You can access the various charts via this portal page. Aric Press and Greg Mulligan summarize the results:
It could have been worse. That’s the best that can be said for the performance last year of The Am Law 100, the top-grossing law firms in the nation. Three of the four key categories we’ve measured for 25 years — gross revenue, head count, and revenue per lawyer — fell, while profits per equity partner (PPP) barely increased by 0.3 percent, or $3,463, to $1.26 million.
So PPP was basically stable in 2009 — not a bad result given the continuing economic weakness last year. Perhaps law firm partners are better business managers than they get credit for?
In November, Gregory Craig announced that he was leaving the White House for private practice. President Obama’s personal lawyer, Bob Bauer, was named as the new White House counsel.
In his resignation letter, Craig said that he would return to private practice “as of January 3, 2010.” At the time, we speculated that he might return to Williams & Connolly, the firm that had employed him since law school graduation. But today, W&C made it known to its associates that Craig would not be returning as a partner there.
Instead, he’ll be going to Skadden Arps. From an email sent out by Williams & Connolly senior partner Brendan Sullivan:
Greg Craig will not return to W&C as a litigator. Instead he has been invited to join Skadden to head a group which will focus on advising clients in need of public policy analysis.
Full email after the jump. Update: Also after the jump, WSJ Law Blog sheds light on why Craig chose Skadden.
At the end of a wild week that included Blue Monday, terrible (or terrific) Tuesday, and corporate-overlord Thursday (sponsored by Justice Anthony Kennedy), we bring you an unusually strong January edition of LEWW.
It features six lawyers in a wide range of practices: public sector, teaching, Biglaw, nonprofit — even personal injury (or “accident law,” as they apparently call it these days). Here are the lucky finalists:
The rumors circulated back in August, but now it looks like it’s finally happening. From Marc Ambinder, shortly before 11 on Thursday night:
Sources in government say that White House Counsel Gregory Craig has decided to resign, and that the president’s personal lawyer, Robert Bauer, will take his place. A formal announcement is slated next week, though word might drop tomorrow.
Looks like that announcement is getting sped up. More after the jump. UPDATE: Greg Craig’s resignation letter, also after the jump.
The litigators at Williams & Connolly are known for being a hard-charging bunch. So it’s probably not a wise idea to dare them to make your day — because they probably will.
From the BLT:
It’s not uncommon these days to see law firms suing former clients over unpaid legal bills (see, for instance, McDermott Will & Emery’s recent $606,000 case). Still, this latest bit of legal fee litigation seems remarkable: Williams & Connolly is taking a former client to court over $2 million after the company practically invited the firm to sue.
According to the complaint, Williams & Connolly and its ex-client, IDT, worked out a payment plan for $3 million in legal fees. IDT made the first $1 million payment, but then stopped paying on the debt.
So what happened next?
In this economy, if a newly-minted attorney can find a job, especially one paying over $100,000, she should be grateful. Based on our many conversations with law students and young lawyers, we think that most of them understand these new economic realities.
But not all of them. At least one Above the Law reader is still living in the heady days of “NY to 190.” Here’s what she wrote to us:
Can we put some pressure on firms that pay $160K to match at least those few firms that pay more than $160K (doesn’t a DC firm pay $180K and no, or little, bonuses?). It’s getting close to internal bonus discussion time, and any firm paying first years less than a $20K bonus will be paying less than those few firms, right?
Do we reward those firms paying a base of more than $160K with some positive press? If we do, does that put pressure on every other “peer firm” to remain a peer firm?
Honey, what recession-free universe are you living in? A sense of entitlement is so 2006.
A reality check, after the jump.
Even though we are moving out of the Vault top ten, we are still firmly in the land of law firms that everybody recognizes.
To refresh your memory, here is the next batch of firms on the Vault list:
11. Williams & Connolly 12. Debevoise & Plimpton 13. Paul Weiss 14. Gibson Dunn 15. Sidley Austin
Williams & Connolly was crowned the safest firm by Above the Law readers in March. And so far, the firm has worn its crown with grace and style. No layoffs to report at this small dynamo. It’s something to consider during this recruiting season.
After the jump, the Paul Weiss / Gibson Dunn troll fight starts in 3 … 2 … 1 …
Governor Sarah Palin, the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee, announced today that she is resigning as governor of Alaska on July 25.
“We know we can effect positive change outside government at this moment in time on another scale and actually make a difference for our priorities,” said Palin. Check out her full statement here (PDF).
Palin may not be a lawyer, but she’s definitely a client. She owes more than $500,000 to the Alaska law firm of Clapp, Peterson, Van Flein, Tiemessen & Thorsness, which has defended her against various ethics complaints. Paying off her debt shouldn’t be a problem, thanks to the (surely lucrative) book deal negotiated for her by Williams & Connolly super-agent Robert Barnett (who spoke to ATL last September, when his firm hired appellate superstar Kannon Shanmugam).
We wish Governor Palin the best of luck in her future endeavors. Hopefully she will remain on the national stage for years to come. Update: According to the New York Times, legal bills played a significant role in Palin’s decision to step down. Palin to Resign as Alaska Governor on July 25 [Washington Post] Palin to Resign as Governor of Alaska [The Caucus / New York Times]
The members of Dangerous Communication Device (Williams & Connolly), celebrating their victory.
Last night we reported on the Battle of the Law Firm Bands, held last week in Washington, DC. The evening raised over $80,000 for Gifts for the Homeless, a non-profit, all-volunteer organization supported by the city’s legal community to help the homeless.
Eleven bands competed, and one was victorious: Dangerous Communication Device, from Williams & Connolly. They won by raising more money than any other band: over $15,000. (The vote was conducted “Chicago-style,” with each vote requiring a dollar contribution to GFTH.)
Read our interview with the band, after the jump.
It’s time for readers to choose the Legal Eagle Wedding Watch’s Mr. and Mrs. April 2009. Will it be the couple with four Penn degrees, the spunky HLS grads, or the silver-haired former ambassador and his Bushie bride?
Keep in mind that when you vote, you’ll be helping to determine which couple will be eligible to compete in December for the honor of being ATL’s 2009 Couple of the Year — the crème de la crème of legal/marital enviability.
Here are your finalists:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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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