Biglaw, Dewey & LeBoeuf, Job Searches, Layoffs, Money, Robert Link, Skaddenfreude

Diamonds in the Rough: Open Thread on Offices in Secondary Markets That Pay the Full $160K Scale
(And a digression on Cadwalader in Charlotte)

Here’s an open thread request we’ve received from multiple sources. A representative message:

I’m trying to gather more info about firms / offices that pay NYC salary + NYC bonus in secondary markets. For example, I believe that Weil and Skadden both do in Dallas and Houston, but none of the other firms in Texas do. I don’t know if you’ve done a post about this before, but I think it might be interesting, because $205K goes really far in TX.

Skadden Wilmington is another possible example.

That’s correct about Skadden in Wilmington. Another well-paying secondary market: Charlotte. A CLT tipster tells us: “Mayer Brown, Dechert, Dewey, and Cadwalader have all increased salaries to $160K here in Charlotte.”
Hold on a sec — Cadwalader? Didn’t they just lay off 35 lawyers, including some in Charlotte?
Yes, they did — but they also raised salaries for the survivors. More after the jump.


We understand that the CWT cuts in CLT focused on fairly junior associates. But the firm also used the occasion to get rid of some more senior “underperformers.” A source describes the Charlotte layoffs as “the dramatic end of a pruning that has been quietly going on for some time, as paralegals and staff have been cut recently, and some associates were offered buyouts before the end of last year.”
The combination of layoffs and pay raises didn’t go over well with some people in Charlotte. Some gossip making the rounds:

[T]he rumor going around Charlotte is that when [Cadwalader Chairman Robert Link] came down to the Charlotte office, at the same time he informed them they were letting anywhere between 9 and 15 of them go (about 10-15 percent of the associate ranks), he also informed them that those in Charlotte that were not getting fired were getting salary bumps to the NY scale.

Not only is this in poor taste, but there aren’t that many law firms currently on the $160K scale in Charlotte….

If the rumor is true, then the meeting basically went: “Congratulations, we’re giving all of you that survived 10% raises in salary. Unfortunately, in order to do that, we just fired 10 to 15 percent of your fellow associates so we could afford it, without increasing our total compensation expense. I’m sure they don’t hate you. Enjoy your extra money, I sure will!!! Hugs, Bob Link.”

Although I guess you could always spin it as laying off people in Charlotte due to market reasons, and laying off people in New York to cover the Charlotte associate raises. I’m sure that would sit well with the people in New York.

Note that this is just rumor and speculation — not the CWT raise to $160K in Charlotte, which is confirmed, but the description of the meeting with Bob Link. Feel free to contact us if you have firsthand knowledge.

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