Desmarais the Unicorn

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Desmarais the Unicorn

Post by Guest » Tue Jul 16, 2019 10:47 am

Somebody once told me that if something is too good to be true, it probably is.

So now that I'm making lists of cool firms for OCI, I'm curious if Desmarais is as amazing as it seems from their website. https://www.desmaraisllp.com/careers

Highlights:
-No billable hours
-Above market pay
-Above market bonuses
-401(k) plan that's "not a matching program"
-They pay premiums on health insurance
-Casual attire
-Moving expenses/bar study/etc

So what's the catch? Do you or does anyone you know work here? Are there more firms like this? I feel like I just stumbled across something I didn't even know existed.

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Slytherpuff
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Re: Desmarais the Unicorn

Post by Slytherpuff » Tue Jul 16, 2019 11:06 am

I don't know anyone who works there, but they only do patent litigation - the catch is probably just that unless you have the right background, you'd never get hired there.

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Danger Zone
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Re: Desmarais the Unicorn

Post by Danger Zone » Tue Jul 16, 2019 5:10 pm

Slytherpuff wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 11:06 am
I don't know anyone who works there, but they only do patent litigation - the catch is probably just that unless you have the right background, you'd never get hired there.
Yeah mostly this. I only know one person who works there and she LOVES IT, but honestly she seems like the type of person who would thrive in biglaw at any firm so I wouldn't put too much stock into that.

lolwat
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Re: Desmarais the Unicorn

Post by lolwat » Tue Jul 16, 2019 7:32 pm

There are a few patent litigation firms like that. There are also other non-patent litigation boutiques like that. I don't know what their actual hours are, but I think what you probably need to understand is that some firms have no billable hour "requirement" because the reality is you'll be billing well over 2000 and probably 2500 hours there anyway so they have no need to set some arbitrary minimum.

Desmarais Associate

Re: Desmarais the Unicorn

Post by Desmarais Associate » Tue Jul 16, 2019 8:57 pm

I'm currently an associate at the firm. @DZ, I'm curious who your friend is here! Small world.

So everything is true, although I will caution that the bonuses aren't Wachtell-level bonuses. But comp is above market, we don't bill hours, the firm contributes 4% of your annual salary to your 401k up to some limit (like around 10k/year?), the firm pays health insurance premiums, and it reimburses moving expenses/bar expenses, although I suppose the latter is very common among all biglaw firms.

I really like it here, mainly because all of the partners are great to work for, and I really like all of my colleagues.

Happy to field questions about the firm. I suppose the "catch" is that we only do patent litigation? We do have some antitrust cases, some trade secret cases, we do some IPR, as well as some Fed. Cir. appeals, but it's 90% patent litigation.

Desmarais Associate

Re: Desmarais the Unicorn

Post by Desmarais Associate » Tue Jul 16, 2019 9:00 pm

lolwat wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 7:32 pm
There are a few patent litigation firms like that. There are also other non-patent litigation boutiques like that. I don't know what their actual hours are, but I think what you probably need to understand is that some firms have no billable hour "requirement" because the reality is you'll be billing well over 2000 and probably 2500 hours there anyway so they have no need to set some arbitrary minimum.
To respond to this--it's not that we don't have a billable hour requirement, it's that we don't bill hours at all. We actually have an interesting case pending right now about attorney's fees (given the lack of a lodestar).

If I had to estimate work hours, I'd say we're similar to most biglaw firms, although if I billed the hours I've worked this year, I'd guess there's no way I'm going over 2100 this year. I'd put the average at 50-60 hours a week, with some weeks more, some weeks less.

lolwat
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Re: Desmarais the Unicorn

Post by lolwat » Wed Jul 17, 2019 10:34 am

Desmarais Associate wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 9:00 pm
lolwat wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 7:32 pm
There are a few patent litigation firms like that. There are also other non-patent litigation boutiques like that. I don't know what their actual hours are, but I think what you probably need to understand is that some firms have no billable hour "requirement" because the reality is you'll be billing well over 2000 and probably 2500 hours there anyway so they have no need to set some arbitrary minimum.
To respond to this--it's not that we don't have a billable hour requirement, it's that we don't bill hours at all. We actually have an interesting case pending right now about attorney's fees (given the lack of a lodestar).

If I had to estimate work hours, I'd say we're similar to most biglaw firms, although if I billed the hours I've worked this year, I'd guess there's no way I'm going over 2100 this year. I'd put the average at 50-60 hours a week, with some weeks more, some weeks less.
Super interesting, and thanks for dropping by to share this. I'm guessing you work primarily on a flat fee basis or a success-bonus type model? I can definitely see issues coming up when courts try to use the usual method of figuring out reasonable attorney's fees since I think they typically expect people to track hours even on flat fee or contingency cases.

I wish more firms (or at least mine) would move towards not billing hourly at all; it takes up a good 15-30 minutes of my day every day to figure out my time and put it in the system where I could be doing something more productive. :)

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