Our recent Career Center survey asked about compensation structure for salaries and bonuses at your firms. The results reveal that reports of the death of lockstep compensation have been greatly exaggerated: a large majority of respondents — over 75% — say their firm still pays base salaries on a lockstep scale. And despite the tough economy, over 96% of respondents expect a bonus this year.
Check out the full survey results after the jump — and visit the Career Center, powered by Lateral Link — for more on which firm has announced an end-of-year salary freeze, the latest firm to join the hybrid-lockstep compensation bandwagon, and which firm is now rescinding offers to new associates.
With most associates just trying to avoid joining the growing ranks of unemployed attorneys, partnership prospects might seem like part of a distant and unfathomable future. But in what might be a surprise to associates who have been laid off or suffered salary cuts, many law firms are making a healthy number of new partners. The National Law Journal reports that the overall number of partners nationwide in 2009 is actually higher than in 2008.
If you are a mid-level associate in Los Angeles and you really want the inside scoop on how to grab that brass ring, come to the Career Center Professional Development panel on November 17, hosted by Lateral Link and Proskauer Rose, for a discussion on long-term career planning, partnership prospects and in-house careers. Panelists include Morgan Chu of Irell & Manella, Mike Woronoff of Proskauer, and Vivian Yang, GC at Citysearch. Attendees will receive 1.25 CLE credit hours. Click here to learn more or to register.
Lately, Big Law firms have been changing their salary structures more often than associates can keep up with. With an increasing number of firms abandoning lockstep compensation, associates have been left in the dark about what compensation levels actually are.
This week, our ATL / Lateral Link survey asks for your help to track the latest changes to starting salaries and the salary ranges for firms that have moved away from lock-step compensation. We’ll use the information to update the ATL Career Center and bring you the results next week.
If you have information about your firm that you want to share with other Career Center users, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This firm announced that, in January 2010, it will move away from a lockstep compensation system to one that emphasizes merit-based factors as a more significant component of compensation decisions. The firm says the combination of base pay and discretionary and productivity bonuses will keep overall compensation at or above current levels, but associates worry they may see significantly less pay if they don’t achieve the necessary merit marks.
This firm has confirmed that it will be paying bonuses in early 2010, an announcement associates can only hope is the first of many. Although the firm anticipates the amounts will be less than previous years, bonuses are still predicted to range from $5,000 to $50,000.
This firm recently cut starting salaries to $145,000 in all of its offices (other than New York and Asia). The firm has indicated it will continue to monitor the situation and may re-adjust salaries (up or down) in light of legal market trends if necessary.
This firm is also taking the merit-based compensation route: although it plans to retain a lockstep scale for base salaries, the firm has announced that its practice group leaders will now have greater discretion in awarding year-end bonuses. Billable hours will continue to factor into bonus determinations, but so will qualitative and quantitative factors, such as financial productivity, profitability and teamwork.
Last week’s Career Center survey asked whether you think there will be enough work for the class of incoming associates at your firm. The good news is that, despite the all the hype about some firms indefinitely deferring new associates, the vast majority — 91% — of new associates are starting at their firms in Fall 2009 or are scheduled to start in the first half of 2010. The bad news is that a majority of respondents think there won’t be enough work for all this new blood, at least not in the practice areas they want to work in.
Check out the full survey results after the jump, and visit the Career Center, powered by Lateral Link , for more on which firm unexpectedly pushed up start dates, the latest firm to offer new associates "walk-away" money, and a firm that has made major changes to their lock-step compensation structure.
Survey results, after the jump.
If you are considering a virtual law practice, you know that many of today’s solo firms started that way. But why are established, multi-attorney law firms going virtual?
Many small firms are successfully moving part—or even all—of their practice to a virtual setting. This even includes multi-jurisdictional practice spanning several states and practice areas, although solo and small partnerships are still the largest adopters of virtual law.
Can you do the same? The new article Mobile in Practice, Virtual by Design from author Jared Correia, Esq., explores how mobile technology bring real-life benefits to a small law firm. Read this new article—the next in Thomson Reuters’ Independent Thinking series for small firms—to explore how a mobile practice:
Reduces malpractice risk
Enables you to gather the best attorneys to fit the firm, regardless of each person’s geographic location
Leverages mobile devices and cloud technology to enable on-the-spot client and prospect communication
Transitioning in-house is something many (if not most) firm lawyers find themselves considering at some point. For many, it’s the first step in their career that isn’t simply a function of picking the best option available based on a ranking system.
Unknown territory feels high-risk, and can have the effect of steering many of us towards the well-greased channels into large, established companies.
For those who may be open to something more entrepreneurial, there is far less information available. No recruiter is calling every week with offers and details.
In sponsorship with Betterment, ATL and David Lat will moderate a panel about life in-house and we’ll hear from GCs at Birchbox, Gawker Media, Squarespace, Bonobos, and Betterment. Drinks, snacks, networking, and a great time guaranteed. Invite your colleagues, but RSVP fast, as space is limited.
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 seven years. You can reach them by email: email@example.com.
It’s that time of year again when JDs are starting to apply for 2L summer jobs and 2L summers are deciding which practice area to focus on.
For those JDs with an interest in potentially lateraling to or transferring to Asia in the future, please feel free to reach out to Kinney for advice on firm choices, interviewing and practice choices, relating to future marketability in Asia, or for a general discussion on your particular Asia markets of interest. This is of course a free of cost service for those who some years in the future may be our future industry contacts or perhaps even clients.
For some years now Kinney’s Asia head, Evan Jowers, has been formally advising Harvard Law students with such questions, as the Asia expert in Harvard Law’s “Ask The Experts Market Program” each summer and fall, with podcasts and scheduled phone calls. This has been an enjoyable and productive experience for all involved.