Everybody knows that the Charlotte legal market has taken a beating during the recession. But we didn’t know that it was so bad that the firms couldn’t afford to pay people. This tip comes in from Charlotte-centric Moore & Van Allen:
Just passing along in case this warrants further investigation (i.e., if anyone still gives a crap about Charlotte-based AmLaw 200s). Many of us are sick of the free pass our firm has gotten in the media w/r/t layoffs and now, associate comp changes.
Associates were informed of a new salary scale on Friday for Charlotte (the highest paying market). First years will make 125. Turning over a new leaf in “compression”, each year will increase by a mere 5k. Associates were informed of their 2009 bonuses, as well. MVA has a completely discretionary bonus system. There were a few 50k bonuses, but (curiously) a couple of bonuses that were less than 5k. I didn’t know that bonuses even came in such small increments.
MVA’s Charlotte office wasn’t on a $160K scale to begin with. But tipsters report that $125K is still a significant paycut.
In Charlotte, Moore & Van Allen was on the $145K scale:
MVA’s prior scale was a somewhat-compressed 145k scale. We used to be a market leader, but there are a half dozen firms based in NC that are paying more than we are. And Cadwalader, Dechert, McGuire, Hunton, Katten and Mayer are destroying us, now. There was no email or written memorandum to associates.
This is on the heels of an awful 2009, when dozens of associates disappeared throughout the year – supposedly because of performance reasons, but the firm’s “performance” rationale has for associate layoffs has been an open joke among partners and associates.
Moore & Van Allen didn’t respond to our request for comment. But another tipster is even more angry at MVA’s frugal approach to associate salaries:
Elie, I live in Charlotte. I love Charlotte. It’s much better that that smelly cesspool you call home. My new salary ($125 plus a $5K bump per year) is more than enough to live on in Charlotte. But my new firm (Moore Van Allen) is such a s***hole that I’m UNDERPAID relative to my friends [at other firms].
Hey, don’t crap all over NYC just because your city is turning into a legal wasteland.
But, in fairness, getting paid less than all of your friends does kind of bite.
Sorry about your tiny pink paycheck, MVA friends. On the bright side, at least you have a job.