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Wake Up Call: A&O Says London Associates to Get Bonuses

Nov. 24, 2021, 1:42 PM

In today’s column, law firm leaders say the cost savings that helped boost 2020 profits are mostly gone this year; Tesla, whose CEO has had several disputes with the SEC, has hired a former trial attorney at the agency to be its managing counsel; a former Cozen O’Connor attorney agreed to settle SEC insider trader charges.

  • Leading off, Allen & Overy said its London-based associates will be eligible for year-end bonuses, as part of the firm’s effort to compete with the local offices of deep-pocketed U.S. Big Law firms. The Lawyer reported today that A&O will offer bonuses to its leveraged finance associates in the city. In a statement to Bloomberg Law, a spokesman for the Magic Circle firm confirmed, “Our London bonus plan also allows flexibility to award a limited number of larger bonuses to associates and counsel for outstanding contribution through activities that add significant value to the business.” However, all London associates are eligible for bonuses, he said, while declining to specify how much. (The Lawyer)
  • With the legal talent war hitting the U.K., London law firms are “hiring anyone with a pulse,” a report says. ( Skadden Arps hasn’t announced year-end cash bonuses to match the big ones Cravath, Cleary, Cadwalader, and Boies have made for U.S. associates. But Skadden did tell its lawyers they will get holiday gifts: an iPad Pro, Apple Pencil, and Magic Keyboard. (Above The Law)
  • In Covid-hit 2020, cost-savings on outlays like travel, office expenses, and marketing, among others, helped push up profits for Big Law firms. Several firm leaders said they expect those savings to be mostly gone this year, while soaring compensation costs are cutting into profits, according to this report focused on the Florida market. (Daily Business Review)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • Weil, Gotshal & Manges is considering a return to Brussels, Belgium, to expand its EU antitrust practice, 14 years after it closed its office in the EU capital. ( International)
  • Former Cozen O’Connor conflict counsel William Gericke agreed to pay more than $20,000 to settle insider trading charges by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. He was also barred from practicing or appearing before the SEC as an attorney. (Legal Intelligencer)
  • Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, running for re-election, has at least four Republican and three Democrat challengers. (Texas Tribune)
  • A former Fox News host suing the network for harassment and employment discrimination may have to represent herself after she fired her counsel for the third time. (New York Law Journal)

Laterals, Moves, In-house

  • Tesla, whose CEO Elon Musk has had many run-ins with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission over his tweets, hired SEC trial attorney David Misler as its new managing counsel, according to Misler’s LinkedIn profile and news reports. Misler is also a former federal prosecutor; Vinson & Elkins promoted its Washington managing partner, antitrust lawyer Craig Seebald, to co-leader of its global litigation practice group, effective Jan. 1, 2022. (National Law Journal)
  • Customer communications platform Intercom hired Silicon Valley in-house veteran Cheree McAlpine as its first general counsel. McAlpine’s former roles include senior vice president and chief legal officer at LED and OEM lighting company Lumileds, VP and general counsel at Dell-Wyse Technology Inc., among others; Simpson Thacher & Bartlett said it promoted 31 lawyers to partner across its offices worldwide, effective Jan. 1, 2022. Weil said it promoted 26 lawyers to partner, of which 19 are in the U.S., and it promoted 57 to counsel. (


  • Allen & Overy advised Google on its agreement with French news agency Agence France Presse to pay for use of French content online. Gide Loyrette Nouel represented AFP, according to a report from Paris. ( International via The Recorder)


Wake Up Call will be on Thanksgiving break Thursday and Friday this week and will be back Monday, Nov. 29.

To contact the correspondent on this story: Rick Mitchell in Paris at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chris Opfer in New York at; Darren Bowman at