100 dollar bill Above the Law Above the Law law firm salary legal blog legal tabloid Above the Law.JPGWe have to step away from the computer for a while. Here’s an open thread about compensation issues to carry us through the weekend.
Three items for possible discussion (which some of you have already started talking about in a prior thread):
1. DLA Piper Singles Out Patent Litigators for Higher Pay [The Recorder]
This follows on the heels of Dechert’s D.C. office announcing higher pay for associates in its financial services practice group. Is differential compensation — a move away from lockstep — a hot new Biglaw trend?
James Sandman James J Sandman Jim Sandman Above the Law Blog.jpg2. The High Price of Escalating Associate Salaries [DC Bar]
From DC bar president James J. Sandman (at right), a partner at Arnold & Porter, writing in the March 2007 issue of Washington Lawyer magazine:

[F]irst-year associate salaries at big firms have gotten to a level where increases are very bad. They are bad for the law firms that pay them, for the associates who receive them, for the clients who foot the bill for them, and for the society we serve.

Sandman takes a swipe at the firm that initiated the latest round of pay raises (Simpson Thacher, cough cough):

I don’t understand what causes a firm be the first to increase the salary of a brand-new lawyer from an already eye-popping $145,000 to $160,000. There is no competitive advantage in doing so. Other firms will surely follow suit, and the firm that led the market will quickly be indistinguishable from the rest of the pack.

To read Sandman’s interesting and provocative argument against the recent raises, click here.
3. Finally, here’s the latest departure from the LIST OF SHAME: Baker & Hostetler.
From a source at the firm:

Baker Hostetler announced raises yesterday effective March 1 (for its New York office only). First-year associates will be making $160K; the managing partner didn’t say how much other classes would be making, but that associates would get letters about next week telling them what their new salary would be.

That leaves, as far as we know, just seven firms on the LIST OF SHAME.


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