Lots of interesting moves, both actual and rumored, to report upon today.
* Elena Kagan, the popular (and hot) dean of Harvard Law School, is being considered for the presidency of Harvard University.
* 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.
* 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]
- Biglaw, Elena Kagan, Eliot Spitzer, Harvard, Harvard Law School, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, Musical Chairs, Willkie Farr
Lots of interesting moves, both actual and rumored, to report upon today.
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.
Some folks 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.
And comment 2:
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
Willkie bonuses announced [Infirmation/Greedy NY Board]
- Allen & Overy, Biglaw, Holland & Knight, Magic Circle, Musical Chairs, S.D.N.Y., U.S. Attorneys Offices, Willkie Farr
Tons of moves to report today — and these are just the highlights:
* 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.
* 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.
* 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]
Lawyer weddings come, and lawyer weddings go. The weekend of September 16-17, a veritable cornucopia of attorney nuptials, was followed by the weekend of September 23-24 — not an embarrassment of riches, but just an embarrassment.*
No way are we writing about Cheryl Connolly and Kyle Lewis — Lewis was wounded in Iraq, so the guy’s been through enough. Here are the couples in contention:
Who will secure the final berth in the September 2006 Couple of the Month contest? Find out, after the jump.
* Speaking of embarrassments, we realize we are weeks behind in Legal Eagle Wedding Watch (“LEWW”). We’re writing about weddings that took place last month; some of these couples are probably divorced by now. See — we really do need some help around here! If we can find the right writer, we’d even consider outsourcing LEWW.