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Wake Up Call: Firms’ Summer Recruiting Shrank Amidst Covid

July 22, 2021, 12:13 PM

In today’s column, Cravath stayed atop Vault’s latest prestige rankings, based on associates’ evaluations of law firms; a troubled Florida for-profit law school is suing the U.S. Department of Education; the Biden administration nominated a Comcast attorney to be U.S. ambassador to Canada.

  • Leading off, law firms’ summer recruiting offers and average class sizes all shrank because of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 as many large firms made “conservative” recruiting decisions despite hefty revenue and profit gains, according to a new report from the National Association for Law Placement. “There is a story that emerges, however, despite the asterisks, and that is one of both resilience and caution,” the organization said. (NALP)
  • Katten said it won’t require associates to work a specific number of days in-office when they return after Labor Day. The firm said its clients have varied views on remote and online work, but that it wants to accommodate workers who need extra flexibility. (American Lawyer) Meanwhile, close to a quarter of respondents to a new survey of “top” U.K. lawyers found that they expect their firms to reverse commitments to remote working because of investment bank Morgan Stanley’s opposition to such arrangements. (Law.com International)
  • Cravath, Swaine & Moore stayed atop Vault’s latest prestige rankings of law firms, as assessed by associates. Wachtell, Skadden, Sullivan & Cromwell, and Latham & Watkins make up the rest of the top five. Davis Polk & Wardwell stayed at No. 7, but Vault did its survey before the firm set the scale for associate pay hikes this year. (Vault.com) (Above The Law)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • The Biden administration nominated Comcast attorney David Cohen to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Canada. Cohen, a Comcast senior adviser, earlier in his career was a partner and chairman of Philadelphia-founded Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll. The administration also named Greenberg Traurig corporate and securities senior counsel Victoria Reggie Kennedy to be U.S. Ambassador to Austria. (WhiteHouse.Gov)
  • Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr said its Washington office managing partner, Earl Adams, Jr., was appointed chief counsel to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in the Transportation Department. Partner Rob Duston is the firm’s new Washington managing partner. Adams, who was co-chair of Saul Ewing’s regulatory, compliance and government practice, is also stepping down from his role as chairman of the board of directors at the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority. (Saul.com)
  • Former Boies Schiller Flexner co-managing partner Nicholas Gravante started his career at Cravath but decided to go to work for a New York City criminal lawyer whose clients included mob bosses and drug dealers. Now, Gravante’s head of commercial litigation at Cadwalader, representing a Trump Organization employee targeted in an investigation by Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance. (Financial Times)
  • Law firms have been dealing with fraudsters trying to score easy money by using names, social security numbers, and addresses of lawyers and staff to many phony unemployment claims. (Legal Intelligencer) Insurers, trucking companies, and other business representatives are fighting what they call a growing use of secret third-party litigation funding by plaintiffs suing trucking companies (Transport Topics)

Laterals, Moves, In-House

  • Kirkland & Ellis grabbed Clifford Chance investment funds partner Victor Levy as a partner in New York; Crowell & Moring hired Shipman & Goodwin insurance litigator Miranda Turner as a partner in Washington; Reed Smith recruited Roger Gibboni, former senior director of legal affairs at the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform, as an associate in Washington in its state attorneys general practice. (ReedSmith.com)
  • Jenner & Block said Brandon Fox, former criminal division chief, U.S. Attorney’s Office Central California District, is returning as a partner and Los Angeles office managing partner and co-chair of the investigations, compliance, and defense practice; San Francisco-headquartered immigration firm Berry Appleman & Leiden expanded in Austin, Texas, hiring Jackson Lewis shareholder Maggie Murphy as a partner. BAL said Murphy, who arrives with two associates and several paralegals and support staff, will head its Austin office, which now has 15 members and is expected to more than triple by year’s end. (BAL.com)

Legal Education

  • Florida Coastal School of Law is suing the U.S. Department of Education for terminating the for-profit school’s participation in the federal financial aid program. (ABA Journal)

To contact the correspondent on this story: Rick Mitchell in Paris at rMitchell@correspondent.bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rebekah Mintzer at rmintzer@bloomberglaw.com; Darren Bowman at dbowman@bloomberglaw.com

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