We’ve received a number of email messages from readers today conveying some very sad news. In the words of one correspondent, “Texas lost one of its finest lawyers, as well as a great man and father, last night.”
On Tuesday night, prominent Texas lawyer Gregory Coleman — name partner at appellate boutique YetterColeman, former Solicitor General of Texas, and former partner at Weil Gotshal — was killed in a plane crash. Said a second source: “I think most folks in Texas would regard him as one of the best, if not the best, appellate lawyer in the state.”
This month’s heat wave forced professional types to start desperately thinking about whether spaghetti straps and speedos are appropriate attire for the office. (Hint: they’re not.)
Many offices do go casual over the summer, though. At Weil Gotshal, for example, you can buy your way into a pair of jeans on Friday. Says a tipster (with some high-rise excitement):
did you hear that weil is starting jeans fridays for july and august as a test run and potentially forever! in order to participate, we must pay $5 to go to a designated charity each month. we have had these $5 jeans fridays in the past maybe every other month… but now it’s every friday!
The downside: Those who don’t turn up in jeans on Fridays are revealed as either ridiculously stuffy or too cheap to give to charity.
Need help with clothing choices this summer? A recent career newsletter from The Ladders had a useful feature on summer fashion, including dos and don’ts. The photo at right is among those featured. Is it a fashion do or a don’t?
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….
That means it’s time for law firm HR departments to send out their annual summer fashion memos. Otherwise, associates might start showing up to work in bikinis and speedos. Because after a long winter spent hibernating under fluorescent lights, packing on the cold-month pounds, that’s exactly what law firm associates want to do…
Weil Gotshal & Manges sent around a flyer to its associates today, with the subject, “Reminder: New York Office Guidelines on Business Casual Attire.” It lays out Fashion Dos & Don’ts for its associates. Happily, the bulletpoint list of “Unacceptable” attire is actually longer for men than it is for women.
The list doesn’t seem to be season-specific, as both genders are forbidden from wearing “hiking/snow boots” this summer.
In journalism, there are certain go-to stories that one writes around big events. At Halloween, everyone writes the “most popular costume” story. At Christmas, it’s the “most popular toy” story. At Thanksgiving, it’s the “how the community is giving back” story.
Over the last two years, a recurring event has been “the big bankruptcy.” And it seems that the journalistic go-to is the “how much are the greedy lawyers making off of this” story. We’ve seen it with the GM bankruptcy, the Tribune bankruptcy, and the Chrysler bankruptcy. Yesterday, the New York Times applied the story model to the Lehman bankruptcy, but they got pay czar Kenneth Feinberg to weigh in — and lay into the firms working on the case: Weil, Jones Day, and Milbank.
“It violates any sense of proportion,” says Kenneth Feinberg, the Washington lawyer who serves as the “pay czar” for banks bailed out by the government and whom the court appointed last June to monitor fees associated with the Lehman bankruptcy. The court asked him to participate after concerns were raised in the news media about the soaring fees in the Lehman case.
“Unemployment is over 9 percent, and to be paying first-year associates $500 an hour angers the public,” he observes. “People read about all of this and say that lawyers and the legal system are one more example of Wall Street out of control.”
The article outlines the fees that have outraged — tangential Nationwide Perk Watch: Weil attorneys get limo transport — and the new limits that have been placed on bankruptcy attorneys on the case. No first class for you!
April 1 is a dangerous date. It’s a day when punking people becomes the national sport. It’s not just traditional pranksters like College Humor marking the holiday. Law firms and law schools have been getting in on the fun today as well.
Shortly after your ATL editors got back from lunch, we got an alarmed email from a Columbia Law student, upset about Columbia’s plan to block some popular websites starting Monday:
When the Dean’s Advisory Committee addressed the Senate last month, it conveyed the faculty’s concern regarding student inattention and declining participation in class. The consensus among professors is that in-class Internet use is the primary cause.
Yesterday, we were informed that IT will begin blocking access to certain Internet sites inside the Law School’s three main buildings, while classes are meeting. Selective site blocking is scheduled to begin Monday morning. Among the 2-3 dozen sites affected are Facebook, Gmail and Above the Law. Others may be added later.
We’re honored to be part of that Holy Trifecta of websites, though Elie was initially quite upset at Columbia — until he visited the linked website and “got Rick-rolled for the first time in years.” Judging from the flood of emails we’ve gotten, he’s far from the only one.
Weil Gotshal and Yale Law School also performed some prestigious pranks. You’d think legal types’ natural cynicism would help protect them today. But you’d be wrong…
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.
Bonuses have been announced over at Weil Gotshal — and, at least for some associates, WGM is paying above the market. Eat your heart out, Cravath.
In addition, Weil is giving its associates their standard seniority-based pay raises for 2010. The firm is using the regular NYC pay scale: $160K – $170K – $185K – $210K – $230K, etc. The pay raise won’t hit bank accounts until the February 5 deposit, but it will be retroactive to January 1.
Should above-market bonuses from Weil come as a surprise? On the one hand, the firm has been having a good year, thanks to its work on marquee bankruptcies like Lehman Brothers and GM. On the other hand, the firm tends to be cheap about such things historically hasn’t been a compensation leader.
For associates receiving an “overall strong” rating, the firm will pay bonuses on the Sullivan & Cromwell scale. We hear that achieving this rating isn’t difficult: “[P]retty much everyone gets that. No hours requirement. I’ve never heard of anyone not getting a bonus if they are still employed on pay day.”
But wait, there’s more. Certain more-senior associates, from the class of 2005 on up, will receive “distinguished” bonuses.
Last month, we asked you to share your stories of summer associate craziness. Based on the responses we received, I feel very sorry for the 2009 summer associates. Obviously the days of summers peeing off the side of a Duck Boat are long gone.
This story we received from summers at Weil Gotshal in New York illustrates the difference between summer 2009 and actual fun:
Did you hear about the Weil partner who got a summer so wasted from shots the summer barfed on himself in the bathroom at a firm event?
Were this year’s summers really so dull that partners had to be the ones to encourage after-work debauchery? I mean seriously, if you can make it to the bathroom, you probably could have had at least one more shot.
The Weil summer rallies after the boot, after the jump.
Commenters often complain that we feature too many Biglaw associates in this space — uninspiring young people who’ve drifted through college and law school and are now drones at soulless firms. We’re delighted that this week, Biglaw associates make up only one-third of our couples. Rounding out the field are a soulless-drone partner and a former associate who abandoned Biglaw for the classic refuge of the disillusioned JD: law teaching. Enjoy this foray into the unexpected!
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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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