October 24, 2007
The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law
Mark Herrman,an'83 UMLS alum and partner at Jones Day (his web profile reads "From Firestone tires to ephedra to Enron, Mark Herrmann has defended many of the leading cases of our generation") spoke to UM Law Students on 10/1/07 about his book, "The Curmudgeon's Guide To Practicing Law". The book is written in the voice of an older law firm partner who has seen it all and withstood the test of time. The "Curmudgeon" passes on advice to new associates on how to make it in the legal profession and in a law firm environment.
The first chapter of the book can be found on Jones Day's website at
Some pointers that Mr. Herrman shared from his book:
* No such thing as a first draft for summer and law firm associates. You should always try to draft your very best piece of work for a reviewing partner. Same applies to partners drafting work for their clients. Get the concenpt of "draft" as a sloppy first cut out of your head!
* Associates should always endeavor to get drafts to partners at least three days prior to the client deadline. Partners have their own internal deadlines dictated by their clients. It will win you any accolades to send a "draft" to a partner on the the client expects the final work product.
* Get involved in journals, whether it be law review or some other journal. The ability to write notes and articles beyond law school is critical to client and practice development.
You can listen to Mr. Herrman's aka/the Curmudgeon's talk on the OCS website here: http://www.law.umich.edu/currentstudents/careerservices/workshops/Pages/workshops.aspx
June 08, 2007
Cost of Living Can Make A Major Difference In Quality of Life
Students often fail to consider cost of living when comparing starting salaries at firms in various different markets. With the recent spike of starting salaries to $160,000 in New York and other cities, students may falsely conclude that they are comparing apples to apples when considering firms paying $160k in different markets. However a new article in the National Law Journal cites research which shows that a $160,000 salary in NY is equivalent to a whopping $278,373 in Chicago and $205,631 in Los Angeles. The research is conducted by the Council for Community and Economic Research, an organization that tracks and studies cost of living disparities nationwide. The article can be found at www.nlj.com. A portion of the article is reprinted below.
FROM THE UPCOMING ISSUE
Does it pay to make NY pay?
Leigh Jones/Staff reporter
June 11, 2007
It may be a stretch to argue that beginning lawyers at big law firms need more money, but those practicing in New York could make a strong case for a raise.
With more law firms now paying first-year associates in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and Boston the same amount they are doling out to their starting lawyers in New York, it seems that attorneys in the Big Apple are getting shortchanged in the deal.
Several big law firms in the last few weeks have boosted salaries for first-year associates in large cities in the West to match the $160,000 that their New York beginners receive.
A "nationalization" of their practices is the reason many firms give for paying the same amounts in different locations. But a look at the cost-of-living differentials shows that the copycat compensation is creating some significant pay disparities among associate ranks.
Law firms in California say recent raises are based on what individual markets demand and not on how far a dollar goes in a particular area.
"The marketplace was less regional than we thought," said Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe Chairman Ralph Baxter, referring to his firm's decision in May to raise associate pay in California to match its New York offices. Orrick had upped its New York pay in January to $160,000 along with several other law firms at the time.
Orrick's West Coast raises last month set off a rash of salary increases in California that is still spreading. Several firms in Chicago have raised pay to $160,000, including McDermott, Will & Emery; Kirkland & Ellis; and Sidley Austin. Firms in Boston, including Foley Hoag, Goodwin Procter and Ropes & Gray also have followed suit.
On one hand, firms say that their decisions to boost salaries in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago are necessary to stay competitive in recruiting. Firms want to avoid the embarrassment of becoming pegged as a holdout for upping salaries. On the other hand, they say that as their specific practice areas have broadened to include attorneys from both coasts and cities in between, it is inequitable to pay an attorney in Los Angeles one amount and an attorney in New York another.
"If it were cost-of-living driven, we'd pay less in Walnut Creek," said Morrison & Foerster Chairman Keith Wetmore, referring to one of its California offices.
But maybe it should. Cost-of-living differences are huge among major U.S. cities. According to the Council for Community and Economic Research (CCER), the equivalent of a $160,000 annual salary in New York is $205,631 in Los Angeles. The CCER, a 46-year-old nonprofit organization, comprising economic development organizations, government agencies, universities and others, produces the Cost of Living Index.
In Chicago, $160,000 balloons to the equivalent of $278,573, according to the CCER. In the pricey San Francisco market, the equivalent of $160,000 in New York is $190,789. In Boston, it equates to $241,397.
Housing provides some of the sharpest contrasts. An apartment costing about $2,000 per month in San Francisco runs more than $3,400 in New York. The same apartment goes for about $1,600 in Chicago.
May 29, 2007
WHAT EMPLOYERS LOOK FOR FROM SUMMER CLERKS
From St. Mary's University School of Law Job Bulletin dated 7/8/05:
WHAT EMPLOYERS LOOK FOR FROM SUMMER CLERKS
According to the Gilbert Law
Summaries Employment Guide,
The “Top Eight Hit List”: What
Employers Look for From Summer
1. Excellent “output.” in written
assignments, oral advocacy
and/or dealing with
2. Good judgment: The ability
to act and dress appropriately
and deal sensibly and
maturely with situations as
3. Enthusiasm for the projects
you do and for the employer
itself. Employers will
often take the summer
clerk who shows the most
interest in them.
4. Flexibility: The willingness
to accommodate different
work styles, personalities,
5. Appreciation of the opportunity
to work with the employer.
6. The ability to get along with
support staff and colleagues,
that is, to “fit in.”
7. An understanding of what
the organization’s goals
are, whether it’s a business
(like a law firm) or any
other kind of service provider.
8. Realistic expectations of
what work is, and what you
can expect from it.
May 09, 2007
Female lawyers in U.S. opt for women-only client outings.
5/4/07 Daily Rec. (Rochester, NY) (Pg. Unavail. Online)
2007 WLNR 8657591
Daily Record (Rochester, NY)
Copyright 2007 Dolan Media Newswires
May 4, 2007
Female lawyers in U.S. opt for women-only client outings.
Nora Lockwood Tooher
One evening last fall, 19 women lawyers from a large Chicago law firm got together with 60 women clients to browse designer shoes at the Cole Haan store on Michigan Avenue. They sipped cocktails, snacked on appetizers and swapped business cards. Many also used a special discount to buy shoes at the upscale store, which closed early to the public for the private party. "It was more successful than I think we ever would have guessed," said Leslee Cohen, a principal at Much Shelist and co-chairwoman of the firm's women's initiative. "The women were shopping and networking with each other. We made contacts for this law firm, and our guests made contacts with each other, which they found very helpful." The event was one of a growing number of women-only client outings hosted by law firms throughout the country.
Many events have a decidedly feminine flair, as women attorneys opt for glamour over golf to schmooze with their female clients. "Women want to network in a way that's comfortable to them, and women generally like elegant, special things," explained Ilene Robinson Sunshine, a partner at Sullivan & Worcester who formed the firm's women's initiative. The women-only client events can be focused on a wide range of activities. Over the past five years Sullivan & Worcester in Boston has sponsored women-only networking events that included a reading by novelist Alice Hoffman, a performance by Shakespeare & Co. and a flamenco night at the Four Seasons Hotel. Halleland Lewis in Minneapolis has hosted a wine-tasting event for women lawyers and clients for the past eight years. Last September, celebrity chef Mario Batali cooked meatballs and chatted with some of the Bryan Cave law firm's female lawyers and 30 female clients in Manhattan. The firm's St. Louis office hosts annual spa retreats for female clients, and its London office recently hosted a reception for 100 women attorneys and professionals working in aviation insurance. "You really do need to know your clients," said Betsy Bousquette, a partner in the Bryan Cave's Manhattan office and head of professional resources. "You need to have times to have fun together." Leadership their way Women-only legal marketing events have been around for years, but they have become increasingly popular in the wake of Sara Lee Corp.'s 2004 Call to Action, which advocated diversity in the legal profession. In response, law firms are not only hiring more women and minority lawyers, but increasing efforts to retain them, with mentoring, leadership and marketing programs geared specifically to women and minority attorneys. Jane Pigott, head of R3 Group, a diversity consulting firm in Chicago, said the women-only events also reflect an effort by women partners to help junior women attorneys acquire marketing skills so they can move up the law firm ranks. "As more women move into power positions, they are not only choosing to do it 'their way,' but they are encouraging and facilitating that opportunity for more junior women," she said. Ellen Ostrow, head of Lawyers Life Coach, a Silver Spring, Md. coaching firm for women lawyers, agreed: "In a law firm, to be promoted to a position of leadership, you have to be a rainmaker, so the idea is to create opportunities for women to improve their business development opportunities because they tend to be excluded from the traditional old-boy networks." Squelching criticism Concerned that its shoe-shopping evening might be perceived as frivolous, Much Shelist included a business speaker in the program. As it turned out, however, the event was so successful from a marketing perspective that organizers shouldn't have worried, Cohen said. "We had the level of attendance and positive response because of the shopping element," she said. "It's a great ice-breaker." Sunshine, of Sullivan & Worcester, said that initially some male lawyers at her firm criticized the women-only events as exclusionary. "There was some mumbling about why we were doing this, but we pointed out what has now become fairly well-accepted -- women holding positions in business where they are in a position to retain outside counsel are a group that you would market to specially," she said. The success of the firm's women-only outings, which attract about 100 women lawyers and clients each year, silenced the criticism, she noted, and many male attorneys now request invitations for their female clients. "People are thrilled to have their clients and contacts invited to the events," Sunshine said. "It's been a win-win situation for all the attorneys in the office." Charting a path Women client events also serve a broader purpose by creating a support group for women business professionals in the community, said Teresa Kimker, a shareholder at Halleland Lewis. "Typically, a lot of the clients tend to be lawyers themselves, and part of it is that may be a good pool of people who might bring business to the firm," she said "There's also that broader message that all women professionals tend to share some issues in common." Paula Pace, a partner in Bryan Cave's St. Louis office, said the firm's annual spa retreats have strengthened relationships between the women who attend. "You can't help but get to know each other better," she said. "Each year there is a deeper understanding and a deeper friendship between the lawyers and the clients." In many law firms, women-only networking events are only one component of ambitious women's initiative programs designed to help women in the firm. Akin Grump in Washington, D.C. has held women-only networking retreats for women partners and clients for 20 years. This year, it added a two-day retreat for all 200 of the firm's women lawyers. Women attorneys from the firm's 10 U.S. offices, as well as offices in Moscow and London, attended. The conference included sessions on communication and leadership skills, as well as discussions about balancing professional and personal demands. "This was different in that it wasn't so much focused on marketing and client development as on the retention and promotion of female lawyers," said Cheryl Falvey, head of the firm's litigation group in Washington. "What I thought was so special [about the retreat] was that we included every female lawyer in the firm, including the younger ones who are looking for role models, who don't really get the access to partners -- male or female -- that they want, to try and chart a path within the law firm.
February 08, 2007
Largest Law Firms Hire From Elite Schools
Largest Law Firms Hire From Elite Schools
A recent article featured in the National Law Journal on January 10, 2007 discusses which law schools the largest law firms hire from in greatest numbers. Michigan, not surprisingly, was among the top ten schools. Some of the schools that did remarkably well with large law firms such as Columbia and University of Chicago send most of their students to New York and Chicago respectively. Not so for Michigan, which has a student body that tends to spread out geographically more than Michigan's peer school, according to Susan Guindi, Assistant Dean of Career Services at Michigan. You can read the full article below.
With a few exceptions, the nation's largest law firms continued to rely on renowned private schools in the eastern half of the country to fill their first-year associate ranks in 2006.
Columbia Law School was the top pick among the country's 250 biggest law firms for hiring first-year associates last year. Some 69.6% of the law school's graduates who earned juris doctor degrees in 2006 went to work for law firms included in The National Law Journal's 2006 annual survey of the nation's 250 largest law firms. Of the 450 graduates at Columbia Law School, 313 took jobs as first-year associates at NLJ 250 firms.
Not surprisingly, the nation's largest law firms, whose sizes ranged from 3,535 attorneys down to 172 attorneys, typically turned to elite law schools east of the Mississippi River for first-year hires in 2006. The lone showing from the West Coast among the top 10 schools most often tapped by big law firms was Stanford Law School.
Columbia Law School Dean David Schizer attributed his school's strong performance in part to the large number of applications to its juris doctor program that it receives each year.
"It allows us to be incredibly selective," he said.
Rounding out the top five schools that sent the greatest percentage of juris doctor graduates to NLJ 250 firms were University of Pennsylvania Law School, at 68.2%; University of Chicago Law School, at 65.1%; Harvard Law School, at 59.2%; and Duke Law School, at 56.8%.
Yale Law School, routinely ranked No. 1 in U.S. News & World Report's annual ranking of graduate and professional schools, ranked 15th among the law schools recruited most often by the NLJ 250 law firms. Among its 203 juris doctor graduates, 46.8%-or 95 graduates-went to NLJ 250 firms. Contributing to Yale's relatively lower percentage are the large numbers of graduates who apply for judicial clerkships after earning a juris doctor degree, said Janet Conroy, director of public affairs at Yale Law School. The same held true for Stanford Law School, ranked second in this year's U.S. News & World Report but eighth among the schools from which the NLJ 250 firms recruited.
The University of Minnesota Law School, ranked 19th in 2006 by U.S. News & World Report, sent a relatively low percentage of students- 18.1%-to NLJ 250 firms. Of its 270 graduates, 49 went to those shops.
Susan Gainen, director of career and professional development at the University of Minnesota Law School, attributed that percentage to about one-quarter of the school's graduates taking judicial clerkships after graduation. She also said that many graduates stay in the Twin Cities area. "We have some excellent firms, but not many in the NLJ 250," she said.
MOST POPULAR FOR HIRING
Law schools with the highest percentage of graduates hired by NLJ 250 firms.
Law School Percentage hired Number of J.D.s in 2006 Number hired
Columbia Law School 69.6% 450 313
University of Pennsylvania 68.2% 274 187
University of Chicago 65.1% 192 125
Harvard Law School 59.2% 571 338
Duke Law School 56.8% 220 125
New York University 56.6% 465 263
Cornell University 56.0% 193 108
Stanford Law School 54.9% 175 96
University of Michigan 54.3% 431 234
University of Virginia 54.1% 375 203
Northwestern University 54.0% 265 143
Georgetown University 53.0% 626 332
University of California-Berkeley 49.0% 300 147
Vanderbilt University 48.0% 202 97
Yale Law School 46.8% 203 95
Boston College 39.1% 284 111
George Washington 38.8% 482 187
Fordham University 38.8% 477 185
University of Texas 38.6% 502 194
University of Southern California 36.3% 215 78
Source: NLJ research
Duke edged out New York University School of Law, the sixth most popular supplier of first-year associates. Some 56.6% of the 465 New York law school graduates in 2006 headed to NLJ 250 firms.
Other schools among the top 10 were Cornell Law School, at 56.0%; Stanford at 54.9%; University of Michigan Law School, at 54.3%; and University of Virginia School of Law, at 54.1%. (Of the NLJ 250 firms, 19 did not respond to the survey's question about law schools.)
In 2005, when the NLJ looked at first-year associate hiring at just the top 50 law firms, Columbia was the No. 1 school. Other law schools among the top five in 2005 most often recruited were, in descending order, Northwestern University, University of Pennsylvania, Harvard, University of Chicago and Stanford.
A look at law firm hiring patterns in 2006 shows that the largest among the NLJ 250, Baker & McKenzie, recruited the largest number of its first-year associates from Georgetown University Law Center, which sent 53.0% of its graduates to NLJ 250 firms. Baker & McKenzie has 3,535 attorneys. Georgetown was ranked 12th among the most popular schools from which law firms recruited.
The second-largest law firm, DLA Piper, with 3,333 lawyers, hired from 38 different law schools, including some second- and fourth-tier schools. The greatest number of DLA Piper hires from any school was five graduates. The University of Michigan Law School and the University of Illinois College of Law each provided five first-year associates.
DLA Piper national hiring partner Benjamin Boyd said that some of the firm's most motivated and loyal associates have come from the upper ranks of less popular schools.
"They come in and want to knock the cover off the ball and prove something," said Boyd. He added that about 80% of the firm's first-year associates graduate from schools ranked in the top 50 by U.S. News & World Report.
The school relied upon the most by Jones Day, the third-largest law firm, was the University of Texas School of Law, which provided the 2,167-attorney enterprise with nine first-year associates. Jones Day also recruited six attorneys each from the University of Michigan, Georgetown and Case Western Reserve University School of Law.
Latham & Watkins, the nation's fourth-largest law firm with 1,951 lawyers, hired most of its 245 first-year associates in its U.S. offices from Harvard, which supplied 24 recruits. The law firm also hired 22 from Northwestern, 18 from Columbia and 17 from New York University.
The fifth-largest firm, New York's Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, with 1,915 attorneys, recruited most heavily from Columbia, which provided 14 of its first-year associates. Twelve graduates from Georgetown joined the firm, as did 11 from Harvard and 11 from University of Pennsylvania.
Law firms among the 250 largest also recruited from about 50 foreign law schools in 2006. Canada was the most popular source, where some 18 first-year associates came from University of Toronto Faculty of Law and 10 from McGill University Faculty of Law.
NLJ January 2007
What schools big firms hire from
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©2006 National Law Journal Online
As a law student seeking out the perfect job, and later as an attorney looking to expand your professional and personal experiences and client base, networking is a key element for success. The OCS Library has a great book on networking "Never Eat Alone" by Keith Ferrazzi. We will summarize portions of this book in this post and subseqent posts.
Ferrazi has an M.B.A. from Harvard, and former Chief Marketing Officer for Deloitte. Ferrazzi describes his book as "The Ultimate Networker Reveals how to Build a Lifelong Community of Colleagues, Contracts, Friends, and Mentors."
•Be Generous: Key to networking is generosity. Networking should be viewed as connecting with others. The more people you help, the more help you'll have and the more hep you'll have helping others.
•Don't keep score: Networking is not quid pro quo. Real networking is based on recognition of mutual need. You give to others freely, and do not keep tally of how much equity you have in a relationship. Give freely, and more often than not, you will take freely.
•Be open to asking for help, advice, connections from others. Do not be shy. The biggest hurdle to effective networking is this feeling of not wanting to take a free bee from someone. Get over it.