By email and in comments, readers have expressed significant curiosity about associate compensation at Williams & Connolly, the elite, Washington-based litigation boutique. We’d like to help; but we don’t have anything to report at the current time.
Here are some questions that we’d like your thoughts on:
1. Base Salaries. Historically the firm has paid above-market base salaries, but no bonuses. Back in March, Williams & Connolly raised to $165K. At that time, when homegrown D.C. firms were paying 145/155/170, a starting salary of $165,000 was well above the market.
But now that Washington-based firms have raised to 160/170/185, will Williams & Connolly raise again to stay ahead of the competition? Or might they stay at $165,000, but start paying bonuses?
2. Clerkship Bonuses: Speaking of bonuses…. The last we heard, Williams & Connolly paid a clerkship bonus of $25,000. Is that still correct? Do they differentiate between district and circuit court clerkships? What about people with two years of clerkship experience? Inquiring minds want to know.
Update: A current offeree confirms that the W&C clerkship bonus is still at $25K.
3. Summer Associates. A rumor, from a tipster:
The word is that summers aren’t being paid the first-year associate rate. They’re getting $2500 a week, while other DC summers are getting $3100.
We realize our coverage of law firm salary news focuses very heavily on certain major legal markets, primarily on the East and West Coasts: New York, Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco / Silicon Valley.
So we’re going to mix it up a little. Each day, for the next two weeks or so, we will create an open thread devoted to compensation coverage in a legal market outside the “usual suspects.”
Today’s target: Denver, Colorado. Here’s an article from earlier this month, which appeared in the Denver Post:
At least four national law firms with offices in Denver have raised their entry-level attorney pay to $160,000, forcing some local firms to reconsider what they’re offering this year’s new recruits. Pay for first-year associates, fresh out of law school or clerkships, jumped to $160,000 at some New York firms earlier this year and in California over the past few weeks….
Four national firms with Denver offices – Cooley Godward Kronish, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, Morrison & Foer ster and Hogan & Hartson – confirmed they’re raising first-year pay to that level at their U.S. offices.
The largest Denver-based firms are paying $105,000 to $110,000, and some out-of-state firms with offices here pay in the $120,000 range.
Denver lawyers quoted in the Post article talk about the advantages of working for local rather than national firms. The plusses include lower billable hours, more client contact, greater community involvement, and the opportunity to develop their own practices more quickly.
But are these advantages worth a cool $50K a year? The article suggests that local and regional firms in Denver, even if they can’t raise all the way to $160K, will increase associate salaries a little bit, to make the pay gap less enormous.
If you have information or insights about legal salaries in the Mile High City, please discuss away in the comments. Enjoy!
(Non-Denver or national salary discussion should continue in last night’s post about Covington & Burling. Thanks.) Law firms woo grads with high pay [Denver Post]
The rumors were correct (as they so often are). Before the Memorial Day weekend, Covington & Burling raised associate salaries to the $160K scale. The raise is retroactive to May 1, and summer associates are in on the fun.
Alas, it took us a while to get our hands on the memo. We obtained it only after threatening people with Gitmo making affirmative requests of multiple sources at the firm.
C’mon, folks — show us a little love. We can’t accurately track law firm salary developments without your help. If you have a pay raise memo we haven’t previously posted, stop holding out on us. Please send it to us by email.
The fruit of our labors, namely, the Covington memo, after the jump.
We’re a little behind in our coverage of associate pay raises at large law firms. This post will attempt to bring everyone back up to speed.
Listed below are firms for which we have announcements that have been (1) confirmed and (2) not previously posted on ATL. We treat an announcement as confirmed only if we have received an email about it, from a source that we can verify as working at the firm in question. You don’t have to email us from your work account (and probably shouldn’t); but if you email us from a personal account, please tell us your real name, so we can look you up on the firm website. (We will keep you anonymous, unless you request attribution; but we do need to know who you are so we can verify your identity.)
If you have some pay raise news that you’d like to be reported in these pages, you need to email us. Rumors reported in the comments — which we no longer read through completely, due to their sheer volume — are not treated as confirmed. If we see an interesting rumor in the comments, sometimes we will nostra sponte reach out to our sources for confirmation; but we don’t always have the time to do that. New and Confirmed Pay Raise Announcements (in alphabetical order)
1. Dechert LLP (Palo Alto)
2. Katten Muchin Rosenman (Chicago, Los Angeles, and Washington, DC)
3. Morgan Lewis & Bockius (Chicago, Washington, DC, and San Francisco)
Update: Please note the addition of Morgan Lewis in Chicago to the list. It was not mentioned in the first version of this post, but we have now confirmed their move to $160K.
Surely this list is incomplete. But we’re not adding to it until we get confirmations by email (preferably with memos, if available). We have been burned before by false information, and we would rather be slow and accurate than fast and wrong.
Memos for the Dechert and Katten announcements appear after the jump.
An inquiry from a curious reader who will be starting at a Biglaw shop in New York in a few months:
It seems my friends starting work for Latham & Watkins this fall have received stipends (i.e. signing bonuses) of more than $13,000! And I thought I had a good deal when my NY firm was generous enough to offer me a “salary advance” of $10,000 (which I won’t receive for some time)…
I’m wondering if this bar stipend is common among other firms. In other words – how much am I being screwed? My friends in LA will effectively make a base salary of $173,000 their first year! That’s more than most NYC 2nd years! Wondering if you could post something and get to the bottom of this?
Thoughts? Please feel free to describe your firm’s policy on bar stipends / signing bonuses / salary advances in the comments. Or send us information by email (subject line: “Bar Stipend”). Thanks. Update: With respect to Latham specifically, a source advises:
It’s true LW gives a bar stipend that equals one month of salary, but they do NOT give a stub bonus. [For the uninitiated, a "stub bonus" is a year-end or holiday bonus, but prorated to reflect the number of months you spent at a firm in your first year (since you weren't there for all twelve months).]
To say that LW people get more than the NY firms is disingenuous, since a lot of NY law firms give a bonus in December equal to the bar stipend LW gives. I’ve heard that there are some firms that do both – that’d be awesome.
It’s the Friday before a major holiday — and firms are scrambling to get their pay raise announcements out the door. It’s a nice way to send your bedraggled and overworked hardworking associates into a three-day weekend (assuming they don’t need to come in on Monday).
We’re about to sign off for the weekend, and we won’t be back until Wednesday. (Billy Merck, who has filled our shoes in the past, will be your guest editor on Tuesday.)
Before we go, here are the latest salary announcements that we’ve confirmed:
But the Manatt “raise” has a catch. Its effective date? January 1, 2008.
HA. That’s kind of funny, in a sick sort of way — provided you’re not at Manatt.
Memos appear after the jump. And we’re out the door. Have a great holiday weekend! Update (2:50 PM): We’ve verified the Pillsbury Winthrop raise news. Memo below. Update (3:25 PM): Jeez, you’re going to make us miss our flight to Las Vegas. Memo from the D.C. office of Winston & Strawn, added after the jump.
Okay, commenters, break it up. There’s no need to come to blows over the propriety of discussing clerkship bonuses in a salary post.
Here at ATL, there’s enough cyberspace for everyone. We’re putting an end to the turf wars, by giving you a new, dedicated thread for talking about clerkship bonuses.
We’ll kick things off with some news. First, a reader alerted us to a change made to Cahill Gordon’s website:
Sign-on Bonuses: The firm pays sign-on bonuses of $50,000 to judicial clerks and $15,000 to LL.M. (tax) graduates when they start at the firm.
Second, from a law clerk tipster, about Paul Weiss:
I’m clerking for two years. Paul Weiss just notified me, by phone, that they will be giving $70K bonuses to all two-year clerks. Hurray!
Congratulations, law clerks! Your Memorial Day holiday weekend is off to a good start. Compensation & Benefits [Cahill Gordon & Reindel]
It’s a busy morning, right before the big Memorial Day holiday weekend. There’s breaking news of associate pay raises from Sidley Austin, Arnold & Porter (hi James Sandman!!!), and Brown Rudnick.
The Sidley Austin memo appears after the jump. The raise to the $160K scale covers Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington. It’s retroactive to May 1.
The Arnold & Porter news was reported by The BLT: Blog of Legal Times. If you have the A&P memo, please email it to us.
We learned of the Brown Rudnick raise by email. We don’t have the memo, but our source sent us a salary table, which also appears below the fold.
We’re a little tardy with this memo. It was issued on Wednesday, but we didn’t receive it until late yesterday.
Anyway, better late than never. The Mintz Levin pay raise announcement appears below the fold.
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The holiday season is upon us, and yet again, you have no idea what to get for the fickle lawyer in your life. We’re here to help. Even if your bonus check hasn’t arrived yet, any one of the gifts we’ve highlighted here could be a worthy substitute until your employer decides to make it rain.
We’ve got an eclectic selection for you to choose from, so settle in by that stack of documents yet to be reviewed and dig in…
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: email@example.com.
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