We bring you news of a career move by one of America’s most fabulous young lawyers. From a press release issued by WilmerHale:
WilmerHale is pleased to announce that Rachel L. Brand and Mark D. Nelson will join the firm’s Washington, DC public policy and strategy practice focusing on congressional investigations, regulatory affairs and crisis management. Ms. Brand will also be active in the firm’s government litigation and defense and national security practices. Ms. Brand was most recently Assistant Attorney General for Legal Policy, where she served as chief policy and regulatory advisor to the Attorney General and managed the confirmation process for Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Samuel Alito.
Wait, hold on a sec — Rachel Brand? As in young-conservative-superstar Rachel Brand, known in some circles as the Federalist Society Prom Queen?
Are you sure there hasn’t been some mistake? Maybe Brand went to another D.C. law firm whose name starts with a “W,” like Wiley Rein — perhaps a more natural home for a prominent Republican attorney?
WilmerHale, after all, is one of Washington’s most high-profile, left-leaning law firms. It’s home to leading liberal lawyers like former Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick, a possible Attorney General or Defense Secretary in a Democratic administration; former Solicitor General Seth Waxman, a possible judicial (D.C. Circuit?) nominee; Randy Moss, former head of the DOJ’s super-elite Office of Legal Counsel; and Howard Shapiro, former general counsel to the FBI. [FN1]
But no, it’s true — Brand is at Wilmer Hale. Word on the street, in fact, is that the firm is actively looking for Republican lawyers like Brand and Nelson. Perhaps they need someone to hold down the fort when everyone bails to serve in the Obama Administration?
We spoke to Rachel Brand yesterday, her first day of work. You know how useless first days can be — paperwork, orientation, technology training. “They taught me how to turn on my computer,” she quipped.
As for her new gig, Brand expressed excitement about the opportunity to join WilmerHale, “a great firm with some incredible lawyers.” She noted the abundance of lawyers with government experience at WilmerHale and said that her skill set fit well with the firm.
We wish Brand and Nelson the best of luck in their new professional home.
(We tried to contact Nelson but were unable to reach him. The WilmerHale telephone operator did not have an extension for him. Perhaps he isn’t in the office yet? If he is, someone needs to give his phone number to the receptionist.)
[FN1] As it turns out, a number of prominent Republicans are current or former WilmerHale partners. E.g., current partner Reginald Brown, who most recently served in the White House Counsel’s office, and former partner C. Boyden Gray, currently U.S. ambassador to the European UnionSpecial Envoy for EU Affairs. WilmerHale Adds Top DOJ and Congressional Investigation Lawyers To Public Policy and Strategy Team [WilmerHale]
The day is still young, but we already have our Lawyer of the Day — and we doubt that anyone we hear about later today can steal this honor away from him. Via the Boston Globe:
A top official in the [Gov. Deval] Patrick administration has been placed on unpaid leave because he was arrested in Florida and charged with sexually assaulting a 15-year-old male in a steam room at a $500-a-night Gulf Coast resort.
Carl Stanley McGee, 38, assistant secretary for policy and planning, is scheduled to be arraigned next week for sexual battery in Lee County, Fla…. According to police reports, McGee was arrested Dec. 28 and accused of performing oral sex on the 15-year-old, who was a guest at The Gasparilla Inn & Club, a 95-year-old hotel and championship golf course in Boca Grande.
As they like to say up in Massachusetts, “Thar he blows.”
McGee, a former Rhodes scholar and Harvard Law School graduate, was previously a corporate lawyer at the law firm WilmerHale. He was instrumental in the movement seeking to defeat efforts to overturn legalization of same-sex marriage, serving as director of the civic and business outreach efforts of the advocacy group MassEquality.
A year after same-sex marriage became legal in Massachusetts in May 2004, McGee’s wedding to John Finley IV was highlighted in the “Vows” section of The New York Times….
Known for his shock of platinum hair, McGee was named one of The Boston Globe’s 25 most stylish Bostonians in November. In the article, he described his style as “traditional, but it’s also subversive and ironic.”
“Traditional,” but “subversive.” Sort of like married men engaging in steam-room hook-ups?
Good thing Carl McGee isn’t running for office. We’re reminded of the famous quotation by former Louisiana governor Edwin Edwards, who once boasted that he couldn’t lose an upcoming election unless he was “caught in bed with a dead girl or a live boy.” Update: Just a reminder that these are obviously mere allegations. Sources mentioned in the Globe article said they “were stunned by the news of McGee’s arrest and said they do not believe the charges.” One colleague of McGee told the paper, “I know it didn’t happen.” Further Update: Best comment thus far, from an observant, Spanish-speaking reader: “He was arrested for blowing a 15 year old in… huhuhuh… Boca Grande…” Key aide to Patrick accused of sex assault [Boston Globe] John Finley IV and Stan McGee [New York Times]
Management gave the caveat that bonuses were awarded for 1,850 hours only in some cases, basically for practices that were slow in which 2,000 hours could not be billed. The firm repeated that it expects lawyers to bill 2,000 hours per year (including pro bono).
If you have info on other classes, feel free to send it our way by email. Update: A second source confirms the numbers above for first-year associates, and adds: “This was conveyed in personal letters stating our salary and bonus levels. New associates who started in the fall received prorated bonuses.”
Sorry, we don’t have any memo (and we don’t know if there will ever be one). But we can confirm for you that the New York office of WilmerHale announced bonuses yesterday.
We’ve been informed that the bonuses are at market levels (year-end and special). The announcement was made yesterday at a live meeting.
One tipster tells us that making the announcement at a meeting, rather than via memo, is firm tradition. But taking the meeting route does lend itself to this speculation:
I can only imagine WilmerHale didn’t distribute memos because they don’t want to create enmity in their DC/Boston offices.
When we previously wrote about author-turned-lawyer Elizabeth Wurtzel, whom we honored as a Summer Associate of the Day, you had some strong reactions. Now Ms. Wurtzel, a Yale Law School student who summered at WilmerHale, is in the news once again. We expect no shortage of reader opinions.
Wurtzel is the subject of a generally flattering profile in the Sunday Styles section of the New York Times. It’s quite interesting; read it in full here. This struck us as the money quote (quite literally):
Although Ms. Wurtzel received a $500,000 advance for her second book, “Bitch” (and half of that for “More, Now, Again”), she took out loans to pay for her education. Yale’s law school tuition this year is $43,750.
“I’m badly in debt,” she said. “It’s got to be in the six figures.” Ms. Wurtzel has until Nov. 15 to take up WilmerHale’s job offer. She also has an essay collection in the works but no publisher yet.
We realize cocaine is expensive, but we still don’t understand how authors can blow (haha) through six-figure advances so quickly. What next? Will Jessica Cutler, who recently declared bankruptcy, matriculate at Harvard Law School?
Discussion resumes after the jump.
Toe up, that is. After our recent post about WilmerHale having “issues,” multiple sources wrote in to tell us that the firm’s Baltimore office is closing, effective January 1, 2008.
Once again, the firm ignored us did not respond to our request for comment (which we, like Robert Novak, don’t like very much). If you have more information, about the Baltimore office closing or any other WilmerHale developments, feel free to email us.
Here are two comments that caught our eye in the last WilmerHale thread:
“the original post about the WH employee with cancer is ABSOLUTELY TRUE. this story is not a fabrication. this person DEFINATELY [sic] exists, is back at work, in a different dept, different job. for all of you who dont believe this story, pull your head out of your a***s. wcp has gone to hell, a f*cking billable hr GULAG….”
“WH is a billable hours hell, however the summer associates get wined and dined all summer, boat trips, KenCen, pool parties at partners’ houses, free lunches, breakfast sessions, receptions, goodie bags full of WH items. You name it. The support staff that babysits them all summer get diddly. The personality of WCP has changed 180 degrees since merger with H&D, and not for the good. Morale among the worker bees (support staff) is lower than snake s**t. They’re even asking long time partners to leave, for whatever reason. WCP used to be based in Washington, now takes orders from the Boston office of H&D…..”
Some time ago, we received this interesting tip, about WilmerHale (in D.C.):
WH continues to go downhill. Why is it that no one ever seems to write or care about this?
I’m an associate and treated fairly well. But the support staff receives brutal treatment. I heard that one of our HR people who almost died of cancer this spring was told that the firm couldn’t accommodate her disability because it didn’t make “good business sense.” She has been here for 13 years, [with] excellent evaluations, and has been fighting for her life. Now she has to fight for her job when her doctor says she still is disabled. She [was] given six weeks by our Chief Human Resources Officer to come back full-time. After one week she was demoted and given no particular reason why.
It won’t be long before they treat the rest of us the same way. By the way, lawyers and staff alike continue to leave in droves. Does anyone care that a Washington institution has crumbled into hubris and greed?
The firm did not respond to our inquiry into this item. If you have more info, feel free to email us.
A little more about WilmerHale, including some happy news, after the jump.
Our series on the perks or fringe benefits of large law firm life has become somewhat sporadic, partly because we’ve covered so many of the biggies. To review our past posts, click here, and scroll down.
Today’s perk: prizes for big billers. If you really kill yourself during a particular month, racking up 250 or 300 hours on some monster deal or litigation, do you get rewarded for it? Of course you might see your crazy hours reflected in your year-end bonus check. But might you get some other, non-monetary benefit? (And we’re not counting being able to show up after 10 on the morning after an all-nighter.)
We don’t know if this policy still exists, but a source sent us this interesting information:
When I was at Clifford Chance (f/k/a Rogers & Wells), a legacy Rogers & Wells program was that if you billed 250 in a month, the firm covered dinner for you and a guest (spouse, date, friend, etc…) with no questions asked. It was an amazing program. Historically, the Firm had no limit, but assumed associates would “just exercise the judgment expected of them.”
It worked for years until a few “exceptions” decided to add very, very expensive bottles of wine to their orders. I think eventually the limit was set at $500. I know more than a handful of “superstars” tanked their careers by “not exercising the judgment expected of them” and submitting dinner bills for several thousands of dollars.
Anyone know if Clifford Chance still has this special dinner benefit?
We also hear that at WilmerHale, “super-super high billers” get vacation vouchers. Can anyone confirm and/or provide more details? Update/Correction: Or maybe the WilmerHale workaholics get gift cards? See this comment.
Please discuss, in the comments. Thanks!
Since our last twothreads on Vault 100 law firms have generated healthy (and generally enlightening) discussion, we’ll continue to move on down the list.
Please pose questions about or share insights into these five law firms (in Vault 100 order, with prestige scores in parentheses):
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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 six years. You can reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deal flow has clearly picked recently up for most US associates, counsels and partners in Hong Kong/China and Singapore. We are on the phone with a lot of these folks on a daily basis, many of whom we have known for years. Further, the head of our Asia team, Evan Jowers, and Kinney’s founder and president, Robert Kinney, frequently meet in person with leading US partners in Asia to assess their needs and keep on top of the inside scoop at as many firms as possible. The need for legal recruiting help in Asia from experienced recruiters appears to be live and well. In March, Evan and Robert were in Beijing at such meetings, in April, Evan was in Hong Kong, and for half of June Evan will be in Shanghai and Hong Kong. Thus its pretty easy for us to tell when there has been an across-the-market pick up in capital markets and corporate work.
On an average day in Asia when Evan and Robert visit firms, they typically have 5 to 9 meetings a day, mostly with US partners in the market. The reason they have these meetings is not simply because Kinney makes a lot of US attorney placements in Asia and that a particular firm may have openings; instead these are just visits with friends. After years of working together as business partners, the folks at Kinney are actually these peoples’ friends. The firms Kinney work closely with in Asia (which is just about every law firm – call us if you want to know the one firm in the world we will never place anyone with again, ever, and why) look forward to the visits, or at least act like they do. After seven years in the market, many of the client partners are former associate candidates. Also, these US partners see Kinney as a very good source of market information as well, because they know how deep their contacts are in the market and how frequently they are speaking to counterparts at peer firms.
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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