If sports is your hobby and law your career the best place to work is Proskauer Rose
by Joann Chang
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For lawyers looking to indulge their sports fanaticism while using their Ivy League law degree, Proskauer Rose is the place to work. Although the 128 year old firm is also known for its top labor & employment and litigation work, it is undoubtedly the firm's sports and celebrity clientele that gives it its glamorous edge. Proskauer represents almost every major sports organization, from the NBA to the NFL to MLB, as well as entertainment players such as Madonna, Jive records and MGM.
New York-based Proskauer broke into the sports world in the 1970s with its famous representation of the NBA against the Oscar Robertson antitrust suit. Although the NBA eventually lost the suit, the case nevertheless established Proskauer's reputation for exceptional sports law work. The firm continues to reinforce its reputation and is often the top choice to represent teams, team owners and sports associations. In 2002, Proskauer beat out competing firms to represent Major League Baseball in successful labor negotiations with the Major League Baseball Players Associations. The firm is also getting recognition for its fashion industry clients, having represented Donna Karan International as well as luxury stores Barney's and Hermes.
Proskauer's litigation and labor & employment practices have historically been at the center of the firm. The firm's strongest practice, labor & employment, has handled several noteworthy cases including the representation of Yale University against an unfair labor practice suit filed by graduate students. The strength of Proskauer's litigation practice rests undoubtedly upon the work of its name partner, Judge Proskauer. Judge Proskauer's dedication to litigation not only increased clientele, but also enhanced the overall status of the firm. More recently, the firm has continued its commitment to litigation this summer by acquiring the NY boutique litigation firm of Solomon Zauderer Ellenhorn Frischer & Sharp. Proskauer now has 300 lawyers in its litigation practice and over 160 lawyers in labor & employment.
With a minimum 2,000 billable hours requirement, Proskauer Rose is not simply about socializing with rock stars and celebrity athletes. Long hours and work hard are expected by both the firm and its associates. However, associates have also described their offices as unusually social for a large firm and have been known to participate in happy hours with coworkers. The occasional complaints of unreasonable, frosty partners and sharing first year offices aside, associates have otherwise stated that they enjoy their hardworking and honest workplace environment.
The benefits of seeing famous clients in the office must be incorporated into associates' salaries, because Proskauer consistently lags behind other major New York firms in compensation. This is especially true for senior-level compensation, as senior associates find their wallets several thousand dollars lighter than those of colleagues at other top NYC firms. First year associates do better comparatively, making similar incomes to other first-years in large firms. Summer associates might have the best compensation of all, listing the tickets to the Tony awards and playing basketball in Madison Square Garden as some of their perks.
Graduates of top tier law schools and stellar graduates of local law schools have the best chances of getting hired at Proskauer. Harvard, Columbia and Cornell as well as Brooklyn Law School and Fordham are among the firm's favorites. Proskauer has also been rumored to overlook other aspects such as personality in favor of top academic credentials. More demanding than the hiring process seems to be the partner selection process. Associates who have demonstrated loyalty by their long standing employment in the firm have the best chances of making partner, but even then prospects are clouded by uncertainty. And though Proskauer has no qualms about hiring lateral partners, late lateral associates can most likely forget about partnership.
While it may be hard to make partner and the firm may not be all about sports and celebrities, Proskauer Rose still manages to get high marks from associates. The laid back and hardworking environment seems to suit many lawyers. The firm has recently received the 2003 Special Award of Merit by the New York Women's Bar Association for its contribution to the advancement of women.
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