Biglaw, Money, Skaddenfreude

Skaddenfreude: Your Comments on the Simpson Raise (Part 1)

100 dollar bill Above the Law Above the Law law firm salary legal blog legal tabloid Above the Law.JPGYesterday’s big story, which has carried over into today, is the associate pay raise by Simpson Thacher & Bartlett. Right now everyone is wondering: Which firms will match?
A digression: We’re having one of those days. We woke up late, not feeling that great, and wondering if Shanetta Cutlar had hexed us. So we apologize in advance — we’re not firing on all cylinders today.
Since we’re feeling out of it today, we’re going to begin our pay raise coverage by simply highlighting the most interesting reader comments on this news. There have been over 150 comments so far, and we’re guessing that you haven’t had the time to read through all of them.
That’s what we’re here for. We have sifted through all of your comments. And we’ve collected the most interesting, thoughtful, or funny ones, after the jump.

Here are the ATL reader comments that struck us as the most noteworthy. Please not that our reprinting a comment below in no way constitutes an endorsement of it. It doesn’t mean that we agree with the comment — nor could it, considering that we have included comments in this round-up that clash with one another.
Also, please note that we have excluded all comments of the “Firm X has matched” and “no, Firm X has not matched” variety. We are in the process of investigating rumors of matching. If you can help us out — e.g., if you have a memo from your firm announcing the match — please email us.
Here’s the first set of comments that caught our eye. Due to sheer volume, a second round-up of reader comments will follow later today.
“What are the odds that firms will match, given the recent raises and the fact that they didn’t cut bonuses? Do people think that Simpson might just become the new Skadden, i.e. higher salaries, lower bonuses?”
“I bet this is just a Biglaw plot to distract from the Charney fiasco.”
“I think the firms are nervous about competition from IB and PE. It’s a bit harder for lawyers to break into hedge funds but given the pay differential between IB/PE and law, I wouldn’t be surprised that the firms are feeling a lot of pressure to keep their associates.”
“Anyone who thinks other firms will match today is nuts. These guys just got ambushed. Don’t expect anything until tomorrow, at the very earliest, but probably not before Thursday or Friday. But we’ll get there sooner or later, anyway. $15K, beetches! If you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go buy my fur coat, pimp hat, and diamond-crusted cane…”
“KFC matched. A free bucket of greasy chicken.”
“KGB matched. +100 Rem of ingestible ionizing radiation.”
“I’m really really skeptical that firms will match, or that all firms will match. I think following on the heels of the recent increase, firms won’t feel as compelled, and let’s face it, firms like Simpson, Sullivan etc. HAVE to match because they’re lives are crap and they’re losing associates by the droves. This is not actually the case in all Big Law, so maybe they will use that to justify not raising salaries?”
“Shanetta Cutlar has matched.”
“we’re rich, beeyatch!”
“As someone who has hired BigLaw only when absolutely necessary, this development means that junior associates at such firms will get even less meaningful work. Most clients actually read their bills and object to spending $300+/hour for someone who doesn’t know the first thing about structuring a deal or trying a case. I have spent many hours reading bills — including expenses — and insisting on being charged fairly. I didn’t start out doing that, but when the six-figure monthly litigation bills started rolling in, you can be damn sure it was worth my time to figure out where the padding was. Until law firms figure this out, we’ll just [g]o where the billing rates are more reasonable and actually reflect valuable legal services.”
“Almost a year ago, Sullivan & Cromwell raised starting salaries by $20K from $125K to $145K. Yesterday, Simpson announced a further $15K increase in starting salaries to $160K. Why have salaries gone up by nearly 30% in a year? To staunch the flow of midlevels to the investment banks, hedge funds, PE shops, in-house counsel and myriad other jobs that promise either higher pay, a better quality of life, or in rare cases, both.”
“Obviously a $20K increase was not enough to slow the attrition rate. Now firms are hoping that another $15K might get people to stick around? What about asking the tougher questions such as why turnover is so high in New York law firms? Or why associates secretly, or not so secretly, begin planning their own exit strategies from day one on the job? Or what senior associates and partners could do to keep their juniors from jumping ship? Perhaps better management techniques should be taught to those at the top, such as learning how to manage upward (i.e. the clients’ expectations) rather than caving in to every whim of the client and promising unreasonable deliverables….”
The comments appearing above were appended to Breaking: Simpson Thacher Raises Associate Base Salaries!!!
We’re going to do a second collection of comments, focused primarily on comments made upon Skaddenfreude: Who Has Matched Simpson?, later today. So check back soon.
Earlier: Breaking: Simpson Thacher Raises Associate Base Salaries!!!
Skaddenfreude: Who Has Matched Simpson?

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