Biglaw, Money, Skaddenfreude

West Coast Pay Raise Watch: MoFo Sees Orrick’s San Francisco, and Raises It a Sacramento

100 dollar bill Above the Law Above the Law law firm salary legal blog legal tabloid Above the Law.JPGAs noted by several commenters, and as this article in Monday’s Recorder will report, Morrison & Foerster has announced a firm-wide increase in associate base salaries. This follows on the heels of pay raise news from two other California-based (or California-originating) firms, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe and O’Melveny & Myers.
Here’s the new MoFo pay scale:

1 – $160,000 (2006)
2 – $170,000 (2005)
3 – $185,000 (2004)
4 – $210,000 (2003)
5 – $230,000 (2002)
6 – $250,000 (2001)
7 – $265,000 (2000)
8 – $280,000 (1999)

As reflected in the base salary table above, all of MoFo’s offices are now on what might be called a “New York” or “$160K” pay scale. The same is true of O’Melveny, but not of Orrick (which raised starting salaries in its Sacramento and Pacific Northwest offices, but not all the way to $160,000 — just to $145,000).
With respect to the MoFo news, there’s a catch (which the Recorder fails to mention). As noted by this comment:

MOFO eliminated the “contribution bonus” payable upon hitting 1950 [hours]. More or less took the 1950 bonus, which almost everyone earns, plus a few grand more and spread that over a 12 month period. NY lawyers still get bonuses like all other NY attorneys.

Or this one (from commenter “Screwed”):

MoFo announced that it’s matching OMM and Orrick, but then anounced that it’s rescinding its previously-announced hours-based bonus that kicks in at 1950 hours. The salary increase, pro-rated over 8 months, is essentially of equal value as the now-rescinded bonus. In other words, the only real difference for people meeting their minimum hours requirement is that they get that portion of their bonus up-front. Is OMM or Orrick also playing the “give with one hand while taking with the other” move to “increase” salaries?

Your responses to this question are welcome in the comments.
More Calif. Firms Follow Orrick’s Move to $160K Associate Pay [The Recorder]

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