The litigation boutique of Susman Godfrey is prestigious. And it is well-paying, especially around bonus time.
It’s also not shy about honking its own horn (which shouldn’t be surprising, given its Texas roots). In fact, Susman Godfrey just issued a press release about its pay raises that might make Gallion & Spielvogel blush.
Here are some excerpts (emphases added):
TOP LITIGATION BOUTIQUE SUSMAN GODFREY RAISES ASSOCIATES SALARIES IN LOS ANGELES & NEW YORK OFFICE
Susman Godfrey announced today a salary increase for their associates in Los Angeles and New York. The compensation package for first year associates joining their Los Angeles and New York offices is $160,000, plus benefits. Already among the best paid associates nation-wide, the compensation package for first year associates in their Houston, Dallas, and Seattle offices is $140,000, plus benefits….
Susman Godfrey also pays year end merit bonuses to associates who have been with the firm for at least one year. Last year, associate bonuses topped out at $120,000. In 2005, some associates received a walloping $150,000 in year-end perks. More commonly, our merit bonuses have accounted for 20% to 60% of an associate’s annual compensation and are far in excess of bonuses paid by our competitors. Thus, associates’ year-end merit bonuses tend to range from an additional $30,000 to $80,000 on top of the base salary.
In some of the comment threads to our pay raise coverage, questions have been raised with respect to summer associates. For the firms that have recently raised associate salaries, people are wondering: Will summer associates be in on the fun?
Our take: Of course they will. Summer associates are traditionally paid at the rate of permanent or regular first-year associates, and we see no reason for that to change.
After all, firms are trying to woo summers. This is why they pay SAs ridiculous amounts of money to do “jack s**t” and go out to fancy lunches. Why would they want to alienate SAs, whom they are trying to convince to return to the firm on a permanent basis, by paying them according to a lower, outdated pay scale?
So if you’ll be summering at a law firm that just went from the $145K scale to the $160K scale, relax. You will surely be paid based on the new going rate. Unless your firm is completely lame, in which case you shouldn’t take their permanent offer. As the old saying goes, “Cheapness in one area suggests cheapness in all areas.”
Several firms that have just raised associate base salaries have officially informed their incoming summer associates that they will be paid according to the new scale. We reprint a representative memo, from Latham & Watkins, after the jump.
There is no longer any doubt: the nation’s capital is on the so-called “$160K scale.” Say good-bye (or good riddance) to the salary differential between (1) Washington-based firms, and (2) the D.C. offices of New York or California firms.
Why? The homegrown firm of Hogan & Hartson just raised associate base salaries, matching the $160K scale in its Washington, Baltimore, and Los Angeles offices (for the 1950 hour track, but not the 1800 hour track).
This means that the other top D.C. firms, like Arnold & Porter and Covington & Burling, have no choice but to follow suit. Failing to match, now that a true peer firm has done so, would give rise to mortification (and deservedly so).
The full Hogan & Hartson memo, after the jump.
Cravath isn’t big on lateral hiring. When they hired tax lawyer Andrew Needham away from Willkie Farr & Gallagher in 2005, he was their first lateral partner in more than six decades (per Wikipedia).
Nor has Cravath been into bankruptcy work. Even though many other white-shoe firms have entered that historically “icky” practice area, CSM has stayed on the sidelines. Update/Correction: Actually, Cravath’s relationship with bankruptcy practice is a bit more complicated. And that last paragraph may be somewhat misleading. Click here for more.
At long last, Cravath is starting up a bankruptcy practice. And it’s bringing in a heavy hitter to get things up and running.
From a Cravath press release (just sent around the firm by email):
Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP has announced that Richard Levin (at right), one of the authors of the 1978 U.S. Bankruptcy Code, will join the Firm as a Partner on July 1, 2007 to head its newly established restructuring and insolvency practice.
Mr. Levin joins Cravath from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, where he was a partner in that firm’s corporate restructuring department.
So Cravath is moving into bankruptcy work. Is this a bad sign for the U.S. economy — the Biglaw equivalent of, say, rising home foreclosures? Update: Perhaps. Some thoughts on the subject are now up at the WSJ Law Blog. DealBook also has this post.
The complete Cravath memo, after the jump.
Yes, we have seen the comments stating that Gibson Dunn & Crutcher has raised associate base salaries for its non-New York offices. We have no reason to doubt this tip, or to question the authenticity of thismemo.
But we still want to dot our i’s and cross our t’s. We’re in the process of getting confirmation from sources at the firm. If you’re willing to help us out, please email us.
Once it’s verified, we’ll post the GDC memo after the jump. Thanks. Update: The memo, confirmed for us by multiple sources at the firm, appears after the jump.
* It’s prom season, when schools discriminate against singles (and misguided girls hope that a “prom baby” will save them from the trials and tribulations of college). [Boston.com]
* Decent folks (and despite all my hating, that’s most of us) have a visceral reaction to hate crimes — but out on the horizon also loom 1984 and Minority Report. [Agoraphilia]
* To my knowledge, Mr. Chow has never been a Biglaw partner. [Yahoo! News]
* That is 750 years of bitch servitude. [TwinCities.com]
* At least the plaintiff spared the Mets from an additional lawsuit by cushioning the fall of the 300 lb. man and has not defected to the Yankees, although the latter probably turns on the outcome of the lawsuit. [Sports Illustrated]
We have to step away from our computer for a bit. So here’s an open thread for discussion of either (1) more West Coast pay raises or (2) more increases in clerkship bonuses.
Also, the rumor from the comments that Paul Hastings has raised is confirmed. The verified memo appears after the jump.
We are favorably disposed towards former Justice Department lawyer Ty Clevenger. We owe him a debt of gratitude, since he’s the person who first told us about Shanetta Cutlar — the crazy-ass colorful chief of the DOJ’s Special Litigation Section, and one of our favorite people to write about here at ATL.
Now Ty Clevenger is making waves once again — and some of you aren’t sure if it’s all that favorable. Several of you emailed us about his latest exploits. This message is representative:
Ty Clevenger is in the news again, this time making accusations about the politicization of the hiring process at the DOJ. See here and here.
Between his law school activities, Shanetta Cutlar, and this, he’s beginning to look like a little tattletale to me….
Tattletale? Or, more charitably, a person of great honesty and integrity (perhaps too much for his own good)? Or, more cynically, a shameless seeker of attention?
We don’t know Clevenger personally, so we won’t opine. But the truth probably lies somewhere in between. Many great whisteblowers throughout history have had mixed motivations — such as a desire for the truth to come to light, and a desire for personal fame and/or fortune.
But we can say this. If we ever hang out with Ty Clevenger, we sure as hell won’t jaywalk with him by our side. Or try to sneak through the express lane at the supermarket with more than 15 items. Congress probes allegations of politicized hiring [CNN] Congress considers broadening Justice Department inquiry [McClatchy] Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of Ty Clevenger (scroll down)
The word on the street was that Latham & Watkins was planning to match the recent West Coast pay raise, but would take its sweet time to announce it.
Well, it appears that Latham has been shamed into giving into the “hysteria” surrounding associate comp. Earlier this afternoon, various commenters reported that the firm has raised associate salaries in its California, Chicago, New Jersey, Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C. offices.
We have now verified the fact of a Latham pay raise, as well as this memo, with multiple sources. So you can take the Latham pay raise to the bank.
We reprint the memo after the jump.
As we reported on Friday, Morrison & Foerster recently announced a firm-wide increase in associate base salaries. But the MoFo raise came with a catch: a modification to the firm’s bonus structure (for associates outside New York).
Here’s the relevant language from the MoFo memo, which we recently got our grubby little hands on:
This increase in base compensation [for non-NYC offices] will, however, replace the contribution bonus that was otherwise payable for those who finished the year in good standing with 1950 billable/pro bono/firm legal service hours. For any associate otherwise eligible for that contribution bonus who ends the year making less than he or she would have under the former base compensation plus contribution bonus model, the firm will make up the shortfall in January of 2008. Additional details about the elimination of the 2007 contribution bonus will be posted on the Professional Development portal next week.
One source who sent this to us stated:
If you could use this memo to get your hands on other memos, particularly regarding what’s happening with bonuses, that would be quite helpful. I’m especially curious about Orrick’s alleged bonus structure, as reported in the comments section of your post, “West Coast Pay Raise Watch: MoFo sees Orrick’s San Francisco and Raises it a Sacramento.” Thanks.
So if you have a memo (or memos) explaining bonus structures at places like Orrick and O’Melveny, which recently raised associate salaries, please send ‘em our way. It would be helpful to compare how they stack up with Morrison & Foerster.
For those of you who are curious, the complete MoFo memo appears after the jump.
The holiday season is upon us, and yet again, you have no idea what to get for the fickle lawyer in your life. We’re here to help. Even if your bonus check hasn’t arrived yet, any one of the gifts we’ve highlighted here could be a worthy substitute until your employer decides to make it rain.
We’ve got an eclectic selection for you to choose from, so settle in by that stack of documents yet to be reviewed and dig in…
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past six years. You can reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We currently have a very exciting and rare type of in-house opening in China at one of the world’s leading internet and social media companies. Our client is looking for an IP Transactional / TMT / Licensing attorney with 2 to 6 years experience. The new hire will be based in Shenzhen or Shanghai. Mandarin is not required (deal documentation will be in English) but is preferred. A solid reason to be in China and a commitment to that market is required of course. This new hire will likely be US qualified (but could also be qualified in UK or other jurisdictions) and with experience and training at a top law firm’s IP transactional / TMT practice and could be currently at a law firm or in-house. Qualified candidates currently Asia based, Europe based or US based will be considered. The new hire’s supervisors in this technology transactions in-house team are very well regarded US trained IP transactional lawyers, with substantial experience at Silicon Valley firms. The culture and atmosphere in this in-house group and the company in general is entrepreneurial, team oriented, and the work is cutting edge, even for a cutting edge industry. The upside of being in an important strategic in-house position in this fast growing and world leading internet company is of the “sky is the limit” variety. Its a very exciting place to be in China for a rising IP transactional lawyer in our opinion, for many reasons beyond the basic info we can share here in this ad / post. This is a special A+ opportunity.
If your firm is in ‘go’ mode when it comes to recruiting lateral partners with loyal clients, then take this quiz to see how well you measure up. Keep track of your ‘yes’ and ‘no’ responses.
1. Does your firm have a clearly defined strategy of practice groups that are priorities of growth for your office? Nothing gets done by random chance, but with a clear vision for the future. Identify the top practice areas for which you wish to add lateral partners. Seek input from practice group leaders and get specifics on needs, outcomes, and ideal target profiles.
2. In addition to clarifying your firm’s growth strategy, are you still open to the hire of a partner outside of your plan? I’ve made several placements that fit this category. The partner’s practice was not within the strategic growth plan of my client, but once the two parties started talking with each other, we all saw how it could indeed be a seamless fit. Be open to “Opportunistic Hires.” You never know where your next producing partner might come from, so you have to be open to it. I will be the first to admit that there is a quirky element of randomness in recruiting.
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