Money

A more detailed (but equally shameless) plug will follow tomorrow. For now, please check out this article:
supreme court bonus babies Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpg
Then email it to, say, fifty of your closest friends. We are desperately trying to crack the NYT’s “Most Emailed Articles” list.
Much thanks. See you tomorrow!
The Supreme Court’s Bonus Babies [The New York Times]

100 dollar bill Abovethelaw Above the Law law firm salary legal blog legal tabloid Above the Law.JPGWe’re beginning to wonder whether this “NY to 190″ business is just a big practical joke. But even though no real information has emerged, and the co-chair of Simpson’s personnel committee told us his firm is “not currently considering an increase in associate salaries,” the rumors continue to swirl.

Here are two email messages we’ve received that are representative of many others:

“NYC big firm starting salary may be increasing to $190k in the coming weeks. My source was a recruiter whose friend at Sidley told him the news. Have you all heard anything or is this bs?”

“[A] friend of mine, who is a partner at a big Chicago firm, with a large presence in NYC, mentioned that pay raises are likely in NYC and that the firm has budgeted $190k as the starting first-year salary.”

Such gossip is not far removed from this commenter’s parody:

My dad’s step-mom’s estranged aunt is a janitor at Cravath, and she said she found a scribbled note on the floor of a partner’s office saying “damn, looks like we have to go to at least $175k soon; call wife re: can’t add second pool to home in Nantucket this summer.”

We wish we had more to tell you right now. We’ll continue to dig.

But at this point, your guess is as good as ours. So feel speculate to discuss in the comments. Vote in our reader polls, if you haven’t done so already.

Will any of this chatter make associate pay raises happen — or happen faster? Unlikely. But hey, there are worse ways to pass the time.

Earlier: Nationwide Pay Raise Watch: The Simpson Rumor
Nationwide Pay Raise Watch: Official Comment from Simpson
ATL Reader Poll: WWNYD?

Lowenstein Sandler Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgWe realize that most “secondary” legal markets get only one bite at the apple — i.e., one dedicated post. And we already covered New Jersey.
But the Garden State is our home state, where we practiced for a number of years, so we will show some favoritism (as is our prerogative). And the news we’re about to share was sent to us directly by the firm’s public relations firm. Since many large law firms try to pretend we don’t exist avoid communicating with us — unlike, say, our more fortunate colleagues at MSM outlets — we are favorably disposed towards law firms that do show us courtesies. [FN1]
So good news, New Jerseyans. A New Jersey-based firm, as opposed to an out-of-state firm with an NJ presence, is now paying $140K. From the press release:

Lowenstein Sandler announced a salary increase to $140,000, effective January 1, 2008, for new associates joining the firm beginning in September. This increase will also be taken into account during the regular year-end process setting compensation for more senior-level associates.

From the New Jersey Law Journal:

Lowenstein Sandler broke from the pack of New Jersey’s home-grown firms Thursday and announced it would pay first-year associates $140,000 next year, a $15,000 increase.

The 250-lawyer Roseland firm also said salaries for some first-year associates in its New York office might be even higher, depending on practice area and performance….

Lowenstein Sandler’s announcement could exert pressure for pay raises at the other New Jersey firms that are pegged at the $125,000 level: Sills Cummis Epstein & Gross, Gibbons and McCarter & English, all in Newark.

So will the competition follow suit? Can they really afford to? Lowenstein, with profits per partner last year of $781,600, is one of the state’s most profitable shops.
(Yep — PPP of almost $800K. It’s not New York, but Jersey doesn’t do too badly for itself. Just ask Tony Soprano.)
For those of you who are curious, the full text of the Lowenstein Sandler press release appears after the jump.
[FN1] Okay, we should stop bitching about our lack of access. In the past few months, it has improved — greatly. Now many Biglaw partners and spokespersons will actually deign to respond to our emails and return our phone calls.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Nationwide Pay Raise Watch: Back to Jersey”

Dukes of Hazzard Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgWe continue our series of posts examining the nation’s less-than-gigantic legal markets. Some of the markets we cover are scorned by the New York and L.A. types. But since the posts continue to generate lots of comments and discussion — over 160 comments on yesterday’s post on the Upper Midwest — we will push ahead.
A reader down south emailed us:

I realize that you are trying to hit the second-tier markets on ATL. Would it be possible to see what Nashville, Jackson, Birmingham, and Lexington are doing?

Sure. In fact, consider this post an omnibus post for all southern legal markets (excluding Atlanta and Charlotte, which we’ve already done).
Also excluded: Texas, which will get a post of its own sometime next week.
Our tipster provided us with some data points to get the ball rolling. Please start up the discussion, after the jump.

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

If you’ve been feeling bad for Jin Nam and Soo Chung, the dry cleaners sued by crazy-ass pseudo-judge ALJ Roy Pearson for $54 million — over a pair of pants — now you can help:
Custom Cleaners Defense Fund Soo Chung Jin Nam Chung Chungs Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.JPG
As for what’s going on in the case, Marc Fisher has this update in today’s Washington Post. The trial is over; expect a ruling from Judge Judith Bartnoff sometime next week.
Wearing Down the Judicial System With a Pair of Pants [Washington Post]
Custom Cleaners Defense Fund [official website]

King Spalding LLP logo Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgFirst, King & Spalding is now on the $160K salary scale in Washington, DC. We hear that the associates back in Atlanta, who have not seen any raise action, aren’t happy campers. Memo after the jump.
Second, with respect to the rumor that Hogan & Hartson has raised salaries for its lower-hours track, we’d appreciate it if someone would send us confirmation and/or a memo. Thanks.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Nationwide Pay Raise Watch: Two D.C. Developments”

upper midwest mid west Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgWe welcome your suggestions of legal markets to cover in our grand tour of these here United States. We won’t necessarily adopt them (and we can’t cover every single market in the entire country). But we do appreciate your recommendations, which we often follow.
A recent commenter had this idea:

How ’bout the upper midwest in one shot (Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Detroit and maybe Cleveland)?

We previously covered Cleveland as part of our Ohio post. But we are happy to devote today’s post to the Upper Midwest.
How does one define the Upper Midwest? Apparently there’s some disagreement. Per Wikipedia:

The Upper Midwest is a region of the United States with no universally agreed-upon boundary, but it almost always lies within the US Census Bureau’s definition of the Midwest and includes the states of Minnesota and Wisconsin, as well as at least the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

The Upper Midwest often includes the rest of Michigan, Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, and sometimes extends further southwest to include Missouri, east to Ohio, and sometimes west to North Dakota and South Dakota, and the parts of Montana east of the Rockies.

We’ll adopt the definition that includes Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, Indiana, and Illinois. This includes the cities of Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Detroit, and Indianapolis (but not Chicago, which we cover extensively as part of our national coverage).
With this definition in mind, please discuss associate compensation at Upper Midwest law firms in the comments. Thanks.
Upper Midwest [Wikipedia]
Related: Open threads focused on Denver, Hartford, Philadelphia, Seattle, New Jersey, Phoenix, Atlanta, Charlotte, Ohio, Miami.

Fried Frank Harris Shriver Jacobson LLP Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgHey everyone, remember those things called clerkship bonuses? After a long period of radio silence — the most recent news was from before Memorial Day — we have more information to share.
We just got off the phone with a Fried Frank spokesperson, who informed us as follows:

1. The firm has raised its clerkship bonus to $50,000.

2. This bonus doesn’t change depending upon whether you have one or two years of clerkship experience. (Most of the firm’s clerks join the firm from one-year clerkships.)

Are you aware of any recent clerkship bonus announcements that we haven’t mentioned in these pages? If so, please email us (subject line: “Clerkship Bonus”). Thanks.

Miami South Beach Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgWe’re big fans of Miami. We greatly enjoyed the visit we paid back in March, when we got to meet up with readers at an ATL Happy Hour.
So we’re more than happy to make Miami the next stop on our tour of the nation’s legal markets. Here’s a summary of the lay of the land, courtesy of the Daily Business Review:

Playing its hand in the South Florida associate pay stakes, Greenberg Traurig raised the starting base salaries of its rookie lawyers in Miami and Fort Lauderdale to $135,000 and their total compensation packages to more than $150,000….

The base salary of Greenberg’s first-year lawyers now will match that of White & Case, which in February announced that it had raised first-year salaries to $135,000 in Miami.

Holland & Knight, Hogan & Hartson and Akerman Senterfitt recently raised salaries for rookie lawyers to $130,000 in South Florida.

Hunton & Williams has raised its first-year salaries to $145,000 in Miami. Two New York-based firms, Weil Gotshal & Manges and Boies Schiller & Flexner, pay first-years $160,000 in their South Florida offices.

This article was published back in April. A quick spin through the NALP forms suggests this information is still correct.
But sometimes the NALP forms aren’t updated immediately. Has anything changed since April — or is anything about to change in the near future?
Please discuss associate compensation in the Miami legal market in the comments. Thanks.
Business of Law: Greenberg raises first-year salaries, urges pro bono work [Daily Business Review]
Related: Open threads focused on Denver, Hartford, Philadelphia, Seattle, New Jersey, Phoenix, Atlanta, Charlotte, Ohio.

tombstone cemetery RIP Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgFrom the Department of Astute Observations:

“Some former Steel Hector partners suggested it may have been unwise to make a large loan to a partner allegedly on the brink of bankruptcy.”

Ya think?
Firm Sues Estate of Dead Lawyer for Loan Repayment [Daily Business Review (Miami / South Florida)]

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