):
[The Challenge] is a 3.5 mile race in Central Park that took place yesterday and will finish tonight. See here. Last year, there were over 6,500 finishers — a number of whom ran on “teams” for BigLaw.
While this particular race is NYC-centric, I think a story about how difficult it is to stay even semi-fit as a BigLaw attorney would strike a chord with your readers.
Indeed. Although many lawyers are avid runners, including marathoners, balancing training with billing hours isn’t easy. But some manage to find the time, as our source points out….
Since Judge Denny Chin is moving on up to the Second Circuit, the S.D.N.Y. cases pending before him have to be redistributed. Lawyers for Bank of America, which has 15 civil shareholder lawsuits on Chin’s docket, sent the chief judge a letter requesting that the cases be reassigned using a lottery system. As we mentioned in Morning Docket, Cleary Gottlieb, Davis Polk, and Wachtell Lipton all signed the letter.
Why did they need to send this special letter? Because they were scared of B of A landing again in the lap of Judge Jed Rakoff, says the Wall Street Journal:
Judge Rakoff disappointed bank executives last year when he rejected a $30 million settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which had charged the bank with misleading shareholders about bonuses paid prior to the Merrill merger. The New York judge reluctantly approved a new $150 million agreement in February but called it “half-baked justice at best.”
One of the pending shareholder cases accuses the bank of failing to “disclose billions in Merrill losses before shareholders approved the deal in December 2008.”
Apparently, the lawyers debated whether or not to name Judge Rakoff in their letter, thus making it clear that he was the particular judge they hoped to avoid. They ultimately decided to name names.
They were successful in steering their cases clear of Rakoff, though the chief judge claims the letter wasn’t a factor in her decision to assign the cases to Judge Kevin Castel (aka the John Gotti judge). How did she decide?
Last summer, we reported that Orrick would be moving into fancy new offices in New York. Earlier this week, the office move took place. From the firm’s press release:
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP has moved its New York office to 51 West 52nd Street, the same building that houses CBS headquarters and which is also known as Black Rock. The innovative design of the space reflects Orrick’s progressive culture, integrating technological, environmental and social advantages that enable the firm to better and more efficiently serve its clients.
Non-traditional features for law firms are incorporated throughout the office. Numerous public spaces, transparent glass office fronts and an open floor plan, with low-height components for greater visibility and interaction among staff, contribute to a sense of community. To better connect with other offices and clients, Orrick invested in state-of-the-art telepresence conferencing equipment.
As it turns out, the Orrick offices have a Telepresence Room — not to be confused with the Cryogenic Room, where Ralph Baxter plans to live forever.
You can access the various charts via this portal page. Aric Press and Greg Mulligan summarize the results:
It could have been worse. That’s the best that can be said for the performance last year of The Am Law 100, the top-grossing law firms in the nation. Three of the four key categories we’ve measured for 25 years — gross revenue, head count, and revenue per lawyer — fell, while profits per equity partner (PPP) barely increased by 0.3 percent, or $3,463, to $1.26 million.
So PPP was basically stable in 2009 — not a bad result given the continuing economic weakness last year. Perhaps law firm partners are better business managers than they get credit for?
Perhaps Herb Wachtell and Marty Lipton wanted some company as Legendary Old Dudes at 51 West 52nd Street. From the Associated Press:
Former Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau has joined the New York-based law firm of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. Morgenthau retired at age 90 as district attorney, after 35 years in the job.
In a release Wednesday, Morgenthau said he’s long admired Wachtell Lipton. He said it has helped to advance the law and the legal profession.
As well as the residential real estate markets in Manhattan and Westchester County. Wachtell Lipton routinely tops the American Lawyer’s list of the nation’s most profitable large law firms. The firm had profits per partner of just over $4 million in 2008, according to the 2009 Am Law 100 survey.
The firm represents many financial institutions.
That’s an understatement. The firm’s financial institutions group, led by the unstoppable Ed Herlihy, is second to none in the field of banking M&A (with the possible exception of Sullivan & Cromwell’s FIG group, headed by Rodge Cohen).
So what can Bob Morgenthau expect while working at the CBS Building?
Last year, associate bonuses at Wachtell Lipton dipped below 100 percent of base salary, for the first time since 2005. This year, they continued their downward slide.
But given the problems plaguing both the broader economy and the legal profession, bonuses didn’t go down by as much as many WLRK associates expected. The general reaction at 51 West 52nd Street was one of pleasant surprise: “Less than last year, but better than expected,” according to one source. The bonuses were announced last week, around the time of the Wachtell holiday party.
So how much are your friends and classmates at Wachtell taking home this year? Find out, after the jump.
The New York City marathon happens this Sunday. We know many lawyers who will be running it, and we wish them luck.
The marathon did not impose a minimum age until 1981 (16, raised to 18 in 1988). Pegged to the upcoming marathon, the New York Times had a fascinating article earlier this week about child marathoners, focusing on Wesley Paul, Scott Black (pictured), and Howie Breinan:
The adventures of Paul, Black and Breinan offer a glimpse into a forgotten aspect of the running boom of the late 1970s. Preternaturally self-disciplined, they were among about 75 children (ages 8 to 13) who tackled the early years of the New York City Marathon in a time of novelty and naïveté….
With no conclusive study, physicians still debate risks to children who compete in marathons, like muscular-skeletal injuries, stunted growth, burnout, parental pressures and the ability to handle heat stress.
Another risk: going on to become a securities lawyer. Two out of the three child marathoners profiled by the Times now practice in that field.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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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