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.
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.”
[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.
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 priornewsarticles, 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.
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.
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.
A few moves within the legal profession worth noting: Legal Academia:
* 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). New Partners:
* 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:
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 alsohere.
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.”
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past six years. You can reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We currently have a very exciting and rare type of in-house opening in China at one of the world’s leading internet and social media companies. Our client is looking for an IP Transactional / TMT / Licensing attorney with 2 to 6 years experience. The new hire will be based in Shenzhen or Shanghai. Mandarin is not required (deal documentation will be in English) but is preferred. A solid reason to be in China and a commitment to that market is required of course. This new hire will likely be US qualified (but could also be qualified in UK or other jurisdictions) and with experience and training at a top law firm’s IP transactional / TMT practice and could be currently at a law firm or in-house. Qualified candidates currently Asia based, Europe based or US based will be considered. The new hire’s supervisors in this technology transactions in-house team are very well regarded US trained IP transactional lawyers, with substantial experience at Silicon Valley firms. The culture and atmosphere in this in-house group and the company in general is entrepreneurial, team oriented, and the work is cutting edge, even for a cutting edge industry. The upside of being in an important strategic in-house position in this fast growing and world leading internet company is of the “sky is the limit” variety. Its a very exciting place to be in China for a rising IP transactional lawyer in our opinion, for many reasons beyond the basic info we can share here in this ad / post. This is a special A+ opportunity.
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