Downtown L.A.’s Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan is shaking up its business model for the second time this year. This time, the business litigation powerhouse plans to revamp its traditional summer associate program.

This year, and in years past, Quinn Emanuel has hired between 50 and 60 second-year law students into its program. Starting next year, the firm will only host a handful – likely between five and 10 students – in the program, said John Quinn, founding partner.

Because the program only lasts a couple of months, Quinn said it’s extremely tough to get summer associates heavily involved in a case before it’s time for them to return to law school. Plus, he added, the program is not cheap.

“It’s very, very expensive and clients increasingly don’t want summer associates working on their cases, even though we think they do very good work at a very reasonable rate,” Quinn said, noting that he does not know the exact cost of the program.

The plan moving forward is to reallocate the money Quinn Emanuel would spend on the summer associate program to provide larger signing bonuses to law school graduates, third-year students and judicial clerks.

The plan has been in the works for several months, he said, and follows a separate marketing initiative his firm introduced earlier this year that requires associates to complete a marketing project to remain eligible for their annual bonus.

The marketing initiative, introduced in March, has already taken effect and is intended to encourage the firm’s younger lawyers to be more aggressive in generating business.

“You have to learn to be comfortable with marketing and promoting yourself,” Quinn said earlier this year. “Being able to say the words, ‘I would like your work,’ a lot of people – lawyers, especially – have a hard time saying that.”

New Digs

After outgrowing its offices in Encino, Michelman & Robinson has moved into a much larger space in Westwood.

The law firm now occupies the 19th floor of the Oppenheimer Tower at 10880 Wilshire Blvd., which offers about 15,000 more square feet than its former Encino space, said Sanford Michelman, the firm’s co-founder and chairman.

But Michelman said the move, finalized last month, is also poised to help recruit more attorneys to the firm.

“Some people have an adverse reaction to the (San Fernando) Valley,” he said. “I don’t really understand it, but some do. This just removes that issue.”


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