Job Survey

When it comes to working on holidays, we all know that Biglaw attorneys are some of the worst offenders. In today’s Career Center survey, brought to you by Lateral Link, tell us if you were off on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, or if it was just business as usual. Then check back later this week for the survey results.

In a previous post, we revealed that 73% of respondents to our survey met their minimum billable requirements last year.  Today, we find out whether associates were satisfied with receiving 2009-level bonuses for a busier 2010.

Let’s see what the survey says….

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After a year like 2009 (aka the worst year ever for Biglaw), 2010 was bound to be better.  According to the nearly 1,000 survey responses we received, 2010 did in fact turn out to be a busier year for most associates.  An impressive 73% of respondents hit their firm’s minimum billable hours requirements or unofficial billable hours expectations, which ranged from 1,600 to 2,200 billable hours.  You can find a breakdown of the results by minimum billable hours required or expected, as well as by practice area, after the jump. 

Stay tuned for our next post, addressing associate satisfaction with 2010 bonus payments.  In the meantime, you can learn more about billable hours and bonuses at the nation’s top law firms on the Career Center, hosted by Lateral Link

Now, on to the survey results….

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Every now and then we conduct reader surveys, to learn a little more about you. Today’s short survey — just two to four questions, depending on your responses — focuses on what you do and where you do it.

The survey is anonymous. The results will be used by us for a variety of purposes, both business and editorial (e.g., figuring out which stories to cover).

One short explanatory note. For the question about where you’re based geographically, the four domestic regions — Northeast, Midwest, South, and West — are based on the U.S. Census Bureau designations (which you can review here).

Please take the survey by clicking here. Thanks!

Above the Law 2011 Reader Survey [Survey Monkey]

Every now and then we conduct reader surveys, to learn a little more about you. Today’s survey, aimed at practicing lawyers, seeks information about your practice area.

The survey is anonymous. The results will be used by us for a variety of purposes, some of them business-related and some of them editorially oriented (e.g., figuring out which practice areas we should cover more).

Please take the survey by clicking here. Thanks!

ATL Practice Area Survey [Survey Monkey]

A small law-firm bonus, or a small-law-firm bonus?

It was almost two weeks ago that I, still fat from Thanksgiving turkey, wondered publicly about the status of bonuses at small law firms. Well, it’s time to get the results of that status check.

I recall Elie using the term “anemic” to describe Cravath’s bonus numbers (which were looking like the standard for Biglaw bonuses this year — at least until Cahill came along). Given that, I can only think the term “uber-anemic” is in order here.

Results and charts, after the break.

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A small law-firm bonus, or a small-law-firm bonus?

While Biglaw types may or may not have had something to be thankful for over the holiday weekend, many small firm lawyers were feeling the Thanksgiving love via the SoloSez list serve.

There were numerous magnanimous emails coming through about what small firm lawyers are thankful for. I found myself wondering whether these warm-and-fuzzy feelings resulted from pure happiness — or whether they might reflect cold hard cash, in the form of small-firm bonuses.

So let’s gather some data about bonuses at small law firms….

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Climbing the law firm ladder.

In addition to talk of bonuses and layoffs, another topic that instills fear in associates is partnership prospects.  A couple of weeks ago, we asked you how current partnership prospects at your firm compared to last year, and how your firm treats associates who are passed over for partnership.

Forty-seven percent of respondents report that the chances of making partner are worse than last year, 42% say they are about the same, and 11% indicate that prospects are better.

First, the bad news: the percentage of respondents who say that prospects are worse is significantly larger among the senior associates who are either up for partner or nearing partnership consideration. For example, 66% of the Class of 2002 report that making partner is less likely than last year, as do 58% of the Class of 2003, and 55% of respondents who graduated before 2002 (which may include some current partners). Maybe it’s just the nerves talking, but it could also be that eighth year associates and beyond have a better grasp of reality than, say, Class of 2010 associates.

So what’s the good news?

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Members of the “lost generation” who managed to snag those elusive Biglaw offers are generally being viewed as welcome additions to their firms.  According to our survey results, the majority of respondents report that Class of 2009 and 2010 associates started on time, and have enough billable work.

Although most of the more senior associates think the first-year associates will be cut first if the economy heads south again, a number of newbies are actually very confident about their job security. (That’s especially true of first-years at this New York firm.)

What are some of the other survey findings?

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If you’re in Biglaw, chances are that not all of the first-year associates currently working at your firm are of the fresh-out-of-law-school-and-still-tan-from-post-bar-trip variety. With many firms just now welcoming back some Class of 2009 associates after a yearlong deferral, Class of 2010 associates have to wait their turn to start work in 2011 or 2012. But now that the great recession is over, surely business has picked up enough so that there is plenty of doc review and due diligence to go around for first-year associates, right? Or is work still so slow that the more senior associates have to hoard all the grunt work?

In this week’s survey, we want to know whether the first-year associates at your firm are being welcomed with open arms, or viewed as the competition…

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