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.
We now yield the floor to Laurie Lin. Who better to report on one of the year’s biggest social events than the writer of Legal Eagle Wedding Watch? Over to you, Laurie.
Ambition and Old Spice wafted sweetly through the air last night at the Federalist Society’s 25th Anniversary Gala at Union Station — a kind of right-wing Golden Globes. Nearly two thousand G-ed up conservative lawyers packed the main hall to hear President George W. Bush blast the Senate on judicial confirmations:
“Today, good men and women nominated to the federal bench are finding that inside the Beltway, too many interpret ‘advise and consent’ to mean ‘search and destroy,’” Bush said.
Tickets to the black-tie affair were $250 — actually $249, because there was a new $1 Madison coin at every place setting — but that was a small price to pay to breathe the same oxygen as Ted Olson, Antonin Scalia, and Laura Ingraham.
More on the conservative legal fabulosity — including pictures of the people who didn’t hide when they saw us coming — after the jump.
What’s the hot new trend in Biglaw? Two-track systems for associates. They’re regarded as a sensible way for law firms to address the twin challenges of (1) higher associate salaries and (2) associate attrition (often due to a frustration with long hours).
Here’s word of the latest law firm to join the party, from NYLawyer.com (reg. req’d):
Chapman and Cutler, a Chicago-based firm with three offices and about 220 attorneys, has joined the parade of firms boosting first-year associate pay to $160,000, but the firm is taking a new path once associates reach their second year.
Second-year associates can opt for one of two compensation tracks at the firm under a new system that took effect last month, said Rick Cosgrove, who is chief executive partner at the firm. They can choose to work fewer hours at a lower pay level or more hours at a higher salary level, he said.
Cosgrove declined to specify the hours required and related pay rates under the new pay program for competitive reasons.
If you have info on the Chapman and Cutler scale that you’d be willing to share, please email us. According to a poster at Greedy Chicago:
The higher track is essentially Biglaw market, so long as you hit 2000 billables/year. The lower track is compressed to about $5k-$10k/year, depending on class year, and you need to hit 1850.
Other firms with two-track systems (click on each firm’s name for a memo and/or details): Hogan & Hartson, Wiley Rein, Fenwick & West, and Thelen (formerly Thelen Reid, and FYI, “Thelen” rhymes with “wheelin’”; see here).
Do you have an opinion about this two-tiered approach? If so, vote in our reader polls, after the jump.
Lawyers are living large, not just in Miami and New York, but in Washington, too.
The Luxury Homes column, in the current issue of Washingtonian magazine, features the recent real estate purchases of two prominent lawyers. First up: political and legal commentator Laura Ingraham, who has a pretty amazing resume (UVA Law, Clarence Thomas clerkship, Skadden), especially by radio personality standards:
Conservative pundit and radio host Laura Ingraham sold a three-bedroom, four-bath Colonial rowhouse on 28th Street in Woodley Park for $1.3 million. Built in 1922, the renovated home has an in-law suite, two kitchens, and a skylit master bedroom. The Laura Ingraham Show is broadcast on 340 radio stations nationwide.
Very nice. Next up: another conservative legal celebrity, Fred Fielding:
White House counsel Fred Fielding and his wife, Maria, sold a five-bedroom, six-bath Colonial in Arlington’s Country Club Hills for $1.8 million. The house has embassy-size entertaining rooms. Before joining the Bush administration in January, Fielding was a senior partner at Wiley Rein (formerly Wiley Rein & Fielding).
Despite the “embassy-size entertaining rooms,” a sub-$2 million house seems a tad underwhelming, especially for a former name partner of 2006′s most profitable law firm. Are the Fieldings trading up to bigger digs?
Using a combination of internet resources, we tracked down what we believe to be the houses in question, on Zillow. You can check out the listings, with pics, after the jump.
We haven’t given this cute little anecdote the full X-Summers treatment, since it doesn’t involve scandal, and it doesn’t conclude with anyone getting fired or no-offered. But we pass it along in case some of you might find it entertaining.
From a source at Wiley Rein in Washington:
We have an excellent summer class with no scandals — although one [female summer associate] did ask if all these signs in D.C. saying “No parking or standing” meant that there had been a real problem with people standing around a lot beneath them.
After explaining the meaning, we then asked whether this had in fact impacted her behavior — i.e., whether she had wanted to stand somewhere but felt she couldn’t because of the sign. Indeed it had.
Per our standard policy, please do not name this individual (or speculate about her identity) in the comments. Thanks.
Some hiring news from the White House counsel’s office, via the WSJ Law Blog:
Though many of these White House hires have been reported already elsewhere, its press office issued an official release — dateline “Rostock, Germany” — announcing nine lawyers White House Counsel Fred Fielding has added to his “great little law firm.”
President Bush has named J. Michael Farren, former general counsel of Xerox, to succeed William Kelley as deputy counsel. Kelley is returning to Notre Dame University later this month. Farren has long ties to the Bush family. He served in various roles under Bush I.
New special counsels are William Burck, who’s returned to the White House from the DOJ, and Emmet Flood, who comes from Williams & Connolly. The six new associate counsels are Kate Todd (pictured) , Amy Dunathan and Al Lambert, all from Fielding’s old firm, now called Wiley Rein (it dropped the Fielding); Scott Coffina, formerly a partner at Montgomery McCracken in Philly; Francis Hoang, an associate at Williams & Connolly and Michael Purpura, a top aide to deputy AG Paul McNulty. McNulty resigned amid the controversy over the firing of U.S. Attorneys.
Let the wailing and gnashing of teeth begin. The AmLaw 100 rankings — The American Lawyer’s closely watched, annual listing of the hundred largest law firms in the United States, ranked by revenue — are now available.
We’ll have more to say on the rankings later. Their release is a big story, deserving of multiple posts. They’re like the U.S. News and World Report law school rankings, but for the world of Biglaw, and they can be viewed from many different angles. Although the firms are ranked by revenue, the rankings are accompanied by other juicy data — including information about profits per partner.
For the time being, here’s the “money quote,” quite literally, from the WSJ Law Blog:
Wiley Rein broke the record for the highest profits per partner ever recorded by the magazine — $4.4 million. Why? The Washington, D.C., law firm represented patent-holding company NTP in its nearly five-year legal battle with RIM, and earned more than $200 million in fees from the case. It received approximately one-third of the $612.5 million settlement that RIM agreed to pay NTP to avert a potential court-ordered BlackBerry shutdown. The firm also shortened its name from Wiley Rein & Fielding after Fred Fielding left the firm to become White House counsel.
So New York’s Wachtell Lipton, which has sat atop the profits-per-partner rankings for many years, has been displaced. Interestingly enough, though, Wiley Rein didn’t beat Wachtell by THAT much, considering the massive contingency fee it received from the RIM-BlackBerry settlement. Wiley Rein had PPP of $4,435,000; Wachtell Lipton had PPP of $3,975,000.
(And if you look at the chart for Compensation — All Partners (subscription), WLRK still comes out on top, with $3.975 million per partner. Wiley Rein has a two-tier partnership, so its Compensation Per Partner figure, which reflects compensation paid to non-equity as well as equity partners, is only — only! — $2.7 million.)
The Wiley Rein windfall reminds of when Robins Kaplan got that huge, one-time payout for its tobacco-related work. In the AmLaw 100 rankings for 2000, based on 1999 revenue and profit figures, the Minneapolis-based firm boasted profits per partner of over $3 million — beating Cravath and all the other New York shops that year, except for Wachtell.
Do you have any juicy, AmLaw 100-related gossip? Tales of shameless attempts to manipulate the rankings? Stories about unhappy partners ranting over their firm’s placement over this morning’s coffee? Please send ‘em our way.
A table and links, after the jump.
Fred Fielding, the former name partner of Wiley Rein & Fielding who is now settling in as White House counsel (for the second time), has brought in some reinforcements. They come from his former shop, Wiley Rein & Fielding (now known simply as Wiley Rein).
Three former Wiley Rein-sters, a partner and two associates, are joining Fielding over at the White House. They are:
1. Kate Comerford Todd (top right). This brilliant and beautiful member of the Elect (OT 2000/Thomas), whose husband is a current Supreme Court clerk (OT 2006/Alito), was a highly regarded young litigation partner at Wiley Rein.
Now Kate Todd is moving over to the White House. We’re uncertain of her seniority level over there (deputy level?). If you know, please enlighten us.
2. Amy Dunathan. Comerford will be joined by the similarly delicious Amy Dunathan (at right). Dunathan worked on the Hill before going to law school, so she’s a smart pick, given that the White House will be tangling quite a bit with the ascendant Democrats. She worked directly with Fielding on several projects during her time as a Wiley Rein associate.
3. Al Lambert. Lambert, also a former associate at Wiley Rein, brings a significant amount of experience in white-collar investigatory work — which will come in handy at the White House nowadays. Lambert worked extensively on the David Safavian case, as well as other white-collar matters.
Congratulations and good luck to Comerford, Dunathan, and Lambert!
P.S. We can’t find a photo of Al Lambert, which is why we don’t engage in any lip-smacking over him. Kathryn Comerford Todd bio [Wiley Rein via Google Cache] Amy F. Dunathan bio [Wiley Rein via Google Cache] Judge Throws Out Jury Verdict in Iraq Fraud Case [Wiley Rein]
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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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 email@example.com 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.
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