Californians, as we understand it, really care about their cars — and their parking spots. So White & Case’s latest maneuver out in Palo Alto could mean war:
White & Case’s Silicon Valley office is in a Palo Alto office complex shared with several other firms. Historically, all the parking, including a large parking garage, has been shared among all firms.
Apparently, White & Case used the downturn in the commercial lease market to renegotiate its terms with the management company. Just after the new year, around a dozen primo parking spots in parking garage were rebranded to indicate that they were for “White & Case guests.” This did not sit well with the locals.
But if you think that White & Case backed down, you’ve got another thing coming. Details after the jump.
PPP are $1,080,000, which is up from last year by a little bit. Also, 6.7% of total hours billed by the firm were to pro bono matters.
And the firm is passing some of those profits back down to associates. Individualized bonus memos are making the rounds at WilmerHale today, and at 2000 hours associates will be receiving a Cravath level bonus. Our Boston based sources are pretty happy with that.
Perhaps more importantly, WilmerHale announced that they will not be freezing salaries. So while associates at Goodwin Procter will be getting a better bonus, WilmerHale associates will be getting pay raises that are reflected in their February paychecks.
White & Case also shows a revenue increase after the jump.
* Bad news for the big three: the New York Times says Congress “is suffering from acute bailout fatigue.” [NYT]
* There were 13 law firm mergers in the third quarter this year (not unusual). The largest number of combinations (5) were in the southeast. [The Birmingham News]
* O.J. Simpson is finally going to jail. He will be sentenced today in Nevada. This time, he stole back sports memorabilia from two people. Can you think of a more inelegant end to the Simpson saga? [The Associated Press]
* If you break the law in New York, at least you get free day care. Thanks to Judge Judith S. Kaye (New York State’s cheif judge), there are 34 children’s centers across the state in family, criminal, and civil courts. They provide a safe and happy place for children whose parents are involved in legal battles. [NYT]
* Singapore awarded Clifford Chance, White & Case, and Latham & Watkins licenses to practice law, as part of an attempt to compete with Hong Kong and other cities in China and the Middle East that have benefitted from having international law practices. [Bloomberg]
* Discover is mad at Morgan Stanley for secretly hanging-out with Visa and Mastercard behind Discover’s back. Sounds a lot like middle school, only in the real world, you can sue. [Bloomberg]
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.
If you are considering a virtual law practice, you know that many of today’s solo firms started that way. But why are established, multi-attorney law firms going virtual?
Many small firms are successfully moving part—or even all—of their practice to a virtual setting. This even includes multi-jurisdictional practice spanning several states and practice areas, although solo and small partnerships are still the largest adopters of virtual law.
Can you do the same? The new article Mobile in Practice, Virtual by Design from author Jared Correia, Esq., explores how mobile technology bring real-life benefits to a small law firm. Read this new article—the next in Thomson Reuters’ Independent Thinking series for small firms—to explore how a mobile practice:
Reduces malpractice risk
Enables you to gather the best attorneys to fit the firm, regardless of each person’s geographic location
Leverages mobile devices and cloud technology to enable on-the-spot client and prospect communication
Transitioning in-house is something many (if not most) firm lawyers find themselves considering at some point. For many, it’s the first step in their career that isn’t simply a function of picking the best option available based on a ranking system.
Unknown territory feels high-risk, and can have the effect of steering many of us towards the well-greased channels into large, established companies.
For those who may be open to something more entrepreneurial, there is far less information available. No recruiter is calling every week with offers and details.
In sponsorship with Betterment, ATL and David Lat will moderate a panel about life in-house and we’ll hear from GCs at Birchbox, Gawker Media, Squarespace, Bonobos, and Betterment. Drinks, snacks, networking, and a great time guaranteed. Invite your colleagues, but RSVP fast, as space is limited.
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.
It’s that time of year again when JDs are starting to apply for 2L summer jobs and 2L summers are deciding which practice area to focus on.
For those JDs with an interest in potentially lateraling to or transferring to Asia in the future, please feel free to reach out to Kinney for advice on firm choices, interviewing and practice choices, relating to future marketability in Asia, or for a general discussion on your particular Asia markets of interest. This is of course a free of cost service for those who some years in the future may be our future industry contacts or perhaps even clients.
For some years now Kinney’s Asia head, Evan Jowers, has been formally advising Harvard Law students with such questions, as the Asia expert in Harvard Law’s “Ask The Experts Market Program” each summer and fall, with podcasts and scheduled phone calls. This has been an enjoyable and productive experience for all involved.