On July 25, Bracewell & Giuliani joined the growing pack of Texas-based firms raising first- and second-year associate raises.
Houston-based Bracewell — with 391 lawyers in the United States, 306 of those in Texas — will raise first-year associate salaries to $160,000 and second-year associate salaries to $170,000 effective Aug. 1, says Melanie Hillis, a firm spokeswoman. Hillis says the firm, which is offering raises to first- and second-year associates in all seven of its U.S. offices, is still evaluating how to structure raises for third- through eighth-year associates.
Read the full article for an insanely detailed summary of the Texas pay raise action, which treats the subject like a high school history lesson: “On July 18, Houston-based Andrews Kurth…. On July 21, partners in Susman Godfrey….” (And who killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand?)
Speaking of Giuliani, we’re obsessed with the Obama Girl vs. Giuliani Girl music video. We admire and respect Rudy Giuliani, but even we had to laugh at this lyric: “Giuliani girl stop your fussin’ / At least Obama didn’t marry his cousin.”
(Also, the pillow fight at the end is AWESOME. And we love Kucinich Girl.) Bracewell & Giuliani First- and Second-Years Seeing Green [Texas Lawyer] Debate ’08: Obama Girl vs Giuliani Girl [YouTube via BarelyPolitical.com]
People, please, be patient. We heard you the first time you asked us to confirm that Kirkland & Ellis has raised its clerkship bonus. It was not necessary to reiterate this request in the comments to every single post on ATL.
We reached out to Kirkland earlier this week, shortly after we started hearing this rumor, but we didn’t hear back from them until just now. From firm spokesman Brian Pitts:
I can confirm Kirkland’s clerkship bonus has increased to $50,000 and that it applies across all offices. As for serial clerkships and/or multi-year clerkships, Kirkland’s practice is to evaluate those on a case-by-case basis. Please let me know if you need anything else.
We thank Mr. Pitts and K&E for this information. We appreciate it greatly when firms respond to our requests for information that are relevant to prospective associates (many of whom read ATL).
In this week’s New York Observer, there’s an article (by yours truly) that may be of interest to ATL readers. It’s entitled Profits vs. Partners: Are the country’s top law firms going the way of the dinosaur?
You can check it out by clicking here. The piece has also been picked up by DealBook and the WSJ Law Blog (with a somewhat snarky title — but if we can dish it, we can take it).
The point of the article is not that law firms are becoming more businesslike and profit-oriented (yawn), but what this means for the profession — and also for firms as profit-maximizing businesses. Here’s an excerpt:
It’s a noteworthy shift for the legal profession, whose denizens like to think of themselves as intellectual types—and view their Wall Street cousins as money-obsessed philistines. Many angst-filled attorneys suspect they should have gone into something more tweedy and creative than relocating commas within merger agreements. As Clarence Darrow said, “Inside every lawyer is the wreck of a poet.”
Such questions of professional identity aren’t just theoretical; they have ramifications for law firms as businesses. If law firms become “just like banks,” but with smaller paychecks, firms may lose their appeal to the talent they must attract in order to thrive.
In other words: Is Biglaw, by emphasizing money so much, hoisting itself by its own petard? If it’s all about the benjamins (baby), why not just go to an i-bank or hedge fund? Are firms going to lose their top talent to the world of finance — which would then impair Biglaw’s ability to thrive as a business?
(If Biglaw has nothing to offer but monetary rewards, which are offered in larger amounts by Wall Street, will law firms end up as dumping grounds for the mathematically-impaired? (Please don’t take offense; that includes us. We can’t balance our checkbook without a calculator.))
More excerpts and discussion — including predictions from law firm consultants about when the next round of associate pay raises is coming, which we know you’re dying to hear — after the jump.
Here is the latest unverified gossip making the rounds among summer associates in New York City:
“I’m not summering at Davis Polk, but I have some friends who are, and I’ve been to a few of their events. The general assumption among people there was that the firm is going to $180,000, probably in time for fall recruiting season.”
“My career adviser at Cornell said that it is all but declared that NYC associate starting salaries will be going up to $195K. Is there truth to this? I haven’t heard it anywhere else?”
At this point, since such rumors have been percolating for weeks, we don’t put much stock in them. But maybe we can have a meta-conversation about them: What does the persistence of these (perhaps ridiculous) rumors say about law students and young lawyers?
(Other than that they have huge-ass student loans and/or a taste for the finer things in life. E.g., Cristal.)
Today’s Washington Post has a great article, by Ian Shapira, about the adventures of summer associates here in the nation’s capital. This is our favorite part (emphasis added):
[B]udding lawyers say they spend much of their office time looking for better deals. They peruse such Web sites as Above the Law, a must-read legal blog written by David Lat, a former federal prosecutor in Newark and former co-editor of the Wonkette politics and media blog.
One of Above the Law’s scoops this month was headlined “WilmerHale Summers: Where’s Our Raise?” The blog published an e-mail from an anonymous summer associate in the Boston office who complained that the summers weren’t getting the customary pro-rated weekly equivalent of first-year associates. Instead of about $3,100 a week ($160,000 a year), the tipster wrote, they were getting only $2,800 (about $145,000 a year).
More discussion of this delightful piece, after the jump.
The folks over at litigation powerhouse Susman Godfrey like to toot their own horn. But that’s okay, because they have a lot to boast about. The firm has been tremendously successful, and it pays its people very well (especially in terms of bonuses).
So this news should come as no surprise to anyone. From the Texas Lawyer:
Over the weekend, Houston-based Susman Godfrey joined the growing list of Texas-based firms opting to compensate Texas associates at rates comparable to their New York counterparts.
According to firm spokesman Shawn Raymond, the partners at Susman decided on July 21 to raise associate salaries effective Aug. 1 to $160,000 for first-years, $170,000 for second-years, $175,000 for third-years, $180,000 for fourth-years, and $190,000 for fifth years — after which lawyers at the firm are considered candidates for partnership.
“We want to attract the best and brightest at this firm,” Raymond says when asked about the changes.
That’s one short partnership track — which makes up for the relatively small salary increases after the second year. (And considering that pay levels for Texas associates beyond the second year are still up in the air, it’s not clear that Susman is even below market.) Susman Godfrey Raises Associate Salaries, Effective Aug. 1 [Texas Lawyer]
No, we haven’t heard anything about Fulbright & Jaworski raising associate salaries in Texas. If you hear anything, please email us.
But how about D.C.? That we can help with. From a tipster in Fulbright’s Washington office:
Fulbright has raised. There’s still no memo available, and no one expects one, as the numbers were announced orally at a meeting last Friday. I’m an F&J associate… and was at the meeting.
So no memo. But we do have the firm’s schedule of base salaries and bonuses, payable at different hours levels (up to 2500 hours — yikes).
You can check it all out — it’s a pretty elaborate scale, we’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on it — after the jump.
The rumor is true. Locke Liddell & Sapp has raised salaries for first- and second-year associates. As noted by a commenter, “Now that they have Harriet Miers back, Locke Liddell’s future is blindingly bright.”
The news was reported in the Texas Lawyer. We’ve also gotten a copy of the email, sent out this afternoon by managing partner Jerry Clements (who actually isn’t a 300-pound, cigar-smoking Texan male, replete with handlebar moustache, but a rather attractive woman).
You can check out her email, plus a photo, after the jump.
As for Baker Botts in Texas, still no word, as of the time of this post. If you hear anything, please email us. Thanks. Not to be Outdone, Locke Liddell Hikes Associate Pay [Texas Lawyer]
Professor Joel P. Trachtman has developed a unique, practical guide to help lawyers analyze, argue, and write effectively.
The Tools of Argument: How the Best Lawyers Think, Argue, and Win is a highly readable 200-page book, available for about $10 in paperback or e-book. Chapters focus on foundational principles in legal argument: procedure, interpretation of contracts and statutes, use of evidence, and more. The material covered is taught only implicitly in law school. Yet, when up-and-coming attorneys master these straightforward tools, they will think and argue like the best lawyers.
For most attorneys, time spent managing the books is a necessary evil at best. Yet it is undeniably a crucial aspect of running a successful practice. With that in mind, we invite you to view or download a free webinar by Above the Law and our friends at Clio to learn how to better manage your finances.
Take this opportunity to learn what it takes to streamline your accounting and get the most out of your time. The webinar agenda:
● The basics of accounting for lawyers.
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Do not miss this crucial chance to optimize your accounting practices. Save time and get back to billing!
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 seven years. You can reach them by email: email@example.com.
Please note that Evan Jowers and Robert Kinney are still in Hong Kong and will stay FOR THE REMAINDER OF THIS WEEK. We still have a handful of available slots for meetings with our Asia Chronicles fans. If we have not been in touch lately, reach out and let us know when we could meet! There is no need for an agenda at all. Most of our in-person meetings on these trips are with folks who understand that improving a legal practice through lateral hiring is an information-driven process that takes time to handle correctly.
Regarding trends in lateral US associate hiring in Hong Kong, we of course keep much of what we know off of this blog. Based on placement revenue, though, Kinney is having one of our most successful years ever in Asia. We are helping a number of our law firm clients with M&A, fund formation, cap markets, project finance, FCPA and disputes openings. These are very specific needs in many cases, so a conversation with us before jumping in may be helpful. As always, we like to be sure to get the maximum number of interviews per submission, using a well-informed, highly targeted, and selective approach, taking into account short, medium and long-term career aims.
Making a well informed decision during a job search is easier said than done – the information we provide comes from 10 years of being the market leader in US attorney placements at the top tier firms in Asia. There is no substitute for having known a hiring partner since he/she was an associate or for having helped a partner grow his or her practice from zip to zooming, and this is happily where we stand today – with years of background information on just about every relevant person in all the markets we serve, and most especially in Hong Kong/China/Greater Asia. So get in touch and get a download from us this week if we can fit it in, or soon in any case!