Median starting salary for biglaw firms lowered

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Justin Genious
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Median starting salary for biglaw firms lowered

Postby Justin Genious » Sun Sep 30, 2012 2:21 am

"While that $160K sweet spot for first-years is still the norm in many large markets, it’s no longer as widespread as it once was. In fact, that figure represents only 46 percent of first-year salaries in firms with more than 700 lawyers — and that percentage has been on a steady decline since 2009, when layoffs and terror ran rampant in Biglaw.

Sorry about that tiny pink paycheck of yours….

If you were expecting to rake in the big bucks at your cushy Biglaw job as an incoming associate, then think again. Less than half of firms with more than 700 lawyers will be doling out starting salaries of $160,000; instead, there has been a “measurable backing away” from that number. It’s almost like stepping into a time machine and being spit out in 2007, as the median starting salary for firms of this size is now $145,000."


Would it be incorrect to assume that a t6 school would statistically place more students into that "160k sweet spot" than any lower t14 school?

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Richie Tenenbaum
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Re: Median starting salary for biglaw firms lowered

Postby Richie Tenenbaum » Sun Sep 30, 2012 3:38 am

Justin Genious wrote:
Would it be incorrect to assume that a t6 school would statistically place more students into that "160k sweet spot" than any lower t14 school?


Yes and no. I dont really think this is a very meaningful question. Yes, biglaw placement is better at schools like Columbia and Chicago. So since in most major markets i think 160 is still the norm, it still just comes down to biglaw placement. A lot of this will come down to more secondary markets. Example: SMU's ability for the top of their class to get 160 isn't going to suddenly shift to only 145K since most major Texas firms have held (or went back up to) 160K. Biglaw in Texas means 160. In other markets it might not. You'll have to hear input about what firms are doing in their particular market to know how this will affect schools.

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Justin Genious
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Re: Median starting salary for biglaw firms lowered

Postby Justin Genious » Sun Sep 30, 2012 11:56 am

This link was cited in the article.
NALP wrote:To be sure, in many markets, including Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and Washington, DC, first-year salaries of $160,000 are still the norm at the largest firms, though they are not as widespread as they were just a few years ago. For example, in 2009, about 90% of offices in firms of more than 700 lawyers in Los Angeles and Washington, DC reported a first-year salary of $160,000; in 2012 only about two-thirds did so. Overall in firms of more than 700 lawyers salaries of $160,000 accounted for 46% of reported first-year salaries, compared with 54% in 2011, 58% in 2010, and 65% in 2009.

In firms of 251-700 in Chicago, Los Angeles, and Washington DC, although some firms still pay first-year associates $160,000, most do not, resulting in medians in the $135,000-145,000 range. The median in San Francisco for firms of 251 or more lawyers remains at $145,000 having reached $160,000 only in 2009. Only in New York is the $160,000 starting salary still dominant, with 75% of firms with 251 or more lawyers paying that amount and 87% of firms with 701 or more lawyers reporting that as the first-year associate salary.

http://www.nalp.org/2012_associate_salaries





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