Remember when Biglaw associates in New York got paid more than Biglaw associates everywhere else because it costs more money to live in New York than anywhere else? Yeah, those days are long gone. A few months ago, we pointed out that the NALP buying power index ranked the purchasing power of New York associates 42nd nationwide.

Maybe you didn’t believe NALP’s numbers?

Well, today we offer more evidence that if you are an associate working and living in New York, you are a chump. You are paying a higher cost of living than anywhere else in the country, and you’re not getting paid any more for the effort. In fact, if you work at Morrison & Foerster, you might be getting a smaller bonus just because you work in New York….

The MoFo bonus news is out, and it really looks like on average, MoFo is paying less to its NYC associates than associates at other offices.

MoFo has a split bonus structure. In non-New York offices, the firm has a merit-based structure. But in New York, MoFo goes lockstep and follows the Cravath scale.

This year, given the appalling bonus numbers put out by Cravath, MoFo associates in New York aren’t doing so well. From the memo (click to enlarge):

Averages can be misleading, so it’s not a slam dunk that people outside of New York are getting more than New York associates. But they could be. Outside of New York, MoFo associates had a chance to make a reasonable bonus in 2011. In New York, one of the most expensive cities on Earth, MoFo associates were locked into the low bonuses ordained by Cravath.

You can’t spell “chumps” without C-S-M.

Seriously though, living in New York is becoming kind of untenable. If you are not in the top 1%, what are you doing here? What am I doing here? I should just go to Black Mecca, put the ATL in the ATL, and call it a day.

Click through to the next page if you want to see the full MoFo memo. It also includes information about next year’s salary scale at the firm.


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