500 West End Avenue: former home of Tina Fey, until she sold - to a law firm partner.
After suffering through a brutal recession that was fueled, in part, by the collapse of the real estate market, you’d think that nobody would want to read about real estate ever again. But that’s not what’s happening in the blogosphere, where real estate is hotter than ever.
Above the Law readers are similarly obsessed with real estate. Is it because everyone had to take Property as 1Ls? For whatever reason, Lawyerly Lairs is one of our most popular and well-trafficked features. The last installment, a visit to the $4.7 million Chicago townhouse of outgoing Northwestern Law dean David Van Zandt, continues to be a top post (even though it dates back to before Thanksgiving).
So let’s give you more of the real estate porn you want and deserve. In today’s Lawyerly Lairs, focused on ATL’s home city of New York, we look at the recently acquired, envy-inducing residences of partners at three leading law firms: White & Case, Sullivan & Cromwell, and Linklaters.
The first featured residence even has a celebrity connection: the seller was Tina Fey, fabulous television and movie star (and Sarah Palin impersonator)….
This thread covers the firms ranked #11 through #20. This is your chance to discuss these firms — their upsides and downsides and whether Vault got their rankings right. The Vault site has entries for each firm, similar to the Firm Snapshots in our own Career Center.
The “downers” category for most firms tends to be rather general: they treat me like a number, “long hours,” “unfun,” etc. But someone at #20-ranked White & Case had a very specific complaint about the firm’s lack of tech savvy: “The technology is very outdated. We still run Outlook 2003 and are not allowed to use iPhones. The blackberries we are given are over 2 years old and do not work well at times. The firm is not receptive to these issues.”
Little known White & Case perk: every new associate gets their own Commodore 64 for home use.
What are the reviews for the other firms in this bracket?
Is this part of a larger trend? And will it continue?
“In under a year, White & Case has lost nearly 40 partners, most of whom have the largest books of business in the firm,” according to one source. “Many of the partner departures have been widely covered by the media — e.g., the 13 departures to Latham in London — but many more have been under the radar screen.”
We’ve received divergent opinions, however, on the extent and significance of the partner losses. Some say that many of the partners who left are not major names and have limited books of business, and that 40 is far too high for the number of departures in the past year. According to the Lawshucks Lateral Tracker, at least 28 attorneys have left W&C since October 2009, but we don’t know the number for the trailing 12 months.
Who are some of the other White & Case lawyers that have left for other firms? What are the broader implications of these departures? And what does the firm have to say about all of this?
On Sex and the City, Samantha was never seen scrolling through comments on news blogs to make sure her clients’ reputations weren’t being maligned. Instead, she attended fancy New York parties and talked up her roster of good-looking clients.
But SATC is dated. The work of public relations professionals has been made harder (and less glamorous) by the explosion of online news sources. We know that law firm PR folks spend a healthy amount of time monitoring the legal blogosphere to do damage control for their firms. Another place they need to watch is Wikipedia.
The crowd-source encyclopedia has become the go-to reference site for most Internetters. Society’s sages often warn people not to take everything they find in Wikipedia at face value — since the information does not necessarily come from experts and is not systematically vetted — but that advice often goes unheeded.
Because Wikipedia is such an important source of information, and so easily edited, some try to manipulate entries to give them a positive or negative spin. Lawyers at certain firms have been found guilty of this before (e.g., Wachtell). Sometimes dueling manipulation of an entry reaches the level of what Wikipedia calls an edit war — when two or more editors are continually overriding one another’s changes.
The Wikipedia gods ordered an end to the war on the page of Latham & Watkins. BLY1 noticed that the page was put on lockdown. A note from the Wikipedia war god says:
NOTE: IF YOU HAVE COME HERE TO EDIT ABOUT LAYOFFS, THINK TWICE. EDITS MUST BE FACTUALLY VERIFIABLE, AND NEUTRAL. IF YOU ARE CONNECTED TO THIS COMPANY IN ANY WAY WE ADVISE YOU *NOT* TO TOUCH IT.
Someone kept inserting references to Latham’s layoffs and how hard hit first-year associates were. That info has now been scrubbed from the page.
We decided to take a stroll though the revision history of other law firm pages to see who needs to do clean up, and who has done clean up. Cravath, for example, had a very interesting description for a short time…
We’ve written before about partner departures from White & Case. Earlier this month, we discussed the firm’s Palo Alto office, which has recently lost some talent.
The latest partner to leave: patent litigator Jennifer L. Yokoyama, who has accepted an in-house position at Nike. Her departure from W&C is effective April 2.
“We are sorry to lose such a talented young partner in Jennifer,” said Bijal Vakil, executive partner of White & Case’s Palo Alto office. “Nike has a good eye for talent. We wish her and Nike well and look forward to remaining in contact.”
“It is a difficult decision for me to leave White & Case,” said Yokoyama. “It is a great Firm, and the Palo Alto office has an abundance of excellent attorneys and is a wonderful place to work. I could not, however, pass up the opportunity with Nike. It is a dream job for me and one that I could not turn down. I wish my friends and colleagues at White & Case continued success and will miss them dearly.”
Lucky little 3Ls with offers, are you dreaming of the Biglaw days that await you? If your firm didn’t tell you last summer that you would be deferred, you should be hearing about your start date soon… right?
Some people have started hearing news. Those heading to White & Case have not gotten start dates but they have heard about their deferral stipend. From a firm e-mail:
We are pleased to confirm that we will be paying a stipend of US$65,000 to students whose start dates have been deferred to Fall 2011. Almost all of you have accepted your offers, and we look forward to having you back at the Firm.
Some especially lucky little 3Ls actually know when they get to start…
Earlier this month, we wrote about the departure of over a dozen partners from White & Case to Latham & Watkins (which is once again in expansion mode). These defections took place mainly in London and the Middle East, outside our usual geographic focus; but they were sizable and dramatic, and therefore worth covering.
Am Law Daily described Latham’s poaching of White & Case lawyers as “among the more spectacular lateral raids of recent years.” As reporter Richard Lloyd breathlessly wrote, the moves “raise serious questions about White & Case’s London finance practice, its position in the Middle East market, and its relationships with such important clients as Deutsche Bank and Saudi Aramco, Saudi Arabia’s national oil company.” In other words: the ship be sinking?
Well, not so fast. White & Case is rearranging the deck chairs taking decisive steps to beef up the offices that lost all that talent.
Our coverage of the London legal market tends to be episodic. We tried offering more regular coverage for a while, with our Letter from London column, but we put the feature on hold to focus on domestic developments. (We might revive the London column if we can find a sponsor for it.)
We will, however, cover major news out of London — such as last week’s massive defections from White & Case to Latham & Watkins.
Let’s finish off the prestigious Vault 20. Here we have some firms on the rise, and some firms that are … not.
Here is the next batch of firms:
16. WilmerHale 17. Latham & Watkins 18. Arnold & Porter 19. Jones Day 20. White & Case
Okay, before we discuss Latham and White & Case, let’s give a good cheer for WilmerHale (up one spot from last year), Arnold & Porter (up two spots from last year), and Jones Day (up four spots from last year).
The Jones Day surge is particularly impressive. You’ll remember that the firm slammed its competitors earlier this month. But it seems like the firm is walking the walk as well as talking the talk.
After the jump, you know what happens next.
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