question mark Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgAs we have confessed, we have a weak spot for whiny summer associates. Getting paid less than three grand a week, to sample America’s finest restaurants and go on whitewater rafting trips? It’s an injustice!
Okay, no, seriously. Many summer associates carry heavy debt loads. It’s not unreasonable for them to argue they should be paid at market rates.
Remember those WilmerHale summers, and how ATL rode to their rescue? Now a different group of summer associates is flashing the equivalent of a “Bat-Signal” into the night sky (except the ATL version would be shaped like a dollar sign).
The latest villain? Heller Ehrman. From a tipster:

I understand that Heller’s San Francisco and Silicon Valley offices (not sure about New York or DC) refuse to pay their summers the current market rate of $3100/week. They are paying the old $2800 rate.

When approached, management declined to justify or explain the decision.


I’m a summer at Heller Ehrman. Like Wilmer, the raise from $145K to $160K was not reflected in our summer paychecks. When firm management was asked flat out at a meeting if we were going to get the raise, we were only told “no,” with no explanation.

This, on top of the recent elimination of any bonus at 2000 hours, hurts financially. (See my six figure student loan debt from law school.) The first bonus level at Heller is a mere FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS for 2100 hours. There has been a lot of associate grumbling about this around the office, as well as among the summers.

What gives? The firm has become much less competitive than when I signed up to work for it last fall. The firm overall is great, but it’d be giving up a huge chunk of money to work here. I think rising 2Ls, about to start the interview process, should know this. I’d also like to hear more about other firms and their overall packages (bonuses included). If you could start a thread, it’d be much appreciated.

So here’s the thread you’ve requested. Since the summer is almost over — at least in terms of SA programs, if not the weather (we’re working from the beach today) — we doubt the Heller Ehrman summers will get the relief that the WilmerHale ones did. But to the extent that any of you might care about this info, here it is, for your consideration.

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