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.
Although 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.
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.
We at Kinney Asia have made a number of FCPA / White Collar US associate placements in Hong Kong / China thus far in 2014. Most of such placements have been commercial litigation associates from major US markets, fluent in Mandarin, switching to FCPA / White Collar litigation. Some have already had FCPA experience, but those are difficult candidates for firms to find (this will change in coming years as US firms are now promoting FCPA / White Collar to their 2L summers who are fluent in Mandarin and have an interest in transferring to China at some point).
Legal Week quoted Kinney’s Head of Asia, Evan Jowers, extensively in the following relevant article here.
There is a new trend in the market, though, where mid-level transactional US associates, fluent in spoken Mandarin and written Chinese, are interviewing for and in some cases landing junior FCPA / White Collar spots in Hong Kong / China at very top tier US firms.
Ms. JD is hosting their 2nd annual cocktail benefit to raise money for the Global Education Fund. The event will be held on August 21, 2014 at 111 Minna in San Francisco. Our goal is to raise $20,000 to fund the legal educations of four dedicated law students in Uganda who count on our support to continue their studies at Makerere University during the 2014-15 academic year.
The Global Education Fund enable womens in developing countries to pursue legal educations who otherwise would not have access to further education. According to the World Bank, investment in education for girls has one of the highest rates of return to promote development. In Uganda, more than 45% of women over the age of 25 have no schooling at all, and men are more than twice as likely as women to have access to higher education. Together, we can work to end educational inequality. For more information about the program, please visit http://ms-jd.org/programs/global-education-fund/
When the LexisNexis Cloud Technology Survey results were reported earlier this year, it showed that attorneys were starting to peer less skeptically into the future, and slowly but surely leaning more toward all the benefits the law cloud has to offer.
Because let’s face it, plenty of attorneys are perhaps a bit too comfortable with their “system” of practice management, which may or may not include neon highlighters, sticky notes, dog-eared file folders, and a word processing program that was last updated when the term “raise the roof” was still de rigueur.