Weil’s strong move up the Vault charts — the firm was ranked #9 last year — shows the power of high profile work. The Lehman bankruptcy and the General Motors restructuring were just two of the many recognizable matters Weil has had its hands on in the past 12 months.
But Weil also seems to have timed the Vault rankings quite well. The firm didn’t start deferring incoming first years until March, didn’t start laying off staff until May, and didn’t start laying off associates closing offices until the end of June.
Regardless of whether or not those moves catch up with Weil next year, right now is Weil’s time to shine in the warm recruiting light of sixth place. Congrats.
Let’s look at the other firms after the jump.
The Texas judge who ordered Microsoft to pay $290 million for infringing a patent included a $40 million enhancement that he said was partly justified because of alleged trial misconduct by a lawyer from Weil, Gotshal & Manges.
U.S. District Judge Leonard Davis tacked on the $40 million penalty because of evidence of willful infringement. But also “favoring enhancement,” he said in an opinion, was trial conduct by lawyer Matthew Douglas Powers, a Weil Gotshal partner.
Matthew Douglas Powers is a big name in IP circles. And he’s the co-chair of Weil’s litigation department. But he’s not going to comment on Judge Davis’s $40 million critique of his trial performance.
What were the judge’s reasons for admonishing Powers? Check after the jump.
Which New York law firm, having already completed two rounds of layoffs, has hired the Five O’Clock Club to help it carry out additional layoffs (in August, October, and November)?
After we ran the item, several firms came forward to declare they’re not the firm in question. And now they’re joined by one more: Morgan, Lewis & Bockius.
A spokesperson for Morgan Lewis contacted ATL to say that it isn’t the firm with layoffs in the works. In fact, Morgan Lewis claims that it shouldn’t even be on the shortlist of contenders.
Read why — and check out the list of the Five O’Clock Club’s clients, including some very prestigious law firms that haven’t publicly admitted to layoffs — after the jump.
Summer programs at many firms are shorter this year than last year. That means the summer is over at a lot of places, and summer associates are starting to learn their fates.
So far, there is some surprising news. Summers are getting offers. Many people have reported that their firm has given full, 100% offers to 2009 summer associates. Summers at Sullivan & Cromwell and Davis Polk are just some of the people reporting good news:
Davis Polk & Wardwell and Sullivan & Cromwell have extended offers to all of their summer associates.
Update (12:35): Additional tipsters inform us that Davis Polk has only given 100% offers to the summers that have already left. That is about half of the summer associates. The rest of the SAs leave on Friday, so we’ll see.
We also have received word that Cravath is making 100% offers.
After the jump, let’s look at a few more firms that we believe are making full offers to this year’s summer associates.
The legal job market is a little dicey right now, leading some law grads to question the worth of their shiny new J.D. degree. Suffolk Law grads — and not just the ones who can’t get dates — are really questioning the value of their degrees, after an ill-timed job advertisement from Weil Gotshal & Manges went out on their career services list-serv:
Dear 2009 Graduates,
I wanted to make you aware of a great opportunity currently posted on Symplicity. Please find the job information below. Interested parties should apply through Symplicity with a resume and cover letter.
Employer: Weil Gotshal & Manges, LLP (Boston, MA)
Title: Paralegal Position for ’09 Graduate
Description: This posting is for the class of 2009 grads who are not deferred for another position. Monday-Friday, 9:00am to 5:00pm, flexibility with overtime required.
Yay, that Suffolk law degree can get you into Biglaw! But there’s a catch.
More after the jump.
Big news from Weil Gotshal today. The firm previously deferred its incoming associates to January 2010, with the option of deferring until January 2011 (with a $75,000 stipend).
In recognition of the fact that it will have some of the class of 2009 starting in January 2011, the firm is offering current summers — i.e., the class of 2010 — the option of deferring until January 2012. Above the Law received the following statement from Weil Gotshal:
Earlier today, we informed our 2009 summer associates of the following:
* We are offering each summer associate who receives an offer of permanent employment at the conclusion of this year’s Summer Program the option of deferring his or her start date from January 2011 to January 2012.
* Each incoming associate electing to defer will receive a $75,000 stipend and health care benefits. In order to receive this stipend, the deferring associate must spend 1,000 hours during the deferral year performing some form of Firm-approved public service work in the US or abroad, including interning for a judge, or working for a Firm client.
* An incoming associate may decide to travel or take a paid position during the deferral year. The Firm will only pay the stipend to those people doing public service work. However, the Firm will provide health care benefits to all deferring associates.
* As we did with the successful deferral program for the class of 2009 associates, we will assist those who elect to defer with identifying public service placements, clerkships, and client opportunities.
The earliest current summers can start at Weil is January 2011 (and that is of course dependent on whether they receive an offer from the firm). But the option to defer until 2012 is even more evidence that the class of 2010 could be worse off than the class of 2009.
Don’t even get me started on the class of 2011.
More details from the firm statement, after the jump.
Since the recession hit the American economy with full force, Weil Gotshal has received some very high profile work. But it is not immune from the economic problems within the legal industry. The firm recently fired nearly 80 staffers, and in March the firm deferred some of its incoming first years until 2011.
Today brings more unfortunate news for Weil Gotshal employees. According to an internal communication obtained by Above the Law, the firm is closing its office in Austin. One partner, sixteen associates, and eleven staffers will be affected by the move.
The partner, Kevin Kudlac, will be relocating to Weil’s Houston office. All the associates and staff have been offered an opportunity to transfer to one of Weil’s other offices. If they don’t transfer, they’ll receive severance benefits.
Good luck, displaced Texans. I hear Houston is lovely this time of year.
Check out a screen shot of the Weil email after the jump.
Working at a firm that gets high profile work doesn’t make you immune to the ravages of the tanking economy. Above the Law can now confirm that Weil Gotshal has laid off 79 staffers. We received the following statement from a Weil spokesperson:
Effective today, the Firm has eliminated 79 administrative positions across its US offices. The decision to undertake this action has been an extremely difficult one; the fact that many peer law firms were forced to make similar moves is of little consolation. In taking these steps, we have made every possible effort to be fair-minded and those who are affected have received severance packages that provide transitional income and benefits, with access to a range of services that include healthcare and career guidance. We believe the package we have designed to assist those whose positions have been eliminated more than meets industry norms.
For those keeping score at home, this means that Weil believes it is perfectly able to handle the mega-bankruptcy work it is involved in without the benefit of extra staffers — or a fresh class of incoming associates.
If staff isn’t safe at Weil, are they safe anywhere?
The Weil statement goes on to cite cost concerns from its clients as the reason for the layoffs:
The buyers of legal services – many of whom are experiencing declining markets or even financial distress – are demanding that their service providers produce the most cost-efficient product possible. We have to be cognizant of this industry-wide expectation and plan accordingly.
Have Weil staffers been crushed under the wheel of economic efficiency? Congratulations to the survivors. Good luck to those that have been let go. Luckily, tomorrow is Saturday. Nobody gets laid off on Saturday.
Read the full statement after the jump.
The recently released Michael Vick can expect no quarter from most animal lovers. I forget how long he was in jail, but if his sentence didn’t involve a dog biting him in the ass every day, then it wasn’t long enough.
But Vick is (or was) merely a retailer in the world of inhumane treatment of animals. The real outrage should be directed at the wholesalers. And that is just what Weil Gotshal appears to be doing. The firm won a major victory against the alleged puppy mill Wizard of Claws, in Broward County Circuit Court:
The Broward County Circuit Court has issued a ruling refusing to dismiss several defendants from a major class action lawsuit against a south Florida puppy dealer known as “Wizard of Claws.” The suit, filed in 2007, accuses Wizard of Claws, its owners, and its affiliates of defrauding customers by misrepresenting the origin of puppies, and by selling puppy mill dogs who suffer from severe health problems and genetic defects.
The court’s order allows plaintiffs to proceed with their claims against three entities sharing common ownership with Wizard of Claws — Celebrity Kennels, Inc., Dog Breeder Kennel, Inc. and Puppies for Sale, Inc. — and also directs the defendants to turn over records regarding the puppies they have sold to the public. The court also ordered the owners of Wizard of Claws to sit for depositions concerning their business practices.
This victory has been a long time coming for lawyers at Weil Gotshal. More details after the jump.
* Starwood Hotels sued Hilton Hotels yesterday, accusing its rival of using “stolen confidential Starwood documents” to develop a new chain of lux hotels. Interestingly, the Wall Street Journal reports that Hilton’s in-house legal team unknowingly came across the boxes of stolen documents while preparing for a different case. Since the documents were unrelated to the case, the lawyers sent them back to Starwood in an “abundance of caution,” not realizing they were part of a devious corporate espionage plot. Whoops. [Wall Street Journal (subscription) and USA Today]
* Nationwide Same Sex Marriage Watch: New York Governor David Paterson wants New York to join the list of states with wedding bell rights for all. [New York Times]
* The Pirate Bay crew were found guilty in Sweden of violating copyright law for the file-sharing services their site provides. [New York Times]
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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