The New York Times
DealBook|Federal Prosecutors Embrace Their Inner Entrepreneurs
By Elizabeth Olson, October 2, 2017
Call it “Small Law.” More and more federal prosecutors are eschewing a well-worn road to riches in which they decamp to “white-shoe” law firms to represent the sorts of clients — accused money launderers, swindlers, and terrorists — whom they spent years prosecuting. Instead, a small but growing number of prominent government prosecutors are taking a different route into the private sector, opening their own small aw firms that, they hope, will enable them to avoid bureaucracy and nourish an entrepreneurial spirit…
In the legal world, one appeal of boutiques is that landing jobs in the white-collar practices of top law firms is getting harder. That’s partly because of aggressive hiring in recent years and partly because corporate clients are trying to cut spending on legal fees. “A lot of firms have filled their white collar practices. Firms are spending more time to better market themselves, and there is less demand for white-collar attorneys,” said Jack Zaremski, President of Hanover Legal Personnel Services in New York. There is still a market for highly credentialed lawyers, but big law firms do not have the same need that they once did.” …
The New York Times
DealBook|Ex-Obama Officials Find There’s No Place Like Their Old Law Firms
By Elizabeth Olson, June 1, 2017
When a new administration comes to Washington, top government regulators flock to the exits to find new jobs, but they seldom have to look very far. A few parlay their experience into corporate counsel jobs or trade up to a more rarefied law firm than the one they had left earlier… “Lawyers need to look at the field,” said Jack Zaremski, president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services, a New York legal recruiter. “Those going into the private sector are able to leverage government experience for compensation which oftentimes amounts to multiples of what they were earning before they went to the private sector.” Government prosecutors, who earn around $150,000 annually, can gain coveted experience as a high-level government enforcer or regulator and later be rewarded with a Big Law partnership easily worth $1 million or more…
Yale Law has beaten Harvard for the past 23 years in US News rankings — and it’s not entirely clear why
By Abby Jackson, March 15, 2017
This makes Yale Law the reigning champion every single year US News has rated law schools based on data metrics… To be sure, Yale has many features that set it apart from other law schools — even top schools like Harvard. For one thing, Yale doesn’t have traditional grades and its classes have fewer than 20 students, both of which arguably create a more inviting learning environment… “Students get to not only have the advantage of having some of the best law professors in the world instruct them, but they also get to benefit from that sort of tremendous exposure in a more collegial and less cut-throat environment,” Jack Zaremski, president of New York attorney placement firm Hanover Legal Personnel Services, told Business Insider…
3 Red Flags With Potential Lateral Hires
By Christine Powell, August 29, 2016
For law firms, welcoming lateral partners ideally means boosts in business, stronger practice groups and increased client satisfaction. But if firms aren’t careful about who they choose to bring on, it can instead mean wasted time, effort and money, and unhappy partners and associates desperate to flee…
Jack Zaremski, founder and president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc., suggested that firms apply the same type of analysis one uses when picking a mate. “If you marry somebody that’s been divorced six times, you shouldn’t have any real reasonable expectation of staying married to that person,” Zaremski said, drawing a connection to the kind of expectations a firm should have about an applicant who has changed firms, for example, six times in the last 15 or 20 years. On the other hand, it’s much more reasonable if a candidate has previously left one firm quickly but then stayed at the next one for a decade, Zaremski said… Firms who add partners that are disliked by their colleagues may later struggle with two closely related negative repercussions: an unpleasant workplace culture and a drain on profit. “Oftentimes, there really is direct relationship between the cultural health of the firm and the financial health of the firm,” Zaremski said. “A happy place often tends to be a more productive place.”
What To Expect When Your Firm Drops The Lockstep Model
By Jeff Sistrunk, August 10, 2016
Hunton & Williams LLP recently joined many of its peers in dropping its lockstep compensation model, which determines attorney remuneration based on seniority, for all associates beyond their first year effective April 2017, in favor of a system based on individual performance and market factors.
Jack Zaremski, founder and president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc., attributed the trend away from lockstep compensation to the “increased openness” of the market for legal professionals, which he compared to the free agency system in Major League Baseball. “It is more like the Wild West; everything is fair game,” Zaremski said. “There is a recognition that productive partners are free to come and go and will do so, and firms have been modifying their compensation systems in the increasingly competitive marketplace for their services accordingly.” … Since a preset amount of compensation is no longer a given under a merit-based system, attorneys within a firm will face more pressure to build on existing business and bring in new clients, experts say. “Under a performance-based system, generally speaking the more business you’re controlling, the more you’re going to get compensated,” Zaremski said. “The less added value that can be attributed to you as a partner, the less you’re going to make.”
The New York Times
DealBook|Firms Offer Cash to Help New Lawyers Pay Student Debt
By Elizabeth Olson, July 15, 2016
Young lawyers, struggling with tens of thousands of dollars in student debt, are finding relief from a new source: their employers. Some law firms are starting to contribute cash to help their newly hired lawyers meet monthly payments on education loans that can be as large as a mortgage payment on a house. That is a step beyond what some law firms now do in helping their junior lawyers refinance with lower-interest loans.
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, a large firm founded in San Francisco that specializes in technology, energy and infrastructure law, plans to announce on Friday that it will contribute a monthly amount to its new associates to offset accumulated education debt. Other firms are also beginning to embrace the idea, seeing substantial debt as a big worry for their entry-level lawyers. People “have an emotional reaction to carrying debt, and they like it when employers show that they appreciate the financial challenges that people are facing,” said Beth Akers, an economist at the Brookings Institution’s Center on Children and Families. On a more practical level, “more firms are likely to adopt this benefit because they need to compete to attract and retain lawyers and to present themselves in ways that attract and retain clients,” said Jack Zaremski, founder and president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services…
5 Potential Pitfalls Of The Associate Pay Hike Craze
By Seuvon Lee, July 5, 2016
When Cravath Swaine & Moore LLP burst out of the gate last month by announcing it was increasing the base salary of its most junior associates to $180,000, many firms raced to match, creating a new industry standard. But experts warn that this furious sprint to the top may lead to some negative unintended consequences. Cravath hiked its salary for first-year associates by 12.5 percent, to $180,000, up from the $160,000 that had been the industry standard for nearly a decade. The firm also boosted second- through eighth-year associates’ pay by $20,000 to $35,000, setting a new salary scale in BigLaw. To date, more than 100 large firms in major markets have matched at least the first-year benchmark, according to media reports. “It’s an attempt to break away a bit from the pack,” said Jack Zaremski, president and founder of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc. “And when a firm does that, they distinguish themselves from the rest of firms, primarily for the purpose of attracting the best that’s available on the associate market.”
How To Be Indispensible Without Being A Rainmaker
By Kevin Penton, June 1, 2016
For rainmakers who consistently bring in new clients and business, it’s relatively easy to be viewed as indispensable. However, for those who do not easily make pitches in crowded boardrooms or woo new clients during their lunch breaks, achieving a pronounced standing within a firm is still possible. While being seen as a team player may be important, simply being known as a likable person is also critical toward nabbing an “indispensable” status, said Jack Zaremski, founder and president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc. Those who work at a firm — partners, associates, secretaries, paralegals — are always watching each other and may have unclear influences on matters such as who gets to work on a large project, who gets assigned to work closely with an important client, who gets promoted and who gets axed, he said. The attitude and people skills that attorneys employ may potentially make the largest difference between being viewed as indispensable and dispensable. “People want to work with people who they like,” Zaremski said. “You can be the greatest lawyer in the world, but if people don’t like you … people aren’t going to want to have you around.”
3 Things You Should Appreciate About BigLaw
By Jeff Sistrunk, April 12, 2016
Amid the crush of seemingly endless billable hours, attorneys at BigLaw firms — particularly young lawyers — may lose sight of some of the advantages that can come with working at a large firm, such as high pay, training opportunities and programs like onsite day care that improve the balance between work and personal life… “Lawyers, especially lawyers at major firms, are among the highest paid professionals in the world, and they’re likely to continue to make a good living as long as they are at a major firm,” said Jack Zaremski, founder and president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc. In major markets such as New York and Los Angeles, the average starting salary for first year associates at BigLaw firms is $160,000, according to data from the National Association for Law Placement. Many major firms have also begun hiking associates’ starting salaries at offices outside of top markets in an effort to attract and retain top talent, experts noted. BigLaw attorneys can usually expect their salaries to steadily increase as they gain seniority. …
5 Ways To Make More Money For Your Firm In 2016
By Matthew Bultman, January 25, 2016
Faced with fierce competition and evolving market pressures, law firms everywhere continue to look for ways to maximize profits. Despite the challenges, experts say there are several things attorneys can do to help boost the firm’s cash flow in the coming year, whether it’s embracing technology, prioritizing work or collecting on those unpaid invoices…
One of the best ways to maximize profits is to bring in more revenue with additional clients. That means attorneys need to be focused not just on serving their existing clients but also being entrepreneurial and working to bring new ones into the firm, according to Jack Zaremski, founder and president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc. Zaremski says he typically recommends senior associates and partners dedicate a significant percentage of their time — around one-third — to cultivating new business. That’s because there is a direct relationship between the number of connections attorneys make and the amount of new business they actually receive. “The bottom line is attorneys need to be more focused, generally speaking, on the entrepreneurial aspect of their work,” he said. “The more time and effort attorneys spend on the entrepreneurial aspect of their work, the more likely they are to increase revenue for the firm and increase their own compensation.” …
What Benefit Will Your Firm Yank Next?
By Jeff Sistrunk, December 4, 2015
With Obamacare’s controversial tax on higher-cost health care plans looming, some major law firms have begun to implement employee health benefit cuts this year. But analysts say that healthcare isn’t the only area where firms are trying to reduce costs… While many BigLaw firms routinely dole out large associate bonuses in an effort to retain top talent in a competitive market, bonuses are likely to be the first perk to bite the dust if a firm is struggling, experts say. “Generally, bonuses are discretionary, and a function of how well the firm is doing financially,” said Jack Zaremski of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc. It’s both easier and more effective for faltering firms to tighten their belts by axing bonuses than by diminishing lifestyle-oriented benefits, such as vacation time, according to analysts. The idea is “that all the attorneys at a firm are in the game together, so if the firm is less profitable, it’s fair that everyone takes a bit of a hit financially,” Zaremski said. ...
Law Firms Set To Make It Snow With Bigger Holiday Bonuses
By Lisa Ryan, November 24, 2015
BigLaw firms are gearing up to dole out hefty associate bonuses, likely surpassing last year’s impressive paydays in an attempt to retain top talent in an increasingly competitive associate market, experts say. Last year, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP set the bonus scale early in the season, ranging from $15,000 for class of 2012 associates to $100,000 for the classes of 2006 and 2007. That standard kicked off a closely watched arms race, with Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, Cravath Swaine & Moore LLP, Simpson and others rushing to up the ante for midtenure associates. Experts say last year’s bonus race was certainly fierce — but this year, it will be even more intense. The market to recruit and retain associates is more competitive than ever, and as a result, firms will be fighting tooth and nail to keep them happy. “Given that this is such a competitive environment, the firms that are the strongest — and the increasingly smaller group of leading firms — are going to continue to make every effort to put more distance between them and the rest of the pack,” said Jack Zaremski of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc. …
4 Tips To Win Favor And Avoid Annoying Your Colleagues
By Caroline Simson, October 5, 2015
For many lawyers, it’s all too easy for workplace relationships to sour under the weight of massive workloads, unforgiving deadlines and intense competition. Those relationships might not seem important in the scheme of things, but earning the favor of superiors and colleagues by avoiding office faux pas can work wonders to boost an attorney’s career. Whether it’s a newly minted lawyer fresh from graduation or an established attorney looking to make a lateral move, trying to find a new job at a law firm where they can grow and thrive professionally can be a daunting task. But attorneys who disregard whether their personalities will fit in with a particular law firm’s existing culture are making mistakes that will come back to haunt them, according to Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc. President Jack Zaremski. That culture could mean partners who expect attorneys at the firm to be on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and to turn in the highest level of work product on a regular basis. Or it could mean there’s a more collegial atmosphere, where attorneys are expected to be part of a team. Either way, going into a firm with eyes wide open is key, Zaremski said. And attorneys shouldn’t bother thinking that the rules won’t apply to them or that they’ll be the ones to change the culture. “You should know what you’re getting into in terms of the culture. If you’re not prepared to work accordingly, you’re likely to annoy some of your colleagues,” Zaremski said. “If you behave accordingly and you lean in … and integrate yourself into the culture, you’re more likely to win favor at work. But if you try to change the culture you’re really engaging in an uphill battle, to say the least. Even worse than an uphill battle, you’re shooting yourself in the foot from the get-go.” …
Once attorneys find a practice area and are deciding on a firm, it’s important for them to be honest with themselves about abilities and talent. Partners and colleagues are going to expect new arrivals to be on par with what’s expected at the the firm, so if attorneys feel they are not candidates to compete with the most competitive and intelligent professionals in the legal world, they shouldn’t seek out that kind of firm, Zaremski said. “Find a place that’s suitable to your talent, ability and goals,” he said. “If you’re an Olympic athlete, ideally you should be competing in the Olympics. But if you’re a regular sort of person, and you’re not particularly gifted athletically, it’s perfectly fine to compete at an intramural level at school. There’s nothing wrong with that.” …
5 Law Firms Making Waves In 2015
By Lisa Ryan, September 18, 2015
From imposing “big brother” programs on their attorneys to designing legal robots and getting rid of summer associate programs, a number of law firms have made revolutionary strides over the past year… Facing globalization and a shrinking legal market, BigLaw is having to take out all the stops to recruit talent. Ensuring that associates in offices across the country take in the same base salary is a great step to attract talent in smaller, yet still important, markets, experts told Law360 at the time. “There’s certainly a trend in that direction, and it makes sense that gaps will diminish as the market is becoming more global and the world is becoming smaller,” Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc. President Jack Zaremski said. “So you would expect that, consequently, pay gaps in associate compensation would also be more likely to disappear as time goes on.” …
5 Firms Hit Hard By Rainmaker Defections In 2015
By Jacob Batchelor, August 26, 2015
Losing a major rainmaker can hurt more than just a firm’s bottom line… When it comes to partner defections, K&L Gates has been on the minds of many in the legal community… Responding to a Law360 story in July about the firm’s partner losses, Chairman Peter Kalis penned a sharply worded memo to partners defending the firm’s finances and the results of its most recent major merger, a 2013 deal with Australia’s Middletons. “It’s shortsighted to make any assumptions about the health of the firm simply based on the number of partners leaving,” Jack Zaremski, founder and president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc., told Law360. “Sometimes, lateral movement could very well be a positive reflection on a firm, trimming the fat to become more efficient and more profitable.” …
5 Firms That Landed Major Rainmakers This Year
By Erin Coe, August 10, 2015
Pulling in a rainmaker is often more than a way for a law firm to boost its bottom line. The addition of superstar talent also can help a firm advance practices that are part of long-term goals and strengthen its brand. The main advantage of luring rainmakers is the big books of business they bring with them, but these lateral hires also can open avenues for the firm to draw new work and raise its stature in the legal community, according to legal experts. “What the rainmaker is really bringing on board is additional clients that can be potentially serviced across the board, not just in the area where the lateral practices,” said Jack Zaremski, founder and president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc. “The opportunities for the firm are potentially enormous, and they go well beyond the lateral’s portable book of business.” …
International Compliance Fuels Market For Lateral Tax Attys
By Eric Kroh, July 31, 2015
Increased policing by tax authorities of international transactions is driving a ravenous demand for experienced tax partners among the largest law firms as the economy improves and cross-border deals flourish, an analysis by Law360 has found. From January through the end of June this year, the top 200 law firms on the Law360 400 have brought in at least 53 tax partners and 16 tax counsel, based on a Law360 review of lateral hiring at U.S. law firms. Experts said that while demand is always strong for tax partners with extensive experience in the field, it’s especially robust when the economy is chugging along at a vigorous pace, driving the need for tax advice on deals and transactions. “To the extent that there are more deals being done, the more you’re going to need tax specialists,” said Jack Zaremski, founder and president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc. …
Revival Of Skadden Temp Atty’s OT Case To Spur Similar Suits
By Ben James, July 23, 2015
The Second Circuit’s decision reviving a putative overtime collective action brought against Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP by a temporary attorney who said the work he did was too menial to qualify as practicing law will encourage similar lawsuits, but observers cautioned that the legal battle is likely far from over… An attorney for Lola told Law360 on Thursday that he was optimistic about his client’s chances back at the district court, but some observers, including Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc. President Jack Zaremski, said they were skeptical of Lola’s prospects for winning his case. “It’s a temporary win for Lola,” Zaremski said. “I still wouldn’t bet on Lola prevailing in the long run.” But either way, the real impact of the Lola case on wage litigation and law firm practices will come if and when one side clearly prevails, according to Zaremski. “This decision is going to encourage plaintiffs in similar situations to file lawsuits,” he said of Thursday’s opinion, “and certainly some will. But if Lola ends up prevailing, then a lot more will.”
3 Mistakes Firms Make When Slashing Client Bills
By Caroline Simson, July 14, 2015
As partner billing rates steadily creep higher with each passing year, it’s hardly surprising that many cost-conscious corporations are seeking discounts from firms hungry for more business… The psychological effect of cutting fees for clients should not be taken lightly, according to Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc. president Jack Zaremski. Any negative effects that could befall a firm that’s perceived as desperate for work should be seriously considered before entering any such agreement. “Everything that a firm does when it interacts with a client communicates something,” he said. “Needless to say, if a firm decides that it wants to reduce fees, the client is apt to try to read into that more than just the mere reduction of fees… They might infer from an offer to reduce fees that a firm might be particularly hungry or needy, or not doing as well as some of the other firms. So it’s not necessarily to the firm’s advantage to reduce fees.”
How Partners Are Dragging Down Their Firms
By Aebra Coe, June 29, 2015
The partners who hinder their firms are the ones who lack the ability to view their practices as a cog in a larger law firm machine and throw a wrench in the works by being unable or unwilling to collaborate and adapt, according to experts who spoke to Law360… [F]ailing to nurture skills in areas with which a partner is not comfortable illustrates a lack of flexibility that is not compatible with the wider health of the firm, according to … Jack Zaremski of Hanover Legal. [He] said that many lawyers have trouble shoring up new business for their firms — one of many contributions expected of partners at firms without a slew of institutional clients… But it is essential that partners adapt to the needs of their firms by establishing relationships and honing their expertise. They can do this by writing scholarly articles, joining public-oriented or private networking groups, reaching out to old friends and business acquaintances, and speaking at conferences, Zaremski said. “One of the biggest challenges for these partners is learning to be an entrepreneur and accepting that being an entrepreneur is a skill that pretty much anyone can learn — getting over certain issues that they might have with themselves that preclude them from going out and being successful,” he said.
The Key To Hiring The Best Summer Associates
By Aaron Vehling, May 26, 2015
A law firm’s summer associate program can be a great way for both firms and attorneys-in-training to figure out whether they have a future together, but it’s still easy to be wrong… Here, Law360 looks at what firms can do to avoid such a misstep and find that star associate in the pack.
Once a firm locks down what it stands for and who it is, the next step is seeing who’s a match. Amid the typical process of applications and interviews, firms aren’t always well-suited to stack students with the best grades from the best schools in one pile and the rest in another, according to Jack Zaremski, founder and president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services. “Native intelligence and an immense legal talent might be reflected by excellent grades, or maybe excellent law schools, but that’s just part of the equation,” he said. “Firms don’t focus enough on specific passion that the candidate might have to work as hard as they need to work in order to excel in an extremely demanding and competitive environment.” … “I personally believe you can learn a lot about someone by how they play sports,” he said. “Their skill isn’t relevant, but their approach can be. … You see who are the team players versus the lone wolves.” Law firms can design any number of systems for defining themselves and identifying their preferred candidates, but Zaremski said one basic question a law firm recruiter should be asking students in interviews is “very simply, why they’re interested in doing this,” he said. They’re “going to need to work somewhere,” he said. “Why would they be happy working in this environment?”
5 Ways To Make The Most Of Your Firm’s Lateral Hires
By Matt Sharp, May 11, 2015
Scoring a perfect match in the ever buzzing lateral market can be tricky for firms, requiring a balance of professionalism and candidness… Conflicts can be deal breakers for both sides, but the most glaring — client conflicts — are not the only ones that can trip up a vetting process. Client issues can largely be addressed up front, but compensation, culture and even other client-related matters need to be considered to avoid sticky situations. “There shouldn’t be conflicts with regards to anything,” Jack Zaremski, founder and president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services, said. “The most basic conflict is with regard to clients. The sooner that is ascertained the better.” There should also be a meeting of minds on whether a firm and a lateral are a good fit on compensation and culture, Zaremski said. Collegiality is considered critical at many firms, he said, while others are known for sharp elbows…
Firms That Stall On Associate Pay Will Be Left In The Dust
Erin Coe, May 8, 2015
BigLaw has been holding steady on associate salaries since around 2007, but mounting pressure to lure the best and the brightest attorneys will likely spur some firms to make heftier salary offers, and those that lag behind on compensation will be left scrambling to hang on to top talent and compete for major work, experts say…
Although plenty of attorneys are shopping for jobs, BigLaw tends to be interested in employing the most talented and dedicated lawyers who will be able to help firms service their clients at the highest level and continue to grow their businesses, according to Jack Zaremski, founder and president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc. “While a tremendous glut of attorneys is on the market, there is not a tremendous supply of Michael Jordan-type talent,” he said. “We’re not going to see the base associate salary go down at major firms; we are more likely to see it go up. That’s how fierce the market is for superstar talent.” Instead of raising associate pay, some firms may choose to stay competitive by focusing on bonuses, according to Zaremski. “The system of awarding bonuses allows firms to pad associate compensation without having to commit themselves too far in advance,” he said. “That helps them hedge a little bit with what’s going on in the market. If they are having a better year, they can offer associates bigger bonuses.” Firms that aren’t able to keep pace with increases in associate base compensation or bonuses are going to have a tougher time attracting star talent and are more likely to lose attorneys to rivals that are paying associates at the top of the market or to in-house legal departments that pay less but offer more flexible work schedules, according to Zaremski… Firms that falter on the compensation front also could see their prestige in the legal market diminish and find it harder to land and retain cream-of-the-crop clients, according to Zaremski. “BigLaw is competing for the biggest and most successful financial institutions and corporations, and those clients want to feel their legal work is serviced by the top of the market,” he said. “Any signals they receive that the law firms they’ve retained aren’t keeping up with the top of the market — and one signal is the firm’s inability to compensate associates at the same level as other firms — clients are more likely to leave.” …
Skadden Continues To Bolster Resume With Nokia Rep
By Benjamin Horney, April 15, 2015
It’s only mid-April, but Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP has already advised on more than $170 billion worth of deals this year, including Nokia Oyj’s €15.6 billion ($16.6 billion) bid for Alcatel-Lucent SA on Wednesday, and experts say there are several reasons for the firm’s continued success… Jack Zaremski, founder and president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc., pointed to Skadden’s penchant for having partners who employ the same traits that help people get ahead in any walk of life. “When you combine tremendous work ethic with tremendous talent and a touch of passion, you’re much more likely to be successful, there’s no secret there,” Zaremski told Law360. “And Skadden has a long history of providing clients with attorneys that bring those character traits and more to the table.” … Zaremski explained that Skadden hasn’t always been the mammoth law firm it is today — it grew from around 20 lawyers to more than 1,500 in the space of roughly 50 years. In that time, Zaremski said, Skadden has become one of the most profitable firms in the world. “It’s a tribute to the American dream, if you ask me,” Zaremski said.
Why Your Firm Should Do Psych Profiles On New Hires
By Gavin Broady, April 13, 2015
Fewer than an estimated 5 percent of law firms use the sort of psychological and personality testing relied on by their corporate clients in the hiring process, but experts say BigLaw should rethink the benefits of pre-employment screening given how much risk firms take on when bringing in talent.
While there’s no silver bullet for finding lawyers who will bring in big business while seamlessly integrating into culture, many experts say law firms are shooting themselves in the foot by shying away from the use of testing regimes they say can offer deeper insights and greater accuracy than the traditional interview process… The test can also help cut down on the corrosive effect of law firm turnover, according to Jack Zaremski of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc. “Hiring an attorney is an expensive proposition for a law firm, and life at a major law firm for a young attorney can be difficult,” Zaremski says. “Even if an associate has an excellent academic record and expresses a passion for law, it’s really a crapshoot whether or not they’ll have the psychological wherewithal to withstand the tremendous stress that is part and parcel with the job.” …
Booming Pharma Biz Means Big Money For Some Law Firms
By Benjamin Horney, April 9, 2015
The recent revelation that Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc. plans to make a nearly $29 billion bid to buy fellow pharma player Perrigo Co. PLC only cemented the fact that the health care industry has dominated the deal-making world thus far in 2015, and Cravath Swaine & Moore LLP is one of the law firms leading the charge…
According to Jack Zaremski, founder and president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc., it comes as no surprise that Cravath’s name keeps popping up as counsel for many of these massive pharma deals. “Cravath has established a reputation as one of the elite of the elite firms in this segment of the market,” Zaremski told Law360. Zaremski explained that the firm has been able to do so in part thanks to its ability to attract the “very best and brightest and most ambitious legal talent.” He pointed to the firm’s 2013 hiring of former U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Director David Kappos, who left the agency to join Cravath as a partner in its corporate practice, bringing with him an extensive background in intellectual property law. “Kappos took their whole IP practice to another level because of the prestige and experience he was bringing to the table,” Zaremski said… However, the legal world has taken notice of the consistency with which Cravath’s name tends to pop up when major deals are taking place in the pharma industry. “There’s a certain mystique about Cravath,” Zaremski said. “They are a lot smaller than the likes of Skadden and some other firms. What’s Cravath’s secret?” … With a new gigantic pharma deal emerging on an almost daily basis, a lull could eventually be on the horizon. But Zaremski said that Cravath and other firms that are making big bucks thanks to pharma’s seemingly endless carousel of mergers and acquisitions needn’t worry. “Very simply, pharma is just a tremendous industry,” he told Law360. “It’s an industry where there’s a lot of legal work in all areas.”
Dechert Raises Pay As BigLaw Fights For Talent
By Gavin Broady, April 7, 2015
Dechert LLP announced this week it will boost associate base salary in two regional Pennsylvania offices to match pay levels in its larger urban hubs, as globalization and a shrinking legal market pressure BigLaw firms to compete for top talent beyond the traditional metropolitan hot spots, according to industry experts. The raise will level up earnings for Dechert associates in Philadelphia and Princeton to match what their colleagues are taking home in cities like New York, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., a firm spokesperson told Law360 on Tuesday, and comes as a reinvigorated legal market has made firms more willing to spend big bucks on attracting and retaining top legal talent.
While traditional legal hubs continue to set the trend for compensation, firms face mounting pressure to guard against talent drain in their regional offices as an increasingly interconnected world empowers smaller-market practitioners to work with the same clients — and at comparable rates — as their big-city brethren, experts say. “There’s certainly a trend in that direction, and it makes sense that gaps will diminish as the market is becoming more global and the world is becoming smaller,” said Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc. President Jack Zaremski. “So you would expect that, consequently, pay gaps in associate compensation would also be more likely to disappear as time goes on.” … While Dechert’s recent raises may be indicative of a larger trend in the industry, experts say it would be hasty to assume anxiety over talent retention will cause the current baseline — which clocks in at around $160,000, according to the latest report from the National Association for Law Placement — to explode under the sort of frenzied arms race BigLaw witnessed in associate bonus pay this year. “Firms right now feel that the base is set at $160,000, and seem to think that’s a reasonable baseline,” Zaremski said. “There’s just been too much instability in the market over the last 10 years since the base reached that level, and even though we’re at a relatively optimistic and confident point in the market, major firms are still collapsing at a rate of around one firm every year and a half.” “There’s instability,” he added. “And firms have learned their lesson that the irrational exuberance that prompted some of the wild past excesses in compensation is just that: irrational.”
Lateral Mania Fuels Growth For Opportunistic Firms
By Lisa Ryan, March 23, 2015
Law firms experienced minor attorney headcount growth in 2014, but growth-hungry, opportunistic firms saw their number of U.S. attorneys increase by more than 10 percent thanks to strategic attorney acquisitions and office expansions, according to the Law360 400.
Squire Sander’s epic acquisition of Patton Boggs LLP helped the firm grow by 228 attorneys in 2014, cementing it as the Law360 400 firm with the largest U.S.-based attorney growth last year…. Jack Zaremski, president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc., said Squire Sanders’ acquisition actually falls in line with a greater trend of law firms seeking consolidation and lateral hiring opportunities in an attempt to thrive and function more efficiently in the increasingly competitive legal industry. “If you go back to the year 2000, one firm out of the top 100 in terms of gross revenue has collapsed every year and a half. What’s going on is really more contraction than growth,” Zaremski said. Contraction cuts into jobs at certain firms, which creates attorney refugees that need to find other firms that are still afloat so that they can continue practicing. That happened with the Bingham McCutchen LLP attorneys that fled the now-defunct firm and joined the ranks of Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP, according to Zaremski…
7 Ways Law Firms Can Boost Cash In 2015
By Eric Kroh, March 6, 2015
Although many attorneys may not want to think about it, law firms are businesses, and businesses can’t survive without cash. Even with extensive training, many firm leaders can be clueless when it comes to dealing with the particular challenges of managing cash flow. Here are seven things that firms can do to boost their cash reserves this year.
Think Like an Athlete
An athlete understands that to you have to constantly train to keep your body in shape and stay strong in order to compete; the same principles apply to businesses, according to Jack Zaremski, president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc. Like athletes, firms that trim fat and stay lean are more efficient and better able to perform, Zaremski said. In the context of law firms, fat is money being spent where it doesn’t need to be, whether that applies to personnel, real estate or other areas, he said. “If you stop training, you’re going to be out of shape eventually,” Zaremski said. “Firms have to constantly be very honed in on their financial health and well being. To the extent that they’re not honed in on it, they’re going to be out of shape, and to the extent they’re out of shape, they’re not going to be able to compete eventually.”
Find Cheaper Real Estate
There are two basic ways that law firms can increase spendable cash: increase revenues or decrease costs, Zaremski said. In terms of most firms’ operating costs, real estate expenditures are probably second only to the cost of retaining associates and compensating employees, he said. Firms need to be aggressive about finding better real estate deals, Zaremski said. Right now, for example, firms in Midtown Manhattan might want to look at downtown locations near the World Trade Center, where real estate is more affordable, he said. If firms are thinking about opening new facilities, they should consider doing it in areas where real estate is less expensive, Zaremski said. “Clearly real estate is cheaper in certain parts of the country than it is in others,” he said. “It might be cheaper to open up a document management facility or an accounting facility in Louisville, Kentucky, than keep it in Manhattan.” …
There are many things that law firms do that employees aren’t particularly good at, such as document review, billing and accounting, Zaremski said. Firms should take a hard look at functions they’re currently handling in-house to see if they can outsource to others who can do the work better and more efficiently, he said. “Lawyers are experts at practicing law, they’re not really experts in document management,” Zaremski said…
Will You Get A Midyear Bonus?
By Gavin Broady, March 4, 2015
In recent years BigLaw has scaled back its midyear bonus offerings, but associates hope that 2014’s reinvigorated firm financial results and an industrywide scramble to retain elite young talent could lead to a resurgence in spring and summer payouts… Whatever the younger generation may crave, the purse strings are ultimately controlled by firm leaders who answer first and foremost to the specific needs of their business — meaning it’s anybody’s guess as to whether BigLaw associates can expect big checks this spring, according to Jack Zaremski of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc. “Every firm acts individually and makes their own decisions based on this very competitive marketplace,” Zaremski said. “If a firm feels like it needs to award spring bonuses in order to retain their associates or attract associates on the lateral market, they’ll do it. But it’s really a firm-by-firm decision.” Nor is it a given that firms are readying substantial midcalendar checks simply because the year-end bonus payments at many firms were larger than expected, he said. “Irrespective of what firms did at the end of the year with respect to bonuses, the game starts anew in the spring,” Zaremski explained. “If a firm feels like its associates are content enough with their end-of-year bonuses that they won’t consider jumping ship without a midyear bonus, they’re less likely to award them. But the bottom line is that it’s about keeping productive and valuable associates happy in an extremely competitive marketplace. ”Of course, while associates may feel perfectly happy at the moment after pocketing those hefty holiday bonuses, that happiness could evaporate in a hurry if they start seeing associates at firms across the town boasting about fat midyear payouts. An early, generous midyear bonus could tip the proverbial snowball down the hill, creating a fear among firm leaders that opting out could trigger dissent among the ranks and leave them vulnerable to mass defections.
The industry saw that snowball effect firsthand beginning last November, as firm after firm played follow-the-leader, first with Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP and then with Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, which set a standard that pushed the market rate to nearly double the benchmark established last year. “Firms know what their competitors are doing,” Zaremski said. “And if one firm decides that they want to ante up and award midyear bonuses, other firms are in all likelihood going to consider doing the same in order to compete.”
Assault Suit Hurt Faruqi Even Before Verdict, Attys Say
By Ben James, February 5, 2015
Faruqi & Faruqi LLP and a partner accused of sexually assaulting a former associate obtained a partial victory Thursday on her hostile work environment claims and were held liable for just a fraction of the damages she sought, but observers say the lawsuit and closely watched trial had already damaged the firm’s reputation before the jury verdict ever came down. The Faruqi firm and partner Juan Monteverde were found liable on ex-associate Alexandra Marchuk’s New York City Human Rights Law hostile work environment claims but not on claims under federal and New York state law… Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc. founder and president Jack Zaremski said a lot of damage had been done by the suit, and even a clean-sweep win for the defendants wouldn’t have entirely erased it. But the ultimate impact on the firm’s bottom line from the Marchuk lawsuit and Thursday’s verdict remains an open question. Zaremski was skeptical that the lawsuit would deter plaintiffs from being represented by Faruqi & Faruqi and noted that there is a glut of attorneys looking for work…
The Hiring Coups That Reshaped BigLaw In 2014
By Lance Duroni, December 19, 2014
BigLaw’s biggest hirings this year included a Winston & Strawn LLP mainstay skipping out to a bitter rival, a legendary general counsel latching onto Ballard Spahr LLP and the judge who oversaw an era-defining bankruptcy battle returning to the private sector… Two months before its shotgun marriage with Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP, Bingham McCutchen LLP suffered one of the single biggest blows in its monthslong partner exodus. Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP revealed on Sept. 17 that it had hired away 22 partners from Bingham’s London, Frankfurt and Hong Kong offices, including the ailing firm’s high-profile London financial restructuring group led by James Roome, Barry Russell and James Terry… The blow may well have been one of the “final straws” that broke Bingham’s back, according to Jack Zaremski, president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc. The additions will buoy Akin Gump’s stature in Europe and Asia, he said. “When you get 22 lawyers, that will inevitably have tremendous impact,” Zaremski said. “Just by the sheer numbers of the pickup, it will make a real difference in terms of the ability of Akin Gump’s offices in those cities to serve their clients in a more significant way.” …
Mayer Brown LLP bolstered its growing intellectual property practice in July with the arrival of Colleen Tracy, the former managing partner at Fitzpatrick Cella Harper & Scinto, a surprise move that apparently caught Tracy’s former firm off guard. Tracy, who became Fitzpatrick Cella’s first female managing partner in 2009, abruptly resigned her post atop the 177-lawyer boutique in late June without explanation and resurfaced days later at Mayer Brown’s New York office. The move came in the wake of staff and associate layoffs that Fitzpatrick Cella announced in April. The firm suffered an 8.8 percent drop in gross revenue in 2013, according to data compiled by the American Lawyer, the biggest year-to-year drop among the second hundred U.S. firms by size. Against this bleak backdrop, Tracy’s departure was likely a bigger loss for Fitzpatrick Cella than it was a gain for Mayer Brown, Zaremski said. “They’re not only losing a great manager but a productive business generator for the firm,” he said. “And Fitzpatrick Cella is an IP boutique, so they’re sort of in tenuous waters to begin with because they’re not diversified like general practice firms.”
Law360 Reveals 10 Largest IP Practice Groups
By Ryan Davis, November 23, 2014
Intellectual property boutiques took three of the top four spots on the IP Law360 100, our ranking of the 100 firms with the most intellectual property partners globally, while the rest of the top 10 includes a host of full-service firms with a global reach. … For most clients, the number of IP partners a firm has is less important than whether it has a reputation for hiring top-flight attorneys, said Jack Zaremski, president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc. Competition is fierce because companies know that if one firm does not have attorneys who are experts in exactly the IP issue they are facing, another firm will, he said. “It’s critical for firms to focus on maintaining a competitive edge and enhancing their IP practice by making sure they have attorneys on board with the education and experience needed to be able to service increasingly sophisticated companies,” he said.
Simpson Thacher Sets High BigLaw Bar In Early Bonus News
By Andrew Strickler, November 21, 2014
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP threw down the bonus gauntlet Friday with significantly bigger payouts than prior years, but don’t expect everyone in BigLaw to rush to match the firm and hand their associates checks up to $100,000, experts said… Elite firms like Simpson continue to compete for the same small pool of top prospects, said Jack Zaremski, president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc., and they did so this year amid more poaching of top associates. “Firms are having to do things they didn’t have to do a few years ago to keep the best associates and recruit, and that’s true even among the elite of the elite,” he said. “There are significantly more moves at the associate level, and successful firms have the money to pay them.”
What You Can Expect From Your Year-End Bonus
By Michael Lipkin, October 27, 2014
While BigLaw profits are slowly climbing in 2014, most associates should expect their year-end bonuses to stay flat, experts say, as lateral hiring remains sluggish and top firms aren’t forced to pull out the stops to retain talent. Legal industry consultants say the market is the healthiest it’s been since the financial crisis but there is still an overabundance of law school graduates, making it difficult for associates to squeeze extraordinary bonuses from their firms. “It’s still very much a buyer’s market when it comes to associates,” said Jack Zaremski, president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc. “There’s a glut of attorneys on the market and firms are well aware of that.”
How To Kick Your Addiction To Laterals And Grow From Within
By Alex Lawson, October 16, 2014
Law firms looking to escape the headaches and complications accompanying lateral hires may consider shifting to a structure focused on developing in-house partners, a move experts say would require firms to bolster their efforts to recruit, train and shepherd young lawyers through the ranks… If a firm is intent on hiring newly minted law school graduates with the intention of eventually teeing them up for partner positions, it must be certain that it has brought aboard the best and brightest legal minds it can. The best path to that certainty is for the firm’s recruiters to consider not only whether a potential hire has the legal acumen to perform their tasks but also whether that person has a palpable drive to succeed in the trade, according to Jack Zaremski, founder of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc. “A lot of times people don’t take the whole recruiting process seriously enough and they will just send some associate to meet a person and if they like them, they hire them. But it’s a lot more than just liking somebody,” Zaremski told Law360. “You need to hire people who have a genuine passion for what they are doing.”
Skadden Case Leaves Temp Atty OT Claims Down, But Not Out
By Ben James, September 19, 2014
The recent dismissal of a contract attorney’s proposed collective action against Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP will make the uphill battle for temporary attorneys who allege they’re owed overtime for document review work even steeper, but the lack of precedent on the fledgling argument that those attorneys deserve overtime pay means the question isn’t settled, lawyers say. In a 15-page opinion and order, U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan rejected plaintiff David Lola’s argument that the document review work he spent 15 months doing on Skadden’s behalf in North Carolina was so routine and mechanical that it didn’t qualify as the practice of law and thus was not overtime-exempt, handing law firms a well-reasoned ruling they can use to combat such claims in the future… “At the very least, plaintiffs attorneys are going to be checking the relevant state laws,” according to Jack Zaremski, founder of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc. But he also noted that the decision in Lola’s case gave law firms a new piece of ammunition. “It’s absolutely an arrow in the defendants’ quiver, even though the opinion was clearly limited to the application of North Carolina opinions and rules,” Zaremski said.
5 Ways To Handle An Obnoxious Partner
By Erin Coe, September 19, 2014
They yell at associates, even in front of clients. They always wait until the last minute to hand out assignments. They take credit for others’ work. And they are partners at your firm. In an increasingly cutthroat legal market, firms often place too much emphasis during the hiring process on a potential partner’s portable book of business and overlook the attorney’s personality and whether he or she will be a good fit with the firm’s culture, according to Jack Zaremski, founder and president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc. “There are partners who are just notorious on the market for being yellers or having abusive personalities in a whole host of ways,” he said. “All firms have to recognize that partners who are abusive might have a toxic effect on the firm as a whole. To the extent they allow people with personality issues in positions of leadership, it’s potentially a recipe for problems.”
5 Mistakes Law Firms Make With Temp Lawyers
By Erin Coe, August 22, 2014
Firms are increasingly relying on temporary attorneys to scale up legal teams on large matters while controlling costs for clients, but experts say they could take more initiative in offering these lawyers as a staffing option when pitching for business and could improve how they integrate them into the legal team… The test of a firm’s character is not how it treats its managing team and top rainmakers, but how it treats its lower-ranking employees and its temp lawyers, according to Jack Zaremski, founder and president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc. He said contract attorneys handling document review projects are doing “mind-numbing, bottom-of-the-barrel work” while sometimes working in “sweatshop-like conditions,” with dozens of temps to a room and barely minimum-wage pay. Zaremski, who began his career in legal placement staffing contract attorneys, is now focused on representing attorneys seeking permanent placement, with the occasional contract placement. “Contract attorneys are a manifestation of one of the major problems in the legal market, which is the glut of attorneys,” he said. “In the business of major corporate law firms, document review projects do need to get done. But firms need to balance operating efficiently and reducing costs where they can with treating the people they are employing decently.” He says firms may want to consider paying document reviewers better wages and making their working conditions more attractive.
How Elitism Can Hurt Your Law Firm
By Ben James, August 21, 2014
Whether it’s lavish parties, opulent office space or insisting that new hires have degrees from only the most prestigious law schools, behavior that makes law firms appear to be embracing elitism can potentially drive away clients and talented lawyers, experts say… “It’s an increasingly competitive business environment for everybody. Clients are evaluating the wide range of choices that they have in terms of legal services providers, and law firms in particular, by many things. One of those is how the client feels that money is being utilized,” said Jack Zaremski, founder and president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc. “If a client comes into a law firm and sees a place that’s overly ostentatious, that could just be enough to cause a deal to fall through.” …
In addition to spurring concerns about whether a firm is smart about how it uses its resources, an excess of luxury could conjure up specters of scandals past, like the one surrounding Harvard Law School-educated attorney-turned-imprisoned-fraudster Marc Dreier. The founder of the now-defunct Park Avenue firm Dreier LLP lived a lavish lifestyle before the massive fraud scheme that earned him his current title — Prisoner Number 70595-054 at a federal correctional institution in Minnesota — was uncovered. “That’s the exception rather than the rule, but it happens often enough that it’s naive to assume that law firms are immune from that sort of behavior. You have plenty of sociopaths that are in positions of leadership at law firms,” Zaremski said… Zaremski warns that putting too much emphasis on applicants’ academic pedigrees can lead a firm to hire attorneys who may be intellectually brilliant but aren’t genuinely enthusiastic about the day-to-day rigors of a corporate law firm environment. “There are a fair number of partners at major law firms who fall into that category, who are some of the smartest people on the planet, just in terms of their raw intellectual ability, but they have no passion for what they’re doing,” he said. “That’s one of the reasons why you have a lot of unhappy major-law-firm lawyers.” Unhappy attorneys can spawn a “toxic” environment that can muffle creativity and spur turnover, Zaremski says. A firm with a roster of dissatisfied lawyers can still do well financially, but it runs the risk of what Zaremski calls cultural dysfunction, a phenomenon he says isn’t particularly rare. Comparing law firms to families, he says while all have some degree of dysfunction, some have more than their share. “There are a lot of firms out there with significantly unhealthy levels of dysfunction and toxicity, and a lot of that stems from unhappy lawyers toiling away at those firms,” he said. According to Zaremski, the most important element to look for when evaluating whether a recent law school grad would make a good hire is hunger and an ambition to excel in the unique environment of a law firm. “They have to have the specific passion to be successful in a major corporate law firm environment,” he said. “If firms don’t make that a priority, as opposed to pedigree, in deciding who is an appropriate candidate, it’s just a recipe for cultural disaster.”
How To Fight Back After A Law Firm Raid
By Dan Packel, July 29, 2014
It can be alarming when rival firms swoop in to poach a slate of partners, but legal industry experts say firm management can prevent an exodus from snowballing by meeting the departures with forthright leadership and open communication… “It’s always important to be efficient, healthy and streamlined, to weed out unproductive attorneys and practices,” said Jack Zaremski, founder and president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc. “The problem with taking advantage of bleeding … by eliminating and streamlining is, at the very least, it’s going to look disingenuous.” … Even if a firm’s structure is solid, when partners see their colleagues leaving in numbers that go beyond the usual rate of attrition, they become alarmed. “It creates a certain sense of panic or urgency among other partners to at least explore other opportunities,” Zaremski said. This is the time for damage control… Whether departures reflect deeper problems at the firm or not, it’s important that leaders present a clear picture of what’s going on and what it means for the firm. Zaremski warns against efforts to downplay the impact of departures, which he says partners will see right through. “Partners are not stupid. These are extremely intelligent and sophisticated people,” Zaremski said. He points to the dissolutions of Howrey LLP and Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP as examples of failed efforts to conceal internal troubles. “You saw statements not only minimizing the issue but dismissing the issue as a ‘planned strategy on behalf of the firm,’ ‘looking to make the partnership more efficient’ or ‘weeding out unproductive partners or practices,’” he said…
Mass departures to a rival also often provoke concerns that even if a firm’s financial situation is stable, its culture may be at fault… “Assemble the partnership and figure out why they are leaving,” Zaremski recommended…
Associates May File OT Suits If Temp Lawyers’ Cases Prevail
By Ben James, July 22, 2014
Contract lawyers pursuing wage-and-hour suits claiming the temporary document review work they did for white-shoe firms was too “routine” to qualify as overtime-exempt face an uphill battle, but experts say their bellwether cases could open up law firms to overtime claims from a wider pool of attorneys, such as associates. A ruling in favor of attorneys who sued Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP and Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP, as well as legal staffing companies, for denying them overtime pay would give low-level attorneys precedent to fuel analogous arguments that their duties were too menial to fall outside the coverage of overtime pay requirements.
While attorneys are skeptical that the plaintiffs will succeed in the Skadden Arps or Quinn Emanuel cases, they say a ruling that the plaintiffs’ document review duties weren’t within the Fair Labor Standards Act’s professional exemption could have enormous implications in the legal industry and possibly beyond… The key question is whether “mind-numbing, bottom-of-the-barrel type work” qualifies as attorney work that allows firms to avail themselves of the professional exemption, said Jack Zaremski, president and founder of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc. … Zaremski said he felt the plaintiffs’ chances of winning the Skadden and Quinn Emanuel suits were extremely slim, though not outside the realm of possibility. But if it happens, it will invite claims from lawyers and nonlawyers. “It would certainly open … at a minimum, the door for potential lawsuits to attorneys who are actually on the payroll at firms,” Zaremski said. “It would also open the door to nonattorneys who also fall under the umbrella of the exemption.” …
Midyear Bonus Bonanza Unlikely In 2014
By Ama Sarfo, June 02, 2014
As the BigLaw market continues to rebound, only a handful of top firms are poised to issue midyear bonuses in 2014, experts say, meaning associates looking for a return to the heydays of industry-wide bonuses should instead count their blessings if they receive one… Even though the 2008 financial crisis is roughly six years in the past, and though firms are slowly shoring up their financials, there’s a sense that legal talent isn’t at the same premium it commanded pre-crisis, which could affect the midyear bonus season, according to Jack Zaremski, president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc. Since 2000, AmLaw100 firms like Dewey & LeBeouf LLP, Howrey LLP and Heller Ehrman LLP have been collapsing at a rate of one every 18 months, Zaremski says, while law schools continue to produce a large volume of graduates and state bars continue to admit a steady stream of attorneys. All of this means there’s a great amount of talent on the market for a limited number of jobs, and firms don’t feel like they need to compete as much as they used to. “It’s a different world from the world pre-financial crisis, where you took spring bonuses almost for granted,“ Zaremski said. “Now, it depends on where you are and how optimistic the managing partners are.” …
Leaner Support Staff the New Normal for BigLaw
By Erin Coe, May 13, 2014
Dozens of major law firms have shrunk their support staff to save on costs in the last year, and experts say they expect firms to keep decreasing staff headcount over the long term by hiring more versatile workers who can take on multiple roles and by relying on temporary workers for skilled tasks such as tech support and project management.
“There is still a long way to go for firms as far as trimming the fat, operating more efficiently and reducing costs, and I think what we’ve been seeing is just the beginning,” said Jack Zaremski, founder and president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services, Inc. “The trend of cutting staff is going to continue as long as the market continues to get increasingly competitive, and I don’t see that changing in the foreseeable future.”… Some firms are attempting to rein in costs by moving their back-office support to lower-cost cities, and other firms are likely to follow suit, according to Zaremski. … “We are going to continue to see firms doing whatever they need to do to cut the excess and reduce costs where they can,” Zaremski said. “If that means cutting staff, that’s what they are going to be doing. If that means creating these off-premise facilities in more remote parts of the country where people can do work at lower rates, so firms can save money, we will see more of that, too.”
DLA Piper Plans Top Leadership Changes
By Kat Greene, February 14, 2014
DLA Piper said Tuesday that it will promote to top global leadership positions two co-chairs of its Americas branch and a co-managing director of its international branch, in a shake-up that sends three of the firm’s top four leaders into advisory roles.
The management changes may reflect growing pains at a firm that became very large at a time when such could prove to be more of a liability, said Jack Zaremski, founder and president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services, Inc. “It’s a firm that has grown very rapidly. It’s gotten to the point where its stature is quite monolithic,” Zaremski told Law360 on Tuesday. “It’s very hard to change the direction of a Queen Elizabeth.”
Zaremski pointed out that when DLA Piper first began merging and acquiring other firms to become the world’s largest law firm, the economy and legal market was in a far different place than it is now. He noted that several of DLA Piper’s peers didn’t make it through the tougher economic realities post-Great Recession, pointing to the failure of Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP as an example of what can happen when a firm gets too big for its own market. “The race to become as big as possible has been tempered by a sobering economic reality,” Zaremski said. “To maintain a firm’s profitability, especially a firm that is that big, when the market is contracting, is an enormous challenge to the say the least.” Zaremski said the management shuffle doesn’t reflect positively on the firm’s current state. “What’s clear from this change in management is that the people at DLA thought there was a need for a change in direction,” Zaremski said. “Whether that will put DLA on a better course and make it better able to compete in this increasingly competitive market remains to be seen.
Bingham’s Staff Shake-Up Part of BigLaw’s Cost-Cutting Push
By Erin Coe, January 28, 2014
Bingham McCutcheon LLP’s announcement last week of plans to reorganize its secretarial workforce and shift some of its support staffers to a Kentucky service center signals that BigLaw firms are moving to slash operating costs, a trend that mid-sized firms are expected to join, according to legal experts. In an effort to work more efficiently and strengthen the firm, Bingham said Friday it had initiated a major staff reorganization that included 31 layoffs from various administrative departments, a reassignment of partner-dedicated secretaries to pools, and the transition of 22 revenue management positions, including client intake and billing and collections, to a firm service center in Lexington, Ky.
Bingham’s staff reorganization is a smart business move that will help it operate in a leaner, healthier and more efficient manner, according to Jack Zaremski, founder of Hanover Legal Personnel Services, Inc. “It’s abundantly clear to anyone involved in the legal market that there has been a significant amount of mismanagement over the last decade, and a lot of excess and fat needs to be trimmed,” he said. “The bottom line is that these are things firms need to be doing in order to stay as competitive as possible in an increasingly competitive and challenging economic environment. … It’s an initiative that if you do right, it’s to your benefit as a business,” Zaremski said. “If you can cut costs without decreasing the quality of your services, that’s a no-brainer.”
While Bingham is not the first BigLaw firm to downsize, reorganize and transfer its staff, its move shows that top-200 firms — and top-100 firms in particular — are going to continue to make these cost-cutting efforts, according to Zaremski. “Big firms have a lot more of their work serviced, and it makes more sense to handle their servicing work in an economical way so that all that money is going to come back in savings to the firm,” he said. “It’s a lot of trouble and headaches to make changes. So, for the changes to pay off for the firm, they have to represent significant savings.”
By Jess Davis, November 15, 2013
Law firms that lose a star attorney in a lateral move have to walk a difficult tightrope to save face with clients and maintain firm morale while focusing on moving forward after the departure, but can use the experience as a catalyst to improve firm culture and avoid losing others, legal industry experts say.
“The market is becoming more contracted and more competitive, so when a firm loses a partner with a book of business, the loss is generally felt in a much more significant way than it was pre-financial crisis,” said Jack Zaremski, founder and president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc. “What is constructive or positive for firms that have lost a partner is not to engage in some desperate attempt to claw for the business that’s already lost, but rather to use that energy to make their firm a healthier place, where partners won’t be so eager to leave in the first place.” … Zaremski said that when a partner leaves, he doesn’t advocate that firms reach out to clients, particularly those more loyal to the partner than the firm, saying it’s inevitable the partner will take along his or her portable book of business. “The way to address the issue is not so much as a desperate clawing for clients that don’t really belong to the firm in the first place, but rather what the firm can do to retain partners and have fewer partners leave to other firms in the first place,” he said...
Though some partner defections are unavoidable — if the attorney is aiming for a broader national platform or is faced with client conflicts — often the reason for the move is about chemistry and culture within the firm, and whether a partner perceives the firm as an environment where he can flourish and grow his practice. So when a partner laterals away from the firm, that should be a signal to management to stop and reassess whether it needs to make changes to prevent other partners from jumping ship, Zaremski said.
Legal services jobs for 2013 reach September high
By Casey Sullivan, October 24, 2013
For the third consecutive month, the U.S. legal services sector has added jobs, according to preliminary figures reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The bureau reported 1,130,300 jobs in the sector in September, 1,300 more than in May, the previous monthly high for the year. The legal industry has seen steady growth since mid-year, according to the figures. In June, 1,124,700 people were employed in the legal industry, and the increase in the intervening months has been between 1,100 and 3,100. One reason for the ongoing increase, according to legal industry reports and experts, could be the growth in legal outsourcing companies known as LPOs, which staff cheap workers to perform mundane tasks like document review and e-discovery.…
“There are more jobs being added at the lower levels and more jobs being eliminated at the levels where attorneys are traditionally compensated higher,” said Jack Zaremski, a New York legal recruiter who places lawyers with the country’s top 200 law firms. The government figures include paralegals, associates and secretaries, and other payroll workers, but may not reflect equity law firm partners if they are not on the payroll, according to a bureau spokesman. Legal experts have noted that the figures provide only a limited window into the state of the legal industry.
Why Super Elite Yale Law School Isn’t The Best For Career Prospects
By Erin Fuchs, Oct. 11, 2013
Yale Law School is consistently ranked the top law school in America by U.S. News & World Report, but it turns out other schools may offer better job prospects. We recently released our own ranking of law schools that best serve graduates’ careers, and Harvard came out on top. Princeton Review also released a law school ranking recently, which found Columbia Law offers the best job prospects.
Regardless of the rankings, any graduate of Yale, Columbia, or Harvard should feel “very fortunate” compared to grads of other law schools, legal recruiter Jack Zaremski told us in an email message. “I don’t think there is any significant difference between Harvard, Yale, and Columbia when it comes to placing their respective law students,” Zaremski said. “Comparing these three powerhouses on this issue is like taking Porche, Mercedes, and BMW and asking which company produces a decent car.”
‘Of Counsel’ Loses Stigma As BigLaw Embraces Flexibility
By Andrew Strickler, August 20, 2013
The ‘of counsel’ title is shedding some of its second-tier status within BigLaw as more lateral partners trying to jump-start careers and firm leaders looking to lure profitable, nonpartner lawyers embrace the designation, experts told Law360. While the counsel ranks have traditionally been filled by late-career lawyers, those with niche expertise, or lawyers with political or government contacts, the definition and prestige of the counsel title is evolving in the post-recession era, and is more often viewed as an attractive goal for laterals.
“Given the changing landscape we have been experiencing, firms are recognizing more and more the advantages of being flexible with respect to talent appearing on the market,” said Jack Zaremski of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc. For lawyers looking to make a move in a recently active counsel market, “it’s less of a stigma.” …
One of the counsel trend’s driving factors, Zaremski said, is a widening awareness in the lateral market that a successful legal career in the post-recession era requires flexibility, including with titles. With more experienced lawyers on the job market or concerned about their firm’s finances, the offer of a counsel role at a competing firm is a more attractive opportunity, even with a historically reduced title. In some cases partners with movable business at lower-tier firms are also more likely to successfully jump to a more profitable firm as counsel, and keep their compensation level at or even above where they were, making the title downgrade easier to swallow. Meanwhile, as more and more lawyers pursue nontraditional career tracks, the counsel rank is gaining respect in the industry, he said. “There was a time when lawyers wouldn’t give up a partner title for a counsel position, but attorneys are recognizing that it can behoove them to take the counsel title,” he said. “The whole idea of prestige is changing, and what makes a good firm isn’t ‘bigger is better,’ but a firm that’s well-managed, financially viable and able to incorporate talent.”
Temp Attys In Greater Demand At Law Firms, Legal Depts.
By Erin Coe, August 19, 2013
Still reeling from the effects of the 2008 recession, many law firms and in-house counsel are using more temporary attorneys, and firms are increasingly relying on non-partnership-track lawyers to save on costs and work more efficiently, experts say.
The collapse of major law firms like Howrey LLP and Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP reinforces that firms remain in an increasingly competitive environment. Firms that are able to make themselves more flexible, from accommodating clients with alternative fee arrangements to using nontraditional attorney roles, are going to run more efficiently and be in a better position to compete in the legal market, according to Jack Zaremski, founder of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc. “The more ways firms find to make use of attorneys in an optimal way and find different paths for attorneys to follow, which might be different from the structures they have fit into traditionally, the more likely they will be able to continue to thrive,” he said.
Skadden Denies OT Pay To Temp Lawyers, Atty’s Suit Says
By Ben James, July 19, 2013
An attorney slapped Skadden Arps Meagher Slate & Flom LLP and a staffing company with a putative collective action in New York Thursday, claiming they willfully violated the Fair Labor Standards Act by denying lawyers hired on a temporary basis overtime pay for simple document review work…
However, Jack Zaremski, president and founder of Hanover Legal Personnel Services, Inc., called such lawsuits ridiculous and added that attorneys who sign on for short-term document review work know what they’re getting into. If the Quinn Emanuel and Skadden lawsuits bear fruit for the plaintiffs, that will encourage more cases that make the same claims, but if the firms fend the suits off without forking over settlements, similar cases in the future will be less likely, he said. “I’m very much hoping that Skadden and Quinn Emanuel will just put some of their first year associates on these cases and let them defend these cases as training, as opposed to caving and settling,” Zaremski said. “They are annoying nuisance suits which are helping to give plaintiff’s lawyers, and also temporary attorneys, a bad name.”
Lawyers At Risk For Layoffs As Firms Embrace Technology
By Erin Coe, June 25, 2013
Jones Day’s move last week to lay off 65 information technology workers amid plans to implement a new technology strategy shows that law firms are going to continue to use technological tools to cut costs, leaving secretaries, marketing professionals and even lawyers at risk of getting the ax… With outside pressure from clients to reduce fees for legal services and internal pressure from management to stay profitable, firms will remain driven to rely on evolving technology to become more efficient and less dependent on costly human services, according to Jack Zaremski, founder and president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc. … “For medium and small firms that may have had one marketing or PR person, a fair number of them started to cut back and believed it was efficient to outsource that,” he said. “Bigger firms have been more focused on keeping their departments as lean as possible.”
Administrative employees who help with document reviews and other menial tasks also may see their jobs outsourced to states or countries with a lower cost of living and reorganized by technology, according to Zaremski. “I don’t see why the more mind-numbing, bottom-of-the-barrel work could not be scanned by computers and done much more quickly with technological advances,” he said. … “To the extent technology makes people redundant, everybody is at risk [of losing his or her job],” Zaremski said. “Whether you’re an attorney, secretary or accountant — whoever you are — your job is liable to be cut if the firm finds any cheaper way to do what you’re doing.”
Patton Boggs Sees Exodus Of 17 Partners
By Linda Chiem, June 24, 2013
Patton Boggs LLP said Monday that a contingent of 17 partners recently announced that they’re leaving the firm, a defection that comes just months after the firm cut 65 attorneys and support staff amid a dip in annual revenues…
It’s an operating climate in which law firms are getting squeezed from many sides and fiercely competing for a smaller pool of business, according to Jack Zaremski, founder and president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc. “One thing we don’t fully appreciate is the amount of pressure on these firms to maintain their numbers — AmLaw rankings, for example — and one of the key numbers they are very sensitive to is compensation per partner,” he told Law360. “Those numbers are basically considered by onlookers to be key indicators of the health of the firm, and if those numbers are going down significantly, they’re construed as red flags.” He said such partner defections can be a result of underperformance or a shortage of work to keep partners productive, along with numerous other factors. “Patton Boggs, by no stretch of the imagination, is the only firm doing this,” Zaremski said.
BigLaw Jobs For New Grads Up Despite Overall Hiring Slump
By Linda Chiem, June 20, 2013
The latest crop of law school graduates got lucky with the job market in 2012 by landing more jobs among BigLaw firms, but the overall employment rate for law school graduates continues to decline, the National Association for Law Placement said Thursday… However, of those graduates for whom employment status was known, only 64.4 percent obtained a job for which bar passage is required, the survey said. That figure has fallen more than 10 percentage points just since 2008 — when it was 74.7 percent — and is the lowest percentage NALP has ever measured.
Jack Zaremski, founder and president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc., told Law360 on Thursday that the NALP numbers paint a far brighter picture of the legal job market for recent graduates than is actually the case, particularly with the rise in temporary attorney or nonlegal jobs. “There is a tremendous glut of attorneys on the market and what you’re saying is that if only 64.4 percent are getting jobs where bar passage is required, you have a full one-third of graduating law students who aren’t getting meaningful jobs,” he said. “It’s an epidemic and it’s really unconscionable that you have all these young people going into law school without any reasonable prospect of getting a meaningful job as an attorney after graduation.” …
Best Summer Associate Programs Opt For Work Over Play
By Erin Coe, May 02, 2013
Law firms might believe that showering their summer associates with extravagant meals, trips to the theater, and ballgames will woo them over to the firm after graduation, but experts say that putting the emphasis on play over work might actually make summer associate programs less successful in attracting and keeping top talent… “A summer associate program is still a great recruiting tool, but just given the economic realities law firms are finding themselves in over the last few years and the acute sense among students about how challenging it is to get a job and succeed as an attorney, it’s a good opportunity for firms to change their focus a little bit,” said Jack Zaremski, founder and president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc… “Focusing more on the work aspect than the social aspect would give both the firm and the summer associates the opportunity to assess whether they’re good fits for one another and would probably serve to lower the likelihood of attrition if summer associates are given a job offer and start at the firm,” Zaremski said.
Firms should hire significantly more law students for their summer associate programs than the number of openings for their first-year associate class as a way to make the process more competitive, according to Zaremski. “A small percentage of associates who aspire to partner actually make it to partner,” he said. “Firms should endeavor to provide summer associates with a taste of how competitive life is for an associate.” Firms that create a more rigorous summer program will do a better job of choosing associates who are likely to be successful and have value once they start full time, he said. “A more competitive process will translate into first-year associates who are more committed, who value the job more and who are more likely to be successful,” he said. “They will be less likely to take the position for granted.” …
Regardless of whether they decide to make summer associate programs more competitive, law firms would be better off continuing to steer their programs away from a calendar full of social activities and more toward providing a richer work experience, according to Zaremski. “All firms stand to improve in this area quite a bit,” he said. “If firms put the same amount of effort into creating an environment that closely replicates real life for associates as they do with holding social events, that would be an experience that summer associates would actually appreciate more.”
Midyear Bonus Season Looks Promising As Economy Rallies
By Andrew Strickler, April 16, 2013
While firms struggle to prop up profits in a still-anemic legal market, an overall brighter U.S. economic outlook and uptick in lateral hiring suggests that BigLaw firms that pay midyear bonuses will do so again in 2013 at the same or even higher figures, experts told Law360.
“All the financial indicators are basically up,” said Jack Zaremski, president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc. “You’re not hearing about as many layoffs; there is more confidence, generally speaking, in respect to the country’s financial situation; and there is a trickle-down effect on bonuses.” The Dow Industrial average and the Standard & Poor’s 500 index are at record levels, which will tamp down bonus misgivings among managing partners, according to Zaremski. “Nobody is talking about falling off the financial cliff,” he said…
Contract Atty Faces Uphill Battle In Quinn Emanuel OT Suit
By Linda Chiem, March 05, 2013
In order to succeed, a proposed class action accusing Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP and a legal staffing agency of withholding overtime pay must show that contract attorneys do not actually do legal work, a tough argument that makes the suit unlikely to trigger similar claims against other firms, experts said Tuesday…
Jack Zaremski, founder and president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc., says the suit, which touches on the issue surrounding the glut of attorneys flooding the marketplace, ultimately has no merit. “My heart does not go out to the temporary attorneys who say they’re being taken advantage of, because they know what they’re getting into, they’re choosing to do this and the law firms are not under any legal obligation to pay them overtime,” he said. “You’ll always find some schlocky plaintiff’s attorney looking to file a lawsuit. I’d be surprised if there’s any legal merit to this lawsuit because if there were, somebody would’ve done it [successfully] a long time ago.”
K&L’s Move To Open Its Books Puts Pressure On Peer Firms
By Andrew Strickler, March 04, 2013
The legal industry “has nothing to fear” from releasing detailed financial reports, according to K&L Gates LLP’s chairman, whose pledge to keep his firm’s accounting books open regardless of the numbers has put the onus on other firm leaders to reconsider public disclosures. The firm recently broke from industry tradition of putting out limited — or in some cases, zero — year-end financial numbers, posting on its website a detailed balance sheet including revenues, cash balances, bank debt, pension obligation percentages and even revenues by region…
Experts differ on what effect the move would have in the legal market, and for whom K&L Gates’ message of transparency is intended. Jack Zaremski, president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc., said the firm’s growth strategy is heavily geared toward lateral hires… “It’s all about the marketplace for lateral partners and retaining its current partners,” Zaremski said.”
Am Law Figures Face Added Scrutiny In Post-Dewey World
By Andrew Strickler, February 11, 2013
The American Lawyer this month began publishing the first batch of data on firms including DLA Piper, Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison LLP, O’Melveny & Myers LLP, BakerHostetler and Faegre Baker Daniels. The revenue numbers are used to establish the publication’s Am Law 100 and 200 rankings, to be published in full in May and June. But in the wake of Dewey’s May 2012 collapse, which capped off a string of law firm disintegrations in recent years, industry watchers expressed increased skepticism about the validity of the figures and whether they are an accurate gauge of law firm financial health.
“Look at Howrey, Heller Ehrman, Thacher Proffitt, WolfBlock,” said Jack Zaremski, president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc. “These were huge names in the industry, in the top 50 in almost every category the year before they collapsed, so what’s the relevancy of the Am Law numbers?” … Zaremski said he didn’t rely on the reported compensation numbers when advising clients, calling them a “misleading and arguably dangerous” gauge of firm finances.
Cravath Burnishes Corporate Cred With Kappos Hire
By Ryan Davis, February 06, 2013
Cravath Swaine & Moore LLP has cemented its reputation as a top corporate transactions firm with Wednesday’s hiring of former U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Director David Kappos, who will lend his expertise to the intellectual property aspects of deals… Cravath already has a strong reputation as an elite law firm, but hiring Kappos is a wise business decision as that group of top firms is becoming smaller and smaller, said Jack Zaremski, founder and president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc. “This move will enable Cravath to further distinguish itself and separate itself from the rest of the pack,” he said.
Sluggish Economy Darkens Prospects For Year-End Bonuses
By Megan Chutchian, November 16, 2012
As 2012 winds down, associates at most major law firms should not expect a significant spike in year-end bonuses and some should even be prepared to take home less than they received in 2011 thanks to a national economy that’s still on the mend, according to legal industry experts… “I think it’s reasonable to assume that at some point the market is going to improve, but the question is, when?” said Jack Zaremski, founder and president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc. “The sense is — in my view — that’s not happening soon.” … A large part of the reason associates will take home smaller bonuses is that there is too much talent in the industry, and firms don’t feel the need to incentivize their associates to stay with bonuses because there aren’t very many opportunities for lateral moves in the current economic climate, Zaremski said. “It wasn’t really that long ago — just a couple years ago — that firms were guaranteeing $40,000 bonuses for everybody. It’s just a different world today,” he said. “Most are still awarding bonuses of some sort, but they are much more conservative.” The most elite firms are the exception, including those that were able to give out spring bonuses this year, though few even managed to do that, Zaremski said.
The 10 Best Paying Career Alternatives For Law Grads
By Erin Fuchs, October 10, 2012
The prospect of sinking $200,000 into law school and changing your mind about being a lawyer might be terrifying. But you can still use your degree. Law graduates go on to plenty of lucrative and interesting non-lawyer jobs… According to recent data from Salary.com, the median salary for legal recruiters in the U.S. is $81,855. Pros: The job can be more flexible than practicing law, but one legal recruiter says it might not be a good idea for everybody. Cons: The anemic economy makes life tough for everybody in the legal industry, not just lawyers, legal recruiter Jack Zaremski told Business Insider.
Associate Salaries Will Continue To Drop, Experts Say
By Megan Leonhardt, September 24, 2012
First-year associates at big law firms could see compensation rates continue to drop as the uncertainty of the economic climate and client demands for value force salaries downward, experts said Monday following a report that average BigLaw associate pay dropped to $145,000 in 2012… “The longer we stay in this difficult economic environment, I think that the salaries are going to continue to go down,” Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc. President Jack Zaremski said… “While there’s more of a sense of stability now, there’s still a tremendous amount of uncertainly about where we’re going.” … “There’s an oversupply of talent,” Zaremski said, adding that he has told many associates to start thinking about possibilities outside the legal industry.
Employment Rate For 2011 JD Class Hits New Lows
By Lana Burbrair, June 7, 2012
Law school graduates in 2011 faced the worst job market in nearly 20 years, with nearly 15 percent not working and less than half landing jobs in private practice, according to a report the National Association for Law Placement released Thursday...
Jack Zaremski, president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc., noted that because the economy had been propped up by federal spending in recent years, when that money dries up, legal hiring would probably maintain its downward spiral, with matters set to get worse before they get better. His advice to those considering law school in this economy? Don’t do it. Although Zaremski maintains that he holds positive feelings toward the practice of law, he says he doesn’t see much point in amassing debt to attend second- or third-tier law schools only to end up unable to find meaningful work. “I don’t see much value in society for another personal injury lawyer to be coming out and advertising on TV along with these other clowns that you see every day,” Zaremski said. “That, to me, is negative value.” Zaremski’s views were supported by the NALP report, which found that only 49.5 percent of employed graduates had obtained a job in private practice. In the 38 years that the NALP has collected employment information, the normal range for private practice employment has been 55 to 58 percent, dipping below 50 percent only once before 2011.
Dewey Too Big And Broke For Merger, Experts Say
By Megan Leonhardt, May 3, 2012
Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP’s massive debt and enormous size proved to be just some of the potential liabilities that would-be merger partners found too substantial to shoulder, leaving the jilted firm fighting to survive, experts said Thursday… As late as Tuesday, Martin Bienenstock — a partner for Dewey’s recently created Office of the Chairman — said the firm was continuing to hold discussions with several firms for a potential merger. But experts doubted Thursday that there would be a merger, saying the firm was unappealing as a merger partner after the loss of nearly 100 partners and the looming threat of possible criminal charges against former Chairman Steven Davis. “How excited would you be to marry a guy facing criminal charges?” said Jack Zaremski, president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc.
Race For Dewey Lawyers Is On With Willkie Leading The Pack
By Megan Leonhardt, May 1, 2012
Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP has outpaced other firms so far by nabbing 12 partners from the ailing Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP, and experts said Tuesday that high-end litigators and attorneys in finance-related groups still with the firm would draw the most suitors from competitors circling Dewey for laterals… But Jack Zaremski, president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc., warned against predicting which groups would be the first to go, saying the ship had not sunk yet. “It’s premature to start digging the grave,” Zaremski said, adding that he didn’t believe Dewey’s fate was sealed yet.
Biggest Rate Hikes Come From Top-Paid Attys, Report Says
By Bibeka Shrestha, April 16, 2012
Hourly rates for the most expensive lawyers are rising the quickest, according to a report on legal billing rates released Monday, signaling to some that major law firms are settling back into prerecession charging habits. Lawyers’ average rates jumped 5.1 percent in 2011 overall, growing faster than key measures of inflation, according to a report published by TyMetrix Legal Analytics and Corporate Executive Board. That increase came on top of a 4.3 percent jump in average rates in 2010.
Jack Zaremski, founder and president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc., said Monday he was surprised that the rates for the most expensive partners and associates were continuing to rise after the recession sparked efforts to cut costs and promote efficiency. “You have to hit the major law firms on the head with a hammer in order to get them to change the way they do business,” Zaremski said. “If there ever was a hammer, it was the financial crisis of 2008.” While law firms worked out alternative fee arrangements and made other adjustments following the economic downturn, Monday’s report indicates those changes might be short-lived, according to Zaremski. “It’s basically back to the old way of conducting business, which is the way of continuously increasing rates,” Zaremski said. “I think as the economy continues to stabilize, there’ll be less of a focus on cost cutting.”
By Carolina Bolado, April 11, 2012
With each additional partner that leaves Dewey & LeBoeuf, the struggling firm’s window of opportunity to right the ship gets smaller, and management needs to act quickly to make sure the firm survives, legal industry analysts said… [A]nalysts stressed the importance of clear and transparent communications with the firm’s partners about its finances and plans for restoring stability.
“There’s already been a significant amount of bleeding and there will be more, but you have a chance of minimizing the bleeding if the rank and file believe that the leadership of the firm is doing everything possible to stabilize the firm financially and that they’re being upfront about the condition of the firm,” Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc. President Jack Zaremski said. If partners feel they’re being fed spin by the firm’s leaders, a
sense of panic sets in, he said.
By Django Gold, March 23, 2012
While last spring brought news of extra bonuses at several top U.S. law firms, 2012 has been less promising for BigLaw associates who have yet to — and may not — receive spring payouts due to what legal industry experts call a buyer’s market for low-level talent…
“Firms are very conscious that we’re still in a tough economic environment, and they are as cost conscious today as they have ever been,” said Jack Zaremski, founder and president of placement and consulting firm Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc. “Generally speaking, firms are not going to be spending money that they think is discretionary, and spring
bonuses definitely fall into that category.” …
And with a new crop of hungry law school graduates coming up every year, it’s a buyer’s market that makes such perks as spring bonuses strictly optional. Because of this, even those firms that have the spare cash needed for spring bonuses aren’t going to give it out if the job market doesn’t require it, Zaremski said. “It’s not a question of how well the firms are doing; it’s a question of if the firms need to be giving out the bonuses, which they don’t,” he said. “It’s Business 101. It’s very simple. No business spends money if they don’t have to.” …
Some firms are still likely to pass out the early-year bonuses, but it is no longer necessary in the current job market, Zaremski said. “I don’t think Sullivan & Cromwell and Cravath are scared of losing their associates to competitors in the current market,” he said. “We’ll see whether they award these bonuses, but I would expect far fewer firms to follow suit this year. Last year was basically an exception to the rule.”
By Keith Goldberg, January 25, 2012
Expect the spring bonus bonanza that swept through several BigLaw firms in 2011 to repeat itself this year, but don’t bet the ranch on it expanding throughout the industry, especially if the economy remains shaky, legal industry experts say. …
There may still be a glut of associates in the legal job market resulting from the recession, but there’s rarely a deep pool of top-level associates, according to Jack Zaremski, founder and president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc. This means they’ll always be in demand by top firms, unless the economy goes off a cliff and takes all the top-level legal work with it, he
said.”The world of major law firms is extremely competitive for the best talent and the best business,” Zaremski said. “Part of the way to get the best business is to have the best talent. Clients that are very successful are going to want to retain law firms they perceive as very successful.” …
BigLaw firms angling for a top spot in the market are like the lead runners in a distance race, Zaremski said. Spring bonuses are an easy, cost-effective way for firms to break out from the pack and distinguish themselves from weaker firms, at least in the eyes of associates, he said. If the average compensation for a partner is $3 million, $15,000 to an associate is a drop in the bucket. They’re not going to feel that.” … But not all firms will be able to afford spring bonuses every year if the economy doesn’t improve dramatically, Zaremski said. “The number of firms awarding spring bonuses is going to decrease as long as the economy remains precarious,” Zaremski said… [S]uccessful law firms didn’t become successful by throwing money away, Zaremski said. “Successful law firms are great businesses,” Zaremski said. “If great firms are making decisions to award spring bonuses, they feel it’s a competition and they all want to be competing for the best associates.”
Ruden McClosky Ch. 11 Fate Could Await Other Firms
By Hilary Russ, November 02, 2011
The failure of Florida law firm Ruden McClosky PA, and its sale in bankruptcy court, could portend a similar fate for other law firms, especially those that haven’t protected themselves by diversifying beyond areas hit hardest by the financial crisis, experts say. … “You should expect to see more mergers of this nature, especially in the more depressed economies in our country,” said Jack Zaremski, founder and president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc. “Especially in a challenging economy, you’re more likely to survive to the extent you’re well diversified.”
crain’s new york business.com
Job growth up 1.6% at local law firms last year
By Rebecca Olles, November 1, 2011
There are no objections to law firm employment in the New York area. After a difficult 2008 and 2009, many law firms faced cutbacks and layoffs, but now the verdict is in: Employment in the top shops is up 1.6% from 2010, according to Crain’s latest ranking of the area’s Top 25 largest firms. …
“Firms are starting to come back to the levels that they really need to be at to effectively service clients in these more stable economic conditions,” said Jack Zaremski, president of New York area legal recruiting company Hanover Legal. “They’re compensating for excessive layoffs in 2009.” Mr. Zaremski noted the development of the temporary employment industry, in part because there are not enough full-time jobs available.
DLA Hire May Signal Law Firms’ Shift To Outside Managers
By Abigail Rubenstein, October 27, 2011
DLA Piper has reportedly hired former Linklaters LLP’s head Tony Angel as co-global chairman, an unusual move that experts say may prompt other law firms to consider bringing outsiders into their management ranks as firms move toward more corporate business models… “It’s a brave move, and it might very well pay off,” said Jack Zaremski, founder and president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc. “I imagine they wanted to get a high level, experienced professional in to objectively oversee the business of managing one of the world’s largest law firms.” … And with DLA Piper blazing the trail, other firms may well start making similar calculations, especially as firms have recently been refashioning themselves in the image of corporations, experts say. I anticipate more law firms doing this sort of thing,” Zaremski said. “The more we proceed into the future, the more firms are acting like traditional businesses and less like the law firm partnerships of a generation or two ago … This sort of move is not uncommon among major corporations, and I expect it will become more common among major law firms as well.”
O’Melveny Layoffs May Presage Future Firm Cuts
By Abigail Rubenstein, October 18, 2011
O’Melveny & Myers LLP’s recent decision to lay off 75 members of its support staff may be a harbinger of things to come if the economy continues to flounder, as a double-dip recession would likely force many law firms to cut staff, and even attorneys, experts told Law360…
“What you know for sure when you see a firm cutting staff in significant numbers is that it is making adjustments based on diminished revenue, and there is no question in my mind that O’Melveny is not the only major American firm having to make difficult decisions so that they can stay afloat,” said Jack Zaremski, founder and president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc. “While we cannot know with certainty, I am confident, sadly to say, that given the extent of the challenges that we’re all looking at going forward, economically, we will continue to see at least some firms resort to not only staff layoffs but also attorney layoffs,” Zaremski said. … Meanwhile, Zaremski said that although the few elite firms that serve major financial institutions and the largest corporations are continuing to thrive despite the state of the economy, those firms whose clients are smaller and are themselves struggling may find themselves needing to make reductions to their workforces.
Year-End Law Firm Bonus Forecast Uncertain
By Kaitlin Ugolik, October 07, 2011
The change, according to Zaremski, will be that the pool of top-market firms will be smaller than last year, and will likely continue to shrink… “Even the firms at the very top of the market recognize that there’s a lot of uncertainty in this economic environment,” Zaremski said. “In uncertain times people generally are less likely to take risks and make investments and spend money where they don’t absolutely have to, so bonuses, [which] are generally discretionary, are an easy area in which firms can limit their expenses.” … “It’s a race like any other race, and as the market conditions continue to be very challenging, just like in any other race the lead pack is going to get smaller and smaller and some of the firms inevitably are going to start dropping off. Some firms already have,” Zaremski said.
Pro Bono Immersion Puts Newbies On Fast-Track
By Erin Fuchs, September 09, 2011
DLA Piper’s new program enlisting first-year associates to perform only pro bono work for a BigLaw salary could inspire other firms to follow suit as more paying clients are demanding associates with real-world experience, experts say… “Law firms get to do good, and they get to train their young attorneys so they’re more skilled when it comes time to represent the clients of the firm that are paying the bills,” said Jack Zaremski, founder and president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc.
BigLaw Future Looks Brighter For Some 2012 Law Grads
By Abigail Rubenstein, August 24, 2011
BigLaw recruitment is bouncing back from its leaner years and giving some soon-to-be law school graduates a reason to be hopeful, but 2012 graduates looking for work outside the BigLaw bubble are still likely to face a difficult job market, experts say…. Jack Zaremski, founder and president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc., said that the clients BigLaw serves, including major Wall Street firms, were the ones most likely to be doing well in the current economic climate, while businesses that the vast majority of other law firms catered to might still be reeling and were therefore less likely to want to pay for legal services. “While I don’t doubt the remarks that some major firm leaders have made lately about increasing summer associate class numbers and goals, I do wonder especially among more mid-market and lower market firms whether they share the same degree of optimism,” Zaremski said.
Accuracy Of AmLaw Partner Profit Data Long In Doubt
By Dietrich Knauth, August 23, 2011
A report that many of the country’s top law firms may have overstated their average partner profits in The American Lawyer’s annual rankings came as no surprise to legal industry experts, who have long viewed the published numbers with skepticism… Jack Zaremski, president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc., said that the rankings lost a lot of clarity as firms turned to the idea of “nonequity partners” as a way to give good lawyers the prestige of partnership without the ownership that comes with it. “… AmLaw says it makes estimates based on reporting, and that all data is investigated by reporters, but Zaremski, for one, said he would remain skeptical unless the publication was more open about where its data came from and how thoroughly it was verified… Zaremski, who was also critical of AmLaw’s data, said he still uses the the numbers as a general guide. “There’s no question in my mind that these numbers, in many cases, are far from accurate,” Zaremski said. “I routinely tell my clients that these numbers need to be taken with a grain of salt.”
Spring Payouts Won’t Pay Off For Firms, Experts Say
By Erin Fuchs, May 6, 2011
Time May Be Ripe For National Oversight Of Attys
By Erin Fuchs, April 29, 2011
A recent proposal by a group of law firm general counsels for national oversight of attorneys could be the first step in a movement to replace the existing patchwork of regulations that firms must contend with in their interstate practices, industry experts say… This is an ideal time to move for federal rules to solve this problem because firms are revamping their models anyway post-recession, according to Jack Zaremski, founder and president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc., who described the legal industry environment as one of “considerable flux and change.” The proposal is being put forward at a time when “people will be more receptive to considering and implementing changes that will help law firms run in a more efficient and intelligent way,” he said.
Howrey Bankruptcy May Cause Headaches For Ex-Attys
By Erin Coe, April 12, 2011
The involuntary bankruptcy filing of Howrey LLP in California could spell trouble for the dissolved firm’s former attorneys as well as for the firms that have since hired them, experts say… Given that the claims involve a minor amount of money, they may not have much of an effect on the law firm, according to Jack Zaremski, founder and president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc. “The claims are not going to have any impact on what remains of Howrey or how the judge thinks the assets of Howrey should be handled going forward,” he said. “The claims are too small.”
Spring Bonus Frenzy Signals Hot Associate Market
By Erin Fuchs, March 22, 2011
The spring bonus frenzy Sullivan & Cromwell LLP incited this year reveals that the associate market is heating up after years of layoffs and salary cuts, putting pressure on BigLaw to once again fight to keep top associates, experts say..
Busier associates also signal that there will be more lateral movement among associates, as firms work to fill the need for more service providers, according to Jack Zaremski, founder and president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc. “Awarding enhanced bonuses … is a sign of improving times and also an indicator that there will be more lateral activity at the associate level in the months ahead because there will be more of a need for associates … as their workload increases,” he said…. “The firms that are leading the pack with respect to awarding bonuses are going to be with respect to compensation at a competitive advantage on the lateral market over those that had been trailing behind,” Zaremski said. “If one firm goes to the head of the pack by awarding better bonuses than everybody else, everybody is going to be looking at that firm to see if they can keep up with it,” he added… Still, the spring bonus wave of 2011 could also be the start of a new trend in which firms hold out in December by offering modest bonuses, knowing they can always provide an extra payout in the spring, according to Zaremski. “That being said, there’s no rule that says you can’t award bonuses 12 times a year,” he added. “Next year firms will be doing whatever they can not only to survive but thrive and outdo their competitors. If that means awarding bonuses in the spring and then again in the fall, they’ll go ahead and do that.”
By Erin Fuchs, March 10, 2011
The CEO of Howrey is blaming its downfall partly on deferred profits from contingency-fee work, but it was a host of bigger problems like lack of loyalty and too few practice areas that ultimately sank the firm, experts say… To be sure, contingency-fee work can pose major risks for law firms, as they earn no fees if they lose those cases and sometimes have profits deferred in protracted litigation, experts acknowledged.
Still, many big-league firms began offering contingency fees as they tried to stay competitive during the financial crisis, said Jack Zaremski, founder and president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc. “Whether or not Howrey was using contingency fees excessively is another issue, but that goes to the management of the firm, not the idea of contingency fees,” Zaremski said. “If you’re going to assess blame, you should assess blame on the people who were making the decision to use the contingency fees and maybe inappropriately assessing the risk.” …
Howrey’s biggest problem was that the firm those managers oversaw was not diversified enough to survive, according to Zaremski. With its antitrust and intellectual property focuses, Howrey failed to provide services in any practice areas that served as hedges in down times, such as bankruptcy, he said. This lack of diversification has hurt other firms, as well, such as Thacher Proffitt & Wood LLP, which specialized in structured finance and real estate, and McKee Nelson LLP, another structured finance specialist that combined with Bingham McCutchen to survive, he pointed out. “If you’re a large firm, and you’re focused on two or three practice areas, you may find yourself in a precarious situation during difficult economic times,” Zaremski said. This narrow practice area focus likely caused revenue and profits to fall more precipitously than at other major law firms, spurring some of its leaders to leave, such as Vice Chairman Henry Bunsow, who reportedly took a $20 million book of business with him, he said.
The loss of top talent shook the confidence of the entire partnership and spurred the wave of departures that grabbed headlines recently, Zaremski said. “The old saying is the captain goes down with the ship. That wasn’t happening at Howrey. Once the captain jumps ship, what do you expect from the rank and file?” he said. The partner departures were likely self-perpetuating, creating a sense of havoc and mayhem that was at least partly based on psychology, Zaremski said.
By Erin Fuchs, March 10, 2011
Howrey LLP’s partners voted to dissolve the firm late Wednesday, after several of the firm’s leaders and rainmakers fled amid rumors of its foundering financial state and merger talks with Winston & Strawn LLP reportedly fell apart. … While outsiders had no way of knowing Howrey’s true financial state, the firm experienced a number of high-profile defections in recent months, including worldwide antitrust practice Co-Chair Trevor Soames, litigation Co-Chair Gary Bendinger and Vice Chairman Henry Bunsow, who reportedly took a $20 million book of business with him. Those high-profile defections have spurred partners to leap to firms they perceive to be more stable, draining Howrey of more value with each departure, according to Jack Zaremski, founder and president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc.
Howrey Name Could Tarnish Winston & Strawn
By Erin Fuchs, February 28, 2011
Winston & Strawn is reportedly poised to vote this week on whether to take on a significant
percentage of partners from ailing Howrey, but it should think twice before adding the once-powerful Washington firm’s name to its own, experts say. “Nobody wants to associate themselves with a brand that is perceived as not being a strong and attractive brand,” said Jack Zaremski, founder and president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc. “It’s not just a matter of declining profits and revenue … Howrey is being perceived as being on its way out.” … “If there’s a perception that Howrey is falling apart at the seams, then I think it’s less likely that the decision makers at Winston will want to incorporate that brand into their own,” Zaremski said.
With Howrey LLP hemorrhaging top talent, including a vice chairman who reportedly took a $20 million book of business with him, it is crucial that the global giant reorganize or merge with a healthier firm fast before it dissolves completely, experts say.. However, suitors will have to act fast, according to experts, who note that Howrey has lost several leaders in recent weeks, including worldwide antitrust practice Co-Chair Trevor Soames, litigation Co-Chair Gary Bendinger and rainmaking intellectual property lawyer and Vice Chairman Henry Bunsow.
Employment Firms Trump Rivals With Global Tie-Ups
By Ben James, January 28, 2011
The biggest labor and employment boutiques in the U.S. are looking for cross-border alliance with foreign law firms to give them a leg up as they spar with full-service competitors for legal work from multinational companies… Lawyers at multipractice firms and boutiques agree that the demand for multijurisdictional labor and employment representation is strong, and that clients typically don’t want to have to deal with more firms than they have to
In-house counsel started turning more to boutiques when they found themselves under pressure to cut down on outside legal fees as a result of the recent financial crisis, Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc. President Jack Zaremski said. Firms like Jackson Lewis offer good quality at a significant discount compared to their multipractice brethren, he added. “If they can also offer the capacity to service corporations on a global basis, they become that much more attractive,” Zaremski said.
By Erin Fuchs, January 1, 2011
Legal industry experts predict high demand for lateral hires with expertise in corporate finance, white collar crime and trade secrets litigation, among other areas, in 2011. Here is a roundup of the practice areas that will thrive in 2011, as businesses access more cash, grapple with new regulations and operate in an increasingly global economy…
“The more people feel secure jumping from one place to another, it stands to reason the more defections you’ll see,” said Jack Zaremski, president and founder of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc … Trade secret fights are rising in general because the Internet age has made it so easy to steal information electronically, Zaremski said. …
Health care is being revolutionized, and lawyers are needed to interpret regulations anytime an industry is overhauled, Zaremski said. “I don’t think that legislators even understand these bills that are being passed,” he said. “It’s a tremendous amount of legal mumbo jumbo that has to be analyzed, digested and applied. That’s what lawyers do.”… Meanwhile, Zaremski pointed out that it makes “perfect sense” that a domain name practice would thrive in 2011 because of the way that the Internet has transformed our economy. “As the Internet continues to take root, you are going to see practice areas pop up that are directly related to the Internet,” he said.
By Ben James, January 1, 2011
The nation’s largest labor and employment boutiques increased their ranks in 2010 with robust lateral hiring, while many general practice firms saw their roster of employment attorneys shrink or stay the same — a trend attributable to boutiques’ client-friendly rates and full-service firms’ de-emphasis on employment work, experts say…
In-house counsel have been under pressure to cut costs because of the recent recession, and labor and employment boutiques often charge less than full-service firms, Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc. President Jack Zaremski said. “There’s no question that the boutiques, by and large, are able to offer their services at lower costs compared to the elite large general practice firms,” Zaremski said. As more business migrates to boutiques, there is less need for employment lawyers at multipractice firms, Zaremski added.
By Erin Fuchs, December 3, 2010
Proskauer Rose LLP confirmed Friday that it has matched 2010 year-end associate bonus payout levels established by Cravath Swaine & Moore LLP last month, and Morrison & Foerster LLP has reportedly also followed suit… Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc. founder and President Jack Zaremski had said the legal industry’s renewed optimism should translate into bonuses for associates this year, though not of the size of bonuses paid out in 2007 and 2008.
Associates Warned To Temper Bonus Hopes For ’10
By Erin Fuchs, November 5, 2010
While most associates can still expect to collect a bonus this year, it would be wise to ground dreams of $40,000 windfalls in the reality that law firms are now more fiscally conservative and might pay only a small fraction of that amount, or in some cases nothing at all, according to experts… “What you can say with a little more certainty is that the day of the guaranteed $40,000 bonus for first-year associates is not within the realm of possibility,” said Jack Zaremski, founder and president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc. … Zaremski said the legal industry’s renewed optimism should translate into bonuses for associates this year, though not of the size of bonuses paid out in 2007 and 2008. “People are feeling significantly more secure than they were in 2009,” he said. “While I think associates might have tempered expectations with respect to bonuses, I think that you will be seeing firms by and large awarding better bonuses this year than they were last year.”
In Skittish Market, More Partners Jump Ship Sideways; Game of Legal Musical Chairs Shows No Sign of Stopping Soon
By Hilary Potkowitz, November 1, 2010
Luring senior-level partners used to be a coup of the highest order, but not anymore. Sometime last year, the invisible hand of the legal market seemingly pressed “Go,” and partners started changing places in a game of musical chairs that shows no sign of slowing down… “Think of the legal market like a bunch of fruit trees that have just been through a very serious storm,” says Jack Zaremski, president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services, Inc. “Now there’s a lot of loose fruit in the marketplace, and they’re easier to pick off. It’s not necessarily an indication of anything positive.” … “I wouldn’t even call it hiring — it’s more like buying practice groups,” says Hanover’s Mr. Zaremski. “The only true hiring is when associates move — that’s when you know things are happening because of a good economy.”
Female Partners Say Firm Bias to Blame For Pay Gap
By Nick Brown, July 07, 2010
The salary gap between male and female partners may be a result of fundamental biases in law firms’ compensation practices — not a reflection of women’s family obligations, according to a new survey of female partners…
Jack Zaremski, founder and president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc., said women he had worked with were more concerned with compensation. “It’s an uphill battle, not only for women but for all minorities, and I don’t think there could be any good-faith dispute about the fact that there’s a discrepancy,” he said. Zaremski is glad groups are putting pressure on firms to address the problem, he added, noting that some law firms have taken steps independently to correct compensation disparities while others remain behind the curve. But Zaremski also tried to put the issue in perspective, stressing that mistakes made by firms have not been made on purpose. “There are no conspiracies,” he said. “It’s not like these law firms have these white guys going in and saying, ‘Okay, we’re going to discriminate based on gender now.’ The assumption has to be, partners are by and large good people. But change is not an easy thing to implement and there’s always going to be resistance.”
Law360 Picks Most Innovative Managing Partners
June 11, 2010
When times are tough, the tough get going. Or in the case of Law360’s most innovative managing partners, they kick open doors, blaze trails and figure out ways for their firm to not only survive but thrive in a time of crisis… But vision alone is not what makes these individuals a success, according to Jack Zaremski, the president and founder of New York-based recruiting firm Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc. “You need to have great people skills, tremendous business savvy, spectacular judgment and an appetite for risk-taking,” he said. “These are the character traits that translate into revenue in the long run.”
By Erin Fuchs, May 03, 2010
Yale Law Women released the results Monday of its annual survey of the Vault Top 100 Firms’ work-life balance policies, naming WilmerHale and Sidley Austin LLP among its top 10 family-friendly firms for the second year in a row. … Jack Zaremski, founder and president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc., has said that giving lawyers the chance to live their own lives outside work benefits both the attorneys and the firms. “The next step in getting firms to being healthier places is to start addressing and focusing more on the area of work-life balance,” Zaremski said. “It’s something that we cannot neglect to do in the long run.” The vast majority of female lawyers seeking his assistance in making a lateral move almost immediately ask whether firms provide flexibility so that they can take care of their families, Zaremski said. But that flexibility should apply to all workers, including men who want to take care of their children and lawyers who want time to pursue their outside-of-work passions, he said.
By Christie Smythe, April 19, 2010
With many jet-setting attorneys temporarily grounded by Iceland’s volcanic ash cloud, law firms are finding themselves in logistical disaster mode, tracking down lawyers throughout the world, making the most of technological resources and refreshing plans for handling the unexpected. … But even the best technology cannot help firms in situations where an in-person appearance makes a definite difference, such as when pitching a client or negotiating a deal, said Jack Zaremski, founder and president of legal consultancy Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc. “As great as this technology is, the fact that these lawyers are stuck abroad right now is definitely an impediment” to getting some work done, he said. “Even if the attorneys are able to log into their systems and work as if they’re home, the fact that they’re not able to interact on a face-to-face basis with people definitely has a cost.”
By Julie Zeveloff, April 06, 2010
Having posted strong profits for the fiscal year, Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky and Popeo PC has confirmed that associates’ starting salaries will remain at $160,000, although the firm’s 2009 summer class is still deferred until January 2012… “We’re seeing a pickup in the lateral market, there’s no question, and it looks like we’re getting a little further each day from the tsunami that was 2009,” Jack Zaremski, founder and president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc., told Law360 in March.
Relief In Sight As Associate Start Dates Take Shape
By Nick Brown, March 31, 2010
After a year plagued by record-setting cuts and uncertain futures, many law firms are committing to definite 2010 start dates for first-year associates, a sign that the legal industry may finally be pulling itself up by its bootstraps, experts say… “We’re seeing a pickup in the lateral market, there’s no question, and it looks like we’re getting a little further each day from the tsunami that was 2009,” said Jack Zaremski, founder and president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc. .. “This news about start dates could be great for the class of 2010, but if you’re one of the people left over from 2009 and you’re still waiting, maybe it’s not so great,” he said. Zaremski said firms likely won’t be able to hire everyone to whom they initially made offers because the 2010 market won’t bounce back strongly enough to make room for everyone pushed back from 2009. … But uncertainty is a fact of life, not a symptom of the legal industry, Zaremski said. “All you can know is what you can see in the distance,” Zaremski said. “And what we see is, it looks like we’re moving further and further from the storm and into calmer waters.”
Rising Legal Stars Under 40
March 23, 2010
These days, keeping your job at a law firm feels like a victory in and of itself, especially for younger attorneys who have seen their ranks decimated by layoffs and cutbacks. That’s what makes the myriad professional accomplishments of the 120 individuals chosen as Law360’s Rising Legal Stars all the more impressive…
With competition at law firms as stiff as ever, making your mark as an under-40 lawyer has become an increasingly difficult task, said Jack Zaremski, the founder and president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc. “You’ve always had your stars, but the young stars of today are, by and large, brighter than the stars of 100 years ago,” he said. “Clearly, law firms are much more difficult and competitive than they have ever been before.”…Given that firms can differ as to what talents and abilities are valued above all else, young attorneys’ success often depends on the culture of the firm, Zaremski said. “Law firms are owned by their equity partners, and at some firms, this group is focused virtually exclusively on its own compensation,” he said. “At other places, there is more of the sense of the family of the law firm.”
But the changing nature of the law firm model has been a big factor in raising the competitive stakes, as young attorneys struggle with the sheer volume of colleagues, Zaremski said. “Generally, the partner track has gotten longer,” he said. “In the past, law firms were much less leveraged, partners were doing a lot more of the work and there were fewer associates.” With more young lawyers coming into law firms to begin with than ever before, those who can make a name for themselves are increasingly exceptions to the rule, Zaremski said. “Generally speaking, it is a tremendous tribute and recognition of outstanding talent and ability of a young person to be able to rise to the top at a major law firm,” he said. “More so now and more so all the time.”
All Rise: Ex-Judges Can Give Your Firm A Boost
By Nick Brown, March 18, 2010
While the leap from sitting on the bench to appearing before it isn’t as natural as it sounds, some firms and judges that have joined forces say the union can be a perfect match. …
Many firms are actually reluctant to recruit from the bench; they’re concerned about hiring someone without established clients and worried about the appearance of pursuing those meant to appear unbiased and objective, said Jack Zaremski, founder and president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc. … And [hiring] considerations differ among firms with unique business plans, values and priorities, Zaremski explained. “Some firms are more pragmatic, some are idealistic,” he said. “But there will be some common questions that will be asked. Firms will consider a judge’s business contacts, whether they’re likely to bring business, whether they possess any particular expertise.” Some judges may land jobs for their sheer talent, reputation or connections, but more often than not, judges must compete on the same plane as anyone else, which is why the judge-to-lawyer move is not as common as it could, or perhaps should, be, Zaremski said. “Judges are extremely talented lawyers,” he said. “My sense is, if they want to make the transition, they can make it successfully.”
Firms Look to Cash In With Work-For-Free Strategy
By Erin Marie Daly, March 16, 2010
The recent recession saw many law firms increasing their pro bono workloads as a way to keep their client rosters full, but some are putting a new spin on working for free, legal industry experts say. …
“It doesn’t seem like a very sophisticated way of doing business that comports with the really elite firms,” said Jack Zaremski, founder and president of legal consulting and attorney placement firm Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc. Still, he said, law firms are businesses, and if a paying client has fallen on hard times, some firms may feel it’s in their own best business interest to offer to work on a matter for no charge. “It’s all about maintaining good business relations,” he said. “The most sophisticated firms treat client relations as an art, not a science. There’s much more competition for business these days, and firms need to stay in the good graces of their best clients.” But while the decision to take on more unpaid work in the midst of an economic downturn is often a smart choice, the firms that have used the strategy most successfully are those that have carefully weighed the benefits against the costs, according to Zaremski. “Any way you slice it, the bottom line is that there’s a concrete cost associated with taking on pro bono work,” he said. “It doesn’t diminish a firm’s gross revenue, but it does diminish its net profit. The question is whether the benefits of investing in a pro bono matter are worth the costs, especially in a downturn.”
Importantly, he said, part of what defines a firm’s stability and prestige is the ability to withstand a financial crisis. Not coincidentally, the firms that are generally considered to be top-notch are also considered to be the most stable — and those are the firms that have tended to invest more in pro bono matters, Zaremski said. “They view the downturn as part of the natural economic cycle, and see it as an opportunity,” he said. “And they know that oftentimes, business is generated directly from contacts that attorneys make in nonprofit-generating interests. These relationships can ultimately lead to revenue-generating business.”
Zaremski said there will likely be some retrenching as the economy picks up, because the vast majority of law firms are, in the end, motivated by business concerns. “All businesses try to maximize revenues and profits, and law firms are no different,” he said. “In an upturn, there’s more business to be done, and firms are primarily in the business of generating revenue, so there will be less motivation to invest in pro bono.”
Morgan Lewis Reveals Details on New Pay System
By Julie Zeveloff, January 20, 2010
Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP on Wednesday offered associates additional insight into how the firm will calculate base salaries and bonuses now that lockstep compensation has fallen by the wayside. In an e-mail to associates… According to industry expert Jack Zaremski, merit-based pay and promotions ultimately benefit law firms by forcing them to become more efficient and competitive and giving associates incentive to work harder. However, abandoning lockstep comes with its own costs, said Zaremski, founder and president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc.
McDermott Trims Starting Pay, Ditches Lockstep
By Erin Fuchs, January 12, 2010
McDermott Will & Emery LLP said Tuesday that its associates will now start out with a lower salary and earn raises and promotions based on performance, making it the latest firm to respond to the recession by discarding its lockstep system… “The bottom line is it comes down to a cost-benefit analysis,” said Jack Zaremski, founder and president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc.
Shift From Lockstep Pay Rife With Perils, Experts Say
By Erin Fuchs, January 08, 2010
The days of automatic raises and promotions for corporate lawyers may be waning, but experts say that before firms take the plunge and scrap lockstep pay altogether, they should assess the potential impacts of a performance-based system — including the toll it could take on recruitment and morale. Many big-league firms — including Seyfarth Shaw LLP, WilmerHale LLP and Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP — have responded to the recession by revamping their old compensation models and moving away from lockstep.
According to industry expert Jack Zaremski, merit-based pay and promotions ultimately benefit law firms by forcing them to become more efficient and competitive and incentivizing associates to work harder. However, he cautioned, abandoning lockstep comes with its own costs. “The bottom line is it comes down to a cost-benefit analysis,” said Zaremski, founder and president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc…
The toll on recruitment is the biggest price of killing lockstep, according to Zaremski. Top law students are attracted to firms that can guarantee them salary increases during their associate years, he pointed out. “Lockstep offers a certain amount of stability and security to attorneys,” he said. “When you get rid of lockstep, one of the effects is going to be that you’re going to diminish your ability to some extent to effectively recruit.” If firms do go that route, Zaremski said, they should emphasize to prospective recruits the positive aspects of a merit-based system: a more efficient, competitive law firm that has the potential to earn greater profits. …
Zaremski, who stressed the benefits of nixing lockstep, conceded doing so could make associates unhappy. “If they’re not promoted when they think they should be — or their salaries aren’t increased when they think they should be — it’s just another reason for associates to be embittered and discontent,” he said… Zaremski said that the internal competition that could result from merit-based pay could actually benefit the firm as a whole. “I generally think competition is a good thing,” he said. “There are benefits. The question is, do the benefits outweigh the costs? That’s always the question.” … In addition to possibly dampening morale and stifling recruitment efforts, Zaremski said that aborting lockstep promotions and raises creates more work for firm management.…
Finally, taking away the guarantee of promotions and pay raises could diminish a firm’s prestige, according to Zaremski, who pointed out that some of the most prestigious firms — such as Debevoise & Plimpton LLP and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP — offer lockstep promotions through retirement. “It’s considered a sign of stability and health and confidence on the part of the firms to be able to maintain lockstep, by and large,” he said, adding that abandoning lockstep “inures to the detriment of firms with respect to their perceived prestige in the marketplace.” But the bottom line, Zaremski said, is that firms must now survive in a more competitive marketplace and in a tough economic climate. “The job of these firm managers is to keep their ships afloat and also make them as efficient and profitable as they can,” he said. Still, he added, “if these were easy decisions to make, firms would have made them a long time ago.”
Change May Be Coming To Firm Staffing Models
By Shannon Henson, December 08, 2009
While the associate ranks have been hardest-hit by the downturn, a Law360 survey shows many large law firms still have high ratios of associates to partners — a staffing model some legal consultants say needs to change.
Jack Zaremski, founder and president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc., said Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz, which is highly profitable, has long operated with a low ratio of associates to partners. “It’s part of how they attract the best talent,” Zaremski said. “Lawyers know going in that they will work hard, but there is a good chance that they will make partner.” The floundering economy has undoubtedly forced law firms to become more efficient, producing more work in less time, Zaremski said. But he questioned whether the recession would have a lasting impact on staffing philosophies, saying the ratio of associates to partners will remain a function of the economy and how much business a firm can generate.
Atty Scandals Don’t Have To Taint Firms: Experts
By Erin Fuchs, November 05, 2009
Ethics scandals, such as the arrest of a Ropes & Gray LLP associate for alleged insider trading and claims that a Troutman Sanders LLP partner scored kickbacks, can cast a pall over an entire firm even if only one attorney gets nabbed, industry experts say…
The news at Ropes & Gray and Troutman Sanders actually pales in comparison to the Dreier debacle and the corruption at the plaintiffs firm Milberg Weiss LLP, said Jack Zaremski, founder and president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc. Four senior partners at Milberg Weiss were ultimately convicted in a scandal that Zaremski said still hurts the firm’s ability to attract talent, even though the firm managed to emerge from the storm as Milberg LLP .…
While neither incident rises to the level of a Dreier or Milberg scandal, the allegations involving Troutman’s Leonard Grunstein have more potential to do damage to that firm than the allegations involving the Ropes & Gray attorney because in the former instance a high-level partner rather than a rogue associate is involved, Zaremski said. “Troutman Sanders is more significant,” Zaremski said. “Senior people have more of an impact on the general character of the firm … It’s more of a poison that has the power to infiltrate downward.”
The two firms reacted to the crises differently. Troutman Sanders issued a statement saying Grunstein would take a leave of absence until the matter is resolved, expressing the firm’s confidence that he’d return to work. Ropes & Gray, however, yanked Cutillo’s name from its Web site, saying in a statement that the firm was “deeply disappointed to learn about this situation, which suggests an extreme breach of this person’s duty of trust to our clients and to the firm.” Zaremski suggests using the latter strategy, saying firms should distance themselves from attorneys once they’re under the cloud of an investigation…
Zaremski, meanwhile, said that firms shoulder a certain amount of responsibility when a partner gets caught in a scandal. He pointed to the “truly great” firms — Cravath Swaine & Moore LLP, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, to name a few — that he said have been able to evade major scandals involving partners. “There’s much less tolerance for any character flaws” at those firms, he said. Firms can take several steps to discourage lawyers’ illegal activity, according to Zaremski, such as increasing their internal oversight and investigations into attorneys’ behavior that might “cross the line,” he said.
Firms can also bring on more ex-prosecutors to create an atmosphere of intolerance of illegal activity, he said. “The more of those types you have on board, the more likely it is that there’s going to be an aura at these firms of oversight and zero tolerance for any sort of criminal activity,” he said. “If your partner is a former federal prosecutor, you’re probably going to be a little more wary of engaging in criminal activity.”
Laterals Turn Up Their Noses At Equity Partnership
By Shannon Henson, November 02, 2009
Some attorneys have become increasingly reluctant to join law firms as equity partners, an about-face that comes amid concerns about liability, profitability and the viability of law firms in the economic downturn, legal industry consultants said..
In some situations, “being nonequity is akin to an employee of the firm. As an equity partner, you are an owner, so once you have ownership you also have liability. There are benefits associated with partnership, but there are also obligations and a certain amount of risk,” said Jack Zaremski, founder and president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc., a legal consulting and attorney placement firm. Zaremski said people were considering nonequity “more seriously than they might have before the crisis” because people are simply more risk-averse when times seem precarious. “But it really is case-by-case,” he said. “Most young, ambitious attorneys who see themselves as leaders or aspire to be leaders almost invariably prefer equity. It’s rare to see a star performer opt for nonequity.
Firms Use Recession To Snag Corporate Talent
By Shannon Henson, October 06, 2009
While work and opportunity for corporate finance attorneys has yet to return to prerecession levels, a number of law firms are turning the economic downturn into a chance to snap up top corporate and mergers and acquisitions attorneys, according to legal industry consultants... “As is often the case, the reward is great for people who make an investment in tough times,” said Jack Zaremski, founder and president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc., a legal consulting and attorney placement firm. “So the firms that were able to essentially buy when the market was low are now reaping the rewards.”
For example, Bingham McCutchen LLP acquired McKee Nelson LLP, a finance-driven firm, in August. Through layoffs and attrition in the tough economic times, McKee Nelson had lost a
significant number of attorneys. By the end of February, McKee Nelson had shed roughly 11.5 percent of its staff. Its structured finance practice once boasted 120 members and stood at around 20 at the time of the acquisition. Meanwhile, Bingham wanted to add McKee Nelson’s strengths in tax, financial institution litigation and structured finance to its law firm, Bingham chairman Jay S. Zimmerman said at the time. Nixon Peabody LLP also picked up two former McKee Nelson partners to lead a new securitization and structured finance team. “Now that the economy is picking up, in all likelihood, they are going to turn out to be great investments,” Zaremski said.
When the financial markets rebound fully and laid off attorneys trickle back into law firms, consultants may see less money in their paychecks, they said. Industrywide trends in reduced compensation will hold true for attorneys in corporate finance and mergers and acquisitions, Zaremski said. “In all likelihood, they will not be looking at the same compensation as they were during the boom times,” he said. “It’s just very much a
Tips For Firms On Making Flextime Work
By Anne Urda, October 05, 2009
Flexible time schedules are gaining in popularity as more attorneys demand a better work-life balance, but in order to make the schedule a win-win, firms need to become a partner in the process, legal experts say. Though law firm layoffs still abound, more and more are looking at alternative measures in order to cut costs while keeping the pool of talented lawyers happy, experts said.
“Flexible work arrangements are certainly a good thing for firms,” said Jack Zaremski, the founder and president of New York-based recruiting firm Hanover Legal. “Firms simply need to do more to make the work environment more healthy for everyone involved, and flexibility is always a good thing.” But establishing a flexible work arrangement can often prove tricky for both the firms and the individual attorneys, who fear the potential stigma and backlash attached to pursuing a customized schedule… One of the most significant pressures on firms right now is to provide healthier work environments for all their attorneys, Zaremski said. “The most common complaint that I hear as a recruiter for law firms is that attorneys have no control over their lives,” he said. “Needless to say when people lose control, they inevitably become unhappy, and that often leads to an unhealthy environment as well.”
Firms’ ‘Ego’-Driven Salary Structure Can’t Last: Experts
By Nick Brown, October 02, 2009
While plenty of leading law firms have frozen or slashed associate salaries amid the current recession, just as many have remained dedicated to the status quo — a devotion that may be rooted more in ego than loyalty, some experts say…
“It’s a calculated business decision, basically,” Jack Zaremski, founder and president of New York-based legal consulting firm Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc., told Law360. “Firms are trying to stay competitive.” Zaremski invoked an auto-related analogy, comparing elite firms to Lamborghinis. “In tough financial times, clients may be more willing to settle for a Mercedes, which is still a high-quality product,” he said. “Some firms realize this, and cut salary, knowing they will not attract quite as high a talent base, but they can offer clients services at a slightly lower rate.” But not all firms go that route, Zaremski said. “You’ll always have firms that want to maintain that top-notch standing,” he said. “There will always be a niche for the Lamborghini.” …
Zaremski acknowledged that cutting associate salaries isn’t the only way a firm can save money, pointing out that several firms have held off on bonuses and decreased pay for partners.
Pro Bono Boom Will Outlast Recession: Experts
By Erin Fuchs, September 22, 2009
The U.S.’ deepest recession since the Great Depression has spurred attorneys and firms to ferret out more pro bono work to stay busy and network, but that surge is part of a trend that will grow as the economy recovers: firms using unpaid work to make connections and train green associates, legal industry experts say. As the economy stabilizes and firms adopt permanent cost-cutting measures, clients will appreciate firms’ shouldering the expense of training associates through pro bono work, said Jack Zaremski, founder and president of legal consulting and attorney placement firm Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc. “I certainly think there will be more pro bono work going forward essentially because of increased pressure on firms to not force clients to pay for the training of associates,” Zaremski said.
In Obama Era, DC May Become New Legal Hot Spot
By Shannon Henson, August 19, 2009
As a result of the likely increase in regulation from the Obama administration, so many law firms are looking to boost their capabilities in Washington that some consultants say the nation’s capital could replace New York as the legal industry’s power center. According to legal consultants and recruiters, law firms are considering increasing their manpower in the Beltway, and more attorneys are spending time in Washington. However, some industry observers doubt there will be a permanent shift in power because few clients are based in the capital, and the bulk of the work available there will always revolve around the government…
New York and D.C. have long catered to different audiences, said Jack Zaremski, founder and president of legal consulting and attorney placement firm Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc., adding that he doesn’t believe the legal industry will experience the “cataclysmic shift” that some people are predicting. “The fact that New York is the hub of the financial sector is not going to change, at least not in the near future,” Zaremski said. “The landscape of New York finance and New York law has undergone some significant changes, obviously, over the last year or so, but that doesn’t change the fact that New York remains the center of financial activity worldwide.”
Backlash Fails To Discourage Firms’ Carcass Picking
By Anne Urda, August 14, 2009
In the wake of several prominent law firms’ collapses, suits against former partners and their subsequent legal homes have started to spring up, but the threat has done little to dampen firms’ willingness to welcome those that survive the wreckage, legal experts say. Over the past year, Heller Ehrman LLP, Thelen Reid Brown Raysman & Steiner LLP, and Thacher Proffitt & Wood LLP have all imploded under the strain of the economic crisis, leaving some of the country’s top legal talent without jobs. While many of those attorneys were snatched up in the immediate aftermath, some are now facing legal action from former employees and others as the dust begins to settle…
That’s not to say that firms should not do what they can to protect themselves from falling prey to bad situations, though, said Jack Zaremski, founder and president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc., a New York-based legal consulting and attorney placement firm. “One thing that firms like to avoid whenever possible is conflict of any sort,” Zaremski said. “Firms typically will do as good a job as they can to check on the history of the incoming partners and associates’ business.” That should include conflict checks, as well as scrutiny of the liabilities that might come from future lawsuits, he said.
“A firm looks at whether it makes sense to bring these attorneys on board,” Zaremski said. “It really varies with every firm. What works for firm A may not work for firm B.” … Zaremski pointed to the collapse of Dreier LLP, which sunk after sole equity partner Marc Dreier was accused of swindling millions from investors. “For some, just being associated with Dreier was a taint, and some firms were reluctant to have anything to do with people who had that taint,” he said. “Others were less so and saw skill sets and business that would be valuable to the new firm. That evaluation always takes place on a case-by-case basis.” At the end of the day, due diligence is the key so that firms have their eyes open with respect to incoming hires, no matter what the situation may turn out to be, Zaremski said. “They need to do this not only when it comes to matters like avoiding conflicts, but also existing and potential liabilities of all sorts,” he said. “That always needs to be weighed against the skills and business that the attorney is bringing to the firm.” “If the positive outweighs the negative, the candidate is more likely to come on board,” Zaremski said.
Top Firms For Women Offer Work-Life Balance
By Erin Fuchs, August 12, 2009
A survey released Tuesday on the “50 Best Law Firms for Women” features firms — including Sidley Austin LLP, WilmerHale LLP, Jenner & Block LLP and Foley Hoag LLP — that offer lawyers flexible hours and other options to achieve work-life balance, a goal experts say has fallen by the wayside amid the recession… The survey took into account firms’ flexible-hour and reduced-hour policies, as well as the number of women in leadership roles at the firms, among other factors…
Jack Zaremski, founder and president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc., agreed that giving lawyers the chance to live their own lives outside work benefits both them and the firm — especially during a recession. “It’s intuitive that firms will operate more efficiently and more effectively not only by improving their own economics,” Zaremski said, “but also by providing environments in which their own lawyers can be healthy and which allows for attorneys to have satisfying lives outside of the practice of law.” Still, he said, firms have been focusing mostly on maintaining their economic viability during the recession. “The next step in getting firms to being healthier is to start addressing and focusing more on the area of work-life balance.” “It’s something that we cannot neglect to do in the long run.”
The vast majority of female lawyers seeking his assistance in making a lateral move almost immediately ask whether firms provide flexibility so that they can take care of their families, Zaremski said. But that flexibility should apply to all workers, including men who want to take care of their children and lawyers who want time to pursue their outside-of-work passions, he said. Zaremski pointed out that he has taken the time to participate in five Iron Man Triathlons, the fifth one taking place in Japan.
Suing Over Fees Should Be Firms’ Last Resort: Experts
By Erin Fuchs, July 29, 2009
Big-league law firm Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP’s legal action over a $2.83 million tab it alleges went unpaid signifies the lengths more firms will have to go to in order to get paid in lean times, law firm watchers say. ..
But even with the bad blood that can come from law firms suing their own clients, the Schulte action shows that cash shortages might force reputable firms to go after sizable unpaid bills in court, according to Jack Zaremski, founder and president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc., a New York-based legal consulting and attorney placement firm. Zaremski described Schulte as “one of the great American law firms.”
The lawsuit doesn’t reflect the firm’s incompetence at collecting on its debt; rather, it’s a sign of the times and of a recession that has hurt businesses across industries, he said. “In better times, Schulte might not have sued,” Zaremski said. But now “there’s less money coming into the firms. Firms need to do what they can in order to collect money due to them.” Still, he cautioned that litigation should remain a last resort in any client-service provider relationship. When disputes inevitably arise, smart businesses will do whatever they can to avoid suing current or former clients, Zaremski said.
Downturn Drives Firms To Seek rent Savings: Experts
By Erin Fuchs, July 21, 2009
Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft LLP’s putting out feelers for cheaper digs for its London offices reflects an industrywide impulse to reduce rent in the midst of a recession, according to experts. While most firms won’t uproot their offices right away, experts say they’re already subleasing space, exploring cheaper options for the future and even renegotiating the leases they signed in boom times. “Right now the name of the game is cutting costs across the board,” said Jack Zaremski, the founder and president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc., a New York-based legal consulting and attorney placement firm. Before the recession, “there was clearly a trend among not only law firms but businesses to spend more money than was really necessary on all sorts of things. Fancy office space was certainly one of those,” Zaremski said.
Less Can Be More When Wooing Corporate Counsel
By Anne Urda, July 17, 2009
As law firms struggle to stay afloat and attract new business in difficult economic times, corporate counsel are finding themselves being hotly pursued… Some law firms have turned toward the “swarming technique,” with representatives besieging the general counsel with social invitations in an attempt to lure them to the firm for their outside legal needs … [but] such methods are only effective up to a certain point…
That’s not to say that you have to be totally hands-off, according to Jack Zaremski, the founder and president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc., a New York-based legal consulting and attorney placement firm. “It is essential to maintain the current client relationship, and it does need to be nurtured,” Zaremski said. “In the current market, where corporate counsel are under immense pressure to cut costs, they are going to compromise on a certain amount of quality and frills in order to find a more affordable service provider.”
While law firms may be interested in attracting more work, they should not take anyone for granted these days and would be wise to pay attention to their current stable of clients, he cautioned. “In a competitive market like this, everybody’s fair game,” Zaremski said. “Nobody owns any client or client relationship. [C]orporate counsels’ own jobs are in jeopardy, and they are only going to be successful to the extent that they can make the case that they are getting the best quality available at the cheapest price available.”
Lawyers’ Benefits Next On Chopping Block: Experts
By Erin Fuchs, June 11, 2009
McDermott Will & Emery LLP’s recent memo to associates that it will slash their benefits packages by July 1 portends a coming wave of law firm reductions in employees’ plans as firms scramble to cut corners in tight economic times, industry experts predict… While law firms won’t likely publicize benefits cuts, industry experts say that benefits packages — which can make up a significant portion of overall compensation — represent the next wave of cuts as the recession drags on.
“There’s no question in my mind that every firm is reassessing its benefits plans along with every other aspect of its costs in order to trim down and get back into sync with the realities of the current market,” law firm consultant Jack Zaremski said. Zaremski, president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc., a Manhattan-based law firm consulting and attorney placement firm, said more prosperous times didn’t only inflate lawyers’ salaries. The bull market also led firms to throw lavish holiday parties and try to one-up each other with the perks they offered – including employee benefits packages, Zaremski said. “Now the sense is [law firms] are feeling that the benefits packages were too generous, at least to the extent that they realize that they have to cut them now,” he said. “Hindsight is 20/20 at the same time. At the time when McDermott was offering its enhanced benefits packages, it didn’t feel like it was being overly generous.” “It’s just a different market,” Zaremski added, “and a different ball game.”
That market creates a situation where law firms have to trim everywhere they can. But it also allows firms to cut compensation, even benefits packages, without fear that associates will flee the firm, according to Zaremski. “Right now we’re in a situation where attorneys are by and large happy to be employed. So firms are empowered to make cuts while we’re in the midst of this difficult recession without having to fear that associates are going to jump ship,” he said. “Because associates can’t really jump ship right now,” Zaremski added… Still, some experts, such as Zaremski, say the cuts are a wise move and should be made permanent — even after the recession.
Microsoft Drops K&L Gates From Preferred Firm List
By Christie Smythe, May 14, 2009
K&L Gates LLP, a firm tied to Microsoft Corp. founder Bill Gates’ father, has been dropped from a list of the company’s preferred law firms, falling in line with a trend in which personal relationships are sometimes taking a back seat to other business concerns in the selection of outside counsel, according to legal industry experts. …
While they could not comment on Microsoft’s decision specifically, some legal industry and law firm recruitment consultants said corporations were generally trying to be more cost-conscious in the recession, leading them to put business concerns above relationships in making counsel hiring decisions. “Clearly, the bottom line cash aspects of the relationship are more important now than they have been since I can remember,” said Jack Zaremski, president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc., a New York-based law firm consulting and attorney placement firm. “Representation of corporations is becoming more business-driven in the current market as opposed to relationship driven,” Zaremski said. “That being said, people still want to do business with people they know and [with whom they] feel comfortable and have a track record.”
Recession-Driven Practice Areas Weak In ’09: Report
By Erin Fuchs, May 11, 2009
The legal practice areas such as employment and intellectual property law at major U.S. firms that usually see boon times amid economic meltdowns have actually suffered in 2009, according to a new report… The report found that employment practices performed weakly in 2009 compared to 2008, as did intellectual property law. The report also found that litigation was flat in 2009, possibly due to its growing costs. The famously recession-driven practice area of bankruptcy, however, hasn’t disappointed business restructuring attorneys. Business activity increased 13.2 percent in 2009 compared to a year ago, according to Hildebrandt.
Jack Zaremski, president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc., a Manhattan-based law firm consulting and attorney placement firm, said that while firms were cutting corners on some recession-driven practices, bankruptcy is simply too important not to spend money on. “The service you’re providing basically has to be perceived as essential to the business of the client. Bankruptcy is essential. You wouldn’t go to a second-rate doctor for cancer,” he said. “You don’t want to mess with something that is going to keep your business alive or to cause it to go under,” Zaremski added.
Practice areas such as intellectual property and employment, however, aren’t seen by clients as being as crucial as the restructuring of their business, he said. Employers will still need to defend themselves against intellectual property and employment suits, but they might not turn to the major league legal players that are part of the Hildebrandt index to do so, he said. Faced with an economic downturn, Zaremski said, clients might end up sending their work to smaller firms outside of New York City, which charge less than the major firms. They also might handle IP and employment cases in-house.
Billable Hour Leaves Firms Vulnerable To Attack
By Anne Urda, May 08, 2009
Some clients, more leery than ever of being overcharged, have taken to the courts recently and launched overbilling suits against major law firms… Jack Zaremski, president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc., a Manhattan-based law firm consulting and attorney placement firm, believes that overbilling charges may drop off in New York City in the coming months. “I think it’s going to be less of a problem rather than more of one, because I feel we are turning a corner with respect to the downturn,” he said.
“My sense is that clients might be going a bit too far in questioning the integrity and honesty of great law firms.” … “I think that the overzealousness with which clients are going after firms with respect to the way they bill is going to come back to haunt them,” he said. “The legal market is a two-way street and attorneys have a choice as to who they represent.” Once a client gets a reputation as being difficult, it can be harder to find good representation, according to Zaremski. “The market is starting to turn, and clients are going to find they are not quite as empowered when the competition for any business was at its peak,” he said… People have short memories and forget things are cyclical and that what you do today might have repercussions tomorrow.”
April Shows Steep Decline In Law Firm Layoffs
By Anne Urda, April 29, 2009
After a brutal March, the number of lawyers laid off in April fell off more than 80 percent, marking a low for 2009 and suggesting that law firms may be turning toward other means to cut costs and meet client demands in a still-struggling economy. According to a Law360 analysis, 160 lawyers have been laid off in April, a significant downturn from the whopping 1,121 lawyers that lost their jobs in March and the 1,045 let go in February. Staff firings are also down, with 340 legal professionals shown the door in April, as opposed to the year-high 2,129 members in March and the 978 staff members in February.
But whether the layoff slow-down is permanent or merely an aberration remains to be seen, according to Jack Zaremski, president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc., a Manhattan-based law firm consulting and attorney placement firm. “I think firms are in a little bit of a holding pattern right now,” he said. “By and large, they have made significant layoffs but there are still a lot of questions as to where the economy is headed. There are still lots of doubts – have we really stabilized or are things going to get worse?” Regardless of what happens in the short-term, the economic crisis has changed the way law firms do business going forward, according to Zaremski. “They are more sensitive to the demands clients are placing upon them to be as efficient as possible and are acting accordingly,” he said. “There is more and more competition for a limited amount of business. Going forward, layoffs will be a normal part of doing business, as in the realm of finance and banking.” Firms appear to be increasingly interested in exploring alternative ways to save money these days, rather than simply letting people go, Zaremski said. “Apart from layoffs, firms are also working hard to come up with alternative fee arrangements,” he said. “Firms are more sensitive to the market now and are going with the flow of the market. They have been forced to learn some hard lessons about irrational exuberance and indefinite growth.” …
More firms appear to be moving in this direction as well, with Chadbourne & Parke LLP recently announcing that it plans to make cuts to the salaries of associates and others in an attempt to avoid any further reductions to its work force. But that does not mean the mass layoffs are a thing of the past already, according to Zaremski. “It remains to be seen,” he said. “More layoffs are possible if the stability turns into a downturn again, but firms also want to be prepared for an increase in business and don’t want to lay off too many people.” … While firms will no doubt go back to hiring if there is a sense that the market is going to pick up and more deal work will be coming through, they will not be quick to forget the hard-learned lessons of this “defining” period, Zaremski said. “They are going to be much more fluid and flexible, which is a good thing,” he said. “Firms are very conscious of restructuring and following a different approach. There is no stigma associated with layoffs anymore and going forward they are going to be more competitive and more efficient.”
Howrey Axes 25, Seeks More Capital From Partners
By Erin Fuchs, April 20, 2009
As the economic crisis continues to strap law firms for cash, Howrey LLP has eliminated 25 secretarial positions and asked its Level I partial equity partners to pony up capital for the first time and equity partners to up their own contributions… The moves come as firms nationwide are trimming staff and cutting costs in an effort to weather the economic storm.
Amid tight times, more firms have turned to their partners for capital, according to law firm consultant Jack Zaremski. “Given the downturn in the economy and the decrease in revenue … there’s just less cash available to firms,” said Zaremski, president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc., a New York-based law firm consulting and attorney placement firm. The economic crisis has [also] made it more difficult for firms to secure bank financing, Zaremski said. “They need to look for alternative sources” of income, he said. In the fall, DLA Piper also asked income partners to contribute capital to the firm, Zaremski noted. …
While every partner might like her own secretary, firms are doing away with luxury and trimming anywhere they can, Zaremski said. Firms have historically resisted changing the way they do business, but the crisis could force them to institute fundamental changes, he said. “They have to be hit on the head with a sledge hammer in order to change the way they do business,” Zaremski said. “This economic downturn is so severe and so intense that it’s the equivalent of being hit in the head with a sledgehammer,” he said.
Law firms would be well advised not to forget about the tough times if and when the economy improves, according to Zaremski. “My view is that some of the[se] changes … are going to stick and take hold.”
Auditors Create Sticky Situations for Firms, Clients
By Anne Urda, April 03, 2009
With money tight and fears high, some clients are cracking down on potential billing abuse by looking to auditors for help – creating a contentious set-up that could backfire on clients and cost law firms some jobs, according to legal experts… “I think there will be more of a tendency for clients to scrutinize the billing arrangements they have with firms as the economic situation continues to deteriorate and businesses become more competitive,” said Jack Zaremski, president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc., a Manhattan-based law firm consulting and attorney placement firm. “The billable hour lends itself to inefficiency – there is no question about that.”
“[However], if clients insist on checking up on lawyers’ work, they could make it difficult for the firm to provide the service that has been requested and they may end up with a lower quality service provider,” he said. “There needs to be balance and accommodation on both ends.” … Zaremski said that it is important that clients remember that while they may have the advantage now, that might not always be the case. “We will come out of this at some point in some way,” he said. “The storm will not last forever and people will remember how law firms and also clients reacted in a very difficult environment. Behavior during this difficult time will have repercussions into the future.”
Economic Anxiety Could Kill Firms’ Urge To Merge
By Erin Fuchs, March 30, 2009
Despite predictions that the ongoing economic crisis could spur more law firm mergers this year, some legal experts contend that the linkups don’t ultimately save firms a significant amount of money and that the fear of taking on another firm’s finances could deter firms from joining forces. “The instability of the market makes it difficult for law firms to get an accurate read on merger partners these days, which is one reason firms are merger shy,” said Jack Zaremski, president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc. “You’re not seeing so many mergers take place right now because, as in any difficult market, people tend to be more risk-averse. So every decision is scrutinized more,” Zaremski told Law360. “Merging is a risky business,” he added, pointing out that the marriage of Thelen Reid & Priest LLP and Brown Raysman Millstein Felder & Steiner LLP preceded Thelen’s demise.” …
Despite merger fears created by the recession, the economic crisis has also brought to light the recognition that firms need to become more efficient — and sometimes efficiency means combining forces with another firm,” Zaremski said. “Firms recognize that they need to merge because they need to be more competitive and more efficient, but it’s especially hard for firms to take a jump like that in uncertain times,” he said. Zaremski predicts more mergers as the economy improves and firms become more certain of their own finances and those of potential partners. “[The mergers] might make them not only more efficient, but also more competitive,” he said. “Some firms might see themselves in a better position to weather the next economic storm.”
Not All Attorneys Face Bleak Times
By Shannon Henson, March 26, 2009
Though every day seems to bring news of firm layoffs, attorneys in bankruptcy, white collar crime, executive compensation and a few other practice areas should stay busy, and some may even see a spike in work opportunities… “If you’re not productive or aren’t carrying your weight, you’re going to potentially be a target of a layoff or, at the very least, compensation cuts, whether you are a partner, an associate, a staff attorney or a legal secretary,” said Jack Zaremski, president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services.
However, certain practice areas are busier than they have been in any other period in recent times. Bankruptcy and restructuring work is the big winner as more and more companies find they can’t make a go of it. “Bankruptcy is the consummate countercyclical area,” Zaremski said. “Bankruptcy attorneys are unquestionably more valuable than they were before the crisis. It is like being a real estate associate during the real estate boom. Just a year ago real estate and finance attorneys were extremely valuable, and now no one will hire them.” … Legal observers believe white collar work will be abundant given the “massive fraud in our economy,” according to Zaremski. However, he cautioned attorneys who practice in the area not to get too comfortable. “There’s no question that associates and partners in bankruptcy and white collar crime are being reviewed and asked to leave if they aren’t producing, even though, by and large, people are expecting those practice areas to carry more than their normal share of the load,” Zaremski said.
Partners Gulp As Clifford Chance Votes To Scale Back
By Anne Urda, March 20, 2009
As Clifford Chance LLP holds a vote on cutting back on the size and shape of its partnership, other firms are likely to take stock of their own partnership structures as they continue to grapple with navigating through a seemingly endless economic storm, according to legal experts… “Certainly, other firms are doing it or are seriously considering it,” said Jack Zaremski, president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc., a Manhattan-based law firm consulting and attorney placement firm. “This is not unique to Clifford Chance. Everybody is being evaluated up and down no matter their rank at the major law firms.” While there are still vestiges of security in the partner designations at places like Sullivan & Cromwell, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and Debevoise & Plimpton, to name a few, the idea that partnership is akin to academia’s tenure track is now long gone, according to Zaremski. “At the old, large primarily New York-based firms, the equity partners still enjoy a bit of tenure,” he said. “With the exception of the truly great old firms, though, it’s just business. Everybody’s being evaluated along the same lines.” …
In the wake of the economic crisis, law firms are beginning to understand that they have to operate more and more like businesses and that status should not trump the bottom line, according to Zaremski. “At this point a $20,000 paralegal has a better chance of being retained than an $800,000 partner who is viewed as being a drain on the bottom line,” he said. “Distinctions that might have had significance in the past, don’t so much anymore.” Yet, not everyone is in danger, as firms are still hoping to trim the fat rather than cut into the muscle. “Really, the muscle is what’s driving the firm forward and keeping it afloat,” Zaremski said. “If you are a significant rainmaker and are bringing a substantial amount of business to the firm, you will still be safe by and large. Those with portable business are life preservers — firms are holding on for dear life.” That’s not to say, however, such people cannot be turned out if the firm where they are practicing turns out to be unstable. “The ship can capsize,” Zaremski said. “New York is on the ocean, and we are in the midst of a serious storm.”
With three major firms closing shop in the last three months, Zaremski predicts that more casualties are to come. “Very frankly, there is no guarantee that we are going to get out of this, and there is a question of what everything will look like after the storm. It could be a very, very different picture,” he said. “These days, law firms are forced to think of themselves in a pure business sense. It’s a matter of survival.” … “Historically, once you did make that jump to partner, you were thought of as protected,” Zaremski said. “But partnership doesn’t imply ownership anymore. I think you will see a leaner and meaner management across the board and more rigorous review and more frequent review.
More Partner Lateral Moves Than Ever Expected In ’09
By Shannon Henson, March 12, 2009
Amid the economic downturn and widespread associate layoffs, a record number of partners will make lateral moves in 2009, legal consultants predict. There is more job movement in unstable markets such as the current one because lawyers don’t want to wait it out at poorly performing firms, consultants said. The economic downturn has also prompted many partners to reassess their careers and consider whether they are in the best spot for the long haul, experts said.
Last year, there were more than 2,500 partner lateral moves across the country — a record-setting number, said Jack Zaremski, president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services. “Partners are looking for more stable ships, so to speak. And a lot of firms are unstable right now,” he said… Partners are more comfortable with switching firms because the perception of partner movement has also changed in recent years, said Zaremski. “Lateral partner movement has become de-stigmatized, and that’s a significant factor,” Zaremski said. “As little as five years ago, it was something that was really shunned upon. A certain kind of loyalty was expected, and partners were supposed to stay where they were. That mentality almost doesn’t exist at all anymore. Now, partners are expected to be exploring options. It’s just business.”
Ditching Deadweight Partners Can Buoy Firms: Experts
By Erin Fuchs, March 11, 2009
Responding to the report that DLA Piper’s United Kingdom offices have recently shed 7 to 8 percent of their partnership, a prominent New York legal consultant said that cutting deadweight at the highest levels could help firms stay afloat amid the recession. On Wednesday, a leaked memo revealed that up to 8 percent of DLA Piper’s partners have recently left its U.K. office, Legal Week reported. The memo said that since June the London office has hired only 37 employees but lost 145, according to the report…
Law firm consultant Jack Zaremski told Law360 on Wednesday that the loss of partners could affect DLA Piper either positively or negatively, depending on whether these partners contributed to the firm. The firm could suffer if it lost moneymaking partners, said Zaremski, president of New York-based legal recruiting company Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc. But, he added, “If what they’re losing is essentially deadweight, it will help.” The most salient lesson lawyers should glean from the DLA Piper cuts is that law firms are targeting partners for layoffs just as much as they’re targeting associates. “Your mere status is no longer sacrosanct,” he said. “It’s no longer going to guarantee anything.””The mere fact that you have partner status doesn’t assure you of anything these days,” Zaremski added. “You have to be pulling your weight more and more at these firms.”
He also pointed out that DLA Piper is one of the firms with the greatest amount of partner movement right now in both directions. Hanover reported last month that DLA’s U.S. offices gained 58 partners in 2008 but lost 37 partners — making it both one of the nation’s biggest lateral losers and one of its biggest winners.
McGuireWoods Cuts Salaries For New Associates
By Ryan Davis, March 06, 2009
McGuire Woods LLP said Friday it had cut salaries for the first-year associates who will join the firm in September by 10 percent. A firm representative also said McGuireWoods was freezing salaries for all current associates at 2008 levels, but was not planning any layoffs and has not rescinded any job offers. The firm has not announced any layoffs to date…
Jack Zaremski, a law firm consultant and president of New York-based legal recruiting company Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc., predicted last year that salary freezes would be the tip of the iceberg if the economic dip continued. “Everybody understands that there is tremendous inefficiency in the legal market. They are going to have to trim a lot of fat going forward, and that might be reflected in decreased compensation,” Zaremski said last year. “Law firm associates might have to be flexible with their salaries if they wish to keep their jobs in a time of such economic crisis, according to Zaremski. “All these things that associates were getting used to in boom times, they might just have to accept the fact that we’re in a very different economic climate now,” Zaremski said. “Great firms are making difficult decisions about how to stay afloat.”
Technology Threatens To Displace Associates Further
By Anne Urda, February 20, 2009
As law firms seek to restructure operations to survive the current recession, legal experts predict that technology will cut into the work previously performed by associates as firms wrestle with dueling pressures of how to keep costs low and clients happy… Jack Zaremski, a law firm consultant and president of New York-based legal recruiting company Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc., said that the issue is not about leverage or technology as much as it is about the bottom line. “The issue is being as efficient as possible,” he said. “If there are situations where technology can do work that attorneys used to do – whether they were associates, counsel or partners – firms will be much more inclined to use technology.”
Right now, firms must not only consider how to cut costs but also how to retain clients in the current buyers’ market, Zaremski said. “When you start out as an associate in law school, you don’t really know anything but often firms are billing out first-year associates at $300 an hour and up,” said Zaremski. “If I were a client paying for somebody who doesn’t know anything, I would think that’s exorbitant and a waste of money and it is.” For years, clients have essentially been paying for associates to learn the ropes and get up to speed, but those days may be numbered. “Clients are much more empowered to make demands that they might not have felt they needed or could make before,” he said. “All this time that clients were in effect paying law firms for training their associates … some of the firms are going to feel more pressure to maybe absorb those costs themselves.” … “I think some firms may start re-evaluating the billing rates of their associates, and make those rates become more in sync with the real value and associate expertise that they are bringing to the table,” said Zaremski.
If firms are able to reduce the costs passed onto their clients by embracing technology and other cost-cutting measures, such a move could in turn make them more competitive in the marketplace, according to Zaremski. “I certainly see corporate clients working with law firms on how to contain costs and firms actively offering to help,” he said. “There is not an infinite amount of money to go around or even that feeling anymore. So firms are going to have to compete for the business there is and for the money that is being spent.” …
Zaremski also believes that some of the work may be shipped elsewhere as firms continue to look for the point of equilibrium between quality and cost. “My sense is that we are going to see more outsourcing,” he said. “If firms believe that they can maintain the quality of work and lower costs, they will seriously consider outsourcing where they might not have before.” Given the unusual economic circumstances firms face, they will not hesitate to employ whatever weapons are at their disposal even if they shied away from doing so in the past, Zaremski said. “Areas that used to be considered safe and sacrosanct” no longer exist, he said. “Nothing is certain anymore,” Zaremski added. “This is much more about pure business and being as competitive as possible in an increasingly difficult marketplace.” …“Right now, firms are feeling empowered, in a sense, to make cuts where they otherwise might have felt less compelled or able to do so,” he said. “The environment is just so tough that it’s not only accepted but expected.” …[T]he sense is that we do not see the light at the end of the tunnel right now in terms of recovery, and there are hard times ahead for the indefinite future,” said Zaremski. “As long as we’re in tough economic times, firms will be looking to cut costs wherever they can.”
Even Partners Face Ax As Law Firms Cut Deeper
By Christie Smythe, February 4, 2009
Layoffs at law firms are spreading to the partner ranks, as a recent announcement by Clifford Chance LLP shows, indicating that seniority is now taking a back seat to harsh economic realities, even for the biggest fish in the legal pond. The international firm announced Wednesday that it would “review the shape and size of the firm’s partnership,” in a move that “is likely to result in an overall reduction in partner numbers” if approved by the firm.
Until this past year, attorney layoffs in general at major firms were somewhat taboo, and the partner level was often considered as solid as tenure at a university, said Jack Zaremski, president of legal recruitment and consultancy firm Hanover Legal Personnel Services. But all that has changed with the current recession, he said. “It just all comes down to basic business,” Zaremski said. “If you’re not sufficiently successful, you’re going to be a target of a layoff.”
Crisis Could Bring Opportunity For Female Lawyers
By Anne Urda, January 16, 2009
While the economic crisis has hit the legal market particularly hard over the past year, some legal experts predict the financial turmoil may prove to be a rare opportunity for female attorneys as they continue to vie for their place in what many still consider to be a man’s world… [T]hough layoffs are taking place left and right at the major law firms, the reshuffling could work to female attorneys’ advantage, according to Jack Zaremski, a law firm consultant and president of New York-based legal recruiting company Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc. “I am very optimistic [as to] the impact that all the law firm turmoil will have on women in Big Law,” he said. “There are going to be opportunities for female attorneys as well as other diversity groups.”
With firms beginning to re-evaluate their business strategy, they have a chance to embrace a retooled development plan, and some may look to retain more women and minorities, according to Zaremski. “Firms are in restructuring mode,” he said. “The layoffs are at least in part motivated by the recognition of the need to trim a significant amount of fat from the law firm machines and produce more efficient firms going forward as a result.” Part of that will be implementing certain policies that make law firms better and healthier places, with women likely to be the beneficiaries of such changes. “It is pretty universally accepted that enhanced diversity, which includes the hiring and elevation of female attorneys, is part and parcel of a healthier, better work place at law firms,” Zaremski said. … Many women are also stymied by the notion that they will shortly leave to start a family or do something else, according to Zaremski. “There is no question that it’s still an issue,” Zaremski said. “I think it’s naive to not think that part of the consideration as to whether or not it will be a successful hire is the extent to which they are available to work.” …“Even with the possibility that they will take time off or go on maternity leave, the benefit to the firm of having high-quality female attorneys certainly outweighs the costs,” Zaremski said. More and more firms are beginning to embrace that idea as they seek to restructure their outfits in the midst of the crisis, Zaremski said. “There are a great many players, and some are better managed and some are worse managed. We just saw four of the AmLaw 200 firms disappear over the last year.”
Zaremski pointed to the recent suggestion made by Cravath Swaine & Moore managing partner Evan Chesler to do away with the billable hour at law firms as a sign that the times are changing. “Part of his idea is to make law firms more efficient and healthier places,” Zaremski said. “It’s all related in the sense that some places just have a better understanding and appreciation [of] how it is in the firm’s benefit to have prominent and talented female attorneys, not only as part of their staff but as part of their management.” Zaremski predicted that the firms that seize the opportunity to hire and promote talented female attorneys would be the ones to thrive in these tumultuous times. “Firms at the forefront of increasing the involvement of women in management and more broadly are much more likely to be successful in the future — similar to how firms that are on the forefront of other aspects of diversity hiring and promotion of minority groups do well,” he said.
Most people agree that there are significant problems with the way firms have been operating, with the dearth of women and other diversity groups a factor, according to Zaremski. “Firms still have a long way to go, and it’s a great opportunity for women,” Zaremski said. “There is a tremendous amount of support to do things like recruit extraordinarily talented women and also promote them to positions of management within firms.” As always, some firms will take more advantage than others during the economic crisis to make changes, Zaremski said. “Turmoil presents opportunities for the implementation of some good policies,” Zaremski said. “You have to be ready, willing and able, and courageous enough to change the old and entrenched ways of doing business.”
Milberg rides Madoff
By Hilary Potkowitz, January 5, 2009
Bernard Madoff is said to have ruined many a fortune, but for one law firm, history’s largest alleged Ponzi scheme is opening the door for a comeback… Some in the legal community think it will take more than a few prominent hires to dissipate the cloud of disdain. “I’d still feel uncomfortable placing attorneys at Milberg,” says Jack Zaremski, president of legal search firm Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc. “You don’t go from your name partners acting criminally, and the firm negotiating a plea agreement in order to stay in business, to becoming a respected player in the New York legal community in the space of a year.”
Struggling Thacher To Advise On Bailout
By Ryan Davis, December 18, 2008
Thacher Proffitt & Wood, which last week began seeking a merger to avoid dissolution, has been selected by the U.S. Department of the Treasury to advise on the government’s Wall Street bailout. In a statement Wednesday, the Treasury said Thacher will be paid no more than $500,000 to help the government handle investments that involve purchasing toxic asset-backed securities… “My first reaction is that it’s great for Thacher Proffitt that the government is expressing confidence in them,” said Jack Zaremski, a law firm consultant and president of New York-based legal recruiting company Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc. “It doesn’t surprise me that Thacher Proffitt is getting a contract with the government. There are great attorneys there even though the firm is unstable.” However, the small size of the contract means that it “doesn’t seem very significant” to the firm’s overall viability, he added. Zaremski said that it’s likely the government and Thacher Proffitt took into account that the firm could dissolve and allowed for the attorneys working on the bailout to take the work with them to new firms in that event.
Latham & Watkins Opts for Salary Freeze
By Anne Urda, December 16, 2008
Seeking to reduce costs, Latham & Watkins has opted to freeze associate pay for the upcoming year as the firm attempts to stick to a no-layoff pledge in the midst of the financial crisis… Jack Zaremski, a law firm consultant and president of New York-based legal recruiting company Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc., contends that Latham’s management likely only took the step after staring at decreased revenues for 2009 and calendar year 2008. “Latham is one of the planet’s great law firms,” Zaremski said. “I think that it would be somewhat inappropriate to assume that they are doing anything underhanded. My interpretation would be that they are just making these decisions based on the difficult economic climate.”
Associates must be reminded that they are not the only ones who are taking home less money than desired, with partners forced to cut back in these times as well, Zaremski said. “Certainly, partners are anticipating taking home less money, and I would imagine their decision is to just spread that decrease with respect to revenue across the board,” he said. “I don’t think it’s anything pointed at the associates or making any statement.” … “With more and more legal layoffs taking place every day, a firm’s ability to maintain the associate salary structure is somewhat of an achievement in and of itself, Zaremski said. “Right now, we’re really in an economic and political tsunami,” Zaremski said. “Given the storms we are in, people should by and large appreciate the fact that they have a job and employment and a place to go to work every day.”…
Law firm associates do need to mentally readjust to the difficult times they now face rather than pine for days gone by, according to Zaremski. “Associates have become used to making significant bonuses in boom times, but we’re not in boom times anymore,” Zaremski said. “All these things that associates were getting used to in boom times, they might just have to accept the fact that we’re in a very different economic climate now. Great firms are making difficult decisions about how to stay afloat.” If the economy does not improve in the next year or so, attorneys could be looking at far worse than salary freezes, Zaremski said. “I would anticipate that attorneys across the board will be looking at decreased compensation, certainly if the economy doesn’t improve,” he said. “Everybody understands that there is tremendous inefficiency in the legal market. They are going to have to trim a lot of fat going forward, and that might be reflected in decreased compensation.” Given the universality of the current economic crisis, Zaremski doubts that the move will damage Latham’s reputation or recruiting efforts in the long run. “I think Latham has a very long history of a tremendous work product attracting some of the very finest attorneys in the legal community,” he said. … “[T]he more savvy attorneys will have an appreciation that Latham is doing what they have to do.”
If anything, Latham might come out on top by being perceived as exercising sound business judgment in such trying times, according to Zaremski. …“Perhaps Latham should be given some credit for having the courage to take a stand and say, ‘Look, times of indefinitely increasing associate compensation and bonuses are suspended at the very least until we have a better sense of what the economic future holds for us,'” Zaremski said. While negative publicity is always tough to weather, Latham may be in a better position in the end for just biting the bullet and taking the hit now, according to Zaremski. … “It stands to reason that freezing salaries and reducing bonuses are two of the most obvious ways to prevent costs from escalating, and I am sure firms are going to be doing a lot more than that,” Zaremski said. “Those firms that are scared of adverse publicity might end up paying a price in 2010 if the economic downturn continues.”
Arrest the Death Knell For Dreier LLP: Experts
By Anne Urda, December 8, 2008
… “It stands to reason that there is tremendous unrest, instability and insecurity at Dreier for the lawyers still there,” said Jack Zaremski, a law firm consultant and president of New York-based legal recruiting company Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc. “The entire management of the firm was left in the hands of Dreier as the sole equity partner. As a result, the whole firm has been left in the lurch.” The demise of Dreier is not a question of if but when, given the firm’s apparent lack of a backup plan, Zaremski said. “This is a horrible example of a firm that wasn’t hedged with respect to its own management,” he said. “When you have a sole equity partner, in the aftermath of a calamity, the firm might very well cease to exist.” …
“I would venture to say that as many as half of Dreier’s attorneys will have a very difficult time if the firm does indeed collapse,” said Zaremski. “For those that won’t be able to find other employment, this is a great opportunity to venture out on their own or explore options outside of the practice of law.” Zaremski predicts that some of the displaced attorneys will be welcomed with open arms at other firms, depending on the portability of their business. “If you are in a countercyclical area such as bankruptcy, white-collar or employment, or if you have substantial portable business, it should not be difficult to find another firm,” Zaremski said. … For the attorneys left, the key is to move quickly since their value continues to diminish as more and more is revealed about Dreier, according to Zaremski. “Everybody on the market understands that this is a close-out sale,” Zaremski said. “They do not have an infinite amount of time to find the best future home. They need to find something quickly.” “Whether clients follow their former Dreier attorneys to their new homes remains to be seen, but some business is sure to be lost in the transition given the circumstances, according to Zaremski… “Right now, attorneys in the firm are in a frenzy as to what to do next,” said Zaremski. “They are a ship without a rudder, and we are in a tsunami facing multiple storms — economic, political transition, etc. There could not be a worse time to be left rudderless.”
Kirkland & Ellis’ Unlimited Vacation Policy: Pointless?
By Denise Oliveira, December 3, 2008
Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s decision to offer “unlimited” paid vacation for associates could boost morale at an otherwise gloomy time. But it will be of little practical value to associates who prefer a cushy paycheck over vacation days they probably won’t use. Law firm management is getting better at understanding the need to provide associates with the means for balancing their work and personal lives, said Jack Zaremski, a law firm consultant and president of New York-based legal recruiting company Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc. “But if in fact this is a way of eliminating the paid vacation system so that the firm isn’t obliged to pay associates for unused vacation time, that’s another question,” Zaremski said, noting that without more information he was not passing judgment on Kirkland & Ellis’ underlying motives.
Alternatives Abound for Law-Leery Attorneys
By Ben James, October 20, 2008
… Economic turbulence, in tandem with general dissatisfaction, has left a slew of attorneys looking for new jobs, or considering alternate career paths, said Jack Zaremski, founder and president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc. “There are more lawyers now than any time I can remember looking for work and considering other career paths,” Zaremski said. For some, the current environment could prove to be a blessing in disguise, Zaremski added. The downturn could provide chances for attorneys to think back on what their true passions are and move in that direction, he said. Raking in a six-figure salary can be addictive — essentially amounting to what Zaremski called “golden handcuffs.” Once a person gets used to bringing in a lawyer’s salary, it becomes hard to imagine living without it, which can limit the exploration of other options, he said. Ultimately, what determines the best career path for a lawyer is that person’s individual desires and goals, Zaremski said, adding that for those willing to take risks, opportunities abound. “Think about the tremendously wide array of possibilities out there, both old and new opportunities, and just go for it,” Zaremski said. “Take the risk. Take the jump.”
Note To Managing Partners: The Time To Act Is Now
By Denise Oliveira, October 14, 2008
The fate of law firms that have taken a hit in the current financial turmoil rests largely in the hands of their managing partners, who need to act quickly, wisely and forcefully to help their firms weather the storm, experts say… “Try to steer the ship a little more conservatively,” said Jack Zaremski, a law firm consultant and president of legal recruiting company Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc. Markets always rebound and the firm will need a strong corps in place when it does, he said, cautioning against massive rounds of layoffs. “The firms that have really acquired reputations of strength and have become attractive, especially for attorneys wanting to move laterally, are those that have avoided the temptation to reduce staff in tough times,” Zaremski said. “Firms that become less attractive are those that have a reputation for acting in more extreme ways. Attorneys are very sensitive to firms and their policies vis-a-vis laying off attorneys, or retaining them,” he said.
And though it may be counterintuitive, this is actually a good time for managing partners who can afford to do so to acquire new talent for the firm and build for the future. “It’s obvious, but the firms that are always hardest hit in crises like these are the ones that aren’t diversified,” Zaremski said, advising firms to expand their capabilities so they are less dependent on the type of deal work formerly generated by Wall Street. “And it’s never too late to diversify,” Zaremski added.
Lawyers lose jobs, Wall St. to blame
By Hilary Potkewitz, September 1, 2008
Lawyers are following bankers, as usual–right out the door. In the wake of massive layoffs on Wall Street, law firms have been quietly letting go of staffers whose services are no longer needed now that financial deals have dried up… “New York is the most competitive legal market in the world,” warns Jack Zaremski, president of legal recruiting firm Hanover Legal. “For a law firm, either you’re swimming well or you’re sinking.”
Laid Off Lawyers May Have To Look Beyond Big Apple
By Denise Oliveira, August 01, 2008
In a city that reportedly has over 90,000 practicing lawyers, what happens to young and mid-level associates who suddenly find themselves unemployed in New York? That is undoubtedly the question the 96 corporate attorneys laid off from Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP Wednesday – many of them in New York – are asking themselves… “There is no way major firms can absorb all these attorneys,” said Jack Zaremski, founder and president of Hanover Legal Personal Services Inc., an attorney placement company in New York City. … It may be easier to get hired by firms in New York City that are doing international work, or that are headquartered elsewhere but have offices in the city that focus less on the financial market, Zaremski said.
Layoffs hit law firms
Credit crisis means fewer transactions; more jobs will go
By Hilary Potkewitz, December 08, 2007
Over the past few weeks, several of the city’s most prestigious law firms have done something that law firms do under only the direst of circumstances. They have laid off lawyers. “Having to lay off associates is the worst nightmare in the minds of law firms,” says Jack Zaremski, president of placement firm Hanover Legal Personnel Services. “It can take a firm years to get rid of the stigma that they laid people off.” Mr. Zaremski says he’s seen a marked increase recently in the number of associates from the likes of Thacher Proffitt and Cadwalader talking with his firm. “Let’s just say that we expect to be working with a lot more of them in the very near future.”
Tidal Wave of Lawyers Nears, Bar Data Forewarn
By ANNIE KARNI, Staff Reporter of the Sun, December 4, 2007
Even with 91,000 practicing attorneys in the five boroughs last year, a new wave of lawyers is hitting the city, as a record number of law school students are taking and passing the state bar, according to data provided by the New York State Board of Law Examiners. “There is a glut of attorneys in New York, and there always will be,” the president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services, Jack Zaremski, said in an interview. The total number of lawyers in America is now about 1.14 million, according to the American Bar Association, and more than one in 10 live and work in New York.
“There isn’t going to be a decrease in demand for the very best talent, but that doesn’t indicate much at all,” Mr. Zaremski said. “There are plenty of attorneys who are happy to accept very low-level, mind-numbing positions doing whatever’s at the bottom of the barrel.” The surplus of lawyers has created an entire industry that places attorneys in law firms on a temporary basis, Mr. Zaremski said.
Law Firms Racing To Boast Best Pay
By Joseph Goldstein – Staff Reporter of the Sun, November 2, 2007
The race is on to see which of the city’s top law firms will boast the best-paid associates… [The] interpretation that these early and generous bonuses are meant to ward off a salary war next year has few adherents. “That’s just speculation,” a recruiter, Jack Zaremski of Hanover Legal Personnel Services, said. “My instinct would be the opposite. This is an indication that firms would be interested in taking base compensation to the next level as well.”
Lawyers tussle over retirement age
Some top local firms reconsider policies as city pans mandates
By Hilary Potkewitz, September 2, 2007
The American Bar Association’s denunciation last month of mandatory-retirement policies at law firms has sent a ripple through many of New York’s top firms–more than half of which show partners the door at ages ranging from 60 to 70… “There is no question that firms with relaxed retirement policies are magnets for older partners who are productive–much to those firms’ benefit,” says Jack Zaremski, president of attorney search firm Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc. …These advantages are helping firms like Miami-based Greenberg Traurig and Chicago-based Seyfarth Shaw develop strong, 200-plus lawyer practices in New York, says Mr. Zaremski, who has referred candidates to both firms.
Taking a fast track to partner
Firms opening NY offices; lawyers eager to advance find each other
By Hilary Potkewitz, July 28. 2007
“You just really aren’t taken seriously as a national or international player unless you have a significant presence in New York City,” says Jack Zaremski, president of legal search firm Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc. “If you’re truly interested in being a partner in New York, you should really think hard before leaving a New York firm prematurely,” Mr. Zaremski warns.
The News & Observer, Raleigh, North Carolina
Law firms boost starting pay
Entry-level salaries rise to $115,000 as a stronger economy creates legal work
By Karin Rives, Staff Writer, February 28, 2006
It’s an economic indicator of a different sort: Entry-level lawyers are making more money. As in $115,000 a year, up from $100,000. With graduating students finding more employment options in general, firms in Los Angeles, New York, and other big cities began to boost pay several months ago. “It was just a matter of time before the smaller markets would follow suit,” said Jack Zaremski, president of New York City-based Hanover Legal Personnel Services, which places people nationwide. “It’s a domino effect.”
New York Bulls
By Tommy Fernandez, January 6, 2006
Manhattan is back… Wall Street is gaining momentum, and that means there’s going to be more hiring in the biggest, most important areas of the legal profession in New York: general corporate and mergers and acquisition work,” says Jack Zaremski, president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc.
Law firms face wage push
By Tommy Fernandez, January 2, 2006
After holding the line for five years, the city’s law firms are soon likely to feel pressure to raise attorneys’ starting salaries… This is all about marketing, about firms drawing attention to themselves,” says legal recruiter Jack Zaremski, president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc. “New York is the most competitive legal market on the planet. Firms will do whatever they can to put themselves in the spotlight.” “My gut feeling is that this is not going to touch off a salary war–certainly nothing like what we saw during those days of irrational exuberance,” Mr. Zaremski says. “To be frank, most law firms are still stunned by the excesses of five years ago.”
Firms told: No lip service
Over the past year, more law firms using the power of the purse to advocate for diversity at firms that represent them
By Tommy Fernandez, September 19, 2005
In the 26 years since Joan Guggenheimer got her J.D. from Columbia University, the nation’s law schools have graduated growing numbers of women and minorities. Yet the vast majority of the partners at the top New York law firms are still white men… “Law firms these days are paying a great deal of lip service to the overwhelming need for increasing their diversity hires and promotions,” says legal recruiter Jack Zaremski, president of Hanover Legal Personnel. “Very few are doing anything more [than that] in practice.”
Prosecutors going private for white collar dollars
Firms vie for skilled lawyers as zealous AGs boost demand; some too pure to play
By Tommy Fernandez, July 18, 2005
David Kelley is a prime potential player in the law firm arena,” says recruiter Jack Zaremski, president of Hanover Legal Personnel, who has helped many prosecutors find jobs in the private sector. “The compensation packages offered to him will be extremely interesting. The sky’s the limit.”
Out-of-towners reshape city’s legal landscape;
More firms open outposts to grab share of lucrative local business
By Tommy Fernandez, April 25, 2005
The nation’s law firms are storming Manhattan. A lot of the out-of-town firms are the most ambitious in this city, when it comes to growth,” says recruiter Jack Zaremski, president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc. “They are driving most of the lateral movement in the New York market now.”
Major firms held in contempt
By Tommy Fernandez, February 21, 2005
“I’d say that over half of the attorneys in New York are unhappy with their current situations,” says Jack Zaremski, president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc. “This makes them ripe for movement, as long as there are firms willing to offer what they want.” Mr. Zaremski says that many attorneys in New York are so discontented that he is luring them away with minimal salary increases, if any. A lot of attorneys don’t want heaps more money, he says, just work arrangements that better suit their needs. “In this tight market, law firms have to work harder to create cultures that actually make lawyers happy,” says Mr. Zaremski, who sits on a state bar committee studying quality-of-life issues.
Lawyer temps give clients more power of attorneys
By Tommy Fernandez, July 21, 2003
…Some firms are loath to cede control of temp hiring to their clients, and some of these clients, in turn, are reluctant to push them. Consequently, recruiters like Jack Zaremski, president of Hanover Legal Personnel Services Inc., are widening their efforts to target corporate officers. Executives can save a ton of money by using temps,” Mr. Zaremski says. “It’s just a good business proposition.”