How are lit boutiques handling the downturn?

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How are lit boutiques handling the downturn?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Apr 27, 2020 12:10 pm

Would love to hear from those working at lit boutiques how their firms are handling COVID-19 related downturns. I'm thinking MTO, Molo, Susman, Quinn (to the extent it's a boutique), Boies (same caveat), etc. Are firms that have P-side business less affected? Will above-market bonuses at places like Susman become a long-forgotten memory? Any layoffs/stealth cutbacks?

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Re: How are lit boutiques handling the downturn?

Post by LitBoutiqueAssociate » Mon Apr 27, 2020 12:43 pm

The firm I'm at is business as usual. Everything is moving to telephonic, such as hearings and deps. Clients are still paying, new cases are coming in, and none of the cases I'm on have been stayed. Compensation hasn't changed.

No word on bonuses. We're majority D-side lately.

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Re: How are lit boutiques handling the downturn?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Apr 27, 2020 1:20 pm

Not at one of those you named, but at one of the top p-side lit boutiques. We are crazy busy and will be even crazier once the economy recovers. The post-2008 recession world was crazy busy for the plaintiffs side, especially with the bad actors in the financial industry. If that is a guidepost again, we will need to hire more attorneys.

Our bonus is usually 50-200% of base salary depending on what settles. We had a bunch of settlements lined up, but who knows if they will go through officially this year with the court closures. So expecting a lower bonus, but that just means next year is even crazier. So glad I left biglaw.

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Re: How are lit boutiques handling the downturn?

Post by RaceJudicata » Mon Apr 27, 2020 7:55 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Not at one of those you named, but at one of the top p-side lit boutiques. We are crazy busy and will be even crazier once the economy recovers. The post-2008 recession world was crazy busy for the plaintiffs side, especially with the bad actors in the financial industry. If that is a guidepost again, we will need to hire more attorneys.

Our bonus is usually 50-200% of base salary depending on what settles. We had a bunch of settlements lined up, but who knows if they will go through officially this year with the court closures. So expecting a lower bonus, but that just means next year is even crazier. So glad I left biglaw.
But is the last recession really a guidepost for this go around? In 2008 (and in the years after) every financial institution was the target of lawsuits - and that is where the big settlements came from. Who do you sue this time? Not banks fault... not sure what other industries to go after. I’m sure there is money to be made after all the dust settles... but doubt it’ll be as lucrative as the last recession.

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Re: How are lit boutiques handling the downturn?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Apr 27, 2020 8:12 pm

RaceJudicata wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Not at one of those you named, but at one of the top p-side lit boutiques. We are crazy busy and will be even crazier once the economy recovers. The post-2008 recession world was crazy busy for the plaintiffs side, especially with the bad actors in the financial industry. If that is a guidepost again, we will need to hire more attorneys.

Our bonus is usually 50-200% of base salary depending on what settles. We had a bunch of settlements lined up, but who knows if they will go through officially this year with the court closures. So expecting a lower bonus, but that just means next year is even crazier. So glad I left biglaw.
But is the last recession really a guidepost for this go around? In 2008 (and in the years after) every financial institution was the target of lawsuits - and that is where the big settlements came from. Who do you sue this time? Not banks fault... not sure what other industries to go after. I’m sure there is money to be made after all the dust settles... but doubt it’ll be as lucrative as the last recession.
Quoted anon. Good points, but we didn’t know in the midst of the last recession how bad the conduct was for years after. Who knows what happens this time? I could imagine a lot more whistleblower stuff happening rather then the straight financial market manipulations that went down in 08/09.

Plus other areas are really taking off and won’t slow down - stuff like data breaches is already lucrative and it’s not like breaches will slow down.

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Re: How are lit boutiques handling the downturn?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Apr 27, 2020 9:07 pm

Irell looks like they're weathering the storm okay. They're giving a spring bonus that's tied to 2019 bonus eligibility and compensation. 10% of base pay for associates.

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Re: How are lit boutiques handling the downturn?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Apr 28, 2020 7:36 pm

At one of the mentioned firms. We're business as usual. Firm leadership has been completely transparent, providing frequent updates about the state of the firm and its finances. Defense-side clients are still paying. Plaintiff-side work still trucking along. That said, won't know the true impact until year-end.

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Re: How are lit boutiques handling the downturn?

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Apr 29, 2020 11:57 am

SG associate here. Leadership has been pretty transparent and business seems to be trucking along fairly normally for the most part. I suspect bonuses will still be above "market" but probably lower than our recent record-setting years. But won't really know until later this year.

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Re: How are lit boutiques handling the downturn?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri May 15, 2020 10:51 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Apr 27, 2020 9:07 pm
Irell looks like they're weathering the storm okay. They're giving a spring bonus that's tied to 2019 bonus eligibility and compensation. 10% of base pay for associates.
Are they though? Their headcount is down to at or below 60 pre-COVID, important major rainmakers left/they lost and trimmed entire practice groups, and have incoming associates SAs interested in things they don't even really do or focus on anymore. It is basically a patent lit boutique now where people remaining fought merger because Patent group had high PPPs and didn't want to risk lowering income in merger/wanted to maintain control

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Anonymous User
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Re: How are lit boutiques handling the downturn?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri May 15, 2020 1:19 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Fri May 15, 2020 10:51 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Apr 27, 2020 9:07 pm
Irell looks like they're weathering the storm okay. They're giving a spring bonus that's tied to 2019 bonus eligibility and compensation. 10% of base pay for associates.
Are they though? Their headcount is down to at or below 60 pre-COVID, important major rainmakers left/they lost and trimmed entire practice groups, and have incoming associates SAs interested in things they don't even really do or focus on anymore. It is basically a patent lit boutique now where people remaining fought merger because Patent group had high PPPs and didn't want to risk lowering income in merger/wanted to maintain control
Just curious: I just noticed that one partner who’s an acquaintance of mine just moved to WSGR. Is that where all of their commercial litigators ended up, or are they all over the place?

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Re: How are lit boutiques handling the downturn?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri May 15, 2020 2:37 pm

I know Eimer Stahl did a ton of work suing the Governor of Wisconsin over the stay at home order.

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