Memo from Jonathan Lowe to all DC associates, after the jump.
Alston & Bird
There’s a lot going on this morning, including the resignation of Alberto Gonzales as attorney general and the Michael Vick plea hearing. But none of this will prevent fall recruiting from going forward, full speed ahead. So let’s continue with our open threads on Vault 100 law firms.
Here are the Biglaw shops to talk about this morning. Two of them — Alston & Bird and Bingham & McCutchen — are, along with Nixon Peabody, on Fortune’s list of 100 Best Companies to Work For.
61. Alston & Bird LLP (5.742)
62. Heller Ehrman LLP (5.690)
63. Vinson & Elkins LLP (5.676)
64. Bingham McCutchen LLP (5.641)
65. Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP (5.635)
As you may recall, we wrote about Bingham McCutchen recently. Our post triggered some additional tips, which appear after the jump.
Please discuss these five firms in the comments. Thanks.
The Vault Top 100 Law Firms [Vault]
Earlier: Vault 1-5; Vault 6-10; Vault 11-15; Vault 16-20; Vault 21-25; Vault 26-30; Vault 31-35; Vault 36-40; Vault 41-45; Vault 46-50; Vault 51-55; Vault 56-60
Troutman Sanders raised associate pay $15,000 across the board in its Atlanta, Washington, Virginia and North Carolina offices Thursday, with the starting salary going from $130,000 to $145,000.
The firm’s managing partner, Robert W. Webb Jr., announced the pay increase to associates at 5 p.m. Thursday.
The raises are effective Jan. 1, 2008, the same date the pay raise that Alston & Bird announced to its Atlanta associates last week goes into effect. Earlier this week, King & Spalding matched Alston’s $15,000 increase in starting pay, also effective Jan. 1, but did not raise pay for more senior associates.
Correction: According to a source at the firm, as well as various commenters, “Troutman’s DC and Tysons Corner offices have starting salaries of $160K as a result of the increase. (Troutman’s Atlanta office is starting at $145K).”
What’s most noteworthy about this raise, as pointed out to us by several tipsters, is that it’s “across the board” — not just for first- or second-year associates. In Atlanta, where salary compression for more senior associates is a serious issue, an across-the-board raise of $15,000 is good news indeed. It’s better than what has been announced thus far by Alston & Bird and King & Spalding.
More discussion, after the jump.
We’re delighted to see that ATL has so many readers in ATL. And we apologize for that one time we were mean to you. (We don’t know what got into us; guess it was that time of the month.)
This morning’s post about the Alston & Bird raise, which will take effect shortly before your kids enter law school, generated robust commentary. It also earned us another shout-out in the mainstream media. From an Atlanta reader:
“Above the Law was mentioned in the Daily Report article on the Alston & Bird raise. In fact, the reporter confronted A&B’s hiring partner with some of the comments to your post.”
Here’s an excerpt from Meredith Hobbs’s excellent piece:
[A]ssociates posting anonymously to the Above the Law blog, a gossip and news Web site about big law firms, were not happy with Alston’s pay increase. They contended that associate pay in Atlanta still lags behind that in other comparable markets, such as Houston and Dallas….
Several blog posters criticized Alston for pay compression, pointing out that the firm is not increasing pay for more senior classes at the same $15,000 rate as for first-years.
“A&B did raise today. Starts at $145K, tops at $190K. So much for solving compression. Folks are devestated [sic],” wrote “Anonymous” a scant hour after Alston announced the increase last evening.
“First years get a 15K raise. I get 5K,” groused another.
When told of the comments, [A&B hiring partner Jonathan W. Lowe] responded: “If this is true, I am certainly disappointed to hear that our associates are unhappy with this pay raise. We try to determine what the market is with respect to associate salary in each of the cities where we have offices, and this was our best effort at determining the market in Atlanta at this time.”
We agree with our reader’s take on on Jon Lowe’s response:
“His reaction to the negative comments seemed to catch him off guard. You almost get the impression he expected to hear only the sound of Cristal corks popping.”
But hey, A&B associates, it’s not all bad. Remember the firm’s special generosity, back in May?
If this isn’t ringing a bell, your recollection may be refreshed by two emails, reprinted after the jump.
Yes, we’ve confirmed the rumor: Alston & Bird has raised associate salaries in Atlanta.
But before you rejoice, consider the details — the actual numbers, and the effective date. From a tipster:
An email went around at 6:05 p.m. [on Wednesday]. The raises take effect on January 1, 2008, and there is heavy compression:
Some Atlantans are less than thrilled. As one commenter wrote: “Morale at Atlanta firms is about equal to Iraqi troops who surrendered to Amercian news crews during the invasion.”
Still, as our tipster observed, “any raise is a raise.”
The day that many of you have been waiting for has arrived. Today ATL goes to ATL: the fair city of Atlanta!
Based on NALP forms and prior news articles, it seems that starting salaries in the Big Peach generally range from $130,000 and $145,000 (similar to Philadelphia).
At $130K: Alston & Bird; Arnall Golden Gregory; King & Spalding; Kilpatrick Stockton; McKenna Long & Aldridge; Morris, Manning & Martin; Paul Hastings; Powell Goldstein; Smith Gambrell & Russell; Sutherland Asbill & Brennan; Troutman Sanders; Womble Carlyle.
At $135K: Jones Day
At $145K.: Dow Lohnes; Hunton & Williams; McGuireWoods; Schiff Hardin.
At $160K: Fish & Richardson (IP work).
Feel free to discuss associate compensation, or any other hot issues in Hotlanta, in the comments. Thanks.
New lawyers’ pay puts public sector to shame [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]
Alston & Bird Raises First-Year Pay Yet Again [Fulton County Daily Report]
Hunton raises first-year salaries to $145,000 [Fulton County Daily Report]
Related: Open threads focused on Denver, Hartford, Philadelphia, Seattle, New Jersey, Phoenix, Charlotte.
We haven’t verified this with a source at the firm; we received it secondhand (but from a source who has been reliable in the past). Anyway, with the foregoing caveats, here it is:
Alston & Bird just went to 145K for 1st years in Charlotte, but did NOT raise in Atlanta. The A&B associates in Atlanta are outraged.
Any thoughts, on this or any other salary-related matter? It has been a while since our last Skaddenfreude thread (which has forced some of you to leave salary-related comments in random places). So you can treat this as an open thread for compensation-related gossip and discussion.
Sorry, we don’t have any new memos or emails to share with you. We can’t post what we haven’t been emailed.
We’re not the only ones on the money beat. The MSM continues to follow increasing base salaries for law firm associates quite closely.
Here’s a linkwrap of four articles, published yesterday or today, concerning associate pay raises and/or partner profits:
1. Biggest Chicago firms boosting 1st-year pay [Chicago Tribune]
2. Alston & Bird Raises Pay to $130,000 [Fulton County Daily Report]
3. Pay: It’s All Relative: Starting pay at top firms falls farther behind partners’. [National Law Journal]
4. Keeping Up With the Joneses [The Recorder (subscription)]
As always, your comments are welcomed, after the jump.
Congratulations to these five law firms, which just made Fortune magazine’s list of the 100 Best Companies To Work For:
The Recorder has a write-up of the results, which contains some fun factoids. Did you know that each Perkins Coie office has a “Happiness Committee,” which throws surprise parties for lawyers and staff?
This is unusual. Many law firms have “Unhappiness Committees,” which are sometimes called “Personnel Committees” or “Associate Life Committees.” But we don’t know of any other firm with a “Happiness Committee.”
And here’s something we didn’t know about the #94 company on the list, Bingham McCutchen (whose name we keep on misspelling):
[A]t Bingham, women outnumber men two to one and make up 23 percent of the partner ranks — believed to be the highest percentage in the industry, according to the Fortune report.
No wonder the Bingham men are so happy.
Five Law Firms Score Places on Fortune Magazine’s ‘Best Companies’ List [The Recorder via Law.com]
100 Best Companies To Work For [Fortune]
A few moves within the legal profession worth noting:
* Tax law professor Neil Buchanan, to GW, from Rutgers-Newark, effective January 2007. (Gavel Bang: TaxProf Blog.)
Lateral Law Firm Moves:
* Corporate lawyer Carey Schreiber, to Winston & Strawn, from Dewey Ballantine.
* Corporate lawyer Jeffrey Katz, to Dechert (as a partner), from Milbank Tweed (where he was a senior attorney).
* King & Spalding has named twelve new partners. Have a friend who was up this year? See if they made it by reviewing the firm’s press release.
Although they don’t involve moves, while we’re on the subject of law firm employment (and King & Spalding), here are two interesting items from the WSJ Law Blog:
1. Power Brothers Ascend to the Top of Hotlanta’s Legal Scene: Two brothers, Robert Hays and Richard Hays, will be heading Atlanta’s two largest law firms, King & Spalding and Alston & Bird.
This will take effect as of 2008, when Richard Hays takes over as Alston & Bird’s managing partner. Robert Hays is currently chair of King & Spalding. See also here.
2. Spurned Orrick Associate Sues Firm: “At the same time that it’s talking merger with Dewey Ballantine, west-coast powerhouse Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe is defending a suit by a former associate who claims the firm fraudulently promised to make him a partner.”