Are WilmerHale summer associates missing out on the salary bump? Wilmer recently raised first-year salaries to $160,000, and you’d think the firm’s summers would be earning that salary as well. But maybe not. Here’s a disgruntled e-mail from a current WilmerHale summer:
I hope that this is tip-worthy – because it certainly is a topic of hot discussion amongst the Boston summers I know, and I’m curious what is going on at other firms… So here goes:
So I am a summer associate at WilmerHale in Boston. And as abovethelaw knows, after the big, drawn out jumping-of-Boston-firms to match Ropes at 160,000, Wilmer finally caved and went up as well. Now, for whatever reason, the general consensus among the summers is that we’ve been led to believe that the salary hike for associates applies to the weekly rate that summers are paid as well (meaning we should be getting 3100 per week). Wilmer said that the salary raise was effective June 1st.
Lo, however, the WilmerHale Boston summers have received 2 paychecks since then, and both have continued paying the 2800 a week.
More analysis from our WilmerHale contact, after the jump.
Now – most of the summers are kind of of the mind set that we should just keep our mouths shut about it and not complain, (since who honestly is going to go and whine about getting “only” 2800 a week instead of 3100). However, today things changed after speaking with a friend who works at Choate. And as it turns out, Choate (which – who even knew they had decided to raise up to 3100….crazy) has been paying their summers 3100 since June 1st. Further, it was also revealed during this discussion that he was relatively certain his friends who were summers at Ropes, Goodwin and Bingham were also enjoying the 3100 dollars pay per week…..
So what’s the story with WilmerHale? I mean….what the heck? Isn’t one of the main purposes of a salary hike so that you can have that attractively huge weekly salary rate reflected on the NLRP forms for next year’s recruiting season? Does Wilmer think that if they hold off and just pay the now-apparently-going-rate of 3100 a week for the last paycheck or so that they’ll be able to put that on the forms? Is that even possible?
So…we’re a little miffed. As such, we are wondering if it would be possible to post a question about this on your well-traversed blog. At minimum, it will hopefully get the word to someone in Wilmer who will wake up and take care of the disparity in pay here in Boston. It’s not only irritating for the wilmer summers, but its also somewhat embarrassing knowing that the small boston firms many of us shirked in order to pursue the bigger paycheck (and bigger loan-killer) are actually paying more than a purported biglaw firm. And generally speaking, it would be interesting to know how firms everywhere – not just Boston – treat their salary raises with regard to summers. Is Wilmer an anomaly? Or does this stuff go on all the time and no one ever says anything because they don’t want to be the summer who bitched about only getting 2800 a week for doing nothing?
Hopefully you find this equally intriguing. Thanks so much for your time.
We’re not sure what game WilmerHale is playing here, or even whether they’re playing any game. Our tipster doesn’t mention whether the summers have actually asked the firm to explain what’s going on. Could it be that this is just a glitch in WilmerHale’s accounting system that the summers are too timid to bring to someone’s attention?
We find it hard to believe that WilmerHale is trying to game the NALP system in the manner suggested by our tipster (by paying summers at the new rate for only the final paycheck of the summer). If it were, it would be ATL’s duty to declare them officially shabby — but we’ll withhold judgment until we find out whether there’s another explanation.
Update: The same e-mailer just wrote us again:
let it be known: wilmer boston has just circulated letters to all summer associates announcing a raise to 3100 a week including retroactive pay for all previous weeks worked.
Problem solved! We hope ATL has played a small role in helping put clothes on these summers’ backs.