Some 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.
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]
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: email@example.com.
Please note that Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney are still in Hong Kong and will stay FOR THE REMAINDER OF THIS WEEK. We still have a handful of available slots for meetings with our Asia Chronicles fans. If we have not been in touch lately, reach out and let us know when we could meet! There is no need for an agenda at all. Most of our in-person meetings on these trips are with folks who understand that improving a legal practice through lateral hiring is an information-driven process that takes time to handle correctly.
Regarding trends in lateral US associate hiring in Hong Kong, we of course keep much of what we know off of this blog. Based on placement revenue, though, Kinney is having one of our most successful years ever in Asia. We are helping a number of our law firm clients with M&A, fund formation, cap markets, project finance, FCPA and disputes openings. These are very specific needs in many cases, so a conversation with us before jumping in may be helpful. As always, we like to be sure to get the maximum number of interviews per submission, using a well-informed, highly targeted, and selective approach, taking into account short, medium and long-term career aims.
Making a well informed decision during a job search is easier said than done – the information we provide comes from 10 years of being the market leader in US attorney placements at the top tier firms in Asia. There is no substitute for having known a hiring partner since he/she was an associate or for having helped a partner grow his or her practice from zip to zooming, and this is happily where we stand today – with years of background information on just about every relevant person in all the markets we serve, and most especially in Hong Kong/China/Greater Asia. So get in touch and get a download from us this week if we can fit it in, or soon in any case!
The legal industry is being disrupted at every level by technological advances. While legal tech entrepreneurs and innovators are racing to create a more efficient and productive future, there is widespread indifference on the part of attorneys toward these emerging technologies.
When the LexisNexis Cloud Technology Survey results were reported earlier this year, it showed that attorneys were starting to peer less skeptically into the future, and slowly but surely leaning more toward all the benefits the law cloud has to offer.
Because let’s face it, plenty of attorneys are perhaps a bit too comfortable with their “system” of practice management, which may or may not include neon highlighters, sticky notes, dog-eared file folders, and a word processing program that was last updated when the term “raise the roof” was still de rigueur.