Did the pandemic break the Cravath system?
Well, the pandemic has changed a lot in Biglaw. The largest companies saw higher profitability, but that came at a price – especially more billable hours for employees. This sparked fierce competition in the side associate market. Companies that wanted to keep their talent pool started to throw money in the form of bonuses to their employees. When that wasn’t enough of an incentive, increases ruled the biglaw market.
But how does this whole background play out at Cravath?
Remember, Cravath finds himself different from the rest. The Cravath system is legendary in these areas and it’s all about native talent. In describing their own recruitment process, Cravath’s website specifically boasts that they do not hire attorneys tainted by other biglaw law firms:
Precisely because we do not cross-appoint employees, it is very important to us that we make offers to candidates who have the potential to stand out in our challenging environment, and just as important that those who accept our offers do so because they believe that Cravath is the right place for them.
And before they finally hit the Davis-Polk scale, we speculated that Cravath might be above the market with these extremely valuable employees to keep mid-tier employees in the company – just as they did in 2018. Of course they didn’t. t make the play. But that doesn’t mean they don’t do anything.
An eagle-eyed tipster, directed against the law, spotted a position in the firm for Attorney Talent Recruitment Managers. Hmmmm, the role “will be involved in many aspects of recruiting, with an emphasis on hiring lawyers”.
This is definitely a new twist for Cravath. Further details on the lateral focus of the position:
- Manage the recruitment of all site attorneys in our New York and London offices;
- Working with firm management to identify side lawyer needs, prepare job descriptions, and liaise with search firms and candidates to identify candidates who match the firm’s needs;
- Maintain and maintain strong relationships with leading search firms and broker the company’s recruitment needs;
- Communicating with stakeholders on market status for cross searches and regular updates on compensation, benefits, cost of living adjustments and market trends;
- Examination of applications, coordination of job interviews, enabling reference checks, offer decisions and conditions, and execution of offer letters;
- Regularly review and update Search Company Agreements based on company policy updates or competitive market trends;
- Verification of agency fees and processing of payments;
- Working with the legal team and the General Counsel’s office on conflict resolution and all other policy matters;
- Working with the legal team to create a program to smoothly integrate new hires into the firm; and
- Implementation of lateral attorney orientations.
Cravath did not return our request for comment, so who knows exactly what a lateral entry at the company would look like. So it’s too early to bombard the company with side résumés … but maybe you should brush it up just in case.
Kathryn Rubino is Senior Editor at Above the Law, host of The Jabot podcast, and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. AtL tipsters are the best, so please contact them. Feel free to email her with tips, questions, or comments and follow her on Twitter (@ Kathryn1).