The high-powered law firm of Paul Weiss has a legendary litigation practice. But their corporate department is strong too — they’re working on, for example, the big Warner Music deal — and it’s only getting stronger.
Yesterday corporate lawyers at Paul Weiss received an unusual email: “We would like to ask all counsel and associates to attend a meeting tomorrow morning at 11 to discuss some exciting developments affecting the Corporate Department. The meeting will be held in the concourse. Please make every effort to attend.”
The meeting took place earlier today. What was announced?
UPDATE: Please note that several updates have been added to this post, after the jump.
A couple of weeks ago, we asked for information about start dates at large law firms. The class of 2011 keeps peppering us with emails about when they can show up for work.
Happily, we’ve been hearing that most Biglaw firms will have their incoming classes start on time, in September or October. Most of the information in the comments to our open thread reflects that news as well. The most prestigious firms seem to be starting on time. Cravath, Sullivan & Cromwell, Davis Polk, Kirkland & Ellis, and firms of that ilk will be welcoming the class of 2011 in the fall of 2011.
But our tipsters do report some notable exceptions….
When in need of a pic of a T.V. cheerleader, am I right to go with Minka Kelly over Hayden Panettiere? Can we get some kind of ruling on this?
* Is it possible that in South Dakota you have to go through a shorter waiting period to buy a gun and shoot someone who is already alive than you have to go through in order to have an abortion? Could somebody check on that? [MSNBC]
* Did you see this chart showing that law professors make more than all other professors at the college level? I think I forgot to mention it because when my brain sees such horrible atrocities it enacts self-defense protocols and deletes the knowledge from my… Did you see this chart showing that law professors… [Chronicle of Higher Education]
* Same-sex couple gets deportation put on hold to pursue marriage-based immigration case. I think we’re all safer when Homeland Security isn’t run by Leviticus. [Stop the Deportations]
* If cheerleading were a real sport, this lawsuit might be really interesting. [Jezebel]
After the Haitian earthquake last year, we saw law firms step up in a big way to support relief efforts down there. Hopefully we will see the same reaction to the ever-increasing tragedy unfolding in Japan. Given an 8.9 a 9.0-magnitude earthquake, a massive tsunami, and a nuclear disaster that is already the second-worst nuclear accident in history, you hope that Japan will get all the help that the world can provide.
If anything, the nuclear meltdown angle is obscuring the humanitarian crisis currently happening in Japan. We know that Americans can’t focus on something unless there is some tangential relationship to something bad that could happen here, but you’d think that the possibility of 10,000 deaths would be enough to trigger our humanitarian concern without obsessing about apocalyptic scenarios.
Thankfully, a couple of law firms aren’t waiting for Japan to start glowing before making efforts to help…
Last week, we told you that Weil Gotshal was waiting to see how the other top-tier dominoes fell before deciding on spring bonuses. Well, since that time, many dominoes have fallen, all in line behind Cravath. Davis Polk, Skadden Arps, and now Paul Weiss have all matched the Cravath spring bonus scale. Cravath’s bonuses are a little bit more generous than the spring bonuses previously announced by Sullivan & Cromwell.
Weil was trying to figure out which firm, Cravath or S&C, the market would follow. It looks like that’s going to be Cravath.
Tipsters report that earlier today, Weil decided to fall in line….
You feel like the other top firms will have to match. But right now the ball is in the court of firms that are not used to being market leaders when it comes to associate compensation. These firms know they’ll have to pay top of the market compensation; they just don’t know what the top of the market is yet. Is it S&C’s bonus? Or is it Cravath’s? Nobody wants to end up like Skadden in 2008, which paid out much more in bonuses than its peer firms that year.
So right now all of these firms are kind of looking at each other, waiting for one of them to do something. According to a tipster, that’s what’s happening at Weil — they’re just desperately waiting for somebody to tell them what to do…
The economy seems to be on the mend. Corporate profits are strong, and the Dow is north of 12,000. In the legal world, layoffs are down, bonuses are up, and hiring is way up.
But governments — federal, state, and local — are staggering under mountains of debt. State and local governments have borrowed $2.4 trillion as of mid-2010, and they’ve promised another $3 trillion in retirement benefits.
There is tons of talk out there about a possible wave of municipal bankruptcies. And even if the talk might be overblown, the possibility of default by multiple local governments or even state governments — which might someday get the ability to declare bankruptcy — can’t be ruled out.
If municipal bankruptcies start popping up all over the place, Dewey & LeBoeuf will be ready. The firm just picked up a leading expert in the area….
But Weil Gotshal, which previously committed itself to “compensating Associates at market rates” and paying “2010 bonuses that are commensurate with bonuses paid by peer firms,” apparently believes that the “market rate” has been set — by Cravath.
Check out their latest memo, which also (1) confirms that Weil associates will get their customary seniority-based base salary increases in January (no surprise there), and (2) contains numbers for the “Distinguished” bonuses awarded to high-performing midlevel and senior associates….
‘Tis the season — for new partner elections at large law firms. Although there are some exceptions, most firms pick and announce their new partner classes around November and December, with partnership effective on January 1 of the following year.
These partnership announcements sometimes contain interesting information, if you read between the lines. As we’ve previously observed, “Partnership decisions often shed light on the current state of a firm, its prospects for the future, and its priorities. How many new partners did a firm make? How does the number of new partners this year compare to past years? In which practice areas did it make new partners? How many of the new partners are women or minorities?”
After the jump, we look at new partner news from ten top firms — perhaps you know some of these law firm superstars (and soon-to-be millionaires)? — and we invite you to discuss the new partners at your firm….
The latest firm to announce that it’s matching the market — which, at the current time, is embodied in the Cravath bonus scale — is Weil Gotshal. According to the memo, from executive partner Barry Wolf, Weil associates “will be paid 2010 bonuses that are commensurate with bonuses paid by peer firms.”
We assume this is Weil-speak for Cravath bonuses — or higher, if another “peer firm” decides to best Cravath. The Weil bonuses will be paid on December 23.
The full memo — available after the jump, along with reactions from Weil sources — contains good news, and bad news….
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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