As associate salaries climb (further) into the stratosphere, will firms start experimenting with different compensation schemes? Is lockstep compensation for associates headed for the dustbin of history?
As we mentioned yesterday, Thelen Reid just moved to a two-tier system. And now we’re hearing that Howrey LLP may have something odd up its sleeve.
Today the firm had a meeting / conference call about compensation matters. Here are two reports:
“They are planning to adopt a sweeping salary change that amounts to ‘it depends.’ It seems that they will determine salary based on individual evaluations and various forms of progress indicators. Who knows what this means. They said that “market rate” is not the upper cap, and that all-stars could make more than market. This plan is basically final, but they will be speaking to people in focus groups to fine tune the policy.”
“Switching to a ‘competancy’ model as of 2008. First years at 160 but from there based on skills – some above and some below market. Details not released yet as focus groups will be used to fine tune the program.”
Interesting, albeit vague. We’re eager to see what results from this process.
Is Howrey adopting an innovative approach, one that will result in a more flexible and/or meritocratic associate compensation structure? Or is it just an attempt by the firm to get away with paying below-market salaries?
Maybe blood oaths work in the Mafia. But outside organized crime circles, they may be harder to enforce. From the AP:
A Nietzsche-quoting judge said a promise penned in blood by a businessman was not an enforceable contract. Superior Court Judge Corey S. Cramin ruled Monday that Stephen Son could not be forced to repay Kim Jin-soo more than $140,000 that Kim provided to Son’s companies, not to Son himself.
Son punctured his finger and drafted the promise in a restaurant after his companies accepted cash from Kim but failed to turn a profit.
Son was not required to guarantee those transactions, the judge said.
“Blood is the worst of all testimonies to the truth,” Cramin said, paraphrasing German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche.
To all ATL readers currently studying for the bar: Whaddya think? How would you argue in favor of holding the blood contract enforceable, despite the apparent absence of consideration? Judge: Blood promise can’t be enforced [Associated Press via Yahoo! News]
And Bingham McCutchen (above) was, first, a lion-chasing zebra (where does the Dykema giraffe fit into this equation?) and now, a baby-coddling grizzly bear. Hey, if any of you crows want to see an idea using puffins, drop me a line.
(All ads scanned from the Wall Street Journal, the bear ad from yesterday’s edition.)
A commenter at Copyranter offers some great suggested captions for the Bingham ad. To read them all, click here. Our personal favorite:
Are you a Texas law firm associate who is sick of tired of working long hours for low pay? Are you looking for a more creative position, one that would offer you more “hands-on” experience?
Then you might be interested in working for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit — still for low pay, but probably for better hours. And we’re not talking about some run-of-the-mill law clerk gig.
The circuit is looking for an in-house interior designer. How fabulous! And no, we’re not joking. Check out the job posting by clicking here (PDF).
Okay, so you don’t have the requested “bachelor’s degree in interior design.” But surely a J.D. from an accredited U.S. law school, plus the requested ability “to move light furniture,” would be just as good.
Yeah, you’d have to move to New Orleans, but that’s not too far — still within the Fifth Circuit. In terms of specific job responsibilities, the most difficult one is probably “procuring furniture and furnishings utilizing federal procurement guidelines.”
That should be construed as “decorating courthouse spaces in halfway decent fashion, using furniture manufactured by federal prison inmates.” And remember — Martha checked out of the Big House a long time ago.
If that’s not worthy of an episode of Top Design, we don’t know what is. Interior Designer / Space Planner (PDF) [U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit]
Forget about all that Vioxx litigation — this is far more troubling. From the AP:
A man has sued the maker of the health drink Boost Plus, claiming the vitamin-enriched beverage gave him an erection that would not subside and caused him to be hospitalized.
The lawsuit filed by Christopher Woods of New York said he bought the nutrition beverage made by the pharmaceutical company Novartis AG at a drugstore on June 5, 2004, and drank it.
Woods’ court papers say he woke up the next morning “with an erection that would not subside” and sought treatment that day for the condition, called severe priapism.
Okay, maybe Novartis needs to fine-tune the formula a bit. But clearly they are on to something.
Watch out, V1agra; Cia1is s0fttabs, your days are numbered. Boost Plus is hot on your tail! Man Sues Health Drink Maker Over Erection [Associated Press via Fox News] Boost Plus [official website]
(Gavel bang: commenter.)
P.S. Please vote for Jordin Sparks in American Idol!!! Call 1-866-IDOLS-02, or text “VOTE” to 5702.
Even Professor Althouse, a diehard Blake Lewis fan, kind of agrees: “So, okay, let Jordin win. Blake will be fine. It will be better this way.”
* A rabbi, a nun and Christopher Hitchens walk into a bar… [PrawfsBlawg]
* Unlike other 15-year-olds who appreciate toilet humor, this girl felt victimized by the inside joke. [Pensacola News Journal]
* Anne Heche continues to entertain/disturb, plus we haven’t had a cautionary divorce tale in some time. Stay tuned… [Nasty, Brutish & Short]
* Who knows? The junior associate who sent out that crazy email some time ago could end up the next Kafka. [Legal History Blog]
* Forget fashion mags, frenemies and Paris — this is the real harm perpetuated by women against other women. [Red Orbit]
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 seven years. You can reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney are still in Hong Kong and will stay FOR THE REMAINDER OF THIS WEEK. We still have a handful of available slots for meetings with our Asia Chronicles fans. If we have not been in touch lately, reach out and let us know when we could meet! There is no need for an agenda at all. Most of our in-person meetings on these trips are with folks who understand that improving a legal practice through lateral hiring is an information-driven process that takes time to handle correctly.
Regarding trends in lateral US associate hiring in Hong Kong, we of course keep much of what we know off of this blog. Based on placement revenue, though, Kinney is having one of our most successful years ever in Asia. We are helping a number of our law firm clients with M&A, fund formation, cap markets, project finance, FCPA and disputes openings. These are very specific needs in many cases, so a conversation with us before jumping in may be helpful. As always, we like to be sure to get the maximum number of interviews per submission, using a well-informed, highly targeted, and selective approach, taking into account short, medium and long-term career aims.
Making a well informed decision during a job search is easier said than done – the information we provide comes from 10 years of being the market leader in US attorney placements at the top tier firms in Asia. There is no substitute for having known a hiring partner since he/she was an associate or for having helped a partner grow his or her practice from zip to zooming, and this is happily where we stand today – with years of background information on just about every relevant person in all the markets we serve, and most especially in Hong Kong/China/Greater Asia. So get in touch and get a download from us this week if we can fit it in, or soon in any case!
The legal industry is being disrupted at every level by technological advances. While legal tech entrepreneurs and innovators are racing to create a more efficient and productive future, there is widespread indifference on the part of attorneys toward these emerging technologies.
When the LexisNexis Cloud Technology Survey results were reported earlier this year, it showed that attorneys were starting to peer less skeptically into the future, and slowly but surely leaning more toward all the benefits the law cloud has to offer.
Because let’s face it, plenty of attorneys are perhaps a bit too comfortable with their “system” of practice management, which may or may not include neon highlighters, sticky notes, dog-eared file folders, and a word processing program that was last updated when the term “raise the roof” was still de rigueur.