McDermott Will & Emery is still on the $160K scale for first year associates. Summer associates arriving at MWE might have expected to be paid on the same scale throughout the summer.
But they would have been wrong.
Above the Law has been able to confirm that McDermott summers are being paid on a $135K scale, instead of $160K. A McDermott spokesperson had this to say about the cuts:
McDermott’s Summer Associates will be paid at the rate of $135,000 this year. We advised this year’s class of incoming Summer Associates that their compensation would be determined in the spring of 2009. The information regarding compensation for the summer was shared with all of the Summer Associates at the Firm upon arrival, as we have done in years past.
Sources that we spoke with didn’t feel that the salary cut was properly communicated. One tipster reports:
I’m subletting an apartment based on a $160,000 salary. The salary cut isn’t going to break me, but it would have been nice to know before I signed the papers.
Another tipster had a response that makes those of us at ATL happier:
I am now 15% more likely to tip ATL about any crap I see [at MWE] this summer.
After the jump, the McDermott spokespeople explain the reason for the cuts.
McDermott hasn’t cut full time associate salaries, but tipsters wonder how long that will hold up:
What’s worse is that the firm did not make any sort of communication to the summer associates about this reduction. Also, note that this firm has not (yet) reduced associate salaries. Is this reduction in summer associate salaries perhaps the canary in the coal mine, or simply a way to cut costs of the summer program?
But the firm had this to say about its cuts:
The compensation reduction was driven primarily by client concerns and reflects the challenging and ever-changing market realities that confront law firms across the U.S. Our clients have expressed concerns about cost- consciousness and use of junior attorneys on their matters. Recognizing this concern, we adjusted both our summer associate compensation and billing rates. These reductions will help to ensure our summer associates have a steady stream of interesting and challenging assignments, and ultimately, a rewarding summer experience.
Who knew that clients were concerned about the cost of summer interns?
Still, we’d advise MWE summers not to bitch about the salary reduction. Offers are probably going to be hard to come by, and the firm will surely want happy warriors.
Good luck, summers — and good luck MWE junior associates. We hope the writing isn’t on the wall.
Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of salary cuts