It appears that Larry Sonsini, chairman and name partner of the high-powered Wilson Sonsini law firm, is a very good golfer. Earlier this year, while playing golf to celebrate his 70th birthday, the legendary lawyer scored a hole in one.
Sonsini isn’t the only one who’s scoring over at 650 Page Mill Road. His partners are doing deals left and right, and the fees are trickling down to the associates, who just scored some nice pay raises.
“Aww, Matt, why do you have to go around giving us a bad name?”
Ever since Matthew Kluger was charged in a massive insider trading case, involving an alleged conspiracy that spanned 17 years and generated more than $32 million in profit, the foregoing question could be asked by many groups: Cornell grads, NYU law grads, Cravath lawyers, Skadden lawyers, and Wilson Sonsini lawyers.
Tonight we can add more groups to the list: Fried Frank lawyers, and gays — specifically, gay dads.
As reported by the Wall Street Journal earlier tonight, Matt Kluger worked at yet another major law firm: Fried Frank. After he was fired by the firm in 2002, he sued, claiming that partners there discriminated against him because he’s gay — and a father of three, with parenting responsibilities.
Just when you thought this case couldn’t get any weirder, it just did. Matthew Kluger is gay. And a dad. With three kids. Thanks for sending America such a positive image of LGBT parents, Matt!
Let’s take a closer look at Kluger’s suit against Fried Frank — and additional details about Matt Kluger’s complicated personal life, gleaned from ATL tipsters….
There’s no contest today for Lawyer of the Day honors. The clear winner is Matthew Kluger, a former associate at three leading law firms, who has been charged in a massive insider trading case. Kluger stands accused of reaping more than $32 million in profit over the course of a 17-year conspiracy, which also allegedly involved a trader, Garrett Bauer. (Kluger and Bauer might not be as big as Raj Rajaratnam, who’s pretty hefty, but their supposed scheme is nothing to scoff at.)
The charges were filed by Paul Fishman, U.S. Attorney for New Jersey (disclosure: my former office). Fishman claims that Matt Kluger passed along insider information that eventually made its way, via an unnamed co-conspirator, to Garrett Bauer, who traded on it. According to the complaint, Kluger and Bauer invested more than $109 million in the scheme, which yielded profits of more than $32.2 million.
Where did Kluger allegedly obtain the inside information? From the three Biglaw firms where he once worked on M&A deals….
Last week, Wilson Sonsini was busy shuffling staffers out the door. Today, Wilson Sonsini is proud to announce bonuses for the lawyers — just in case any of them were feeling bad about their recently departed secretaries.
The firm-wide memo just went out; here’s the bonus news:
The firm will pay merit bonuses for FY10 to all eligible non-member attorneys. Continuing with the criteria implemented last year, the merit bonus program provides for hours-based awards to all attorneys in good standing who achieved 1,900 or 2,100 bonus-eligible hours over the course of the 2009 calendar year. In addition to the hours-based component, attorneys also may receive a discretionary amount based on work quality and overall contribution to the firm. …
This year’s total bonuses range from a maximum of $9,000 for eligible associates from the class of 2008 to a maximum of $49,000 for eligible associates from the 2002 and earlier classes.
While the top number is more than the Cravath scale, we have no idea how many lawyers actually exceeded the Cravath bonus. I’ll spare you the familiar rant about the uselessness of providing the high score without mentioning the average payout associates received. Suffice it to say: nobody’s fooled. UPDATE: We now have the full bonus memo for WSGR, which appears after the jump.
Wilson Sonsini also announced salary news today. After the jump, you’ll see that it looks suspiciously like a thaw of one class year.
[A]fter a long and thorough analysis, we have concluded that these changes have made it necessary to downsize the ranks of our staff by approximately 20 employees nationwide, primarily in the secretarial area. We emphasize that the downsizing is a regretful but prudent business decision and no reflection on the skills and performance of the employees involved, who already have been informed of the specifics of this decision. The firm will provide separation pay and support services to help them transition.
It looks like another law firm just got a look at its 2009 profit numbers and found them unappealing. But at Wilson, this is the second year in a row that the new year has brought about new layoffs. In January 2009, Wilson Sonsini laid off 113 people (68 staff) because of the economy. At least this round of New Year’s layoffs isn’t as deep.
In September, Wilson froze the salaries of its secretaries, evidently the firm decided it needed to make a stronger move.
Good luck, Wilson Sonsini friends.
Read the full firm memo after the jump.
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. From our sister site, Going Concern:
[A] judge in Seattle has allowed a revised lawsuit to proceed that lists “Washington Mutual officers and directors, underwriters, and the auditing firm Deloitte & Touche” as defendants.
The revised lawsuit was trimmed down to a “concise” 267 pages from the original 388 that the judge described as “verbose” and “disorganized”.
“Verbose” and “disorganized” would also describe many lawyers we know. On the defense side, though, it’s an all-star cast. From Am Law Litigation Daily:
The lineup for the defendants includes Simpson Thacher & Bartlett attorneys Barry Ostrager and Rob Pfister for former WaMu officers; Ronald Berenstain of Perkins Coie for former WaMu outside directors; Barry Kaplan of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati for former WaMu CEO Kerry Killinger; Peter Wald of Latham & Watkins for Deloitte; and Jonathan Dickey of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher for the underwriters.
It’s been a while since we’ve had any news about how legal secretaries and staffs are weathering the recession. Well, at least no news that pertains to secretaries who are potty trained and don’t care about CHARACTER. To the extent that firms are still looking to make cuts, it feels like they are more focused on more long term moves.
But that doesn’t mean that the domain of the legal secretary is drenched in milk and honey. Yesterday, Wilson Sonsini informed its staff that it was instituting a salary freeze:
To: Staff Employees
From: [Wilson Sonsini]
Date: September 22, 2009
Re: Staff Salaries
Earlier this year, in the midst of an uncertain global economic situation, the firm implemented a salary freeze for associates. The firm always has managed expenses carefully, and we’ve taken an even more cautious approach during the current downturn to ensure that our business remains strong and well positioned for the future. While there are early signs that the recession may be easing, it’s also clear that economic recovery will take some time. Given these factors, it is important to continue our fiscally conservative approach, and therefore the firm is extending the salary freeze to staff at this time.
Thank you for your understanding, and for your continued commitment to the firm.
Wait, Wilson Sonsini hadn’t frozen staff salaries already? Tipsters weigh in after the jump.
We’re now into the back half of the brand new Vault law firm rankings. Just like last year, we worry about a proliferation of “TTT” accusations in the comment threads. But such terms of art can miss the positives of many of the firms in this section of the Vault rankings. Here’s the list:
51. Fulbright & Jaworski 52. Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati 53. Morgan Lewis & Bockius 54. McDermott Will & Emery 55. Alston & Bird 56. Bingham McCutchen 57. Fish & Richardson 58. Dechert 59. Greenberg Traurig 60. Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft
We have already extensively talked about the Morgan Lewis situation. Let’s move on to other firms after the jump.
Today, the Minority Law Journal published its new Diversity Rankings. There was a big change in the publication’s methodology, and that resulted in significant upheaval in the rankings:
All this churn comes courtesy of a new ranking formula adopted after we found ourselves wondering whether our traditional approach to measuring diversity–calculating the overall percentage of minorities within a firm–ignored something significant. Did it really make sense to treat all lawyers of color as essentially equivalent in stature? Should a firm get the same kind of credit for a minority associate as it does for a minority partner? We decided that it was time to start giving more credit to firms that have increased the racial diversity of their partnership ranks. Under our revised formula, we add each responding firm’s percentage of minority lawyers to its percentage of minority partners to come up with a diversity score. This number is a truer gauge, we believe, of what kind of progress a firm is making in hiring lawyers of color at every level, with an emphasis on those at the most senior levels. (Click here for a fuller explanation of our methodology, and a list of firms that did not respond.)
The change knocked Cleary Gottlieb off its long standing perch in the top spot. In its place, Wilson Sonsini claims number one status.
After the jump, additional details from well known firms.
Watch to find out what some of our subscribers received in their May box!
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We currently have a number of active openings for associate roles at US and UK firms in HK / China, Singapore and two new in-house openings. As always, please feel free to reach out to us at email@example.com in order to get details of current openings in Asia, as well as to discuss the Asia markets in general and what we expect for openings later this year. Our Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney will be in Beijing the week of March 25 and Evan Jowers will be in Hong Kong the week of April 1, if you would like to meet them in person.
The US associate openings we have in law firms are in the usual areas of M&A, cap markets, FCPA / white collar litigation, finance, and project finance. The most urgent of our top tier (top 15 US or magic circle) law firm openings in Asia (among many other firm openings that we have in Asia) are as follows:
• 2nd to 5th year mandarin fluent M&A associates needed in Beijing and Hong Kong at several firms;
• Korean fluent 2nd to 4th year cap markets associate needed in Hong Kong;
• 2nd to 5th year Japanese fluent M&A associates needed in Tokyo;
• 4th to 6th year mandarin fluent cap markets associate needed in Hong Kong;
• 2nd to 4th year M&A / cap markets mix associate needed in Singapore.
The last time I flapped my wings your way, I tried to make at least enough noise about your mobile phone to make you more than a little bit uncomfortable. I hope I did. If enough of us become anxious enough about the known and unknown unknowns and knowns in our mobile phones, then we can start making wise decisions about how to manage that information and its resultant investigations.
Today, I’d like to put a finer point on the last installment’s topic by asking a question that seemed to catch most attendees off-guard at a conference panel that I moderated last week: is there discoverable personal information in a mobile app? Our panelists’ answer was a uniform “yes” with one stating that, if he had to choose only one type of data that he could discover from a mobile phone, he’d choose app data. Why? Because there’s simply so much of it and because almost all of it is objective – not just user-created like an email – but machine-tracked like GPS, usage duration, log in and log out times, browsed web addresses, browsed actual addresses. Also, most of us seem to have the idea that data doesn’t actually “stick” to our mobile devices the way it “sticks” to our hard drives. Maybe there’s a disconnect based on the fact that our phones are mobile so we assume the data is mobile to?
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