At Big NY Law, as in our society at large, we are indeed expressing great confidence in our 45 to 50 year old males. On about the same day that 47 year old Barack Obama steps into the Oval Office as the 44th President of the United States and 47 year old Tim Geithner assumes the helm of the Treasury, 48 year old Brad Karp, Litigation Partner at Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison, will assume the duties of Chairman of the Firm. As such, while relinquishing none of his responsibilties as a practicing litigation partner, he will take control of a business which, according to the AmLaw Global 100 survey of the World’s Highest-Grossing Law Firms of 2008 survey, employs a total of 663 lawyers in six offices across the planet (about 500 in New York and the rest in Washington, D.C., London, Tokyo, Beijing and Hong Kong) and earns gross revenue of $651 million (Global rank 45).
Generally speaking, Big NY Law looks optimistically towards 2009 as a boon year for those firms well positioned to service the certain storm of new regulation aimed at saving the American and global economies and preventing the abuses that brought down Wall Street and continue to threaten the livelihoods of uncountable workers such as those employed by the Big Three American automakers of private-jet-to-beg-for-bailout infamy, as well as the inevitable onslaught of white collar defense work and cross-border litigation against the swindlers that invented, packaged and peddled the phony mortgages and related bogus securities that have brought investors from Tahiti to Timbuktu to their knees.
Thus, firms such as Paul Weiss that are not too battered to invest in new hires will be directing their lateral recruitment energies towards the white collar and global litigation markets in order to better able themselves to compete with the likes of the international law firm powerhouses based across the pond. To put this in perspective, London’s Clifford Chance, for example, boasts gross revenue of $2.66 billion (Global rank 1) and employs 2828 lawyers dispersed among 22 countries world-wide, namely: Belgium, Brazil, China, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Spain, Thailand, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates and last but not least the UK and the USA.
While we do not intend to compare the running of Paul Weiss with that of the United States Treasury or the Country itself, and recognize that it is hard to question the acumen of any company that produces average compensation among its 111 equity partners of $2.595 million (US rank 6), we at Hanover Legal wonder how much more successful one of New York’s finest firms would be if it hired a good full-time CEO and allowed Mr. Karp to focus exclusively on what he knows best — the practice of litigation. Nonetheless, we have no doubt that Mr. Karp will lead Paul Weiss to even greater heights in the increasingly competitive and global marketplace of BigLaw, and wish him the best as he undertakes the challenges of Chairman of the Firm.