Salary at boutique/mid-sized firms?

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Re: Salary at boutique/mid-sized firms?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 23, 2012 11:57 pm

Anonymous User wrote:DC regulatory boutiques usually pay between $110-$145k.

For instance, a quick look through Chambers/NALP shows:

Beveridge and Diamond (Environmental) starts at $110k ($125k for billing 1800 hours).
Epstein Green & Becker (Healthcare) starts at $130k.
Lerman Senter (Telecommunications) starts at $110k.
Caplin & Drysdale (Tax) starts at $145k.
Keller & Heckman (FDA) starts at $125k.

Etc, etc.

As far as you can trust NALP numbers on stuff like this, the boutiques seem to require between 1600-1950 billables - so there may be a legit pay/QOL tradeoff for firms like these.


Given the number of people at the firm, I'm shocked they are even listed on NALP. I wonder if the non-NALP listed firms are less prestigious, or more importantly pay less ($60k-80k range).

As a former Big Law attorney still in private practice, I'd be disappointed with anything less than $100k. My opinion.

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Re: Salary at boutique/mid-sized firms?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 24, 2012 2:32 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Given the number of people at the firm, I'm shocked they are even listed on NALP. I wonder if the non-NALP listed firms are less prestigious, or more importantly pay less ($60k-80k range).

As a former Big Law attorney still in private practice, I'd be disappointed with anything less than $100k. My opinion.


There are several patent boutique firms on NALP that are even smaller than those listed firms. Some of them only have 20-30 attorneys.

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Re: Salary at boutique/mid-sized firms?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 24, 2012 5:33 pm

Does that mean not listed on NALP = welcome to sh*TTTy law?

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Re: Salary at boutique/mid-sized firms?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 24, 2012 5:54 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Does that mean not listed on NALP = welcome to sh*TTTy law?


Nah, not necessarily. For instance, Powers Pyles (http://www.ppsv.com) is a Chambers-ranked healthcare boutique that I would imagine pays pretty comparably to the DC firms someone listed above. But it's nowhere to be found on NALP.

I'd imagine that for boutique firms with a miniscule summer class, aggregating the billable hours, pro bono hours, diversity info, etc. for a NALP entry probably isn't a top priority - especially if the recruiting is being done by a lone general-purpose HR person as opposed to a dedicated recruiting person (or dept.) at a larger firm.

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Re: Salary at boutique/mid-sized firms?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 24, 2012 6:20 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Does that mean not listed on NALP = welcome to sh*TTTy law?


Nah, there are small firms that pay great and offer a variety of work, even in small cities and even in some rural areas. People who work 80 hours a week in an NYC sweatshop like to justify their decisions, and a good way to do that is to put down the people still making decent pay (and sometimes working significantly fewer hours) at "less prestigious" firms. That's not to say that shitlaw doesn't exist, but it's certainly not defined solely by the size of the firm. You can find firms with 100+ lawyers who are going to give you shit assignments for shit pay, and you can find firms with 10 lawyers who are going to give you good assignments for good pay. The stratifications tossed around on TLS may have some value as shorthand but are certainly not definitive/comprehensive.

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Re: Salary at boutique/mid-sized firms?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 24, 2012 11:19 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Does that mean not listed on NALP = welcome to sh*TTTy law?


Nah, there are small firms that pay great and offer a variety of work, even in small cities and even in some rural areas. People who work 80 hours a week in an NYC sweatshop like to justify their decisions, and a good way to do that is to put down the people still making decent pay (and sometimes working significantly fewer hours) at "less prestigious" firms. That's not to say that shitlaw doesn't exist, but it's certainly not defined solely by the size of the firm. You can find firms with 100+ lawyers who are going to give you shit assignments for shit pay, and you can find firms with 10 lawyers who are going to give you good assignments for good pay. The stratifications tossed around on TLS may have some value as shorthand but are certainly not definitive/comprehensive.


That's a relief. I just don't want to go from my V100 firm to a play that pays 60k-80k (and is still private practice, at least government work has job security and could be more satisfying). That would really, really suck.




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