Time for another edition of news and gossip you don’t want to miss:
1. Attention, bargain hunters: Hire an American lawyer! Magic Circle partners’ rates are up to 850 pounds per hour, which is about $1,376. That represents an increase of 62 percent since 2005, according to The Lawyer.
My, my — that’s a very high number. Cravath partners might be bargains in comparison. Who do those fancy Brits think they are — Ted Olson? (Remember, Olson’s rate is reputedly $1,800 per hour. I’ve asked Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, and the firm would neither deny nor confirm the figure.)
2. But the Brits don’t make as much as the Yanks. This seems like a bit of a paradox: The partners at the top U.K. firms have high ­billing rates, but they’re making substantially less than their American counterparts. From the ABA Blog: A PricewaterhouseCoopers survey found that profits per partner at top-10 law firms in the United Kingdom was a million pounds, on average, during the 2012-13 fiscal year, according to Bloomberg and the Financial Times. That translates to about $1.6 million in U.S. currency at the current exchange rate. But at comparable top-10 law firms in the U.S., the average was nearly 30 percent higher.
What accounts for this gap? Is the billing rate of the British partners all for show? “They tend not to bill the way we do,” an American lawyer said. “It’s a cultural thing. They don’t like to bill for phone calls with clients, internal discussions about client matters.”
Anyway, there’s now another reason not to trot across the pond: The weather sucks, the food is bad, the cost of living is astronomical and partners there don’t rake in nearly the dough that American partners do.
3. A moment of hypocrisy: Why does John Edwards get to practice law again, but Stephen Glass is banned entry into the profession? You know about the transgressions of presidential aspirant John Edwards (he lied about paternity, among other things). Stephen Glass, in case you don’t remember, was a young reporter who was caught fabricating stories in the New Republic.
Glass paid his dues and has worked hard to redeem himself. For the past few years since he graduated from Georgetown Law School, he’s been trying to convince the State Bar of Califor­nia to allow him to get his law license. The bar rejected his bar application on moral -character grounds in 2009. And recently, it did so again.
Wall Street Journal Law Blog writer Jacob Gershman poses a question that’s worth considering — namely, is it fair that the profession treats bar applicants more harshly than practicing lawyers? The answer is probably not. As New York University law professor Stephen Gillers tells WSJ: “It’s harder to get in than to get kicked out.”
So the moral lesson is: Behave yourself until you get admitted into the club.