Thursday, November 8

McDermott Develops Avant Garde New Tier System - Looks Conspicuously Like Old One

McDermott, Will & Emery is trying to jump onto the multiple-tier media hayride that Perkins Coie and Chapman and Cutler are enjoying. But the two-tier system actually seems to be well-received and effective for recruiting associates, so in true Big-big-biglaw fashion, McD-W-E tried to do it different and screwed the whole frigging thing up for everybody.

From the ABA Journal:

Instead of giving current partnership-track associates a choice between working more hours for more pay or taking a kinder, gentler approach to law practice at the same highly skilled performance level [what the other firms were doing], McDermott, Will & Emery is planning to create a second team of lower-paid, non-partnership-track associates. They will help handle work such as the deluge of discovery created by modern-day e-mail, reports the Recorder.

Yep. You read that right. MWE's Second-Tier? Contract attorneys. I know what you're thinking - there must be some reason for the second-class, I mean second-tier, system that benefits the associates. This is probably just a way for students of lower schools to work their way in to a big firm job, right? From the article:
Initially, McDermott plans to hire a group of about 15 associate alternates with "good pedigrees" and big-firm experience..."They'll have a status within our structure that's brand-new," says Robert Mallory, a Los Angeles partner in the firm's trial group, noting that the idea is so new that no one knows yet what the lawyers in the second team will be called. "The idea isn't that this will be a training ground. This isn't a path into the firm."

We tend to agree with the commenters, who made the following points:

1. This smacks of "Mommy Track", and could be a dumping ground for minorities and women who have children.
2. This B Team is going to be treated like crap by every ladder-climbing 27-year old who walks in as a summer associate.
3. Although both 1 and 2 are true, if you offered me $120k for 40-50 hours a week, I'd totally sift papers for 9 hours.