Anonymous User wrote:I worked as a paralegal at small-town shitlaw before law school. Regional firm, about 15 attorneys in a few small offices.
New associates were not on salary. Pay for new associates (and all non-partner attorneys) was a complex formulation of hours billed/your negotiated percentage cut of your hourly rate/whether the client's account had been paid. Basically, associates were paid for hours they billed IF AND ONLY IF the client paid, at which point they would receive their cut of their billables for that client (typically 35 to 40 percent of an average new associate hourly rate of $275).
So paychecks tended to vary a lot. I heard of people not getting a paycheck in some months, or piddly ones like $800. Most months you were pulling in a (relatively) more reasonable 4,5,6k. It was all over the place though. I would estimate if you took a year, the lowest someone could make would be $35k to $40k (since any attorney would have to be total dumbass to agree to work for less than I was making as a paralegal/receptionist).
Senior attorneys were, however, notorious for drilling free work out of the newbies. Sticking them with three hours a day of phone calls from potential clients (unbillable, particularly if they don't sign up), etc. Or the partners would take a client, work the case until the retainer ran out and then punt it to someone else, and let a junior take the risk that they wouldn't get paid.
(Anon because it'd be totally obvious who I am based on previous posts on TLS, and I don't plan on spoiling my reference.)
275 for a small 15 person firm? That seems pretty high considering some of the mega firms only charge 220-260 for first year associates.