Survey

We’re about a month or so away from the arrival of the 2011 year-end bonus season. You know what that means: time to start freaking out. And maybe make a prediction while you’re at it. Take our short survey, brought to you by Lateral Link, and give us your best guess as to how Biglaw’s 2011 year-end bonus market will compare to 2010.

As always, responses are kept completely confidential. Be sure to check back later in the week to find out where everyone else thinks the bonus market is heading.

I know what you did this summer –- so thanks for filling out the 2011 Summer Associate Experience Survey. We’ve highlighted a few more of the unique and memorable summer programs in 2011. For more summer associate program information, check out the updated summer associate program sections of the law firm profiles on the Career Center, sponsored by Lateral Link.

To continue with our summer program superlatives, click on the links below to see if your firm received any accolades….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Career Center: 2011 Summer Associate Survey Results (Part 2)”

Now that 2011 summer programs have officially come to an end at Biglaw firms everywhere, law students are returning to their schools a little less naïve about working in Biglaw, a little bloated from all the free food, and seriously missing their fat summer associate paychecks. But how hard did they have to work, and how well were they fed on the firm’s dime?

Here at the Career Center, we know that summer programs are about much more than numbers and stats. So we surveyed summer associates at the top law firms in the country to find out about all aspects of their summer experience. Based on these survey results, brought to you by Lateral Link, we have completely updated the summer associate program sections of the Career Center’s firm profiles.

As befits the end of any school year, we’re also handing out some summer program superlatives to commemorate the 2011 summer class. Click on the links after the jump to see if the firm you work at, or want to work at, made the cut….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Career Center: 2011 Summer Associate Survey Results (and Some Summer Program Superlatives)”

According to the more than 1,000 responses we received to this week’s Career Center survey, 65% of respondents took the Fourth of July holiday off to celebrate their freedom or something like that. That’s a huge jump from the 27% of respondents who reported not working on Presidents’ Day, and the 34% of respondents who reported not working on MLK Day.

For the unlucky 35% of respondents who reported working on Independence Day, what were the top reasons given for missing out on the festivities?

  • 54% said that nobody specifically asked them to do work, but they had work they needed to get done.
  • 29% said a partner or associate asked them to do work.
  • 14% said a client asked them to do work.
  • 9% said they needed the hours.
  • 5% said everyone else in their office was working.
  • 5% said that Independence Day is not recognized as an official firm holiday.

Now let’s look at some firm-specific data….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Career Center Survey Results: Who Worked on the Fourth of July?”

Back in the winter months, we surveyed Biglaw associates about working on the MLK Day and President’s Day holidays. Well, over half of respondents said they still clocked in on those holidays. But now that the weather is warmer, the barbecue grills are up and running, and partners are on vacation, surely more of you took Independence Day off, right? Take our short survey, brought to you by Lateral Link, and let’s find out.

As always, your responses are kept completely confidential. Stay tuned later this week when we reveal the survey results. For more information on vacation policies, check out the updated law firm profiles at the Career Center, hosted by Lateral Link.

I know that all of you have been anxiously awaiting the results of the salary survey. I had envisioned the results post to be equal in excitement to the results shows for American Idol or Dancing With The Stars. Indeed, in anticipation of this monumental post, I commissioned a group of MIT grad students to perform a regression analysis, do a double-blind sampling, and make colorful pie charts. Unfortunately, that dream cannot be realized today. I take partial responsibility for the survey design, but going forward please include salary information if you chose to participate in a salary survey and designate your location with specificity (e.g. not “the South” or “California” or “an NFL market”).

It is not all bad news for you. I have some good news.

The good news:
• A few trends emerged;
• The majority of respondents were unhappy with their compensation (maybe not good, but consistent);
• I can tell you with high accuracy the salary information for a few third year associates in various cities; and
• I learned a few new curse words.

Now that I have successfully managed expectations, let’s look at the results after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Size Matters: Salary Survey Results”

File this one under “Disappointing, but not really surprising.”

According to a new study, it turns out that quite a few law students not only break the law, but also post the evidence on Facebook. We’ve already covered why this is a bad idea.

For some reason I keep hoping Facebook has been around long enough that people –- at least those of us older than 16 –- would stop doing stuff like this and this. But I guess I’m just naive.

Let’s look at the study results….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Do Your Facebook Pictures Prove You’re A Criminal?”

If you ask me, I think that the insights offered in this column are all that you need to succeed as a small-firm attorney. I have received many emails, however, suggesting that facts might be as valuable as my opinions. Of course, that’s crazy.

Recently I received an email from a young small-firm associate who wrote that he was going to ask his boss for a raise but, unlike Biglaw, he had no idea what other associates at comparable firms were making. He appreciated the survey results given by my predecessor, Josh Dickinson (available here and here), but he wanted more specificity. And only 650 people responded to the previous survey, the majority of them junior associates who were relatively new to small-firm practice. Let’s see if we can do better than that.

Please click here to take the survey.

If we get enough responses, I will attempt to compile results that offer the information available to Biglaw associates (i.e., average salary per class year for __ hours billed in ___ city).

Knowledge is power, my friends. Maybe we can all ask for a raise (except for the lucky few who make the amounts we will ask for). Or, if we all make too little, maybe we can arrange a little gathering, a la Madison, Wisconsin.

Small Firm Compensation Survey [Survey Monkey]


When not writing about small law firms for Above the Law, Valerie Katz (not her real name) works at a small firm in Chicago. You can reach her by email at Valerie.L.Katz@gmail.com and follow her on Twitter at @ValerieLKatz.

Back in 2009, when killing lockstep was all the rage, a number of large law firms announced that they would be moving to some form of a merit-based compensation system. Now that we’re a few years into those systems, how many firms have stuck with the plan? And which systems do associates prefer?

Of the 86 distinct Biglaw firms at which survey respondents work, 63% of the firms pay base salaries on a lockstep system, and the remaining 37% of firms use a merit-based system or hybrid-lockstep system for paying base salaries. The vast majority of respondents, 70%, say they prefer the lockstep model for base salaries because of its transparency and predictability.

For year-end bonuses, 70% of the firms utilize a merit-based or hybrid-lockstep system, while 30% have a lockstep system based either on class year or billable hours. According to 62% of respondents, the most preferred type of year-end bonus allocation system is a merit-based or hybrid-lockstep system.

After the jump, find out how various combinations of compensation systems measure up against market.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Career Center Survey Results: Comparing Compensation Systems”

In the throes of the recession, many Biglaw firms jumped on the bandwagon to kill lockstep compensation in favor of a more merit-based system (though some have already fallen off the bandwagon). With a variety of compensation models currently in use among firms today, we want to hear from you about how you get compensated at your firm — and how you prefer to get compensated.

Please take our short survey, brought to you by Lateral Link, and tell us how you are compensated at your firm. Then check back later for the survey results. As always, your survey responses will be kept completely confidential.

Check out the survey, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Career Center Survey: Comparing Compensation Systems”

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