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

The empathy gap—whites “rarely think black professionals have a tougher climb”—coupled with lingering racism and the aby...
02/08/2020
Enough Is Enough: Black Millennials Are Fed Up | The American Lawyer

The empathy gap—whites “rarely think black professionals have a tougher climb”—coupled with lingering racism and the abysmal pace of progress seem to be pushing younger black professionals over the edge. Among black professionals who plan to leave their jobs and start their own ventures, 38% are millennials, compared with 17% in the older group, a new report by the nonprofit Center for Talent Innovation says. https://news.alm.com/odWv6bQ

Only 40% of professionals believe that their employers' diversity policies are working.

WEBINAR: Join senior members of our team as they share what they are hearing, how it fits in with the data we collect an...
02/07/2020

WEBINAR: Join senior members of our team as they share what they are hearing, how it fits in with the data we collect and what your teams should be aware of as you tackle the challenges and opportunities facing the industry in 2020. Register here: https://news.alm.com/QWanfXT

King & Spalding’s profits per equity partner hit $3 million for the first time in 2019 as the firm boosted revenue 6.1% ...
02/07/2020
Partner Profits Hit $3M at King & Spalding After Decade of Growth | The American Lawyer

King & Spalding’s profits per equity partner hit $3 million for the first time in 2019 as the firm boosted revenue 6.1% to $1.34 billion and net income increased 3.2% to $569.7 million. Chairman Robert Hays said the real milestone was the firm’s success in doubling its revenue and profits per equity partner over the past decade—a goal he said King & Spalding set in 2009 in the aftermath of the financial crisis. https://news.alm.com/cSlvaQm

The firm hit new highs in revenue and profits per equity partner as it continued making high-profile hires from the Trump administration.

Morgan Lewis has added the global head of Sidley Austin’s labor and employment practice as the firm fields a crush of ca...
02/07/2020
Facing Boom in #MeToo Work, Morgan Lewis Snags Sidley Employment Leader | The American Lawyer

Morgan Lewis has added the global head of Sidley Austin’s labor and employment practice as the firm fields a crush of cases and investigations related to workplace bias and misconduct.

“I can’t tell you how many we’re doing because we’re doing so many. I get at least one or two calls every week for a #MeToo investigation,” said Grace Speights, the head of Morgan Lewis’ labor and employment practice.
https://news.alm.com/4p9mhPV

Morgan Lewis says it needs more people who can help manage its high volume of matters related to workplace bias, harassment and misconduct.

About 40 Yale law students dressed in business attire unfurled #DropExxon banners and chanted for 20 minutes during a Fe...
02/07/2020
First Harvard, Now Yale. Law Students Want Paul Weiss to #DropExxon | The American Lawyer

About 40 Yale law students dressed in business attire unfurled #DropExxon banners and chanted for 20 minutes during a Feb. 6 recruiting reception at a New Haven restaurant while a similar number of classmates mingled with Paul Weiss partners. A group of Harvard law students held a similar protest at a Paul Weiss reception three weeks ago. https://news.alm.com/lOd5qy3

Yale law students disrupted a Paul Weiss recruiting reception on Feb. 6, decrying the firm's representation of ExxonMobil in climate change litigation. They are working with law students at Harvard to expand their campaign to other campuses.

The guarantee that brought M&A star Ethan Klingsberg to Freshfields from Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton was an eye-ope...
02/06/2020
Is Guaranteed Compensation a Savvy Lateral Lure or an Unnecessary Risk? | The American Lawyer

The guarantee that brought M&A star Ethan Klingsberg to Freshfields from Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton was an eye-opener: $10 million each year over his first five years. Kirkland, which has not shied away from using guaranteed offers to lure top talent, reportedly promised Sandra Goldstein $11 million per year for five years in her 2018 move from Cravath.

But there’s another name closely linked to the practice of promising compensation, one that resonates quite differently than Kirkland, the current market leader. Leadership at Dewey & LeBoeuf handed out guarantees to desired laterals starting in the middle of the 2000s, and extended them to existing partners once word got out. https://news.alm.com/q7nsP07

Guaranteed pay packages can sway star recruits, but they also pile on risk for overeager firms.

A proposal before the American Bar Association that would encourage states to consider “new approaches” in the practice ...
02/05/2020
Bar Groups Line Up Against 'Dangerous Changes' to Lawyer Regulation | The American Lawyer

A proposal before the American Bar Association that would encourage states to consider “new approaches” in the practice of law is facing mounting opposition by some state bar leaders who say it will lead to outside investment of law firms and nonlawyers practicing law.
https://news.alm.com/MjpsSwA

“Outside ownership of legal providers would present a minefield for the profession, said a letter from New York bar leaders voicing concern about a pending ABA proposal.

Flexible legal staffing provider Axiom today announced the acquisition of Bliss Lawyers, expanding the company’s workfor...
02/05/2020
Axiom Bolsters Flexible Attorney Network With Bliss Lawyers Deal | The American Lawyer

Flexible legal staffing provider Axiom today announced the acquisition of Bliss Lawyers, expanding the company’s workforce to approximately 2,400 attorneys on the heels of a recent investment from private equity firm Permira. Prior to that investment, Axiom spun off its data analytics arm Knowable and its legal solutions platform, recently rebranded as Factor, but the latest news is a sign that the company intends to keep building its core business. https://news.alm.com/AxMvT07

With an immediate addition of 60 vetted lawyers from Bliss, Axiom now has 2,400 attorneys on its platform.

Laterals Report: At least 580 corporate partners joined the ranks of the AmLaw200, while 469 departed, which adds up to ...
02/05/2020
If a Recession Is Looming, the Laterals Report Shows Firms Aren't Changing Their Ways | The American Lawyer

Laterals Report: At least 580 corporate partners joined the ranks of the AmLaw200, while 469 departed, which adds up to a net gain of 111 partners. Litigation partners accounted for another quarter of the past year’s laterals. Banking and finance partners were the third-most-transient practice, comprising nearly 14% of all laterals. Interestingly enough, given the warnings of a recession, bankruptcy attorneys were the least transient, accounting for just a small fraction of the year’s lateral moves, at 2.4%. https://news.alm.com/Ti5MYtB

Corporate practices continue to reign supreme in the busy lateral market, even amid whispers of a recession.

Each of the firms in Diversity Lab’s Move the Needle Fund is focusing on a different aspect of diversity. Nixon Peabody’...
02/05/2020
Nixon Peabody Becomes Last Member of Big Law Diversity 'Laboratory' | The American Lawyer

Each of the firms in Diversity Lab’s Move the Needle Fund is focusing on a different aspect of diversity. Nixon Peabody’s goal addresses diversity within its own ranks. By 2025, the firm expects its equity partnership to consist of 30% women, 12% minorities, and 6% LGBTQ+. The firm’s equity partnership is now comprised of 17% women, 7% minorities, and 3% LGBTQ+. https://news.alm.com/MHcdorW

The firm will contribute $1.25 million to the fund over the next five years.

After targeting two law firms in the past couple of months, a hacker group called Maze has struck the legal industry aga...
02/05/2020
Maze Ransomware Attack Has Hit Small Law Firms in 3 States | The American Lawyer

After targeting two law firms in the past couple of months, a hacker group called Maze has struck the legal industry again, publicizing a ransomware attack on three small South Dakota firms and vowing to publicly publish their confidential data if the firms do not pay up. https://news.alm.com/w1tLewS

The ransomware attack on three small South Dakota firms the hacker group touted online late last month follows previously announced hacks of firms in Texas and Oregon.

“This is a real tipping point, this is the direction we’re going in,” said a current Irell & Manella lawyer, speaking on...
02/05/2020
Irell & Manella Sees More Partner Exits Amid Practice Pivot | The American Lawyer

“This is a real tipping point, this is the direction we’re going in,” said a current Irell & Manella lawyer, speaking on condition of anonymity. “That’s why people are not going to be here in the future.” https://news.alm.com/yZ589On

The shift in strategy comes as three partners jump to other firms, with more departures expected. This is a real tipping point, this is the direction we’re going in, one Irell lawyer said.

Irell & Manella is abandoning most of its transactional practices in an effort to focus solely on high-value litigation ...
02/04/2020
Irell & Manella Sees More Partner Exits Amid Practice Pivot | The American Lawyer

Irell & Manella is abandoning most of its transactional practices in an effort to focus solely on high-value litigation work, in a move that’s already led to the departure of three partners this week.
https://news.alm.com/NGybeXM

The shift in strategy comes as three partners jump to other firms, with more departures expected. This is a real tipping point, this is the direction we’re going in, one Irell lawyer said.

“We’ve had groups contact us because they see the compatibility and the possibilities that are being brought by our new ...
02/04/2020
Faegre Drinker Makes Its Debut, Pressing Size as an Advantage | The American Lawyer

“We’ve had groups contact us because they see the compatibility and the possibilities that are being brought by our new firm,” Andrew Kassner, co-chair of the newly merged Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath, said. “The question is, and the question we’ll answer in a conservative way, is what is strategic growth? It might mean adding talent and adding new offices.” https://news.alm.com/kXeSlcn

Leaders of Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath are making their case to clients now that the biggest law firm merger of the year so far is official.

In the not-too-distant past, law firms held the partners they poached from their counterparts at arm’s length, hiring th...
02/04/2020
The Lateral Integration Process Has Gotten a Facelift as Firms Search for a Leg Up | The American Lawyer

In the not-too-distant past, law firms held the partners they poached from their counterparts at arm’s length, hiring them primarily for their books of business, plopping them into an office with freshly printed business cards and sending them on their way. “A lot of firms have learned that’s not a recipe for success,” Lauren Goldman, whose work on Mayer Brown’s management committee centers on lateral partners, says. https://news.alm.com/xCDzJxY

Law firms are scrapping old methods of lateral integration in favor of staffed-up programs designed to deliver.

Leaders at Boies Schiller have said in recent interviews that while departures have been more than usual, they won’t har...
02/04/2020
Co-Head of Boies’ San Francisco Office Moves to Cooley | The American Lawyer

Leaders at Boies Schiller have said in recent interviews that while departures have been more than usual, they won’t harm the firm’s bottom line. Nick Gravante, one of four managing partners, said the departures won’t be “material” and said the firm has promising candidates in the pipeline. https://news.alm.com/gq0N4JM

Kathleen Hartnett is the latest partner exit from Boies Schiller. While the departures have been more than usual, they won’t harm the firm’s bottom line, firm leaders say.

Many of the metrics legal departments use to measure outside counsel rely on subjective information gleaned from surveys...
02/04/2020
Inconsistent In-House Metrics Are Leaving Law Firms in the Lurch | The American Lawyer

Many of the metrics legal departments use to measure outside counsel rely on subjective information gleaned from surveys, or largely uncontested quantitative data ­extracted from spend and matter management tools. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t problems. Even basic timekeeping metrics, for instance, can be skewed if not created using the same methodology across the board. Despite efforts to the contrary, there is little standardization of the way in-house teams evaluate their law firms. https://news.alm.com/QCtAyxB

A lack of standardization and communication bedevils the metrics legal departments use to evaluate their outside counsel, but there are no easy fixes.

02/04/2020
Gina and Dylan discuss Business of Law

Business of Law reporter Dylan Jackson and Editor-in-Cheif Gina Passarella discuss talent management and expectations for the beat in 2020. Gina Passarella Cipriani

Nixon Peabody LLP is the fifth and final firm to join Diversity Lab’s Move the Needle Fund, a $5 million “laboratory” fo...
02/04/2020
Nixon Peabody Becomes Last Member of Big Law Diversity 'Laboratory' | The American Lawyer

Nixon Peabody LLP is the fifth and final firm to join Diversity Lab’s Move the Needle Fund, a $5 million “laboratory” for research initiatives and programs designed to address the lack of diversity in the legal profession. The fund is novel because of its required collaboration and transparency: Participants must periodically and publicly share their successes and failures through a central portal, the D&I Dashboard, which will launch sometime in 2020; and each firm is focusing on a different aspect of diversity. https://news.alm.com/ufTIaO1

The firm will contribute $1.25 million to the fund over the next five years.

Michael Bowe, who with Marc Kasowitz represented President Trump as he faced Robert Mueller’s widening special counsel p...
02/04/2020
Kasowitz Pair, Including Ex-Trump Lawyer Bowe, Jump to Brown Rudnick | The American Lawyer

Michael Bowe, who with Marc Kasowitz represented President Trump as he faced Robert Mueller’s widening special counsel probe in 2017, has left Kasowitz Benson for Brown Rudnick along with Lauren Tabaksblat. Both will be partners in their new firm’s commercial litigation group, which Brown Rudnick said is positioned for “significant expansion” with their arrival. https://news.alm.com/uFuXvD3

After a combined three decades at Kasowitz, Michael Bowe and Lauren Tabaksblat are taking their busy litigation practices to a Boston-based rival.

02/04/2020

Business of Law reporters Patrick Smith and Samantha Stokes discuss #LegalWeek20 and trends they are seeing in the industry.

Excluding the shuttered LeClairRyan, Irell & Manella had the greatest proportion of net partner defections among the AmL...
02/04/2020
If a Recession Is Looming, the Laterals Report Shows Firms Aren't Changing Their Ways | The American Lawyer

Excluding the shuttered LeClairRyan, Irell & Manella had the greatest proportion of net partner defections among the AmLaw200, given its relatively small partnership. Winston & Strawn saw the highest net defections, losing 52 and adding 17 for a loss of 35 https://news.alm.com/GFk2zZd

Corporate practices continue to reign supreme in the busy lateral market, even amid whispers of a recession.

The newly combined Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath, which announced its executive leadership, practice group leaders, indu...
02/04/2020
Faegre Drinker Makes Its Debut, Pressing Size as an Advantage | The American Lawyer

The newly combined Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath, which announced its executive leadership, practice group leaders, industry group leaders and office leaders today, plans to take advantage of its newfound scale by reaching out to its clients in the next 100 days and hearing what kind of issues and problems they’re facing, and then checking to see if the merged firm has those capabilities. https://news.alm.com/mW79AsV

Leaders of Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath are making their case to clients now that the biggest law firm merger of the year so far is official.

In terms of sheer head count, Greenberg Traurig made the most lateral additions, adding 103 partners (39 others left, fo...
02/04/2020
If a Recession Is Looming, the Laterals Report Shows Firms Aren't Changing Their Ways | The American Lawyer

In terms of sheer head count, Greenberg Traurig made the most lateral additions, adding 103 partners (39 others left, for a net of 64), while Fox Rothschild saw the greatest percentage growth via lateral moves, as its partnership ranks swelled by 60, or roughly 18%, on the back of 102 lateral hires, offsetting 42 departures. https://news.alm.com/DEn5fxJ

Corporate practices continue to reign supreme in the busy lateral market, even amid whispers of a recession.

Scott Meyers, who has officially taken over as head of Akerman, discusses his plans for the firm, and how it will compet...
02/03/2020
Q&A: Akerman Leader Scott Meyers Discusses Competition in the Face of Consolidation and Continuity of Leadership | The American Lawyer

Scott Meyers, who has officially taken over as head of Akerman, discusses his plans for the firm, and how it will compete in a climate of consolidation and scale currently in vogue in BigLaw: "To me the trend isn’t just about consolidation, it’s the ubiquity among the sea of sameness. Law firms seem to be chasing the same model and all combining into the same type of firm. That’s certainly one model and clearly it can be successful. But I think it comes at a very high cost to your people, your clients and your community." https://news.alm.com/wfWGxp7

Akerman CEO and chairman Scott Meyers sees the silver lining in an increasingly crowded Florida market and discusses the lessons he learned from longtime firm leader Andrew Smulian.

Lee Wolosky and Dawn Smalls, two high-profile partners at Boies Schiller Flexner in New York who are serving as independ...
02/03/2020
Two NY Boies Schiller Partners Leave for Jenner & Block | The American Lawyer

Lee Wolosky and Dawn Smalls, two high-profile partners at Boies Schiller Flexner in New York who are serving as independent monitors of Deutsche Bank, are moving to Jenner & Block LLP as partners. The two said that Jenner was one of a few firms that can handle large commercial, regulatory and political representations while prioritizing diversity and public service: “You look at my practice and then you match it up to Jenner’s expertise and capabilities, and it’s basically a perfect fit,” Wolosky said. Added Smalls: “Lee and I are co-monitors of a tier-one global bank, and we need a team that is experienced in monitorships.” https://news.alm.com/YDyURWX

Lee Wolosky and Dawn Smalls, who are monitors to Deutsche Bank’s compliance with a major regulatory settlement, are moving to Jenner & Block. They are the latest partner exits from Boies Schiller.

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