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Joe Patrice

Joe Patrice is an Editor at Above the Law. For over a decade, he practiced as a litigator at...

Elie Mystal

Elie Mystal is the Managing Editor of Above the Law Redline and the Editor-At-Large of Breaking Media. He’s appeared...

Episode Notes

It’s bonus season in Biglaw, and the major firms are slowly but surely rolling out their bonus announcements and telling associates what they’ll be getting in their stockings this year. But Elie sees a bit of a Scrooge in the early first move and slow matching cycle. What’s going on with the legal market and are we really looking at a recession in the making?

Special thanks to our sponsor, Logikcull.

Transcript

Above the Law – Thinking Like a Lawyer

The Happiest Time Of The Year: Bonus Time!

12/17/2019

 

[Music]

 

Intro: Welcome to Thinking like a Lawyer with your hosts Elie Mystal and Joe Patrice, talking about legal news and pop culture all while thinking like a lawyer, here on Legal Talk Network.

 

Joe Patrice: Well, welcome to another edition of Thinking Like a Lawyer, I am Joe Patrice from Above The Law, with me Elie Mystal.

 

Elie Mystal: It’s beginning to look a lot like holiday season.

 

Joe Patrice: That’s right, that’s fair. It is looking like holiday season. It’s actually Hanukkahs in a couple of weeks, but —

 

Elie Mystal: Hanukkah’s life is here.

 

Joe Patrice: The Whitehouse has already done their Hanukkah party. I don’t know if you saw that. No — and somebody dug up 8 years ago, Trump sent out a tweet blasting Obama for having the Hanukkah party two weeks early.

 

Elie Mystal: There is always a tweet.

 

Joe Patrice: Yeah, it’s really kind of incredible, but.

 

Elie Mystal: There is always a tweet.

 

Joe Patrice: But it is not in fact Hanukkah yet, nor is it Christmas, but it will be all these and more Happy Saturnalia for those of you who are still practicing Roman religion.

 

Elie Mystal: For those of you who have hooked up with Mike Duncan as we have told you about repeatedly, you will know what that means. Yes, Hanukkah’s life is here and I still haven’t bought my Christmas tree, do you know why?

 

Joe Patrice: No.

 

Elie Mystal: Because my house is —

 

Joe Patrice: Oh, I do know why.

 

Elie Mystal: — giant God damn wreck.

 

Joe Patrice: I do know why you haven’t gotten it. I am sorry to hear all this.

 

Elie Mystal: So here is why I am pissed off about today. And it’s going to start off just like your normal home repair nightmare story, right?

 

Joe Patrice: Fair enough.

 

Elie Mystal: We had a plumbing clog over Thanksgiving, that required us to bring in some plumbers who found out that it was a deeper problem. It turns out there was a tree route in my main sewage line. They fixed the pipe, when they fixed the pipe they realized that we this other problem with the floor. They started fixing the floor, they realized that we have mold under the floor. Like, it’s the classic cascade failure of I had a — I had a toilet flushing problem on the Friday after Thanksgiving, and two weeks later, I have no floor in my basement and I need to hire a mold mitigation. So it’s that kind of like classic story.

 

However, here is where the legal angle comes in, because as usual when it comes to the insurance company their idea is that their job is to screw you. It’s not that you have been paying for this insurance your whole life and now when there is finally a problem, now it’s their job to help; no, no, no, their job they think is to make sure that they don’t have to pay you a cent or as little as possible for the — despite the fact that you have been right. So we are on the floor, of course, you have to take time off-work, I’ve had to take time off-work, my wife had to take time off-work, for those playing along at home, my wife is the one who knows things and handles business issues in our house.

 

So she has had to take time off-work and so we are now — she is now calling the insurance company who is trying to argue that our policy which covers water damage in the basement in the event of a plumbing backup, doesn’t cover mold. In this weird way of like what do you think happens when water touches — like what do you think that was going to. So we are kind of going back and forth about like — trying to make sure that we get as much cover as possible, they are trying to argue that since we had mold they won’t cover the floor that had to be pulled up any way because of the plumbing damage. So that somehow the mold — not just that they won’t cover the mold remediation, but the mold actually obviates them from any responsibility whatsoever. And my wife and I are very kind of like professional, calm yet very strident way as disagreeing with this insurance woman.

 

But the misfortune that my wife has is that I happened to be listening on the phone, and at some point I just started saying very loudly, put her on speaker, put her on speaker, put her on speaker; she finally puts her on speakers and I say, ma’am, what is your name? And the lady says, I told your wife my name already. I am like, yes, but you haven’t told me what is your name? And she is like, well, why is it so important all of a sudden? And I go, because I need to know who to name in my lawsuit, it is going to be State Farm and you. And you — I just — I have to go I went full like, I will sue State Farm out of fucking spite at this point and I am just enough of a lawyer and just enough of a platform to like make that problematic for you people. Before she was even willing to like realize that the person she really wanted to be talking to was my wife.

 

(00:04:58)

 

Joe Patrice: Yeah, that’s what’s valuable, it is, you did the classic, yeah.

 

Elie Mystal: So we are back into the, yes, they’ll pay for the floor and no, they won’t pay for them, and I think a lot of lawyers have probably seen this in their own home improvement situations, in their own. If you ever had dual movers or whatever there are some general class of people who will simply not respect and try to completely screw you over until you start threatening lawsuits even though you know as the actual lawyer that your suit would be —

 

Joe Patrice: Probably going to lose.

 

Elie Mystal: — was probably going to lose, Right? But they don’t know that, and you have to like go to the mattresses to actually start threatening to harass them with probably frivolous litigation.

 

Joe Patrice: And as we learned this week if you haven’t been reading Above The Law, but you should be reading Above The Law if you are listening to this, but as we learned this week from Above The Law if you are trying to sue somebody, like in their case Allstate I believe, it’s important that your lawyer tell the other side that they can eat a bowl of dicks, that’s one of the prime — big stories of last week is a small firm lawyer who was representing people against an insurance company who said a lot of things, eat a bowl of dicks was just one of many exciting things that he said in the course of the litigation and he is now facing a possible sanction.

 

Elie Mystal: I do not tell 00:06:23 eat a bowl of dicks.

 

Joe Patrice: Fair enough. And this is why you fail. That would have gotten the mold, I am sure of it.

 

So anyway, this is a good time for us to talk about getting paid. So, here we go. Today’s episode is brought to you by your goldfish, who is very mad at you and thinking about kicking up his castle and moving away, all because you are still at the office slogging through an endless stock review project. Make better decisions, keep your pet and work smarter with Logikcull, eDiscovery software that gets you started in minutes, scale up your practice.

 

Elie Mystal: Oh God!

 

Joe Patrice: Create your free account today at logikcull.com/atl.

 

Elie Mystal: Do you own like an animal pun book?

 

Joe Patrice: I don’t, but oh my, if anybody is looking for something that make this a lot easier, because I had to take like 5 or 6 minutes to really think through what I could do with different animals. Yeah — no, that would actually make it a lot easier.

 

Elie Mystal: You are getting me to the point where I am almost impressed because that sounds to make sense. Yes. I am not quite impressed yet, but I am now being beaten into almost being impressed.

 

Joe Patrice: It’s fair to be impressed and still wonder why I don’t use this for the forces of good. I think that’s a perfectly acceptable place for you to be.

 

So what we weren’t talking about today is another big story that’s kind of been looming over the end of year. We have been pretty busy here, so we haven’t talked a ton about it on this podcast, but bonuses.

 

Elie Mystal: I can’t believe that we have not done a podcast on bonuses yet.

 

Joe Patrice: We have had a lot to talk about for the last couple of months, and bonus is blind side of this, this year, so bonuses came early. For those of you who are already in legal industry you know all about this, for those of you who are not the big firms give people bonuses at the end of the year, it is part of the grand holiday tradition and bonuses usually are announced, well, in a very particularized way at a very particularized time and that didn’t happen this year and caught a lot of us flat foot.

 

Elie Mystal: Yeah, a good two or three weeks earlier this year, and here’s why. When we have early bonuses, what that means is that there are firms trying to set the market usually at a lower rate than they are capable of setting it. So you have a firm trying to say, look, look, look, we are just going to do the same bonuses as last year and everybody is going to be cool with that, and that’s what an early bonus is. For people who are not, again, as Joe was saying, are not already part of the big law industry, one of the really weird and somewhat difficulty explained features of the BigLaw market is that not only do all of these firms give bonuses, all of these firms give for the most part the same bonus.

 

Joe Patrice: Correct.

 

Elie Mystal: The same first year bonus, the same bonus tied to class here now. As you get lower down the scale you will get some squankiness in terms of hours’ requirement. Depending on as you get lower down the profitability scale, you will get squankiness in terms of whether or not the top end bonus is lock steps, so like the bonus for an eighth or ninth year associate, whether or not that’s lock step across the industry. But the bonuses for kind of years 1 through 5 generally around 1800 to 2100 hours are going to be the exact same across 100 firms, 150 firms, and they are going to be the exact same, this is new over our time at Above The Law, they are going to be the exact same regardless of market, it used to be — was a time where the bonus for the New York office of a firm would be a little bit more than the bonus for the Chicago office of a firm or the DC office of a firm, that’s gone away.

 

(00:10:12)

 

So, basically again, if you’re living in New York, you’re just stupid, you’re just losing money because you’re getting the same salary and now the same bonus despite living in a much more expensive market. But the point is, is that you release these bonuses early in an attempt to set the market and not have it over top you in some way.

 

Joe Patrice: Certainly that’s been the case before. I don’t think that’s what was going on here but for other extra industries that is certainly what’s happened in the past, and in the past, what’s then happened is the usual market-maker, which is Cravath will probably squash the first mover and go over the top and force everybody to reverse themselves.

 

Elie Mystal: That’s not what happened here. So this year bonuses were led by Milbank which made — as I’ve been calling him Same Bank Bonus which means the exact same bonus this year as people got last year.

 

Joe Patrice: Yeah, I actually think the Milbank thing is not in any way involved with trying to limit it. I think what the Milbank discussion is about is an extenuation of what happened over last summer.

 

Last summer, Milbank gave everybody a raise. I don’t know if everyone remembers this, but they decided we’re going to give everybody, all of our associates raises which set off a fury of everybody scrambling to match Milbank being more generous than the rest of the market.

 

I think Milbank was very much intending this to be part of a recruiting pitch. Look at us we’re the ones who led the market in doing this, we have all this money and we’re willing to share it. Unfortunately for them, Cravath decided, well, we agree with you at the bottom of that scale but we’re going to futz with it in the middle and what it resulted in is everybody change — when everyone matched what Cravath did, everyone changing the description of it to everyone’s matching Cravath’s scale. And I think Milbank feels they missed out on that, hey, we’re the people who move the market too.

 

I think what happened here is they wanted to be first, no matter what, not because they wanted to set it at any particular point. Honestly, I think they looked at the market and said, Cravath is going to do the same thing as last year. Therefore, we want it to be Milbank’s bonuses not Cravath’s bonuses. I think this is very much a PR move, and in a lot of ways I think that’s savvy. I mean, it’s hard to get attention in this area because of Cravath. So I think they wanted that and lo and behold they were entirely right.

 

Cravath, who sits on top of a mint, decided they could not in fact go over the top of what Milbank announced, and so, we are calling it rightly the Milbank Bonus.

 

Elie Mystal: Why do you think the bonuses were the same this year as last year, like market-wise?

 

Joe Patrice: Well, so we track this, city private bank puts out a report on what’s going on in the legal industry, their most recent one just came out yesterday actually, and it’s for the last about eight quarters said about — or maybe even more at this point, said the same thing every quarter, revenues are up big but only because we’re raising rates. Demand is okay; it’s not, it’s terrible.

 

And collection cycles are long because they can’t get paid. So you’ll bill hundred thousand dollars at work and send your bill and you’re a client, the shady operations like Citibank will sit there and go, uh, what, we didn’t pay the phone bill this month, we didn’t hear, we must have been lost, so they’re not paying.

 

In any way, it’s just kind of a bad at time for law firms but not terrible. I mean there could obviously be worse, they are still making more money because clients still continue to pay more for the same services but the fundamentals haven’t changed particularly, and indeed, when Milbank made the raises last year, and everybody said, wooh, Milbank is making raises, one thing I pointed out was, not really, the amount that they raised, it was basically a cost of living adjustment since the previous raise.

 

So, I think what’s going on here is it’s the same bonuses because nothing particularly has changed in the fundamentals of the finances since last year.

 

Elie Mystal: Well, I think you’re right at a macro level. At a micro level, as you are seeing that firms are making more money than they did last year and they’re getting the same bonus.

 

Joe Patrice: Right, and I think people see that but it’s really important to understand that it’s something like revenues are up 0.5% and then the number will be 5.4% of it is due to fee increases. When you’re only making more money by testing the limits to which your clients are going to spend more for the exact same product, that’s not a place where you really want to be sitting.

 

Elie Mystal: I understand that, but again, from the perspective of the associate, you’re telling them that the firm is charging more for their services, but not paying more for their work.

 

Joe Patrice: Right, they are charging slightly more, yeah, but I mean, we’re talking in fairly tiny amounts all in. And this is where the —

 

(00:15:01)

 

Elie Mystal: An extra $5,000 kicker would have been inappropriate?

 

Joe Patrice: You do then start entering questions about whether or not this is a question for we should be giving more to everybody or this is where we should give money to the people who actually make money, because yes, fees are going up, but also tons of first and second-year work is being written off.

 

So the place where this money is actually being made is in fee increases at the seventh and eighth year and these are also the sorts of places where these firms often give special handouts to people who did well and did exemplary at that level and they have flexibility there.

 

So I think the actual source of where a lot of that revenue is coming from, those folks are getting some handout here. There’s also been an increase in expenses, obviously revenues have outpaced expenses but expenses have gone up for those who are in New York, rent isn’t cheap, leases are up, tech is now more prolific and is up having more people work like in staff, admin.

 

One of the things that I wrote an article about this week is when speaking about the collection problem about how firms do all this work and can’t get their money, one of the issues there is that the in-house counsel are writing individualized for each company, who’s writing their individualized all bills have to look like this for us or we’re just going to reject it and ask you to resubmit.

 

And it’s just — and most of it is arcane rules that are clearly designed to be onerous and avoid getting paid but that sort of stuff is going on, and what does that require? Well, there’s a few things. One, it could require a tech solution that takes care of that, which is what I was writing about.

 

But for a lot of firms who haven’t yet embraced that tech solution, it’s involved hiring more admins to do the work of going through everything and making it conformed to 300 different guidelines, and these sorts of expenses eat into those revenue increases.

 

You can’t really embrace the top-line without understanding that there’s stuff underneath. So I feel bad for those folks but looking at a recession coming up, I think bonuses are going to be — could very well be less if not next year, the year after, so we’re not in the world’s worst place.

 

Elie Mystal: Well, that was going to be my next question. So bonuses being flat year over year is one thing given where we are in the current economy. When the recession hits, you’ll kiss your mother to keep bonuses flat. Do you think that kind of pre-recession planning played a role in these bonuses at all?

 

Joe Patrice: I mean, the firms will say no, but yeah, one other factor of that Citi survey was that when the Citibank says there is not going to be a recession because that’s what sort of 00:17:50 say. But they said that of the respondents, most of the law firm leaders believe there would be one next year and an even larger majority said, there would definitely be one by 2021. So this is the point where they start making that in.

 

Elie Mystal: And we’re already seeing hiring start to slow down.

 

Joe Patrice: Sort of.

 

Elie Mystal: Well, lateral market still remains hot, bla… bla… bla.

 

Joe Patrice: Super-hot.

 

Elie Mystal: We’re seeing the 2L hiring flatten out. True.

 

Joe Patrice: Now part of that though, could be, and this is the thing that we’ve talked about on this show in last couple weeks, part of that also though is just that you don’t need that many people anymore.

 

Elie Mystal: This is the robots coming to take people.

 

Joe Patrice: Yeah, I mean, you don’t need 500 people to review documents anymore. You don’t need a bunch of people to go to a warehouse to do due diligence anymore. These things are starting to get streamlined and automated, and that is one big part of why they aren’t hiring much.

 

Elie Mystal: I guess what I’m trying to get at though, like overall, you’re talking about a hiring flattening, you’re talking about bonuses being flat, do you think that BigLaw is prepared or better prepared for the coming recession than they were in 2008-2009?

 

Joe Patrice: I’d like to think so because it feels to me from just monitoring the market that, one, while other people, like Citibank are still cautiously optimistic, law firms seem pessimistic, that’s a good sign for their preparedness. It seems to me just for monitoring the lateral market that restructuring and bankruptcy and other countercyclical jobs are high priorities for a lot of firms.

 

And that also includes things you may not think of as countercyclical but certain transactional practices, M&A, so and so forth, those also are doing pretty well in those markets, and you would think that that wouldn’t be what does well, but at least at the beginning of a financial downturn, one of the things that happens is big players swallow little players because now there’s some stress and they can afford it.

 

(00:20:01)

 

So that’s going to kick up a little bit at least at first before everybody starts tightening the belt.

 

Elie Mystal: I think you are right insofar as — in two critical ways. One, I do not think this same Bank bonus was a direct reaction to the coming recession; I think it was an overall reaction to just where the economy is right now. But two, because you have seen this like flatness in hiring and because you see this pessimism emanating from BigLaw, I do think that they almost must be more prepared for the next recession, because they are at least thinking about it.

 

I think that if you roll the tape back to 2007, nobody was thinking about it. We were still on this kind of like, the markets can only go up now because we have reached new — some like new plateau of like economic understanding. Like there were very few firms circa 2007 who even had the potential of a massive economic slowdown like on their radar. They were over hiring. They weren’t dealing with tech changing the nature of the business, they weren’t dealing with clients demanding alternative fee solutions and were caught I think largely flat-footed when Bear Stearns collapsed.

 

Joe Patrice: Right. Well, and I mean this is of course why books and movies like The Big Short were popular, right? Literally nobody was seeing these trends coming. There were like 10 dudes in a random rented office who saw what was happening and nobody else.

 

So yes, they did not know and nor did their clients and that caused a problem. And you are right about the alternative fee arrangements and stuff like that. Those were in their infancy then. They are still — they are gaining traction in certain practice areas, but they are still largely in their infancy, but you reach a point where people don’t have any cash on hand and that’s when they are going to start saying we would prefer if you paid us this way and law firms experience recessions in a bit of a lag, right? You were here. I wasn’t reporting on it, I was a lawyer at the time, but —

 

Elie Mystal: You lived it.

 

Joe Patrice: I lived it. I mean I didn’t, I didn’t lose my job or anything, but you were reporting on it and it was like 2009 was the great layoff.

 

Elie Mystal: Exactly.

 

Joe Patrice: And for those keeping score at home that was 18 months or so into the recession, and there is a reason is that law firms are a bit of a lagging indicator on that, because in the initial downturn there is a lot of money to be made. There are these M&A opportunities that come up, there are a lot of white collar and regulatory issues that come up. It’s only when there is —

 

Elie Mystal: There is restructuring that comes up and there is litigation that comes up.

 

Joe Patrice: You see I was going to hold restructuring, you are right though, that — but that one is going to stay consistent throughout it. There is a lot of money everywhere at the beginning and then like 18 months in a lot of that’s filtered through the system and then is the bankruptcy people’s time to shine, because they are now the only ones still making money, because everyone has bought who they want to buy and now they are good till this turns around. The white collar has decided that we are not going to punish people because why would we punish rich people, so they have all shut down, regulators have now been taken over by lobbyists so they have shut down and now we are back to just bankruptcy.

 

Elie Mystal: The other reason why I think BigLaw especially, law in general and BigLaw especially are lagging indicators of the recession, do not feel the pain until it has really metastasized through the larger economy to a very serious degree is because of the backwards, crazy, stupid BigLaw hiring model, where you are hiring two years out.

 

So like your class that you have to fire in 2009 was hired in 2007 and so the overabundance of just people doesn’t hit you all at once. It hits you because you have made these commitments to these classes years and years before that now when they show up in the middle of a recession when only bankruptcy is making money, there is no work for them.

 

If BigLaw had a kind of smarter hiring model, they wouldn’t constantly have this problem, but they are all — but BigLaw is almost always going to have the problem of hiring people two years out who then show up to work when there is no work during the teeth of a slowdown or a recession.

 

Joe Patrice: Yeah, no, absolutely, yeah.

 

Elie Mystal: And I think — that’s what I am saying. So I noticed the flatness of the hiring as like a potential sign that BigLaw isn’t going to wreck itself quite as hard as it did in 2009. Look, there is still going to be some pain, people are still going to be laid off, salaries and bonuses are going to be flat, if not go down, like there is always going to be some pain, but last time redirected the careers of a generation of lawyers. The hope is that next time won’t.

 

(00:24:56)

 

Joe Patrice: Exactly, yeah. It’s going to be interesting. It does depend on severity and stuff like that too. As bad as things may get, the last one was, yeah.

 

Elie Mystal: One final thing on bonuses, just because again we haven’t actually done a show about this, I want to give listeners a chance to hear what I have heard from you and what I have read from you a lot. It’s one of I think your signature great points, why the fuck is DLA Piper giving the same bonus as Cravath, like why the hell? And not to pick on DLA; I pick on DLA Piper because I can, but I am not trying to pick on — not to pick on any one particular program. But why are firms that are not Cravath, that are not Skadden, that are not these, as you put it, sitting on a mint kind of firms, why are they paying the same lockstep bonus as these other firms that are sitting on a mint?

 

Joe Patrice: There are a few ways to tackle that and then there are firms that probably shouldn’t be paying the same bonuses, and there are definitely some offices that shouldn’t because —

 

Elie Mystal: Why, but why are they doing that?

 

Joe Patrice: I mean I think the argument is — the argument for the offices, I will take them in reverse order, the argument for offices and why somebody in Dallas makes the same amount of money as somebody in New York despite the fact that the cost of living is like half, that’s happening because those Dallas offices and in particularly the Dallas firms there which are dragging the offices, the branch offices into it, the Dallas firms are saying, we feel we do good enough money and offer a good enough career that we can now compete and roll into Harvard, NYU, Chicago and say come down to Texas.

 

A lot of folks going to those places are originally from Texas and when you are in a position to say, not only is the cost of living less, but you are going to get paid the same, that helps. And when we talk about — you say they don’t have to do that, but what are the differences, 10, 15 grand per person in lawyer terms, not a huge difference. So it’s cheap for them to make a huge inroad into somebody’s ability to — into recruiting. So I think that’s the value for these cities and that drives a lot of it.

 

For the firms, DLA Piper is an interesting one. DLA Piper, Dentons, these sorts of firms I feel are —

 

Elie Mystal: These global mega firms that have so many people, so even when you adjust for the fact that maybe one doesn’t have the profitability of a Cravath, just the raw cash that you have to give out to your 500 associates as opposed to your 200 associates, like what are you doing?

 

Joe Patrice: I mean the issue is they just make that amount of money and I think it’s also a recruiting play for them. DLA and Dentons are the ones that I think of who are in a tier of, we have a ton of money, we may not be as prestigious as Cravath, but we can throw money around and maybe someday we will be. I think they are following — and that sounds bad, but I don’t mean it that way. I think in some ways it follows the model that say a Kirkland did several years ago, or a Latham, firms that were good, big.

 

Like in 1990 you would have been like Kirkland, oh, that weird Chicago firm, you wouldn’t have thought of that, but they got big, huge, had a lot of money, then started throwing that money around and now look at them.

 

I think Latham is another one, obviously a very old firm, but a firm that you didn’t see on a certain tier until recently and now they have so much money, they are on that tier.

 

And so I think those sorts of firms are paying the same because they don’t want to fall behind in the recruiting race, because they are of the mind that we may not get the top law review person today, but we could tomorrow and we would prefer not to be behind the eight ball.

 

That said, you are absolutely right that there is a string of regional-ish firms that are never going to make anywhere and have shown no signs that they want to frankly. They look like they are pretty happy doing exactly what they do. I have no idea why they are doing it, because if they aren’t making a play to get bigger and better, I don’t know why you joined.

 

Elie Mystal: Yeah, it’s just — look, as we are coming up on another recession, it just feels like putting yourself under any kind of financial stress just to keep up with Cravath so that you can get the C+ student at Harvard, that’s not even a good lawyer. Yes, you get your Harvard — you get your pound of flesh from Harvard and Stanford and whatever, but like you are getting the mid-tier candidates at your firm and you are blowing up your entire salary structure to do it. Like I just –

 

Joe Patrice: But that’s the thing, the big globals though, they are fine. They have the amount of money to spend and they were getting C+ at Harvard and now they are in a position to get a B at Harvard, especially if somebody is willing to move somewhere. Like we have our office in Peru, are you willing to go? Like that sort of world if they need to compete in it.

 

(00:30:00)

 

And it’s also true at least with some of those firms, not specifically — I guess Dentons specifically, maybe DLA, I don’t remember, but all these varying sorts of organizations —

 

Elie Mystal: Great word.

 

Joe Patrice: –they operate in a world where the offices themselves are so independent and run by their own people that it’s somewhat unfair sometimes. I think of Baker McKenzie, they have a profits per partner number that is great, but not as good as some other firms, but that’s because it’s averaged across the profits per partner of the eight billion partners they have around the world. If you limit it to the US partners, they make a lot more money and they are a lot more competitive in the US to those top tier firms that we think of as the top of things when you limit it out like that.

 

So it’s interesting, but I think they are competing because they want to get to a place, but yeah, people who aren’t showing any signs, then it’s okay, it’s okay to have a second tier.

 

Elie Mystal: Yeah. And again, we are talking about fundamentally quite a lot of money.

 

Joe Patrice: Yeah.

 

Elie Mystal: I would close by saying like I do feel the kind of general associate grumbling over this year’s same Bank bonuses, but like I look at these tea leaves and maybe I am just scarred because I lived through it before, but like I look at these tea leaves and I am just like man, it’s about to get so much worse. We are going to love these same Bank bonuses if they are still making them in 2021 with what’s likely to be happening.

 

Joe Patrice: Yeah. So that’s our discussion of bonuses. We will chat with you next week. In the meantime, you should be reading Above the Law, as we have already discussed. You should be subscribed to this show. You should be giving it reviews, not just stars, but writing something. You should be following us on Twitter. I am @JosephPatrice, he is @ElieNYC. You should be listening to The Jabot, which is Kathryn Rubino’s podcast. You should also listen to the other offerings at the Legal Talk Network.

 

Thank you to Logikcull for sponsoring.

 

And with all of that, I think we are good.

 

Elie Mystal: Peace.

 

Joe Patrice: And good luck on your thing.

 

Elie Mystal: Thank you.

 

[Music]

 

Outro: If you would like more information about what you heard today, please visit legaltalknetwork.com. You can also find us at abovethelaw.com, atlredline.com, iTunes, RSS, Twitter, and Facebook.

 

The views expressed by the participants of this program are their own and do not represent the views of, nor are they endorsed by Legal Talk Network, its officers, directors, employees, agents, representatives, shareholders, and subsidiaries. None of the content should be considered legal advice. As always, consult a lawyer.

 

[Music]

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Episode Details
Published: December 17, 2019
Podcast: Thinking Like a Lawyer - Above the Law
Category: Legal Marketing
Podcast
Thinking Like a Lawyer - Above the Law
Thinking Like a Lawyer - Above the Law

Above the Law's Elie Mystal and Joe Patrice examine everyday topics through the prism of a legal framework.

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