Money

WilmerHale Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale Dorr Above the Law blog.jpgWe’ve confirmed with sources here in DC that WilmerHale has raised associate base salaries in its Washington office. Associates were notified individually earlier this afternoon. Accordingly, there was no memo. (But if we’re wrong about that, or if a memo later materializes, please send it along.)
Because associates received individual notification, we don’t have salary numbers for all classes. But the sources we’ve spoken with have provided us with figures for their class years that are consistent with the $160K scale. So it’s safe to assume that WilmerHale in Washington is now on par with the two D.C. firms that previously raised: Akin Gump and Hogan & Hartson.
WilmerHale’s move leaves Arnold & Porter and Covington & Burling as the most prominent members of the DC List of Shame. Feel free to add others in the comments.
We don’t have confirmation for raises at WilmerHale in Boston yet. But rumor has it that (1) WilmerHale has raised in Boston too, and (2) the pay raise is effective June 1.
Please send us any additional details by email. Thanks.

100 dollar bill Above the Law Above the Law law firm salary legal blog legal tabloid Above the Law.JPGIf you are still participating in any of the bizarre discussions from Friday morning’s open thread — which covered such diverse topics as open houses in Houston, childhood sleepover experiences, and the hipster quotient of the New Yorker — please don’t let us stop you. You can join in the fun by clicking here.
But if you’re looking for a forum for discussing subjects that are a bit more germane to ATL, such as associate pay raises and clerkship bonuses, then this new open thread is for you.
Enjoy the rest of the weekend; we’ll see you on Monday.

Fenwick West LLP Above the Law blog.JPGIf you want to get a raise to the $160K pay scale, but without a corresponding “adjustment” to your bonus. Or if you want to bill only 1800 hours a year, and still make a decent living.
From a source at the firm:

Fenwick & West raises. Keeps bonus structure the same.

I know the partners are relishing embarassing our biggest competitor WSGR with this move.

Check out the memo, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Nationwide Pay Raise Watch: Go to Fenwick & West, Young Man”

100 dollar bill Above the Law Above the Law law firm salary legal blog legal tabloid Above the Law.JPGSorry, we have nothing new to report concerning either associate pay raises or clerkship bonuses. The best we can offer is yet another non-announcement announcement (like these two).
Today’s email, which actually made the rounds earlier in the week, comes from McDermott Will & Emery:

As you are probably aware, over the last two weeks there have been a number of developments in various of our markets in the US with respect to associate salaries. It is very clear, for example that the market in California has increased to a level of $160,000 for first year associates with commensurate increases in more senior classes.

The Firm intends to continue our practice of paying competitive compensation in all of our markets. Rather than taking action on a serial basis, we are continuing to monitor the relevant developments and plan to make a final decision by May 30 with retroactive effect back to May 1.

Thank you for your patience in the interim.

Dawna Butala for Donald A. Goldman, Esq.
McDermott Will & Emery LLP

One source’s gloss on this: “A likely bump for the california offices, but looking grim for Chicago, Boston and D.C.”
We have to step away from the computer for a little while. Please discuss compensation issues, and post the text of any new announcements, in the comments. Thanks.

Cahill Gordon Reindel LLP Above the Law blog.jpgEarlier this week, we reported on the unexpected early promotions of four corporate associates at Cahill Gordon. According to various comments, the four soon-to-be partners, whose promotions will take effect in July, are Doug Horowitz, Corey Wright, Bill Miller, and Jonathan Frankel.
As some speculated, this quartet was promoted early to prevent them from leaving for greener pastures. Here are more details:

The way it apparently went down is that all 7th and 8th year litigators were sat down individually by a partner and told, a week or so ago, that 7th and 8th year corporate associates — corporate associates only — were going to be voted on this summer. The given reason was to prevent these people from leaving to go to i-banks.

Litigators were apparently told that they should not consider this to be a negative commentary on their value to the firm, and that they would be considered in the normal course, either end of this year (8th years) or end of next (7th years). Their chances of making it were described as “the same as they were yesterday.”

It’s my understanding that there is a growing rift between corporate and litigation at the firm. Each group — partners included — increasingly resenting the other. Corpies think litigators are lazy, don’t have to work nearly as hard for the same amount of money. Litigators resent being treated as second-class citizens.

Very interesting. Some food for thought:

1. Several top law firms have struggled to deal with the problem of star associates leaving for investment banks, hedge funds, and other opportunities in the world of finance. Will other Biglaw shops start employing this strategy of early promotion to retain their best associates? Could we be witnessing the start of a trend?

2. According to conventional wisdom, corporate lawyers generally have “better” — or at least more lucrative — exit opportunities than litigators. As a result, law firms face more outside competition for them. Could we eventually see a system in which partnership tracks are shorter for corporate associates than for litigation colleagues, in reflection of the different markets for the two practice areas?

Please feel free to discuss in the comments.
Earlier: Some Premature Promotions at Cahill Gordon?

Happy Texas Unhappy Texas Above the Law blog.jpgIt has been a while since our last update on associate pay raises. That’s because we have nothing to report. If you hear of anything, please email us.
In the meantime, here’s something from a Texas tipster:

Thought I would pass along information I’ve compiled over the last few days re: Texas associate salaries.

First, here’s an article where all the big Texas shops basically give the finger to the idea of pay raises any time soon.

Second, here’s the list of firms (that I know of) with offices in Texas that have raised to $150K or higher (current big firm average in Texas right now is $135K). The name of the city and number of associates in the offices in those cities is also listed (source, NALP). There may be others that have gone up that I don’t know about. Please use your vast network of informants and resources to find out.

The rest of the message, including the list, appears after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Nationwide Pay Raise Watch: Unhappy, Texas”

Although there continues to be activity on the associate pay raise front, things seem to have quieted down in terms of clerkship bonuses. The most recent announcement was that of Patterson Belknap — from Monday morning.
Are there no new announcements out there? Or are we just not hearing about them?
If you have any information to share, please email us (subject line: “Clerkship Bonus”). And feel free to discuss further in the comments. As always, thanks in advance for your tips.

Ropes Gray LLP Above the Law blog.jpgThat’s what we’re hearing in the comments. And by email, too:

Ropes in Boston has bumped to $160K for 1st years, $170K for 2nd years, $185 for 3rd years, etc.

Don’t know more, because they’ve told people not to send out the memo, but I suspect you can find out the rest :-)

According to this comment, the alleged Ropes raise also extends to the firm’s non-New York offices: Palo Alto, San Francisco, and Washington, DC.
Now, we don’t consider this confirmed. All we have our some anonymous comments, and an email from a source who isn’t at Ropes. We also don’ t have a memo.
If you have a copy of the alleged memo, please feel free to post it in the comments. That wouldn’t qualify as “send[ing] out” the memo, would it?
Update: The Ropes & Gray pay raise memo, which someone posted in the comments, has been authenticated for us by a source at the firm. So treat this news as confirmed.

100 dollar bill Above the Law Above the Law law firm salary legal blog legal tabloid Above the Law.JPGWe now bring you… a pair of non-announcement announcements on the associate pay raise front. They’re from Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman and DLA Piper.
As our tipster noted, Pillsbury Winthrop practically “threatens” its associates with a pay raise. Here’s an excerpt from their memo (emphasis added):

We want to take the time to thoughtfully consider your views and take into account your concerns, which we share, regarding the need to stay competitive, together with the implicit work-life balance impact of additional salary increases.

In other words: “Be careful what you wish for; you might just get it.”
The full text of the Pillsbury memo, plus a similar “hold your horses” memo from DLA Piper, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Nationwide Pay Raise Watch: In a Holding Pattern?”

Edward Tuddenham Sarah Cleveland townhouse townhome mansion Above the Law blog.jpgWe’ve been so focused on nationwide associate pay raises that we’ve been neglecting New York City — where lawyers have always earned top dollar. And where they enjoy real estate spoils reflecting their high compensation, which we regularly profile for Lawyerly Lairs.
One of our favorite sources of real estate porn in the deliciously gossipy New York Observer. Here are a few recent “Manhattan Transfers” items, all of which involve lawyers:
1. Crusading Lawyer Inks Sweet $2.4 M. Deal for Harlem Townhouse

The Erin Brockovich of big-sugar class-action lawsuits has bought a stately 108-year-old townhouse on West 137th Street (at right), a leafy block near Harlem’s Strivers Row.

Lawyer Edward Tuddenham and his wife, Sarah Cleveland, a University of Texas law professor, paid $2.4 million for the five-level townhouse.

Moral of the story: If you’re a law professor with dreams of a million-dollar home, you need to marry well. Or be Feldsuk.
In addition to having a million-dollar home, Professor Cleveland is also highly attractive, a former Rhodes Scholar, and a former Supreme Court clerk (for Justice Blackmun). Could a life be any more charmed? (Although that Manhattan-Austin commute is probably a real pain…)
Update: Per this comment, and as confirmed by this press release, Professor Cleveland — who is “a fantastic teacher,” we’re told — has been snapped up by Columbia. Very nice.
2. Saint David’s Buys Headmaster Two Philip Johnson Condos for $2.99 M
The Saint David’s School, an all-boys prep school, just purchased two adjacent condos for a total of almost $3 million. These apartments will be the home of their headmaster. Who says schoolteachers can’t live well?
One of the principals in this deal is a lawyer: Willkie Farr & Gallagher partner Xavier Dieux is selling one of the two units. Presumably Mr. Dieux is trading up; he was probably living below his means in his condo at the Metropolitan.
3. Davis Polk Stays At Home
This item, reporting on Davis Polk & Wardwell’s 650,000-square-foot renewal at 450 Lexington Avenue, concerns commercial rather than residential real estate. So it may lie slightly beyond the jurisdiction of Lawyerly Lairs.
But it is interesting to see how Davis Polk is perceived by the outside world. The Observer refers to DPW as “cultivat[ing] its reputation as the Cravath, Swaine & Moore for happy people.”
Is that view of DPW accurate? Feel free to debate in the comments.

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