Willkie Farr

comparing.jpgWelcome to another post in the 2009 Vault 100 open thread series. You all seem to like having the law firms listed in groups of ten, so we’ll keep it up. Here are the thirty-something firms from the Vault 100, with prestige scores in parentheses:

31. Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP (6.461)
32. Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP (6.327)
33. Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP (6.313)
34. Winston & Strawn LLP (6.275)
35. Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver & Hedges LLP (6.235)
36. Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP (6.174)
37. Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (6.173)
38. Allen & Overy LLP (6.147)
39. Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft (6.131)
40. Proskauer Rose LLP (6.102)

Fried Frank and Cadwalader have been on the ATL radar of late. We broke news of staff layoffs at Fried Frank earlier this week, and news of the attorney bloodletting at Cadwalader last month. As noted in Cadwalader’s notable perks: “ouch, layoffs.” (Speaking of, in going through the Vault 100 list, we’ve discovered that Vault’s definition of “perk” is very different from ours.)
In the comments, the curious can pose questions, and the insiders can share insights. More threads to come.
Earlier: Vault 100 Open Threads – 2009

Willkie Farr Gallagher crazy email Above the Law blog.jpgLast June, the WSJ Law Blog wondered: Are law students emotional wrecks? Here is more evidence — and there’s already quite a lot in these pages — that the answer to the question is yes.
It started out innocently enough. A legal recruiting assistant at Willkie Farr & Gallagher sent out this email on Friday:

From: [Legal Recruiting Assistant]@willkie.com
Sent: 4/4/2008 9:44:44 AM
To: [2008 Summer Associates]
Subject: Re: Willkie T-Shirts

We hope that the final stretch of your year is going well and that you’re looking forward to joining us in a few weeks. Willkie t-shirts are being ordered for all of you, so we’ll need you to send your shirt size to us as soon as possible but no later than Friday, April 11 at noon. Please note that we will be placing the final order on that date and that if we do not have your size by then, we will order a large for you.

Because after we stuff you full of summer lunches, like foie gras-producing fowl, that’s all you will fit into.

Please reply to this message and provide your name and shirt size in the subject line. You can choose from the following standard men’s t-shirt sizes: small, medium, large, x-large, or xx-large. Example: “[Legal Recruiting Assistant], medium.”

Willkie hires some pretty smart summer associates — e.g., Jeremy Blachman, of Anonymous Lawyer fame — so we don’t know why Legal Recruiting Assistant felt the need to provide an example. Or maybe she just wanted to flaunt her status as a “medium”? (Then again, it’s not as prestigious as being a size zero.)

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions, and good luck with your upcoming exams. Thank you.
____________________
[redacted]
Legal Recruiting Assistant
Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP
787 7th Avenue
New York, NY 10019

And then things got…. weird. Read the two super-strange email messages that one member of the summer class sent in response, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Willkie Farr Out Behavior: Bizarre Emails From An Incoming Summer Associate”

associate bonus watch 2007 law firm Above the Law blog.jpgWe’re sorry we don’t have more associate bonus news to report. Unfortunately, we have to wait for it to happen; we can’t just make it up.
So while we wait for more announcements — it’s the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, so we’re hoping for some announcements in the afternoon — let’s talk about a related subject: staff bonuses.
In its bonus memo from earlier this month, Willkie Farr & Gallagher announced that it would be paying a special bonus to its administrative staff as well as its associates. And it turns out that Willkie is not alone. We’re hearing that Weil, Gotshal & Manges is paying its support staff a special bonus as well.
The Weil special bonus equals one week’s base salary. It will go to all support staff: “secretaries, paralegals, litigation support — the whole nine yards.”
The amount is not life-changing; at a week’s salary, the bonus equals about 2 percent of base. But it’s still a nice move, and something else for Weil paralegals to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.
What other firms besides Willkie and Weil are paying special bonuses to staff? Feel free to discuss in the comments.

associate bonus watch 2007 law firm Above the Law blog.jpgWe’re sorry we don’t have more associate bonus news to report. Unfortunately, we have to wait for it to happen; we can’t just make it up.
So while we wait for more announcements — it’s the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, so we’re hoping for some announcements in the afternoon — let’s talk about a related subject: staff bonuses.
In its bonus memo from earlier this month, Willkie Farr & Gallagher announced that it would be paying a special bonus to its administrative staff as well as its associates. And it turns out that Willkie is not alone. We’re hearing that Weil, Gotshal & Manges is paying its support staff a special bonus as well.
The Weil special bonus equals one week’s base salary. It will go to all support staff: “secretaries, paralegals, litigation support — the whole nine yards.”
The amount is not life-changing; at a week’s salary, the bonus equals about 2 percent of base. But it’s still a nice move, and something else for Weil paralegals to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.
What other firms besides Willkie and Weil are paying special bonuses to staff? Feel free to discuss in the comments.

associate bonus watch 2007 law firm Above the Law blog.jpg
And the bonus news just keeps rolling in. Willkie Farr has matched. The memo:

From: The Executive Committee
Sent: Friday, November 02, 2007 4:51 PM
To: ASSOCIATES – NY; ASSOCIATES – DC
Cc: PARTNERS – NY; PARTNERS – DC
Subject: Associate Bonuses
The Executive Committee is pleased to announce the following year end bonuses for associates:
Class of 2007: Year-end bonus of $35,000 (pro-rated)
Class of 2006: Year-end bonus of $35,000; special bonus of $10,000
Class of 2005: Year-end bonus of $40,000; special bonus of $15,000
Class of 2004: Year-end bonus of $45,000; special bonus of $20,000
Class of 2003: Year-end bonus of $50,000; special bonus of $30,000
Class of 2002: Year-end bonus of $55,000; special bonus of $40,000
Class of 2001: Year-end bonus of $60,000; special bonus of $50,000
Class of 2000 and senior: Year-end bonus of $65,000; special bonus of $50,000
Bonuses will be paid in December, consistent with our customary practices.
All of the Firm’s partners greatly appreciate your hard work and contributions to our success.
We are also pleased to announce that the firm will be paying a special bonus to our administrative staff, whose hard work, dedication and loyalty have been a critical part of our accomplishments.

A bonus for the staff too! Good on ‘em. We haven’t seen any other firms doing this, but we think it’s great. You should always show your staff that you appreciate them too.

Paul Hastings Tower 2 Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.JPGWe’ve now covered over a third of the Vault 100 law firms in open threads. But that means we still have two-thirds to go (assuming we follow through to the end).
The next five firms are colorful. They include one firm that was featured in the Transformers movie, and another that used to employ a high-priced escort.
For your consideration (in Vault 100 order, prestige scores in parentheses):

31. Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker (6.545)
32. Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP (6.352)
33. Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP (6.343)
34. Winston & Strawn LLP (6.316)
35. Dewey Ballantine LLP (6.313)

Please gossip away in the comments. Thanks.
The Vault Top 100 Law Firms [Vault]
Earlier: Vault 1-5; Vault 6-10; Vault 11-15; Vault 16-20; Vault 21-25; Vault 26-30

Ivy Briefs True Tales of a Neurotic Law Student Martha Kimes Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpg* This may come as a surprise to some of you, but Chambermaid isn’t the only law-related book that has been published in the past six months. Check out Nicole Black’s enthusiastic review of Ivy Briefs, by Columbia Law School grad Martha Kimes. [Legal Antics]
* Harvard Law School snags Bill Rubenstein, a prominent gay law prof. So why are they keeping it on the down low? [Leonard Link]
* Justice Alito thinks some of his colleagues need to shut their pieholes. We think their first names rhyme with “Beano” and “Even.” [Legal Times via NYM Daily Intelligencer]
* Sarbanes-Oxley: Hot or Not? [DealBreaker]
* More advice for Loyola 2L: If your non-Biglaw job doesn’t pay you enough, try dumpster diving! [ABA Journal]
* Willkie gets sued — and we’re reminded of this lawsuit. State and local governments don’t seem to like Biglaw much these days. [San Diego Union-Tribune]
* Hold the cheese. Or get sued for lots of cheddar. [Charleston Daily Mail]

100 dollar bill Above the Law Above the Law law firm salary legal blog legal tabloid Above the Law.JPGHere are two updates about clerkship bonuses (a subject of interest to a limited group of readers — but those who care REALLY care):

1. Willkie Farr & Gallagher: The rumor that Willkie pays a $50,000 clerkship bonus has been confirmed. We understand this applies to both New York and Washington.

2. Akin Gump: In New York, the firm pays a $50,000 clerkship bonus. (We don’t know what they do in other offices.)

In addition, one tipster calls out WilmerHale for, well, trying to pull a Latham.
If you’d like to know why WilmerHale’s $35,000 clerkship bonus may not truly be a $35,000 clerkship bonus, read the rest of this post, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Clerkship Bonus Watch: Akin Gump and Willkie (and WilmerHale Pulls a Latham)”

Covington Burling LLP logo Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.JPGSome good news for law clerks heading to the New York office of Covington & Burling after their clerkships. A source at the firm directed us to check out this updated section of their website:

We reward judicial clerks who come directly to the firm following their clerkship(s) with credit for purposes of both salary and partnership consideration, together with a $50,000 bonus for one clerkship and a $70,000 bonus for two clerkships for those who have clerked for a federal judge, or for the highest court in any state or the District of Columbia.

So add a new member to the $50K/$70K Club. But note that Covington is taking the Ropes & Gray approach: the new and improved clerkship bonuses are paid out in New York only. In Washington and San Francisco, the firm still pays a $35,000 clerkship bonus.
Update: Also noteworthy, per a commenter: “This is different from the other $70K bonuses in that it only applies to people with two-clerkships, rather than one two-year clerkship.”
In addition, we’ve heard a rumor that Willkie Farr & Gallagher has raised its clerkship bonus to $50,000. But we haven’t seen the email, and Willkie’s website and NALP form don’t reflect this info. If you can confirm, please drop us a line.
A “List of Shame” for top firms paying below-market clerkship bonuses, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Clerkship Bonus Watch: Covington (New York), Willkie, and a List of Shame”

Edward Tuddenham Sarah Cleveland townhouse townhome mansion Above the Law blog.jpgWe’ve been so focused on nationwide associate pay raises that we’ve been neglecting New York City — where lawyers have always earned top dollar. And where they enjoy real estate spoils reflecting their high compensation, which we regularly profile for Lawyerly Lairs.
One of our favorite sources of real estate porn in the deliciously gossipy New York Observer. Here are a few recent “Manhattan Transfers” items, all of which involve lawyers:
1. Crusading Lawyer Inks Sweet $2.4 M. Deal for Harlem Townhouse

The Erin Brockovich of big-sugar class-action lawsuits has bought a stately 108-year-old townhouse on West 137th Street (at right), a leafy block near Harlem’s Strivers Row.

Lawyer Edward Tuddenham and his wife, Sarah Cleveland, a University of Texas law professor, paid $2.4 million for the five-level townhouse.

Moral of the story: If you’re a law professor with dreams of a million-dollar home, you need to marry well. Or be Feldsuk.
In addition to having a million-dollar home, Professor Cleveland is also highly attractive, a former Rhodes Scholar, and a former Supreme Court clerk (for Justice Blackmun). Could a life be any more charmed? (Although that Manhattan-Austin commute is probably a real pain…)
Update: Per this comment, and as confirmed by this press release, Professor Cleveland — who is “a fantastic teacher,” we’re told — has been snapped up by Columbia. Very nice.
2. Saint David’s Buys Headmaster Two Philip Johnson Condos for $2.99 M
The Saint David’s School, an all-boys prep school, just purchased two adjacent condos for a total of almost $3 million. These apartments will be the home of their headmaster. Who says schoolteachers can’t live well?
One of the principals in this deal is a lawyer: Willkie Farr & Gallagher partner Xavier Dieux is selling one of the two units. Presumably Mr. Dieux is trading up; he was probably living below his means in his condo at the Metropolitan.
3. Davis Polk Stays At Home
This item, reporting on Davis Polk & Wardwell’s 650,000-square-foot renewal at 450 Lexington Avenue, concerns commercial rather than residential real estate. So it may lie slightly beyond the jurisdiction of Lawyerly Lairs.
But it is interesting to see how Davis Polk is perceived by the outside world. The Observer refers to DPW as “cultivat[ing] its reputation as the Cravath, Swaine & Moore for happy people.”
Is that view of DPW accurate? Feel free to debate in the comments.

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