Money

Jessica Cutler Washingtonienne Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgThis news is a bit mystifying to us. From the Associated Press:

Jessica Cutler, the former Senate aide whose online sex diary landed her a book deal and a Playboy photo spread but got her kicked off Capitol Hill, has filed for bankruptcy….

Cutler has spent much of her time [recently] fending off a lawsuit by ex-boyfriend and fellow DeWine staffer Robert Steinbuch, who claims Cutler’s blog publicly humiliated him. He is seeking more than $20 million in damages.

In court documents filed in the case Thursday, however, Cutler says she can’t even pay her American Express bill, legal fees and student loans. She submitted to the judge a copy of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition filed in New York dated Wednesday.

The lawsuit is being closely watched by online privacy groups and bloggers because the case could help establish whether people who keep online diaries are obligated to protect the privacy of the people they interact with offline.

Our advice to Jessica: retain William P. Smith to represent you in bankruptcy court. You can pay his fees in “Happy Meals.”
On a more serious note: How did the Washingtonienne wind up in this financial predicament?
We’re not so good with math, so please help us out. We run some numbers, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Breaking: Jessica Cutler Files for Bankruptcy”

Jenner Block LLP Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgSome of you have been clamoring for a post discussing why Jenner & Block has been dragging its feet on associate pay raises. Pretty much all of Jenner’s traditional peer firms have already bumped to the $160K pay scale in Chicago and Washington, DC. Why hasn’t Jenner?
We’ve heard some interesting theories floated to explain Jenner’s slowness. But we’re not in a position to share these rumors until we have more corroboration.
Can you help us out? If you have actual knowledge about what’s going on with Jenner, please email us (subject line: “Jenner & Block”). Thanks.

Williams Connolly LLP Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.JPGBy 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.

Is this whiny? Sure. But whining about minor salary differences is our stock in trade here at ATL.
If you can shed any light on these matters, please email us (subject line: “Williams & Connolly”). Thanks.
Earlier: Skaddenfreude: Williams & Connolly Weighs In

Denver Colorado Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgWe 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]

Covington Burling LLP logo Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.JPGThe 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.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Nationwide Pay Raise Watch: Covington, Confirmed”

To follow up on our earlier post, as well as this post from before the holiday, here are more confirmed pay raise announcements not previously mentioned in these pages:

1. Munger Tolles & Olson: They’ve raised to the $160K scale, according to The Recorder.

(The same article also mentions Pillsbury Winthrop going to $160K in its California offices; we previously reported that news before the holiday.)

2. Winston & Strawn: We previously posted about their raising salaries in their Washington office. But they have also gone to $160,000 in their home office in Chicago, according to the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin (subscription).

3. Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz: They now pay $165,000 for first years. We’re not sure of what they pay higher up the ladder, but we’re looking into it.

Pillsbury, Others Hit or Exceed $160K Mark for Associate Salaries [The Recorder via Law.com]
Rising associate salary tide washes over more firms here [Chicago Daily Law Bulletin (subscription)]

100 dollar bill Abovethelaw Above the Law law firm salary legal blog legal tabloid Above the Law.JPGWe’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.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Nationwide Pay Raise Watch: Tying Up Loose Ends”

100 dollar bill Abovethelaw Above the Law law firm salary legal blog legal tabloid Above the Law.JPGAn 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.

100 dollar bill Abovethelaw Above the Law law firm salary legal blog legal tabloid Above the Law.JPGIt’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:

1. McDermott Will & Emery

2. Manatt, Phelps & Phillips (Hat Tip: Lateral Link)

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.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Nationwide Pay Raise Watch: The Latest Announcements”

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]

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