Talk:Latham & Watkins/Archive 2

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Archive 1 Archive 2 Archive 3

proposed Layoff text

It seems that there is no one left who thinks that there should be no mention of layoffs at all in the article. This makes sense as the layoffs were unprecented in size and for a top law firm. I propose the following text, which is from an earlier introduction which I edited to be something that I thought was more NPOV.

On February 27, 2009, several news sources reported mass layoffs at Latham, including 190 lawyers and 250 staff members.[1][2] The Wall Street Journal affiliated blog, Legal Blog Watch described the layoffs as "the largest to date by a U.S.-based firm",[3] and the AmLaw Daily stated that the layoffs were "the most dramatic cuts announced so far by an Am Law 100 firm.[4]. In the subsequent Vault rankings, Latham dropped from seven to 17.[5]

Any comments?LedRush (talk) 19:55, 19 May 2010 (UTC)

The Vault rankings aren't necessarily the result of the layoffs, so it might be misleading to have them here. I think it'd be more fair to the article to simply state the new Vault rankings after the 2009 Vault rankings that are already in the article without suggesting the cause for the change.Nycbl1y (talk) 19:58, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
Excellent suggestion. That will beef up the other part of the article while slimming down the layoff section, alleviating concerns about undue weight.LedRush (talk) 19:59, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
Not to mention being ranked #17 by Vault is still pretty significant and should be in the article anyways. Most firms would kill to have that ranking. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Nycbl1y (talkcontribs) 20:00, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
Per my comment above, the issue is the layoffs themselves, not the facts of who reported them and when. Therefore, the material should read something like: In early 2009 Latham laid off nearly 200 lawyers and 250 staff members,[cites] the largest layoff to date by an American law firm.[cites] I have qualms about citing changes to Vault rankings cited only to the Vault - who cares about them anyway? If we can find a third party source we could conceivably say something like: As a smaller firm Latham's ranking fell, both in prestige as measured by the Vault rankings,[cite] and in rankings among the largest and most profitable firms.[cite] - Wikidemon (talk) 20:09, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
Don't see the reason to say "nearly 200" instead of 190.Nycbl1y (talk) 16:26, 20 May 2010 (UTC)
Vault is treated as gospel among lawyers, pehaps even more so than the US News is for colleges and graduate schools. The article already has a section for honors, so I've included that info there. Regarding the change in language for who reported what, you are exactly correct.LedRush (talk) 20:16, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
Gosh, last time I blinked it was some other survey, maybe the Amlaw 100, Fortune this, Forbes that or something. Anyway, all of these things, including US News, take themselves far too seriously. Just simple formulas used to sell newspapers. - Wikidemon (talk) 01:08, 20 May 2010 (UTC)
At least for the last decade, law students and young lawyers have treated, and nothing else, as gospel. You are right to make fun of this practice, but it is true. The US News law school rankings are biased and produce some odd results, but they are good at measuring prestige. Ditto for vault. And because lawyers organize their lives around them, they are important within the legal community. It is sad, but it is true.LedRush (talk) 01:28, 20 May 2010 (UTC)
I believe AmLaw deals with raw size of the firm (in terms of either revenue or profits per partner, don't care enough to check), while Vault deals with prestige. And I agree the awards are silly, but if this was an actor's page, would we include their MTV Viewer's Choice Awards?Nycbl1y (talk) 01:21, 20 May 2010 (UTC)
I don't think it needs to highlight the drop in ranking. Rather, "It ranked 7th in the 2009 Vault Prestige List, and 17th in 2010..." I don't really care about Vault, but that's because I don't work at a Vault 10 firm. But, either way, I think the only fair thing to do is list both the rankings, or neither.Nycbl1y (talk) 20:17, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Where would the text go (i.e. which section)? (As an aside, there's a comment above from Wikidemon about the need for a history section - I think the text should go there, but obviously I'll need to rethink!)
I'm liking the WSJ Blog as a supplementary source, but in general blogs aren't good sources. Anything from the WSJ itself? I've not looked at the other sources, yet, so no comment there. (I've not looked at the WSJ blog, either, if I'm honest...!)
There's also a wee spot of copyediting to do ("unprecented" -> "unprecedented", e.g.) Normally I'd just do it and post here, but I'm about to get bogged down in real life...Comment struck: I can't read... TFOWRpropaganda 12:14, 20 May 2010 (UTC)
Cheers, TFOWRpropaganda 20:11, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
"Some newspapers host interactive columns that they call blogs, and these may be acceptable as sources so long as the writers are professional journalists or are professionals in the field on which they write and the blog is subject to the newspaper's full editorial control."Nycbl1y (talk) 20:19, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
Sure, but a newspaper article is still preferable to a newspaper editorial - I'd be happy with using this as a source, much less so about using this as a source (neither related to this topic, or, indeed, each other: both, however are BBC, with the latter being the official blog of a senior BBC journalist). TFOWRpropaganda 12:14, 20 May 2010 (UTC)
That was in my post, not the proposed text.LedRush (talk) 20:26, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
You, sir, are clearly unaware that I am an idiot ;-) Struck the comment, apologies. TFOWRpropaganda 12:14, 20 May 2010 (UTC)
For a quick-and-dirty approach you can always create a "firm history" section, and just put that one fact in there. That's what I do when writing new stub and start-class articles, in hopes that other people will see the section and add their contributions. It is mostly relevant as an event in firm history, so that's where it would go logically. - Wikidemon (talk) 20:16, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
I added a firm history section, though it needs much work. Also, I am horrible at citations.LedRush (talk) 21:02, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
Aha! It was you! Excellent, thanks for that. Looks good. I find "history" sections very useful - it's odd reading an article which seems to imply that an old firm has no history before this decade ;-) TFOWRpropaganda 12:14, 20 May 2010 (UTC)
  • I meant to add this earlier: I tend to "cheat" with citations and use "reflinks" (available here) - that way you can just do something like "[ An example reference]", then run reflinks, and it'll automagically turn the raw citation into a fully-formatted, lovely citation. Hope that helps! TFOWRpropaganda 14:40, 20 May 2010 (UTC)
Thank you. That is extremely helpful.LedRush (talk) 15:16, 20 May 2010 (UTC)

Now we're cooking with gas. So, as part of a history section (to be built), how about the following:

In early 2009 Latham laid off nearly 200 lawyers and 250 staff members[6][7] in the largest layoff to date by an American law firm.[8] The AmLaw Daily stated that the layoffs were "the most dramatic cuts announced so far by an Am Law 100 firm.[9].

I believe the second sentence is necessary because it shows that scope of the layoffs was important for such a prestigous firm, and the AmLaw is an important reporter in the legal world.LedRush (talk) 20:26, 19 May 2010 (UTC)

So with the new history section and the revelation that no one contests that some form of this language should be included in some form, can we put this in and let Wikipedia work like normal?LedRush (talk) 22:28, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
I'd say give it 24-48 hours for people to post comments. It's not like we're in the middle of OCI or something right now. Better to give everyone a chance to get their two cents in and then make changes instead of opening the page up to more warring.Nycbl1y (talk) 22:40, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
I think if we are to use and as a sources for the layoffs, we must also mention the severance packages. --Nuujinn (talk) 01:41, 20 May 2010 (UTC)

If severance packages are relevant, then we need to discuss the fact that most of the laid-off lawyers accrued six figure student loan debt to get a large law firm job. Also, we would need to note that they lost out on their other offered biglaw jobs as a result. I don't really think either is relevant, but if you discuss severance packages, we need to make sure we're being fair by putting that into context. We want this article to be neither an advertisement nor an attack tool. —Preceding unsigned comment added by HenryX999 (talkcontribs) 00:29, 21 May 2010 (UTC)

If you have decent sources, I'm sure we could consider it. My point tho is that at least two of the main sources cited for the layoffs give significant weight to the severance packages. --Nuujinn (talk) 02:37, 21 May 2010 (UTC)

I found a good source for what I wrote above about the Latham severance. Many legal consultants are saying that most of those laid off from large law firms will likely never get another large firm job again. The legal industry may be somewhat unique in that you only get one bite at the apple with large firm jobs, and if you lose it it's gone for good. Most people don't even get the one bite, given that maybe 10% of law school graduates are able to get large firm jobs in the first place. A layoff in this industry is really, really damaging for this reason. —Preceding unsigned comment added by HenryX999 (talkcontribs) 00:46, 21 May 2010 (UTC)

Perhaps this would make more sense in an article about lawyer layoffs? There's been quite a bit of press coverage about it, and I believe the NYTimes even ran an article on all the disenchanted lawyer blogs that have popped up (Bitter Lawyer, Notes from the Breadline, etc). With over 5k lawyers laid off just from big firms, recruitment down, new associates being deferred, stealth layoffs, and all the staff layoffs that go with that stuff, it's a fairly significant event.


We need some neutral commentary on the reason for the layoffs and the effect of the layoffs. That way wiki will be including information both on the awards and the criticisms that Latham has received, making for a well balanced article.

I propose these two articles from a well respected publication that I have pasted below. In summary they say the reason for the layoffs was the failure of Latham management to predict demand for certain legal services and a poorly balanced mix of practice groups ie. number of corporate attorneys versus number of bankruptcy attorneys.

They also say the effect is a weakened firm that's losing good associates that has also to some extent lost its ability to recruit new high quality associates to replace them. For a provider of high end legal services, this is important information.

cut-and-paste removed per WP:COPYVIO - Wikidemon (talk) 01:08, 20 May 2010 (UTC)
 —Preceding unsigned comment added by HenryX999 (talkcontribs) 22:55, 19 May 2010 (UTC) 

1991 layoffs?

Not to add fuel to the pending layoff text fire, but Latham & Watkins also had a significant downsizing in August of 1991, when it laid of 43 associates (when the firm had 615 attorneys), as reported in the Los Angeles Times.[1] The layoffs were fairly significant in the eyes of the press at the time, as you can see from these (sorry, archived) stories from the Washington Post [2] [3], Chicago Tribune [4], and the Los Angeles Times [5] [6]. The December 2006 American Lawyer, archived on Latham & Watkins's own Web site, includes details of the 1991 layoffs as "controversial" but "needed." [7] Not sure everyone else's thoughts on this one, but given that they were proportionately about as large as the 2009 layoffs, I thought it might be worth adding. --Abidjan227 (talk) 02:02, 20 May 2010 (UTC)

Given that there's a new-and-shiny "history" section (much needed, well done whoever added it) I'd support adding the 1991 lay-offs in the history section. The LA Times and the Washington Post strike me as excellent sources. TFOWRpropaganda 12:07, 20 May 2010 (UTC)
As for the significance of the layoffs, one of the sources describes them as the biggest layoffs in California law firm history, so that seems pretty significant. Also, the most recent, bigger layoffs add to the significance of the previous ones, the same way that we might not have your college track championship listed on its own, but it might become relevant if you then go on to win gold at the olympics.Nycbl1y (talk) 15:41, 20 May 2010 (UTC)

Not to ignite another British vs. American English edit war, but

When I read the passage where L & W is described as "Legal counsel to bookrunners and arrangers Deutsche Bank Securities Inc, Goldman Sachs International and Merrill Lynch International", I had to do a double-take. Yes my native dialect is American English, & yes "bookrunners" had a link to an article which explained that term, but those words convey to me that Deutsche Bank (& probably the other 2 companies) are crooked bookmakers. (For example, "arrangers" next to an unfamiliar word like "bookrunners" leads me inavoidably to conclude it means that they "fix" events to win bets.) Does anyone object to my changing the words describing them to "investment bankers"? (I assume that term is in common use in places with their own dialects of English.) -- llywrch (talk) 21:29, 20 May 2010 (UTC)

"Boorkrunners" is a very common term in both the legal and ibank communities in the US. However, I do not object to the change as it will probably make the article more accessible to non-legal and non-ibanker types.LedRush (talk) 21:32, 20 May 2010 (UTC)
I agree. Bookrunner is going to throw off people not familiar with the term. I also thought it was related to bookmaking.Nycbl1y (talk) 19:42, 21 May 2010 (UTC)

Back to normal?

So, is it ok to start editing this article again under normal wikipedia rules? That means that we would insert some of the text concerning the layoffs and allow constructive and editing and discussion on the topic. This also means that people who edit this article should remember the bigger picture. The sole purpose of this article is not to rehash the layoffs, as unprecedented and important as they are. We should strive to make the article more complete, to correct and improve citations, and to think about what information a reader would want to discover when s/he searches for this article. I plan to add a version of the layoff text similar to the one debated above, but I also want to leave some time so that other views can be heard before I insert it. However, no one should treat the insertion as a unchangeable agreement. Edit it as you will. But I hope we can all, including myself, keep the larger goal of this article in mind as we do so.LedRush (talk) 20:11, 23 May 2010 (UTC)

The article is under protection until June 1. I would wait until then to make any edits. If we were in OCI right now and tons of people were checking the site and relying on the information here, I'd press to get this resolved quicker, but I don't think there's any reason not to just wait and avoid more disputes.Nycbl1y (talk) 05:47, 26 May 2010 (UTC)
A couple of days ago I added my proposed language and I haven't heard a peep. I will hold off on any other changes, though, until this June 1 deadline.LedRush (talk) 16:06, 26 May 2010 (UTC)
Sorry, I've been distracted... I meant to comment here much earlier. I've just looked at a diff of recent changes - it all looks OK to me at first glance. The history section is good, and including the layoffs there makes sense. I'd prefer a WSJ ref to a WSJ blog ref, but I won't quibble.
The protection is for unregistered (or newly registered) editors, so I wouldn't worry about June 1 (except to note that, come June 1, we can expect a whole bunch of unregistered and newly registered editors descending ;-)
Cheers, TFOWRpropaganda 16:19, 26 May 2010 (UTC)
I'd prefer a WSJ article to a WSJ Blog article, but I think we also need to recognize that many mainstream news sources are adopting the blogging model, and Wikipedia ought to be willing to accept that. Not all blogs are created equally. A random Wordpress account shouldn't even be considered in the same category of website as a blog tied to the Wall Street Journal.Nycbl1y (talk) 19:57, 26 May 2010 (UTC)
Oh sure, and that's very much my own preference rather than policy. My concern with newspaper blogs is that it isn't always clear whether they have editorial oversight - many do, some don't. (And I'll admit I haven't looked at the WSJ blog beyond looking at this one source). TFOWRpropaganda 20:04, 26 May 2010 (UTC)
With some of the crap that makes it into mainstream news it's not always clear they have editorial oversight anywhere in the process.Nycbl1y (talk) 20:11, 26 May 2010 (UTC)
Ain't that the truth... :-( TFOWRpropaganda 20:15, 26 May 2010 (UTC)

So what are the thoughts about the term "Lathamed" ? I'm not really sure how you source something like this, but the fact that your company's name is synonymous with layoffs seems like it should be included in the article. Not including it is like having an article on WalMart that doesn't mention low prices.Nycbl1y (talk) 05:57, 27 May 2010 (UTC)

It doesn't quite feel right to me. If you can find a very good cite (NOT the urban dictionary or above the law), I would consider it. But I think it will be difficult to convince me. Also, as I understand it, to "Latham" someone means to ruin a young associate's career by laying them off before they've had an opportunity to's a little more specific than just firing someone.LedRush (talk) 14:08, 27 May 2010 (UTC)
Like a lot of terms, it has a specific usage (laying off first year associates who have not yet even had a performance review), and a more general usage (canning someone in a mass layoff). I agree ATL and Urban dictionary aren't great sources for this. How does the no original research rule play in to this? Do we need an article actually explaining the usage, or will citing to articles that simply use it that way suffice?Nycbl1y (talk) 00:24, 2 June 2010 (UTC)
And in the interest of full disclosure, I was Lathamed, but not by Latham.Nycbl1y (talk) 00:25, 2 June 2010 (UTC)
I would imagine finding it used should be enough to say that the term is used. I doubt we would need a full definition...but if you combine ATL with a use in a trusted source, that would be enough for me. However, I suspect that others here might be more reticent to include the term no matter what citations you find...LedRush (talk) 00:36, 2 June 2010 (UTC)
What are the standards for including something in a "Latham in Popular Culture" reference? Also, do you think the canceling of The Deep End was an incredibly dedicated homage to the bloodletting at Latham? (Just kidding peoples.)Nycbl1y (talk) 22:22, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
FYI, the latest Chambers USA profile for Latham & Watkins includes the following quotation: "Such was the severity of the cuts that the expression 'to be Lathamed' (which, by its most polite definition, means 'to be laid off') was coined." --Abidjan227 (talk) 21:07, 14 June 2010 (UTC)
My goodness...I am surprised that such a venerable service like Chambers put that in the profile. With such a reference, I won't argue against inclusion.LedRush (talk) 21:25, 14 June 2010 (UTC)

I just edited wiki to include "Lathamed" in the profile and was going to mention it here, but I see it's already being discussed. If there's any disagreement about the way it's been done please feel free to undo the change and everyone can discuss it I guess. It's minor though and I pretty much followed the language used by Chambers.

Chambers mentions a round of layoffs before the Feb 09 layoffs, so I've made a slight change to one sentence to include that. I wrote "an unknown number" since chambers and the news never reported the number. DanielLarusoMiddleAged (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 08:17, 21 June 2010 (UTC).

David J. Schindler - Notable?

I note his article has been deleted some time back (I voted keep, FWIW). This would imply that he is not notable per WP standards, in and of himself, and should be thus be removed from the list here IMHO. ‒ Jaymax✍ 12:21, 24 August 2010 (UTC)

Translation into German

Hi, I translated the article into German, as you can see from the new interwiki. However, I was unable to understand the Deutsche Bank case. Too much takeover lingo for me. --Gnom (talk) 20:19, 14 December 2010 (UTC)