Money

Sidley Austin Brown Wood LLP tax shelter Above the Law blog.jpgIf you’re an associate at a top Chicago law firm, hoping that Sidley Austin LLP will kick off a round of pay raises in the Windy City, we have some advice for you:

Don’t hold your breath.

(On the other hand, sometimes law firms boost associate pay to distract from bad publicity. Might Sidley take that approach here?)
Sidley agrees to $39.4 million penalty to IRS [Chicago Tribune]
Sidley Austin Settles Government Tax Shelter Investigations [Business Wire (press release)]

Goodwin Procter LLP Above the Law legal tabloid blog.jpgThe House Judiciary Committee is taking a five-minute recess in the Monica Goodling testimony. We will resume our liveblogging of the hearing in a fresh post. Our two prior reports appear here and here.
Meanwhile, we can confirm the rumor from the comments that Goodwin Procter has raised associate base salaries to the $160K scale, in Boston, California, and Washington, DC.
The memo appears after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Nationwide Pay Raise Watch: Goodwin Procter Gives Up the Goods”

LeBoeuf Lamb 2 small La Bouche Above the Law Blog.jpgThe crew over at La Bouche LeBoeuf Lamb, who recently showed some love to law clerks, just raised salaries in their California offices.
They’re now on the $160K scale. The raise is retroactive to May 1, 2007.
Memo appears after the jump.
(If your firm recently raised associate base salaries and/or clerkship bonuses, and hasn’t been covered already in these pages, please email us to let us know. Thanks.)

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Nationwide Pay Raise Watch: LeBoeuf Lamb Raises in California”

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.

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