Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver Hedges associate salary Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgThis is a follow-up to yesterday’s post about Quinn Emanuel, which was considering adopting a pay system in which associates with coveted electrical engineering degrees would earn higher base salaries than their less well-endowed colleagues.
We contacted name partner John Quinn, but he hasn’t gotten back to us. Through other channels, however, we’ve learned what we think happened in terms of this issue.
If you’re curious, read the rest of this post, after the jump.


Here’s a memo that Quinn Emanuel sent out to legal recruiters late last month:

Date: 6/29/2007

TO: LEGAL RECRUITERS

FROM: QUINN EMANUEL URQUHART OLIVER & HEDGES, LLP

RE: 40% ENHANCED FEE FOR TOP PATENT LITIGATORS IN LA, NY, SAN FRANCISCO AND THE SILICON VALLEY OFFICES. ALL CANDIDATES PLACED PURSUANT TO THIS SEARCH WILL RECEIVE A $25,000 SIGNING BONUS!

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver & Hedges, LLP is looking for lateral patent litigation associates for immediate employment. A 40% placement fee will be paid to recruiting agencies who place candidates in any of our offices who meet all of the following requirements:

1. Must have a technical degree, i.e., an appropriate hard science undergraduate degree such as: computer science, electrical engineering, chemistry, biology, physics, etc.

2. Must have some experience in patent litigation or a willingness to be involved in patent litigation.

3. Must be placed at Quinn Emanuel between July 1, 2007 and October 1, 2007.

The ideal candidates would have attended a top-10 law school and earned a grade point average that put them within the top 10% of their class. We also highly value candidates that have trial experience and/or a strong interest in trial work.

The 40% fee will be paid based on the candidate’s starting base salary (not including any bonuses of any kind). We offer the following annual salaries, effective March 2007: 2nd year – $170,000; 3rd year – $185,000; 4th year – $210,000; 5th year – $230,000; and 6th year – $250,000. Our salaries are reviewed January 1 of each year and significant bonuses are paid at the end of each year.

All candidates placed pursuant to this search will receive a $25,000 signing bonus. The $25,000 signing bonus will not be subject to the 40% fee.

Except for this 40% placement fee, all of the terms and conditions of the firm’s standard Contingency Fee Agreement, attached hereto, will apply. Please return signed fee agreement prior to submitting any candidates. Execution of this agreement before submission of the candidate’s name to Quinn Emanuel is a prerequisite to earning the 40% commission.

Interesting. So instead of going with a higher base salary, Quinn decided to do what some commenters suggested: pay special signing bonuses to patent litigators (and enhanced placement fees to recruiters who deliver such lateral candidates). The firm also broadened the bonuses beyond electrical engineers, to include all candidates with technical degrees.
It’s worth noting that this info presumes the candidate is placed through an agency. If you decide to approach the firm on your own, you should try to negotiate the same deal.
Another option (warning — shameless plug): Proceed through ATL’s new career partner, Lateral Link (and be sure to tell them that ATL sent you). Then you’d get a $10,000 placement bonus from Lateral Link, on top of the $25,000 signing bonus for Quinn, for a total bonus of $35,000. Good stuff!
Earlier: Quinn Emanuel: More Money for Electrical Engineers?


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