The American Lawyer

The American Lawyer Reporting on all aspects of the business of law as practiced by the largest firms in the U.S. and around the world.

The source for daily legal business news and analysis of leading law firms.

Name yourselves, Jones Day argues in gender bias suit: “The Jane Does are not materially different from the countless ...
05/20/2019
Jones Day Presses Plaintiffs to Go Public in Latest Gender Bias Case | The American Lawyer

Name yourselves, Jones Day argues in gender bias suit: “The Jane Does are not materially different from the countless employment discrimination plaintiffs who routinely file under their real names, including the named plaintiffs here who, rather than fearing publicity, have invited extensive media attention to themselves and their claims.” https://news.alm.com/dMAhpOs

The firm, representing itself, says a federal judge erred in letting four female former associates hide behind pseudonyms when they leveled accusations of widespread gender discrimination.

05/20/2019

A former Paul Weiss lawyer who is pursuing a $173 million claim against the firm has failed to overturn a decision by an employment tribunal that stopped her from calling a witness to back up her discrimination claims. https://news.alm.com/xSjs4s8

Big Law innovation evangelists have long offered arguments for ditching the billable hour, from competing with tech-savv...
05/20/2019
Seeing Lawyers in Crisis, Some Blame the Billable Hour | The American Lawyer

Big Law innovation evangelists have long offered arguments for ditching the billable hour, from competing with tech-savvy legal industry upstarts and other professional services firms to pleasing efficiency-focused clients. But with the recognition that so many lawyers are crippled by stress, substance abuse and depression, some are making another argument: Scrapping allegiance to the traditional metric law firms use to judge performance and award compensation can improve attorneys’ health and lives. #mentalhealth #MindsOverMatters https://news.alm.com/VyhR0ue

Measuring lawyers by the hours they bill was long treated as a necessary evil. Faced with evidence that mental health erodes as hours increase, legal industry innovators are asking how necessary it really is.

"In a nutshell: If you’re a female lawyer, your chances of getting sexually harassed are way better than getting run o...
05/18/2019
Outside the Office, They Want Inside Your Pants | The American Lawyer

"In a nutshell: If you’re a female lawyer, your chances of getting sexually harassed are way better than getting run over by a Citibike. Then, if you put the sexes in a social situation outside the office, a few obnoxious remarks could morph into something worse." https://news.alm.com/CvLGWxl

An astounding 49.6% of sexual harassment in the legal profession occurs at work social events, according to a sweeping survey from the International Bar Association.

05/17/2019

Pierce Bainbridge and ex-partner Donald Lewis traded eye-popping accusations of racism, misogyny, drug abuse, sexual assault, defamation and extortion this week. Are claims of financial mismanagement just more fragments of their crumbled relationship? https://news.alm.com/5GF6rNn

Seyfarth Shaw's new biometric privacy practice group, composed of over 25 attorneys from such areas as litigation, labor...
05/16/2019
Seyfarth Launches Biometric Privacy Practice, Citing Growing Risks | The American Lawyer

Seyfarth Shaw's new biometric privacy practice group, composed of over 25 attorneys from such areas as litigation, labor and employment and policy, aims to counsel clients on navigating the patchwork of state laws that govern the use of biometric data, and to help clients ward off potential biometric class action litigation. https://news.alm.com/B0LMMRK

Clients are looking for advice on compliance and also facing a growing number of class action lawsuits, said practice leader Karla Grossenbacher.

Pierce Bainbridge and former partner Donald Lewis lodged dueling complaints against each other yesterday, with Lewis acc...
05/16/2019
Pierce Bainbridge, Ex-Partner Trade Toxic Allegations of Extortion, Misconduct | The American Lawyer

Pierce Bainbridge and former partner Donald Lewis lodged dueling complaints against each other yesterday, with Lewis accusing his old firm of financial improprieties and dismissing him over phony sexual assault claims, and Pierce Bainbridge claiming Lewis tried to extort the firm out of $65 million. https://news.alm.com/hvpmvVc

The accusations in dueling complaints between the firm and ex-partner Donald Lewis range from extortion and defamation to fraud, sexual misconduct and racial discrimination.

Nearly a year after over 100 large law firms increased associate salaries, data from the first quarter of 2019 suggests ...
05/15/2019
Have the 2018 Associate Salary Hikes Caught Up With Big Law? | The American Lawyer

Nearly a year after over 100 large law firms increased associate salaries, data from the first quarter of 2019 suggests that the added expense pressure is beginning to catch up. A handful of law firms at the top of the marketplace can shrug off these increases, at least for now, but it leaves dozens of other firms navigating a marketplace where demand is wavering and costs are up. https://news.alm.com/Gfkpgyp

With expenses up and demand flat, dozens of firms that raised salaries last year must now contend with the consequences.

The last recession caught a robust and in-demand legal industry unprepared, and the consequences cut deep. It's only nat...
05/15/2019
Why the Legal Industry Can Handle the Next Recession | The American Lawyer

The last recession caught a robust and in-demand legal industry unprepared, and the consequences cut deep. It's only natural for firms and legal service providers to remain on the lookout for the signs of the next recession. However, lasting changes in the way law firms deliver services to their increasingly cost-conscious clients—changes that have been in motion since long before the recession and that will continue regardless of the economic cycle—mean that the next recession will not have nearly as dramatic an effect on the industry. https://news.alm.com/dFVTTj8

The last recession caught a robust and in-demand legal industry unprepared, and the consequences cut deep. Deal flow of all kinds dramatically slowed,…

"The good news on the sexual harassment front is that the most egregious forms—such as propositions and assaults—see...
05/15/2019
Sexual Harassment and Bullying: Global Edition | Law.com

"The good news on the sexual harassment front is that the most egregious forms—such as propositions and assaults—seemed to have dropped in the last two years....Well, thank goodness for small favors." https://news.alm.com/RG9SpjM

A study from the International Bar Association, which surveyed 7,000 lawyers in 135 countries, shows that one in two women suffered bullying, while one in three women experienced sexual harassment in the workplace.

05/14/2019

CKR Law, a New York-based law firm that boasts of a “global presence,” has experienced a “cash flow crunch” this year and has struggled to pay its partners, according to sources and internal firm emails. https://news.alm.com/WwieFYT

A federal appeals court seems poised to uphold a decision that snuffed out a whistleblower complaint filed by Kasowitz B...
05/14/2019
Kasowitz Looks Unlikely to Revive Multibillion-Dollar Whistleblower Lawsuit | The American Lawyer

A federal appeals court seems poised to uphold a decision that snuffed out a whistleblower complaint filed by Kasowitz Benson Torres, which could have netted the firm billions if successful. The firm's 2016 qui tam complaint against four of the country’s largest chemical companies claimed they failed to hand over information to the EPA about the substantial risk of injuries posed by a common chemical used in a variety of consumer products. https://news.alm.com/tID9EMJ

The firm was seeking to breathe new life into its lawsuit against four chemical companies it claims withheld information that could have cost them $90 billion in fines and penalties from the EPA.

“I went through a period of burnout, I was depressed all the time, I was having nightmares,” Jeena Cho said. “I ju...
05/14/2019
For Jeena Cho, Managing Anxiety Meant Making 'Room for Feelings' in Law | The American Lawyer

“I went through a period of burnout, I was depressed all the time, I was having nightmares,” Jeena Cho said. “I just wasn’t processing the job well.” But addressing her feelings while working at the Florida State Attorney’s Office, seeing the trauma of victims and also some defendants who seemed trapped by the system, would have been “unthinkable.” #MindsOverMatters https://news.alm.com/GydOi7m

“I had this sort of epiphany that there wasn’t something wrong with me,” Cho said.

Federal prosecutors say they plan to introduce evidence in the case against ex-Skadden partner Gregory Craig that Paul M...
05/13/2019
Skadden Keeps Mum Over Claims It Bowed to Pressure to Hire Manafort's Daughter | The American Lawyer

Federal prosecutors say they plan to introduce evidence in the case against ex-Skadden partner Gregory Craig that Paul Manafort pressured him to intervene after the firm initially refused to hire Manafort’s ”immediate relative” as an associate. https://news.alm.com/jYycAnj

The firm hasn't commented on claims that it reversed course and hired Paul Manafort's daughter at the urging of former partner Gregory Craig. One observer called the scenario highly unusual.

05/13/2019

Looking at the results by revenue size, Am Law 51-100 firms had the best start to the year. These firms saw the greatest revenue growth at 8.1% and were the only segment to see revenue growth exceed expense growth. https://news.alm.com/DHTwWNc

Global and U.S. M&A activity may have hit the doldrums in the first quarter by most measures, but Cravath seems to have ...
05/13/2019
M&A Slowdown? Tell That to Cravath | The American Lawyer

Global and U.S. M&A activity may have hit the doldrums in the first quarter by most measures, but Cravath seems to have plenty of wind in its sails: The firm’s M&A team advised on eight transactions worth north of $100 billion over the past 2 weeks. https://news.alm.com/nS1Rug1

The Wall Street firm advised on deals worth a combined $100 billion in just two weeks.

05/13/2019

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries $TEVA chief legal officer David Stark is looking for a few good firms to handle more than $100 million in external legal spend at a significantly reduced cost—and not everyone is happy about it. https://news.alm.com/B9dJKXh

Meet Hailyn Chen, the new co-managing partner of Munger, Tolles & Olson. She seems to hold the distinction of being the ...
05/11/2019
News Flash: Asian American Woman Is New Leader at Elite Law Firm | The American Lawyer

Meet Hailyn Chen, the new co-managing partner of Munger, Tolles & Olson. She seems to hold the distinction of being the second Asian American woman to assume the top leadership position of a major firm. "I’m aware that because of my race and gender that some people will think I’m less competent to lead. I’m aware that my words and actions will be put under more scrutiny. I’m aware that I need to prove myself. It doesn’t bother me. It’s a fact of life." https://news.alm.com/NBnSm9l

I'm aware that because of my race and gender that some people will think I'm less competent to lead. I know I don't fit the typical image—an old white guy, says Hailyn Chen, the new co-managing partner of Munger, Tolles & Olson.

According to Uber’s updated IPO prospectus, Cooley, Covington & Burling and Davis Polk & Wardwell are collecting $5.5 ...
05/10/2019
Cooley, Covington, Davis Polk Get Big Bonus From Uber IPO | The American Lawyer

According to Uber’s updated IPO prospectus, Cooley, Covington & Burling and Davis Polk & Wardwell are collecting $5.5 million in legal fees and expenses for the IPO work. The filing also discloses that attorneys at Cooley have a beneficial interest in an aggregate of less than 0.03 percent of Uber’s common stock. https://news.alm.com/XO1I9at

Cooley, Covington & Burling, Davis Polk & Wardwell are collecting $5.5 million in legal fees and expenses for Uber IPO work.

Jessica Crutcher, a litigation partner in Mayer Brown, has chosen to publicly identify herself as the BigLaw partner who...
05/10/2019
Mayer Brown Partner Goes Public in Suit Against Houston Restaurant Over Alleged Rape | The American Lawyer

Jessica Crutcher, a litigation partner in Mayer Brown, has chosen to publicly identify herself as the BigLaw partner who sued a Houston restaurant for $20 million, alleging she was raped by a bartender formerly employed there. Crutcher alleged in her suit that the rape and its aftermath caused “extreme emotional distress,” which interfered with her work as a lawyer. https://news.alm.com/O6HOqqP

The litigation partner filed a $20 million lawsuit against Brennan's of Houston alleging that the rape and its aftermath negatively affected her work as a lawyer.

Clifford Chance announced last week that it won’t use billed hours to assess the performance of some of its lawyers. B...
05/09/2019
Will the Demise of the Billable Hour Start in the Middle East? | The American Lawyer

Clifford Chance announced last week that it won’t use billed hours to assess the performance of some of its lawyers. But the pilot program comes with a series of limiting factors. For starters, it only applies to attorneys in Abu Dhabi and Dubai—out of the firm’s 33 offices on six continents—and it’s limited to just one year. https://news.alm.com/WenCKqp

In detaching billable hours from attorney evaluations in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Clifford Chance wants to generate data to guide future decisions. But expect broader change in the industry to come slowly.

Milberg is asking a federal judge to throw out an arbitral award that left it with $87,000 in a case where the firm says...
05/08/2019
Milberg Claims Firm Cheated Out of $12M Fee in Argentine Bond Case | The American Lawyer

Milberg is asking a federal judge to throw out an arbitral award that left it with $87,000 in a case where the firm says it should have received nearly $12 million. The firm alleges a former client received a $162 million settlement offer, learned that Milberg would be entitled to an $11.9 million contingency fee if he accepted, fired the firm, switched lawyers and reached a nearly identical settlement a year later. https://news.alm.com/4q4e9iX

The firm said it was fired shortly before it should have received a major contingency fee from a group of European investors who sued Argentina for defaulting on its sovereign debt.

05/07/2019

If a rising tide lifts all ships, the legal industry took on water last month. The U.S. economy added 263,000 jobs, far surpassing projected gains. But the legal industry failed to keep pace, declining 0.7% between March and April. https://news.alm.com/CH4HdlR

Cheslie Kryst, an associate at Poyner Spruill and the newly crowned Miss USA 2019, told a story played during the compet...
05/07/2019
And the Winner Is ... a Lawyer | The American Lawyer

Cheslie Kryst, an associate at Poyner Spruill and the newly crowned Miss USA 2019, told a story played during the competition about participating in a moot court competition while in law school and being told by a judge to wear a skirt instead of pants because judges prefer skirts. “Glass ceilings can be broken wearing either a skirt or pants,” she said. https://news.alm.com/y2IvUNo

Cheslie Kryst, a 27-year-old associate with the North Carolina law firm Poyner Spruill, was crowned Miss USA 2019.

In an extremely competitive legal talent market, just what can law firms do to keep young lawyers, happy and motivated? ...
05/03/2019
Can Law Firms Keep Young Lawyers Happy? | The American Lawyer

In an extremely competitive legal talent market, just what can law firms do to keep young lawyers, happy and motivated? In talking with a group of young, happy, optimistic and committed attorneys, Carolyn Casey found some secrets to the puzzle. https://news.alm.com/YRO5IDb

In talking with optimistic and motivated attorneys, a few solutions for law firms present themselves.

“If you have kidney disease or a broken arm, you are not expected to tough it out. If you are suffering from a mental ...
05/02/2019
Reflecting on Her Father, Yates Tackles Suicide Prevention | The American Lawyer

“If you have kidney disease or a broken arm, you are not expected to tough it out. If you are suffering from a mental illness, why should you be expected to suffer in silence?” - Former Deputy AG Sally Yates, whose father, a Georgia Court of Appeals judge, died by suicide in May 1986 at age 56. #mentalhealth #suicideprevention https://news.alm.com/FnL6YVI

Former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, who became a lawyer like her father, shared the story of his suicide at a Wednesday discussion.

There’s an emerging consensus among public relations experts when dealing with rough news: “No comment” doesn’t ...
05/01/2019
When a Critical Spotlight Shines on Firms, Keeping Quiet Doesn't Help | The American Lawyer

There’s an emerging consensus among public relations experts when dealing with rough news: “No comment” doesn’t cut it. Law firms aren’t free from this expectation. But in responding to crises, they still face a delicate balance as they navigate how to convey a sense of empathy while waiting for the facts to become clear. https://news.alm.com/7Z2tsuo

Law firms face a delicate balancing act in responding to internal crises that draw public attention.

From the Young Lawyer Editorial Board: The positives of being a partner at a BigLaw firm are plentiful: an undeniable ba...
05/01/2019
The Path to Partnership Offers Great Rewards at Great Costs | The American Lawyer

From the Young Lawyer Editorial Board: The positives of being a partner at a BigLaw firm are plentiful: an undeniable badge of achievement, increased pay over the long term, ownership in the firm, and leadership roles at the firm and in the community, among others. But being a partner is time-consuming and stressful, and for diverse lawyers, entering the partnership ranks can stir even more feelings of loneliness, pressure and self-doubt. https://news.alm.com/uMbhyLH

There is both pleasure and pain along the way, but every lawyer should strive to be better at their craft, whether they seek partnership or not.

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