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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.

Full survey results, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Career Center: Show Me the Money”

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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. 

Visit the Career Center, powered by Lateral Link, for more on which firm has a five-year non-equity partner track, which firm does not require capital contributions from new partners, and which firm went from promoting 34 attorneys to partner in 2008 to promoting 0 in 2009. 

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.

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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 careercenter@abovethelaw.com.

thank you post it note.JPGA quick word of thanks to this week’s advertisers on Above the Law:

  • The Atlantic
  • Harvard Business School
  • Kinney Recruiting
  • Lateral Link
  • LexisNexis
  • NewportNJ
  • The Red Cross
  • University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Isenberg School of Management
  • WesCary3D

    If you’re interested in advertising on Above the Law or any other site in the Breaking Media network, download our media kits, or email advertising@breakingmedia.com. Thanks!

  • thank you post it note.JPGA quick word of thanks to this week’s advertisers on Above the Law:

    If you’re interested in advertising on Above the Law or any other site in the Breaking Media network, download our media kits, or email advertising@breakingmedia.com. Thanks!

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    The 2009 billable year hasn’t even ended at most firms yet, but October has been full of announcements from Big Law firms across the country about major changes to associate compensation.  Check out the ATL Career Center, powered by Lateral Link , for the latest information from the legal markets and updates from users about who is paying what when.  In the last week, we have updated the firm snapshots for Schulte Roth & Zabel, Katten Muchin Rosenman, Morrison & Foerster, DLA Piper, Fenwick & West, Bingham McCutchen, Dorsey & Whitney, Foley & Lardner, and Nixon Peabody.  Below are some recent nuggets of golden and not-so-golden news about compensation from the Career Center’s firm snapshots:

    • 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.

    Use the Career Center’s firm snapshots and comparison tool to find out what other bonus and salary changes firms across the country are making.  And as always, we encourage you to send information about your law firm experience to careercenter@abovethelaw.com.

    double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Career Center: A Collection of Compensation Information”

    thank you post it note.JPGA quick word of thanks to this week’s advertisers on Above the Law:

    If you’re interested in advertising on Above the Law or any other site in the Breaking Media network, download our media kits, or email advertising@breakingmedia.com. Thanks!

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    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.

    double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Career Center: What’s in Store for New Associates”

    San Francisco small Golden Gate bridge.jpgAlthough Above the Law is based in New York, we adore our West Coast readers. We try to post stories that would be of special interest to them as often as possible, typically later in the day to account for the time difference. (We have one such post coming out after this one; we’re not done for the day.)
    And we regularly visit the Left Coast. For information about two upcoming events that we’ll be participating in later this week — a talk at King Hall on Thursday, and a social networking conference at Boalt Hall on Friday — check out the links below.

    P.S. As previously explained, we generally don’t do event plugs on the ATL main page, unless we or one of our advertisers is involved. But if your event is free / non-commercial, you can promote it in ATL’s Community section. If your event is not free, you can advertise it with us. E.g., the Legal Reform Summit in D.C. (October 28), or the ABA Law Firm Marketing Strategies Conference in Philadelphia (November 12-13). Thanks!

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