October 2014

We have spoken to multiple sources at Williams & Connolly in the past half hour. The rumor of good news by voice-mail is not true (unless our sources, from different class years at the firm, were somehow left out of the loop).
We think it’s only a matter of time before W&C raises base salaries. Their compensation model is to pay an above-market base salary for D.C., but no year-end bonus.
As of now, though, nothing official has been announced. If you’re at Williams & Connolly, and anything changes on this front, please let us know. Thanks.

One of you asked for an open comments thread, to consolidate the conversation about compensation. Good idea.
Here you go. Please discuss the latest Biglaw associate pay raise news in the comments to this post.
After a flurry of announcements yesterday, things seem to have slowed down a bit. Or is it just that tipsters aren’t being as helpful today?
Look, folks, we can’t do this without your help. If your firm has raised associate base salaries, please let us know, by email. If there’s a memo, please include the memo text or a PDF. Thanks.

Shanetta Cutlar 2 Shanetta Y Cutlar Shanetta Brown Cutlar DOJ SPL Special Litigation Section Civil Rights Division.jpgWe like to keep things light around here. As far as we’re concerned, pretty much everything is entertainment. And if it’s not, then we’re not interested in covering it.
This is the spirit in which we’ve been writing about Shanetta Cutlar, the amusingly idiosyncratic chief of the Justice Department’s Special Litigation Section (SPL). But we’re getting concerned that the story might take a more serious turn.
Here are two things we’ve heard lately:

1. The mainstream media, in the form of the Legal Times, is sniffing around the story. They may be interested in covering it.

2. Staffers from the House Judiciary Committee have contacted Ty Clevenger, the former DOJ lawyer who initially blew the whistle on La Shanetta. They may be conducting further investigation into goings-on over at SPL.

Covering the shenanigans of Shanetta has been great fun. We sincerely hope that the MSM and the House Judiciary Committee don’t hijack this story and turn it into some sober expose about DOJ abuses of power. Yawn.
We steer the discussion back in the direction of frivolity and fun, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Shanetta Cutlar: All Fun and Games Until Someone Loses Her Job?”

100 dollar bill Above the Law Above the Law law firm salary legal blog legal tabloid Above the Law.JPGFrom the D.C.-based Legal Times:

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom said Wednesday it would increase its first-year associate salaries [in Washington] to $160,000, following in the footsteps of New York-based Simpson Thacher & Bartlett.

Skadden is the first law firm with a major D.C. presence to up the ante for associate pay in Washington. The firm has 263 lawyers in the District.

D.C.-based Hogan & Hartson has also announced it is moving associate salaries in its New York office to $160,000, but it doesn’t plan to do the same in Washington as of yet.

So in New York, it looks like all the biggies will be following suit. But expect a divide to open up in D.C. between the “national” firms and the local shops:

[M]ost D.C. firms are staying quiet about whether or not they’ll follow. Karl Racine, managing partner of Venable’s Washington office, which pays first-year associates $135,000, says he “expects that to remain.”

You can read the rest of Nate Carlile and Anna Palmer’s article here.
Skadden Raises Associate Pay [Legal Times]
Earlier: Previous announcements of law firm associate salary increases (scroll down through “Skaddenfreude” archives)

100 dollar bill Above the Law Above the Law law firm salary legal blog legal tabloid Above the Law.JPGCongratulations to Emily Pataki. It appears that her employer, White & Case, is raising base salaries for its associates. Here’s the memo:
Date: January 25, 2007
To: All New York Associates
From: David N. Koschik
Re: Salary Increases
I am pleased to announce that effective January 1, 2007 the base salaries for New York associates in the following classes will be increased as follows:
Class / 2007 Base Salary
2006 $160,000
2005 $170,000
2004 $185,000
2003 $210,000
2002 $230,000
2001 $250,000
2000 $265,000
1999 $280,000
Increases for associates in the class of 1998 and senior will be determined on an individual basis. All increases, including the retroactive portion to the beginning of the year, will be reflected in your February 14 paycheck. On behalf of the Firm, I would like to personally thank you for all of your dedication and hard work.
cc: New York Partners

Sullivan & Cromwell S&C Sully Above the Law.jpgWell before Charney v. Sullivan & Cromwell was ever filed, the venerable law firm was dealing with some serious issues. As aptly summarized by New York Magazine’s Intelligencer, “Sullivan & Cromwell lost about 30 percent of its associates in 2004 and 2005. It might take more than a raise to fix that.”
From a fascinating rather interesting Wall Street Journal article by Peter Lattman (which we meant to write about yesterday, before we got swamped by all the pay raise news):

Faced with a surge in turnover of its associates, the prestigious law firm Sullivan & Cromwell LLP has been putting on a charm offensive to hold onto junior lawyers.

The crash course in etiquette went into high gear at a partners meeting last February. To deal with low associate morale and high attrition, a confidential slide presentation reviewed by The Wall Street Journal urged partners to say things like “thank you” and “good work” to associates they supervise.

What else should partners do? “Return associates’ phone calls as quickly as you would a partner’s or client’s,” said one bullet. “Be sensitive to not canceling associates’ vacations,” said another.

Additional bullet-points made these helpful suggestions:

“Don’t tell gay associates that they like taking it up the ass (because they might be tops rather than bottoms).”

“Refrain from subjecting associates to profanity-laced tirades in which you tell them they should be fired.”

Guess Eric Krautheimer and Alexandra Korry missed that meeting.
Discussion continues after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Sullivan & Cromwell: Because Charney v. S&C Is Just the Tip of the Iceberg”

* Delegates from five non-state territories get limited voting rights in the House; critics cry “no representation without taxation!”. [Jurist]
* Nice try. Jury doesn’t buy man’s attempt to blame murder of his wife on his daughter. [CNN]
* DeLay case before Texas Court of Appeals. [Jurist]
* Cold case involving murders in the heat of the Philadelphia, Mississippi night possibly solved; ex-deputy indicted for 1964 killings. [MSNBC]
* What is 15 years of your life worth? Apparently, if you spend it in an Oklahoma prison for a rape you didn’t commit, $4 million. [AP via FindLaw]
* Do you know where you end up if you don’t study, if you are smart, if you’re intellectually honest with yourself? You end up withdrawing from a presidential race you had no shot in hell of winning. [FT via MSNBC]

100 dollar bill Above the Law Above the Law law firm salary legal blog legal tabloid Above the Law.JPGOkay, folks, we’re signing off for now. It has been a long and frustrating day (thanks to all the server problems, over which we have no control).
We’ve been at our computer since before 7:00 AM. And we, unlike those of you who toil for Biglaw, don’t get paid to work twelve-hour days.
To recap, here are the law firms that have raised base salaries for (at least some of) their associates:
Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton
Dewey Ballantine
Fried Frank
Greenberg Traurig
Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy
Morrison & Foerster
O’Melveny & Myers
Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison
Quinn Emanuel
Shearman & Sterling
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett
Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom
Sullivan & Cromwell
Weil Gotshal & Manges
Willkie Farr & Gallagher
Feel free to continue the conversation in the comments, which we’ll review when we get back online in the morning. See you tomorrow.
Earlier: Previous announcements of law firm associate salary increases (scroll down through “Skaddenfreude” archives)

100 dollar bill Above the Law Above the Law law firm salary legal blog legal tabloid Above the Law.JPGWe believe the Greenberg Traurig memo was posted, multiple times, in the comments. But just to make it official, here’s the (verified) memorandum:

To our New York associates:

We are pleased to announce that our New York office will be increasing associate compensation retroactive to January 1, 2007.

The new standard salary range will start at $160,000 for the class of 2006 (and for new associates arriving with the 2007 incoming class) and increase for each subsequent class through the class of 1999 and beyond. Each associate will be advised of her or his salary by the end of this week.

As you know, at Greenberg Traurig, the timing and opportunity for making shareholder and having a long term home, as well as our unique cultural environment, are more favorable to our associates than is the case at other large New York firms. While these facts are themselves of high value for forward-thinking individuals, we also desire to fairly compensate all of our people along the way based on all conditions.

We have always been committed to providing our associates a unique opportunity to be a real part of an organization based on change, and which will be at the forefront of our profession as we move into a bright future together. At the same time, we believe in a strong, merit-based compensation system at all levels of our firm, and we believe that total compensation, including year-end bonuses which will be determined at the end of 2007, should reflect your contributions. Providing for increased base salaries at this time allows our associates to feel highly rewarded while still retaining these important features of our culture.

Thanks, let’s have a great year together!!

Yes, let’s!!!
(We also have a weakness for multiple exclamation points.)
Earlier: Previous announcements of law firm associate salary increases (scroll down through “Skaddenfreude” archives)

100 dollar bill Above the Law Above the Law law firm salary legal blog legal tabloid Above the Law.JPGHere’s what the associate pay raise memo for Skadden’s Class of 2003 looked like:
From: Garfinkel, Jodie
Sent: Wednesday, January 24, 2007 12:26 PM
To: [redacted]
Subject: Compensation
TO: Class of 2003
We are pleased to advise you that we are increasing base salaries retroactive to January 1, 2007. The salary for most associates in the class of 2003 will be increased from $190,000 to $210,000. Increases will be reflected in paychecks of February 15th and retroactive payments will be made only to those attorneys who are employed with the Firm on February 15th.
Annual bonuses will be determined at year end based upon individual performance, levels of activity in the Firm’s practice areas and the economic environment as it affects our Firm.
We thank you for your continued commitment and dedication.
If you’re a Skadden associate in a class other than 2003, please provide your new base salary in the comments. We will “Wiki” our way towards a comprehensive Skadden memo. Thanks everyone!
Earlier: Previous announcements of law firm associate salary increases (scroll down through “Skaddenfreude” archives)

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