We’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.
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.
Yes, the rumors are true: Willkie Farr & Gallagher has raised base salaries for its associates. Here’s the memo:
From: The Executive Committee
Sent: Wednesday, January 24, 2007 11:52 AM
To: ASSOCIATES – DC; ASSOCIATES – NY
Cc: PARTNERS – DC + OF COUNSEL; PARTNERS – NY + OF COUNSEL; Danaher, John; Salvatore, Jeanine; Poster, Margaret
Subject: 2007 Associate Salaries
We are pleased to announce that the annual base salaries for associates in NY and DC have been increased, retroactive to January 1, 2007, as follows:
Class of 2006 – $160,000
Class of 2005 – $170,000
Class of 2004 – $185,000
Class of 2003 – $210,000
Class of 2002 – $230,000
Class of 2001 – $250,000
Class of 2000 – $265,000
Class of 1999 – $280,000
Class of 1998 – $290,000
Adjustments will be reflected in your January 31st paycheck. Adjustments for more senior associates and Special Counsel will be determined on an individual basis.
We continue to be extremely appreciative of our associates’ contributions to the Firm which were instrumental in making 2006 another record year for the Firm. Earlier: Previous announcements of law firm associate salary increases (scroll down through “Skaddenfreude” archives)
Lots of interesting moves, both actual and rumored, to report upon today. Possible promotion:
* Elena Kagan, the popular (and hot) dean of Harvard Law School, is being considered for the presidency of Harvard University. In government:
* New York Governor Eliot Spitzer is on a hiring spree (just like his successor as AG, Andrew Cuomo). Lloyd Constantine, who currently heads a 40-lawyer firm, will serve as a senior advisor to Spitzer. Debra Bachrach, a partner at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, will direct the state’s Medicaid program. Joseph Baker, bureau chief for health care under AG Spitzer, will take over as deputy secretary for health and human services. “You’re Fired”:
* Former Apple in-house lawyer Wendy Howell was discreetly discharged, late last year, for her role in the options backdating fiasco. Reunited and it feels so good:
* Structured finance lawyers William Cullen, Janet Barbiere and Bola Oloko, to Thacher Proffitt & Wood, from Sidley & Austin. The trio left Thacher Proffitt together in 1997 (back when Barbiere and Oloko were still associates; they were recently promoted to partnership at Sidley). Other lateral moves:
* Bankruptcy lawyer Steven Wilamowsky, to Bingham McCutchen, from Willkie Farr & Gallagher. Headhunters at Harvard May Pick a Woman [New York Times] NY Bankruptcy Partner Switches Firms [NYLawyer.com] NY Trio Returns to Firm They Left in the ’90s [NYLawyer.com] Spitzer Taps Three NY Lawyers to Fill Key Positions [NYLawyer.com] Apple Quietly Canned Lawyer Who Backdated [The Recorder via Law.com]
So it appears that Willkie Farr & Gallagher has matched market bonuses. We don’t have official confirmation or a memo yet, but we doubt that this is another fake Willkie announcement.
Matching is the default outcome right now. We doubt anyone will have the guts to raise. Most big law firms had a very good year in 2006, and they probably could afford to be more generous with bonuses. But our guess is that they’re being conservative this year, in case the economy heads south in 2007.
On the other hand, we don’t think any Biglaw shop would be stupid enough (or mean enough) to go below market. It would be a scarlet letter to wear for several recruiting seasons to come. So matching market / Milbank is the safest way to go.
One of you was kind enough to respond to our request for the Simpson Thacher bonus memo. We reprint the STB memo, after the jump. Update (1:35 PM): The Willkie Farr memo is also available after the jump. Our thanks to commenter Wendell.
Still no news. The message boards are quiet (aside from complaints about the “trolls,” and admonitions not to “feed” them).
At this point in time, we’re guessing that no major bonus news will break this week. But we’re happy to be proven wrong. As soon as you hear something, please email us.
Last night, a fake Willkie Farr bonus memo was making the rounds (just like the fake Milbank Tweed bonus memo). We posted the memo quickly, in the interest of timeliness, but papered it up and down with disclaimers: unconfirmed, not verified, do not rely, etc. An hour or two later, after conferring with our Willkie sources, we came back and declared it to be fake. Somefolks were annoyed that we posted the fake memo to begin with. So we’d like to explain how we operate around here, by quoting from two reader comments. Comment 1:
ATL posts them immediately because these things are time-sensitive. No one should rely on this info before it gets confirmed, but the easiest way to confirm it is to get it out to a wide audience quickly and let it be debunked. I for one don’t care whether it’s initially accurate or not, I just appreciate the effort to shed light on one of the many mysterious aspects of big firm life — compensation.
The blogosphere way of doing things is to publish stuff ASAP, then to correct or modify as the story develops. The mainstream media way of doing things is to hold a story – sometimes for a long time – until it’s all confirmed. It is not surprising that ATL takes the blogosphere approach.
Also, when ATL originally posted the memo, there were boldface, all-caps disclaimers all over the post. You’d have to be a moron to rely upon anything posted with all those caveats.
So this is how we’re going to operate around here. We’ll put up purported “bonus memos” ASAP, but with disclaimers, while we work on confirming and fact-checking them. But please don’t treat such memos as authentic until we append a confirmation (or remove the disclaimers).
Striking a balance between speed and accuracy is a constant struggle, in both the blogosphere and the mainstream media. This is our explanation of how we strike the balance; we hope you find it helpful. Thanks for reading. Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of bonuses (scroll down)
The fake bonus announcement memos really aren’t that funny, people. Everybody gets all worked up for an hour or two, and then the ruse is exposed.
The purported Willkie Farr bonus memo, which surfaced earlier tonight, is not authentic. From one of our sources at Willkie:
This is clearly a fake. FYI, Willkie never sends out bonus memos this early in December, and in any event, it wouldn’t come from Matt Feldman, who is a bankruptcy partner. It would come from someone like Jack Nusbaum (chairman) or Thomas Cerabino (a high-ranking partner on the Executive Committee).
This was confirmed by a second Willkie source, who reported receiving no such memo.
We have sources at pretty much all the top firms. It doesn’t take us very long to contact them for confirmation (or denial). We also have no qualms about contacting the supposed senders of these memos, whether they’re HR people or Biglaw partners, for verification and comment.
So please stop wasting your time — and ours. Thank you. Earlier: Associate Bonus Watch: Willkie’s Bonus Memo??? Prior ATL coverage of bonuses (scroll down)
Update: As explained here, the supposed Willkie Farr “bonus memo” reprinted below is a fake.
From: “Matthew A. Feldman”
Sent: Wednesday, December 06, 2006 6:29 PM
Subject: Associate Bonuses
We are pleased to announce that the firm will once again award year-end bonuses for associates.
Class of 2006 – $40,000
Class of 2005 – $45,000
Class of 2004 – $55,000
Class of 2003 – $60,000
Class of 2002 – $70,000
Class of 2001 – $80,000
Class of 2000 – $95,000
Class of 1999 – $110,000
Class of 1998 – $120,000
The Compensation Committee thanks everyone for their hard work in making 2006 a successful year.
Matthew A. Feldman
787 Seventh Avenue
New York, N.Y. 10019-6099
F: 212-xxx-xxxx Willkie bonuses announced [Infirmation/Greedy NY Board]
We’ve fallen a bit behind in telling you who is going where, and why. So here’s a short recap of notable recent moves within the legal profession: From Law to Finance:
* It’s rare for partners to leave Wachtell Lipton, but it does happen. Earlier this month, former WLRK corporate partner Mitchell Presser left the firm, to join Fox Paine. Presser, renowned at Wachtell for his impeccable taste in sushi, focuses on deal structuring and new investment opportunities at Fox Paine. New Partners:
* Simpson Thacher & Bartlett: Eight new partners in New York. Corporate: Barrie Covit, John Ericson, Ellen Reilly Patterson, Kathryn King Sudol. Executive compensation and employee benefits: Gregory Grogan. Real estate: Sasan Mehrar. Litigation: Michael Garvey and George Wang (whom we know, and who are both very fine lawyers — congrats, guys).
* Willkie Farr & Gallagher: Eleven new partners in New York. Corporate and financial services: Leah Campbell, Mark Cognetti, Morgan Elwyn, Rita Molesworth (luv the name), Adam Turteltaub. Litigation: Mary Eaton, Scott Rose, and former AUSA Michael Schachter. Tax: Christopher Peters. Business reorganization and restructuring: Rachel Strickland.
You may recall Michael Schachter as the superstar federal prosecutor in the Southern District of New York, who helped send Martha Stewart to prison (where she learned to make delicious dishes using vending machine fare and the inmates’ communal microwave).
* Weil Gotshal & Manges: Twenty new partners around the country. That’s too many for us to reprint here, so check out the list in the press release.
A majority of these twenty partners are women, and two are “flex-time partners.” Details here. Out the Door:
* Myron Olesnyckyj, former general counsel of Monster Worldwide Inc. (which owns Monster.com). Stock options backdating. Yawn.
* And a bunch of execs at ACS and Quest Software, also because of backdating. Some lawyers, some not. Double yawn. NY Biglaw Associates Making Partner [NYLawyer.com] Another GC Axed Over Stock-Options [NYLawyer.com] Backdating: More Resignations, More Legal Business [WSJ Law Blog] Weil Gotshal Elects Twenty to Partnership and Appoints Five as Counsel [Weil Gotshal & Manges] Weil’s Partnership Class Has More Women Than Men: News? [WSJ Law Blog]
Tons of moves to report today — and these are just the highlights: New Partners:
* Latham & Watkins — which, as discussed yesterday, is very popular with Supreme Court clerks — has elected 26 new partners, in offices around the country. That’s enough lawyers to start a whole new law firm.
You can check out their names here. If you graduated from law school around 1998, you probably know some of them. “Magic Circle” Hiring Spree:
The top British law firms — aka the “Magic Circle” firms — continue to cast spells over U.S. practitioners, who have been flocking to their American offices in droves.
* Louis Kimmelman, former co-chair of O’Melveny & Myers’s international arbitration practice, is heading to Allen & Overy’s rapidly growing New York office. Kimmelman regularly appears before the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce, the American Arbitration Association, and other tribunals.
* Finance lawyers Zarrar Sehgal and Anthony Lopez III, to Clifford Chance (NY), from Milbank Tweed and Cahill Gordon, respectively. Lateral Moves:
* Corporate and securities lawyer Michael Student, to Brown Rudnick, from Holland & Knight.
* Tax lawyer James Tander, corporate lawyer Patrick de Carbuccia, and real estate lawyer Michael Pollack, to Reed Smith (NY). They come from, respectively, Skadden Arps, Willkie Farr, and Withers Bergman of (New Haven, CT). Government to Private Sector:
* Sharon McCarthy, a former deputy chief of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District, to litigation and tax boutique Kostelanetz & Fink, as a partner. Internal Promotions:
* Paul Tvetenstrand, a partner in the structured finance practice group, has been elected chairman and managing partner of Thacher Proffitt & Wood. Latham & Watkins Elects 26 New Partners [Latham & Watkins] NY Partners Switching Firms, NY Lawyers On the Move [NYLawyer.com] More NY Partners Switching Firms [NYLawyer.com] Firm Promotes 26 to Partnership [NYLawyer.com] NY Practice Leader Switches Firms [NYLawyer.com]
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.
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.