What did we learn from the comments on last week’s open thread about Atlanta? We learned that the next market you want to talk about is… Charlotte!
In all of the bitching about ATL — the depressed starting salaries, the compression, the higher-than-expected cost of living, the crappy weather — CLT was frequently cited as a southern legal market where associates
aren’t quite as screwed arguably get a better deal. New York and California snobs may scoff, but Charlotte is the 20th largest city in the United States. It has a robust legal market, thanks to its status as a major financial center, with tons of financial and insurance company clients.
Depending upon where you work in the Charlotte market, you can live like royalty. Check out this message from a tipster:
I am an associate at Cadwalader, but in the Charlotte office. [Earlier this year], we received a memo stating that we were going to be paid NYC salaries, but that the increase was going to be in three steps. The first two steps were set forth in a memo (which was protected against forwarding, printing, replying… hell I even thought it would explode a la Inspector Gadget if I stared too long).
[The upshot is] that first-years at CWT – CLT will be paid $145,000, plus a NYC bonus. Market here is about $117,500, with nominal ($5k or so) bonus.
A starting salary of $145K, down in Charlotte, North Carolina? It sounds too good to be true. But it’s confirmed by the Cadwalader – Charlotte NALP form.
No wonder our tipster is so pleased:
I know the board is very NY centric, so this has likely flown under the radar. But it’s exciting here in Charlotte! I’m off to buy a yacht — or maybe just pay down my student debt.
Update: We shouldn’t have omitted this portion of our tipster’s email, concerning the so-called “third step”:
We have not been directly notified that we will be on the $160K pay scale starting January 2008, but the partner I work for has stated that it is his understanding that we will be paid just that. That would make us paid $50K more than market in base salary, $80K more than market counting bonus… and that’s just as a first-year.
But what about other shops in The Queen City? How much do they pay? And will that be going up anytime soon?
Feel free to discuss in the comments. Thanks.