It used to be that salaries for first-year associates at large firms remained intact for the year. No more.
Increasing pressures to match the pay offered elsewhere have impelled some New Jersey firms to a midyear hike, a sampling of large New Jersey law offices shows. (See chart.)
Day Pitney in Florham Park announced on July 27 it would increase first-year salaries to $135,000 in January 2008, a jump of $15,000.
Lerner, David, Littenberg, Krumholz & Mentlik in Westfield decided on July 1 to boost first-year salaries by $10,000, to $140,000, starting in January.
Lerner David’s pay level equals that of Lowenstein Sandler of Roseland as the highest among firms whose main office is in New Jersey. Lowenstein announced in June that first-year pay would increase to $140,000 in January, $15,000 above the level originally set earlier in the year….
Actually, this is a two-for-one. We can also get a Benchslap of the Day out of this item. From the Miami Herald:
Prominent attorney Hank Adorno — already under Florida Bar investigation for his role in Miami’s fire-fee scandal — on Wednesday was blasted by the Third District Court of Appeal for what the judges called his ”reprehensible conduct” in the now infamous case.
In a unanimous opinion that upheld a lower-court decision invalidating Miami’s $7 million fire-fee settlement with just seven people, the appeals court ripped into Adorno, who had represented the so-called ”lucky seven.” The Adorno & Yoss firm stood to earn a $2 million share of the $7 million payout, while some 80,000 taxpayers got nothing.
Huh? How did that almost come to pass?
More discussion, plus the benchslap-worthy language from the court’s opinion, after the jump.
Firms continue to raise their clerkship bonuses, although the pace of announcements seems to be slowing.
Here’s the latest addition to the $50K/$70K Club:
“Kramer Levin increased its clerkship bonus to $50,000 for one year and $70,000 for two years. The info is on their NALP page.”
Indeed it is. You can access the firm’s form by running a search on this page.
And if you’re looking for a continually updated compilation of clerkship bonus information, we refer you to this list, over at the Law Clerk Addict blog. Very helpful!
P.S. Random factoid about Kramer Levin: it’s the former Biglaw home of the WSJ Law Blog’s Peter Lattman, who practiced litigation there for two years in the 1990s. Vault 100 clerkship salary bonus chart [Law Clerk Addict Blog]
Today’s Biglaw benefit of the day: charitable contributions (matching or otherwise).
Let’s start with the gold standard of perk providers, Kirkland & Ellis. From a tipster:
K&E matches charitable contributions, up to $500 a year, for associates. And for summer associates, too.
You can donate to any nonprofit, not just your law school. I thought that was pretty cool.
Indeed — the flexibility is nice. Wachtell Lipton makes charitable contributions on behalf of its associates, or at least they did when we were there, but these donations would just go to your law school.
(But hey, don’t look a gift-gift horse in the mouth. The donations by WLRK were made in your name, no matching from you required, and they were good-sized: several hundred dollars. Nothing that would embarrass you in the annual list of alumni givers.)
What’s your firm’s approach to charitable contributions? Please share in the comments. Thanks.
[Legal recruiter Raffaele V.] Murdocca predicted that King & Spalding would not simply match the new Alston & Bird pay scale for more senior classes. “A lot of associates are upset with how much pay compression there is at Alston & Bird,” he pointed out.
Alston increased pay by $15,000 for first-year associates but in smaller increments for more senior associate classes, so there is only a $45,000 difference between the salaries of the firm’s first- and seventh-year associates….
“That is not a lot of money when dealing with very different levels of experience,” said Murdocca. “Mid-level and senior associates are doing a substantial amount of work and are very valuable. The firm does not want to upset them….”
For ATL readers in ATL, there’s additional discussion after the jump.
Several of you have drawn our attention to this news, from the Texas Lawyer:
Today, Haynes and Boone partners plan to tell the Dallas-based firm’s Texas associates their salary scale will increase, retroactive to Aug. 1, to the new market rate of $160,000 for first-year associates.
Haynes and Boone partner Terry Conner says the new salaries for second- and third-year associates will be $170,000; $180,000 for fourth-years; $190,000 for fifth-years; $200,000 for sixth-years; $205,000 for seventh-years; and $210,000 for eighth-year associates.
The firm plans to increase its associates’ bonuses and alter the basis on which those year-end packages are calculated.
Specifically, Conner says, Haynes and Boone will offer bonuses of as much as $5,000 to first-year associates and as much as $70,000 to eighth-year associates. As in the past Haynes and Boone management will require associate classes, as a group, to achieve certain billable-hour totals for bonuses to be distributed.
1. Goulston & Storrs: Raised to 160K. See here. I think that leaves Nutter, McClennan & Fish, Sullivan & Worcester, and Nixon Peabody as the only major Boston shops that have not raised to 160K. (Heck, even Day Pitney raised a little.)
2. Nixon Peabody: They should change some of the information on their website. Go here, navigate to the summer associate program, and click on the “compensation” tab. The salary box states that “Salaries reflect the geographic markets in which our offices are located.” To be more accurate, there should be an “Except for Boston, San Francisco, and Washington” at the start of the sentence.
Just thought you should know.
And we just thought our readers should know. We thank our correspondent for this information.
Good times for associates at King & Spalding in Atlanta. They get kidnapped, but they’re released unharmed. And now they get pay raises!
We’ve confirmed the rumor from yesterday afternoon that King & Spalding has raised starting salaries for first-year associates. Here’s the email:
We are pleased to announce that, effective January 1, 2008, the salary for first-year, partner-track associates in the Atlanta office will be $145,000. We are continuing to evaluate compensation for other partner-track associates in Atlanta and will communicate with you further as additional decisions are made. We appreciate all that you do for the firm and for our clients.
To follow-up on the Fried Frank post about prompt submission of one’s time, a reader sent in this suggestion:
You should start a thread re: billing practices. For example:
1. Do you bill when you go to the bathroom?
2. Do you bill when a co-worker stops and talks to you for five minutes?
3. Have you seen partners bill for time not spent on actual client matters? (I know I have.)
4. Perhaps more commonly, have you noticed specific ways in which partners manage to lengthen conversations, hold extra internal meetings, or get people involved who really aren’t necessary to get the job done?
I guess we’re talking about a very subtle form of “padding” here. It would be interesting to know what associates have noticed — far more interesting than law firm policies about turning your timesheets in…..
Good idea. So here’s an open thread for discussion of billing practices. The billable hour has been widely criticized, even by Biglaw partners like Scott Turow (who, to be sure, probably earns more from his writing than his legal practice). But as long as the billable hour is still with us, questions like the ones raised above must be confronted.
The bathroom break question is an interesting one. When we worked at a firm, we would stop the clock when we went to the bathroom (which was often, due to heavy consumption of coffee and bottled water). But recently we were chatting with a friend in Biglaw who doesn’t, and she regarded the idea of stopping the clock when you go to the bathroom as laughable. The Billable Hour Must Die [ABA Journal] Bye Bye to the Billable Hour? [Concurring Opinions] Earlier: Fried Frank: Doing Hard Time
As part of a nationwide tour, Above the Law is coming to the great city of Chicago.
Join preeminent law firm management consultant Bruce MacEwen, Katten Muchin Chicago managing partner Gil Sofer, and JPMorgan Chase & Co. assistant general counsel Jason Shaffer for a panel discussion (sponsored by Pangea3) on the evolutionary and market forces bearing down on the law firm business model. Come on by Thursday, November 20, at 6 p.m., for thought-provoking discussion, food, drink, and networking.
Space is limited and there will be no on-site registration, so please RSVP
Average law school debt for graduates of private universities hovered around $122,000 last year. With only 57% of new attorneys actually obtaining real lawyer jobs, recent graduates have a lot to consider when it comes to managing their student loan payments. Thanks to our friends at SoFi, today’s infographic takes a look at student loan debt, including the possible benefits of refinancing for JDs…
Kinney Recruiting’sEvan Jowers is currently in Hong Kong for client meetings and still has a few slots available through October 22. Evan will also be in Hong Kong November 14 to December 15. Further, Robert Kinney has been in Frankfurt and Munich this week and is available for meetings with our Germany based readers.
One of our key law firm clients has referred us to one of their important clients in the US, Europe and China – a leading global technology supplier for the auto industry – in order to handle their search for a new Asia General Counsel and Asia Chief Compliance Officer.
Kinney is exclusively handling this in-house search.
This position will have a lot of responsibility and include supervision of eight attorneys underneath them in the Asia in-house team. The new hire will report directly to the global general counsel and global chief compliance officer, who is based in the US. The new hire’s ability to make judgement calls is going to be as important as their technical skill set background.
The position is based in Shanghai and will deal with the company’s operations all over Asia and also in India, including frequent acquisitions in the region.
It is expected that the new hire will come from a top US firm’s Shanghai, Beijing or Hong Kong offices, currently in a top flight corporate practice at the senior associate, counsel or partner level. Of course, the candidate can be currently in a relevant in-house role.