Money

new jersey small strong survive above the law atl.JPGTime for a quick shout-out to our home state. From the New Jersey Law Journal:

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….

Additional data points appear in the full article.
Large New Jersey Firms Approve Midyear Pay Hikes for Associates [New Jersey Law Journal]

Hank Adorno Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgActually, 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.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyer of the Day: Hank Adorno”

K&L Gates Kirkpatrick Lockhart Preston Gates Ellis Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgThis rumor has been around for a while, but we wanted to wait until it was official. Now it is (as of twenty minutes ago):

From: Miller, Charles
Sent: Thursday, August 09, 2007 1:31 PM
To: WA ASSOC
Cc: Kalis, Peter; Fried, Susan V.; Graner, Glenn; Carson, Rodney E.
Subject: New DC Associate Salaries

All: This will confirm the new DC associate salary ranges that we discussed at the associates’ lunch today:

1st years — $160K
2nd years — $170K
3rd years — $185K
4th years — $200K/205K/210K
5th years — $205K/215K/225K
6th years — $210K/225K/240K
7th years — $215K/230K/250K
8th years — $220K/240K/260K

These changes should be reflected starting 9/1/07 in the paycheck that you receive on 9/15/07. Please let me know if you have any questions.

– Chuck

Oh, in case you’re wondering, the salary “tiering” is apparently based on quantity (of billable hours) and quality (of work).


Kramer Levin Naftalis Frankel LLP logo Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgFirms 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]

charity helping hands Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgToday’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.

King Spalding LLP logo Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgEarlier this week, we reported on King & Spalding raising starting salaries for its associates to $145,000.
A subsequent article, in the Fulton County Daily Report, contained this interesting analysis:

[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.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Nationwide Pay Raise Watch: More on King & Spalding”

Haynes and Boone haynesboone associate salary Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgSeveral 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.

More details appear in the full article, by Miriam Rozen. It’s not clear if there will be a memo, but if there is, please send it to us by email. Thanks.
Haynes and Boone Latest to Hike Associate Salaries in Texas [Texas Lawyer]

100 dollar bill Above the Law Above the Law law firm salary legal blog legal tabloid Above the Law.JPGSome Boston salary news, from a helpful tipster:

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.

King Spalding LLP logo Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgGood 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.

From a source at K&S: “Much speculation that the only possible reason for delay regarding other years is that the firm is going to top A&B.”
K&S just announced [Greedy South / Infirmation]
Earlier: King & Spalding Attorney Kidnapped!

clock time billable hour Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.gifTo 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

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