The first news started to leak this morning about some terrible news at a top firm:
White & Case [is] currently calling people and laying them off. I haven’t heard anything in regards to scope, but [I] hear that it’s big.
Now that White & Case has had time to tell all of the affected associates, they are ready to talk about how deeply the cuts went. A firm spokesperson tells us:
As part of its planning for 2009, White & Case LLP is reviewing its global operations against current and anticipated market conditions and expected client needs. While the Firm anticipates a strong 2008, with significant revenue growth across our globally diverse network, we are exercising prudent business judgment and taking several steps in advance of what is likely to be a significantly weakened global economy in 2009.
Among these actions, the Firm is reducing its global legal and nonlegal headcount by about 3% from current levels, or notifying employees that they are at risk of redundancy. These reductions are being driven in large part by a decline in attrition rates. Those who have been asked to leave will receive a competitive severance package.
“We are living in a time of unique economic challenges, and well-managed, successful businesses, including White & Case, must assess their operations in light of current market realities,” said White & Case chairman Hugh Verrier. “We believe this is a necessary step to adjust to the global economic downturn and to ensure a strong, long-term future for the Firm.”
Upon information and belief — the firm did not give us specific numbers — 70 associates nationwide were let go.
Read about some associate reaction after the jump.
We’ve reported that firms with “oversubscribed” summer classes are calling up 2Ls and encouraging them to not accept their 2009 summer associate offers. Unlike Akin Gump’s move, the tactic is a clever dodge around the NALP guidelines. As we understand it, firms are not committing these “cold offers” to email, instead using the telephone and avoiding a paper trail.
Career services departments are trying to cope with this new law firm tactic. Some Michigan students received this email from their career services dean:
Hi. It is my understanding that you have an offer from White and Case in New York. After talking to contacts in the New York legal market, it appears that White and Case may have over-hired for next summer and has a particularly large class. Therefore, it may be in your best interest to take another offer if you have one.
According to the WSJ Law Blog, White & Case claims ignorance over why Michigan would send out this email:
A spokesman for White & Case told the Law Blog: “We don’t know, honestly, why a law school career services office would send out these letters. No on has talked to us about the situation, and we’ve certainly not encouraged anyone to send out letters to students.”
Notice how White & Case did not say “we intend to honor every summer associate offer we’ve made.”
We have been consistently encouraging 2Ls to accept their offers sooner rather than later. Many career services departments have echoed that advice. White & Case joins Proskauer as one of the firm that has been “outed” as telling people that they should look elsewhere for offers, but we suspect that many firms are doing this.
Reasons for reading ATL vary from person to person. But we have been told by some people that one of the greatest benefits of following the site is gaining familiarity with law firms and the differences between them.
In that vein, we shall continue on with our series of open threads on the Vault 100. (Sorry, haters! Though we are taking under advisement the idea that we list them in groups of ten from this point forward.)
Here are the next five, with prestige scores in parentheses:
16. Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP (7.056)
17. Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP (7.055)
18. White & Case LLP (7.054)
19. Shearman & Sterling LLP (7.043)
20. Arnold & Porter LLP (6.905)
Of the five, White & Case has the most bizarre list of notable perks: “Gender- and reason-neutral flexible work arrangement program” (what does that mean?), “Cold, anonymous” (yippee?), and “Dinosaur” (the ferocious or the fossilized kind?).
Time to compare and contrast. We invite you to have at it. Earlier:Vault 100 Open Threads- 2009
Spring! Cherry blossoms, opening day, and pedigreed lawyers uniting in marriage. We’re pleased to be back with another installment of Legal Eagle Wedding Watch, featuring these three impressive couples:
Here’s an update to last week’s post about how various law firms fared in recruiting summer associates for this year. That post, including the comments, featured oodles of info about the expected summer class sizes at different Biglaw shops.
Now we bring you a few more data points. First, just a few short hours after our post went up, this email went around the New York office of Latham & Watkins:
As we move forward into 2008, the Recruiting Committee and the Recruiting Department would like to thank each of you for your support and participation in last year’s recruiting efforts. Your involvement in the summer program and our fall recruiting efforts was “priceless”. Thanks to your efforts, our summer program and fall hiring results were incredibly successful. The recruiting efforts resulted in 61 first years (not including judicial clerks, which we are currently in the midst of recruiting) starting next fall and a summer class of 80 summer associates (our largest to date!). Thank you all again and a very happy and healthy 2008 to each of you.
It’s nice when firms are so responsive to our inquiries.
In addition, a few tipsters emailed us unofficial information about how their firms did in the recruiting process. Check it out, after the jump.
White & Case has announced special and year-end bonuses for its New York associates and counsel. They are at market levels, and will be paid to associates “who are performing at or above the level expected by the Firm.”
Memo after the jump.
This just in from a tipster. It can’t possibly be true, so we’re taking it as a joke.
If you’re an associate at the firm, or work for Mr. Grinch at Biglaw, please let us know in the comments below. Tell us this can’t be true.
Tell us you’ve seen worse. What is your firm’s policy for the upcoming holiday season?
Ladies and Gentlemen:
We have had an unprecedented number of lawyers requesting vacation during the Christmas week this year (24-28 December). Although it is always difficult to predict what our respective work levels will look like so far in advance, given the number of vacation requests received to date, it is unlikely we can accommodate them all.
To those of you who have requested time away during this period, to those of you planning to do so, and to those of you who have received a tentative approval to be away during this particular period, I would ask that you consider taking your vacation at another time or being both patient and flexible as we determine as we get closer to Christmas, how best we can meet the needs of the firm and of our clients – which are paramount – while trying to accommodate, as we would very much like to do, our associates.
Please feel free to call me should you wish to discuss.
Neal Neal F. Grenley White & Case LLP
1155 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10036-2787
Although the pace seems to be slowing, our open threads on Vault 100 firms continue to generate a decent quantity (and quality) of comments. So we’ll press on, for the benefit of those of you who are now in the throes of the law firm application process.
Please pose questions about and share insights into these five law firms (in Vault 100 order, with prestige scores in parentheses):
16. Williams & Connolly LLP (7.234) 17. Sidley Austin LLP (7.232) 18. Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP (7.158) 19. O’Melveny & Myers LLP (7.105) 20. White & Case LLP (7.092)
If your firm is in ‘go’ mode when it comes to recruiting lateral partners with loyal clients, then take this quiz to see how well you measure up. Keep track of your ‘yes’ and ‘no’ responses.
1. Does your firm have a clearly defined strategy of practice groups that are priorities of growth for your office? Nothing gets done by random chance, but with a clear vision for the future. Identify the top practice areas for which you wish to add lateral partners. Seek input from practice group leaders and get specifics on needs, outcomes, and ideal target profiles.
2. In addition to clarifying your firm’s growth strategy, are you still open to the hire of a partner outside of your plan? I’ve made several placements that fit this category. The partner’s practice was not within the strategic growth plan of my client, but once the two parties started talking with each other, we all saw how it could indeed be a seamless fit. Be open to “Opportunistic Hires.” You never know where your next producing partner might come from, so you have to be open to it. I will be the first to admit that there is a quirky element of randomness in recruiting.
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.
We currently have a very exciting and rare type of in-house opening in China at one of the world’s leading internet and social media companies. Our client is looking for an IP Transactional / TMT / Licensing attorney with 2 to 6 years experience. The new hire will be based in Shenzhen or Shanghai. Mandarin is not required (deal documentation will be in English) but is preferred. A solid reason to be in China and a commitment to that market is required of course. This new hire will likely be US qualified (but could also be qualified in UK or other jurisdictions) and with experience and training at a top law firm’s IP transactional / TMT practice and could be currently at a law firm or in-house. Qualified candidates currently Asia based, Europe based or US based will be considered. The new hire’s supervisors in this technology transactions in-house team are very well regarded US trained IP transactional lawyers, with substantial experience at Silicon Valley firms. The culture and atmosphere in this in-house group and the company in general is entrepreneurial, team oriented, and the work is cutting edge, even for a cutting edge industry. The upside of being in an important strategic in-house position in this fast growing and world leading internet company is of the “sky is the limit” variety. Its a very exciting place to be in China for a rising IP transactional lawyer in our opinion, for many reasons beyond the basic info we can share here in this ad / post. This is a special A+ opportunity.
The traditional job application and interview process can be impersonal, and applicants often struggle to present themselves as more than just the sum of their GPAs, alma maters, and previous work history. ATL has partnered with ViewYou to help job seekers overcome this challenge. ViewYou NOW Profiles offer a unique way for job seekers to make a personal, memorable connection with prospective employers: introduction videos. These videos allow job candidates to display their personalities, interpersonal skills, and professional interests, creating an eDossier to brand themselves to potential employers all over the world. Check it out today!