Associate Salaries, Killing Lockstep

Nixon Peabody: This is What Salary Raises Look Like Without Lockstep

Nixon Peabody is one of the firms that has moved towards a merit-based pay structure. The firm also cut starting salaries down to $145K a year ago. So you’d think that any information on a Nixon Peabody salary raise would be greeted favorably.

Not so much. A tipster tells us:

I can confirm that I received a raise. I can confirm that it sucks. Anything else?

Oh boy, that doesn’t sound good. Is anybody feeling like a winner at Nixon Peabody?

Tipsters report that the “average” raise at Nixon Peabody was underwhelming:

Nixon Peabody associates are learning what their raises will be for 2010. The firm has adopted a merit-based compensation system (read: black box), which means not even the juniors are lockstepped anymore. And the best part? The average raise is somewhere around 2.5%, with 5% being the max for top performers (over 2000 hours billed).

Let me tell you, 0-5% raises aren’t inspiring cartwheels down the halls. Imagine, if you will, being a second or third year who billed 2,000 last year, and you find out that the firm hearts you so much, you’re going to make somewhere between $145,000 and $152,250 (for second years) / $150,000 and $157,500 (for third years) this year.

The raises — such as they are — are retroactive to March of this year.

We reached out to some Nixon Peabody sources, and at this point, none of them have reported back that they received more than a 5% raise.

We also reached out to spokespeople for Nixon Peabody, but the firm did not respond to our request for comment.

At least in the Nixon Peabody system, merit pay seems to be “less pay.” Will that hold up once the lateral market heats up?

Earlier: Nixon Peabody: Salary Cut Follow Up

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