Pay scale for Phoenix Biglaw

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cosmo22
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Pay scale for Phoenix Biglaw

Postby cosmo22 » Mon Apr 02, 2012 2:01 pm

I'm a fourth-year corporate associate in Biglaw on the east coast looking to lateral to the Phoenix market. Does anyone have any color on the associate pay scale in the big Phoenix shops like Snell & Wilmer, Osborn Maledon and Lewis & Roca? I know starting salary is $115K. Do national firms like DLA Piper, Perkins Coie and Greenberg Traurig pay a higher rate up the associate chain? Also, what are the average PPPs at the large Phoenix firms?

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Re: Pay scale for Phoenix Biglaw

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Apr 02, 2012 2:29 pm

cosmo22 wrote:I'm a fourth-year corporate associate in Biglaw on the east coast looking to lateral to the Phoenix market. Does anyone have any color on the associate pay scale in the big Phoenix shops like Snell & Wilmer, Osborn Maledon and Lewis & Roca? I know starting salary is $115K. Do national firms like DLA Piper, Perkins Coie and Greenberg Traurig pay a higher rate up the associate chain? Also, what are the average PPPs at the large Phoenix firms?


I know Snell & Wilmer PPP is $750,000, but I am not sure if that is firm-wide or just in Phoenix.

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Re: Pay scale for Phoenix Biglaw

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Apr 02, 2012 4:25 pm

From what I understand, Snell is pretty secretive about associate pay/bonuses. I don't believe it's lock-step. I've heard that only 2-3 people in the entire firm make decisions and know what everyone else gets paid.

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Re: Pay scale for Phoenix Biglaw

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Apr 02, 2012 10:27 pm

Anonymous User wrote:From what I understand, Snell is pretty secretive about associate pay/bonuses. I don't believe it's lock-step. I've heard that only 2-3 people in the entire firm make decisions and know what everyone else gets paid.


This is true.

But from what I've heard, Snell "sets the market." When they moved to $125k starting salary, everyone followed. When they dropped back to $115k, everyone followed. And it's the top firm in town, so if their mid-level associates aren't being compensated well enough, they can very easily compare their compensation with another firm and lateral out for more $. Seeing as Snell's attrition to other firms in Phoenix is considerable, but far from a mass exodus, my guess is that they pay close to on track with everyone else.

I HAVE heard some rumors that the national firms compensate slightly better in the mid-to-senior associate ranks. This is why you'll see Snell/Fennemore associates jump to Greenberg/Perkins/Ballard Spahr/etc. But you also see the reverse occasionally. And the other rumor is that the national firms expect more hours.

The paytrack I've seen is:

1: 115k
2: 120k
3: 125k
4: 130k
5: 135k
6: 140k
7: 150k
8: 160k

005618502
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Re: Pay scale for Phoenix Biglaw

Postby 005618502 » Tue Apr 17, 2012 4:32 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:From what I understand, Snell is pretty secretive about associate pay/bonuses. I don't believe it's lock-step. I've heard that only 2-3 people in the entire firm make decisions and know what everyone else gets paid.


This is true.

But from what I've heard, Snell "sets the market." When they moved to $125k starting salary, everyone followed. When they dropped back to $115k, everyone followed. And it's the top firm in town, so if their mid-level associates aren't being compensated well enough, they can very easily compare their compensation with another firm and lateral out for more $. Seeing as Snell's attrition to other firms in Phoenix is considerable, but far from a mass exodus, my guess is that they pay close to on track with everyone else.

I HAVE heard some rumors that the national firms compensate slightly better in the mid-to-senior associate ranks. This is why you'll see Snell/Fennemore associates jump to Greenberg/Perkins/Ballard Spahr/etc. But you also see the reverse occasionally. And the other rumor is that the national firms expect more hours.

The paytrack I've seen is:

1: 115k
2: 120k
3: 125k
4: 130k
5: 135k
6: 140k
7: 150k
8: 160k


I know this hasnt been responded to in a while, but damn thats low! 8 years in and you're only then making NYC market?

Citizen Genet
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Re: Pay scale for Phoenix Biglaw

Postby Citizen Genet » Tue Apr 17, 2012 10:08 pm

AssumptionRequired wrote:
I know this hasnt been responded to in a while, but damn thats low! 8 years in and you're only then making NYC market?


COL Calculators put $115k in Phoenix at earning $260k in Manhattan or $200k in Queens.

005618502
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Re: Pay scale for Phoenix Biglaw

Postby 005618502 » Wed Apr 18, 2012 11:27 am

Citizen Genet wrote:
AssumptionRequired wrote:
I know this hasnt been responded to in a while, but damn thats low! 8 years in and you're only then making NYC market?


COL Calculators put $115k in Phoenix at earning $260k in Manhattan or $200k in Queens.


How about Los Angeles? What about Texas? I see your point but certain goods cost the same (cars, travel, etc). Doesn't seem worth it to me

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Aberzombie1892
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Re: Pay scale for Phoenix Biglaw

Postby Aberzombie1892 » Wed Apr 18, 2012 11:40 am

AssumptionRequired wrote:
Citizen Genet wrote:
AssumptionRequired wrote:
I know this hasnt been responded to in a while, but damn thats low! 8 years in and you're only then making NYC market?


COL Calculators put $115k in Phoenix at earning $260k in Manhattan or $200k in Queens.


How about Los Angeles? What about Texas? I see your point but certain goods cost the same (cars, travel, etc). Doesn't seem worth it to me


Well Texas is far and away the most bang for your buck.

While it's true that certain goods cost the same, you have to factor in what income bracket your salary will put you in terms of federal taxes -> being in a higher bracket can often kneecap the advantages of a higher salary. Not only that, but you have to factor in higher housing costs, transportation costs, food costs, and other various costs (i.e child care).

Once all of that has been examined, I imagine that the buying power of an NLJ associate (or equivalent in salary) in Phoenix really isn't that bad compared to most places outside of Texas and various secondary markets.

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Veyron
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Re: Pay scale for Phoenix Biglaw

Postby Veyron » Wed Apr 18, 2012 11:53 am

AssumptionRequired wrote:
Citizen Genet wrote:
AssumptionRequired wrote:
I know this hasnt been responded to in a while, but damn thats low! 8 years in and you're only then making NYC market?


COL Calculators put $115k in Phoenix at earning $260k in Manhattan or $200k in Queens.


How about Los Angeles? What about Texas? I see your point but certain goods cost the same (cars, travel, etc). Doesn't seem worth it to me


Phoenix is basically as good or better than all primary markets save Texas on a COL adjusted scale. The thing that kills your purchasing power in LA is rent and taxes. Even cars don't "cost the same." Arizona dealerships will sometimes sell luxury vehicles online in the hopes of attracting purchasers from markets where prices are higher. I'd go so far as to say that there is nothing that you couldn't have at 160 in Phoenix that a reasonable person could want: e.g. nice car, nice house (or condo if you prefer), savings for kid's college, plenty of money to have fun with, etc.

Edit: Some of these are out of date but the ones that start at 115 should be fairly accurate. You'll see that there is significant variation in the market even among firms that start at 115. http://www.infirmation.com/shared/insid ... l?state=AZ

Citizen Genet
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Re: Pay scale for Phoenix Biglaw

Postby Citizen Genet » Wed Apr 18, 2012 12:58 pm

I agree with pretty much everything written. The COL adjustment is nowhere near perfect, but I bring it up just to re-emphasize the point that not making $160k in a lot of place is perfectly fine.

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Re: Pay scale for Phoenix Biglaw

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 26, 2012 6:01 pm

AssumptionRequired wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:From what I understand, Snell is pretty secretive about associate pay/bonuses. I don't believe it's lock-step. I've heard that only 2-3 people in the entire firm make decisions and know what everyone else gets paid.


This is true.

But from what I've heard, Snell "sets the market." When they moved to $125k starting salary, everyone followed. When they dropped back to $115k, everyone followed. And it's the top firm in town, so if their mid-level associates aren't being compensated well enough, they can very easily compare their compensation with another firm and lateral out for more $. Seeing as Snell's attrition to other firms in Phoenix is considerable, but far from a mass exodus, my guess is that they pay close to on track with everyone else.

I HAVE heard some rumors that the national firms compensate slightly better in the mid-to-senior associate ranks. This is why you'll see Snell/Fennemore associates jump to Greenberg/Perkins/Ballard Spahr/etc. But you also see the reverse occasionally. And the other rumor is that the national firms expect more hours.

The paytrack I've seen is:

1: 115k
2: 120k
3: 125k
4: 130k
5: 135k
6: 140k
7: 150k
8: 160k


I know this hasnt been responded to in a while, but damn thats low! 8 years in and you're only then making NYC market?


Why you're looking at PRE-TAX income is beyond me.

After taxes, 115 in Phoenix becomes ~85. In New York, 160 becomes ~95. It only takes maybe 4 years in Phoenix before you're making NYC market post-tax. And this isn't even factoring in COL.

The fact is that Phoenix firms offer decent compensation when adjusted for taxes and cost of living. When you compare it to Los Angeles or Dallas/Houston, you have to remember that California taxes are going to take a MUCH bigger bite out of your paycheck than Arizona taxes, and although Texas income tax and COL are both low, the property tax is outrageous. Arizona generally has low income and property tax.

Dallas/Houston are still the best places to be if all you want to do as an associate is make money. They offer the same COL as Phoenix but with more post-tax pay. But still, when you look at Phoenix's post-tax/post-COL adjustment compensation, it's a better market than most.

Anonymous User
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Re: Pay scale for Phoenix Biglaw

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Apr 30, 2012 5:06 pm

Perkins Coie to 120, Steptoe and Johnson to 125. But the tracks above look about right. Some firms have performance bonuses.

LOL @ people saying the money is low. NY taxes and rent are brutal. Vehicles are not nearly the same price after you pay insurance, registration, and gas costs- though you can do without in NY.

Making 115 in Phoenix is better than 160 in NY for your average person.

Anonymous User
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Re: Pay scale for Phoenix Biglaw

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 18, 2012 9:05 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
cosmo22 wrote:I'm a fourth-year corporate associate in Biglaw on the east coast looking to lateral to the Phoenix market. Does anyone have any color on the associate pay scale in the big Phoenix shops like Snell & Wilmer, Osborn Maledon and Lewis & Roca? I know starting salary is $115K. Do national firms like DLA Piper, Perkins Coie and Greenberg Traurig pay a higher rate up the associate chain? Also, what are the average PPPs at the large Phoenix firms?


I know Snell & Wilmer PPP is $750,000, but I am not sure if that is firm-wide or just in Phoenix.


Anyone know the PPP At some of the other large offices in town (Quarles, Fennemore, L&R, etc?)

Anonymous User
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Re: Pay scale for Phoenix Biglaw

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 19, 2012 12:58 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Making 115 in Phoenix is better than 160 in NY for your average person.

From a purely financial standpoint, sure. But you'll also be living in Phoenix instead of NYC.

Anonymous User
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Re: Pay scale for Phoenix Biglaw

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 19, 2012 1:34 pm

Anonymous User wrote:From a purely financial standpoint, sure. But you'll also be living in Phoenix instead of NYC.


I'm facing this exact decision right now, and it's tough. I could buy a 3,500 sf house in a very nice phoenix neighborhood, and my mortgage would be less than rent for a 1 bedroom Manhattan apartment. Phoenix doesn't have the same culture as NYC, but with all my extra income I can afford all the culture Phoenix can offer. Also, my credentials stand out in Phoenix, whereas I'm probably below average in NYC. Finally, there is no way I could ever get into a New York USAO, but I think I have a good shot at an Arizona USAO, in case I want to go that route.

Anonymous User
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Re: Pay scale for Phoenix Biglaw

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 19, 2012 2:51 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Making 115 in Phoenix is better than 160 in NY for your average person.

From a purely financial standpoint, sure. But you'll also be living in Phoenix instead of NYC.


If you're over 30, married, want to have kids in the near future, or enjoy a nice climate/the outdoors, there are tons of good arguments for Phoenix > NYC. And you're better off financially.

If you're 24, K-JD, don't know what you want to do with your life yet, then of course NYC > Phoenix.

Anonymous User
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Re: Pay scale for Phoenix Biglaw

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 19, 2012 2:53 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:From a purely financial standpoint, sure. But you'll also be living in Phoenix instead of NYC.


I'm facing this exact decision right now, and it's tough. I could buy a 3,500 sf house in a very nice phoenix neighborhood, and my mortgage would be less than rent for a 1 bedroom Manhattan apartment. Phoenix doesn't have the same culture as NYC, but with all my extra income I can afford all the culture Phoenix can offer. Also, my credentials stand out in Phoenix, whereas I'm probably below average in NYC. Finally, there is no way I could ever get into a New York USAO, but I think I have a good shot at an Arizona USAO, in case I want to go that route.


How old are you? Are you married? What do you want to be doing in 5-10 years?

Those are the important factors, in my opinion.

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loomstate
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Re: Pay scale for Phoenix Biglaw

Postby loomstate » Tue Jun 19, 2012 2:56 pm

..

Anonymous User
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Re: Pay scale for Phoenix Biglaw

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 19, 2012 3:21 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:From a purely financial standpoint, sure. But you'll also be living in Phoenix instead of NYC.


I'm facing this exact decision right now, and it's tough. I could buy a 3,500 sf house in a very nice phoenix neighborhood, and my mortgage would be less than rent for a 1 bedroom Manhattan apartment. Phoenix doesn't have the same culture as NYC, but with all my extra income I can afford all the culture Phoenix can offer. Also, my credentials stand out in Phoenix, whereas I'm probably below average in NYC. Finally, there is no way I could ever get into a New York USAO, but I think I have a good shot at an Arizona USAO, in case I want to go that route.


How can you believe that you have a good shot at the USAO in AZ? You know that the USAO is on a hiring freeze, right? So I wouldn't be banking on this any time soon.

BTW, what makes your credentials stand out in AZ, whereas your credentials do not stand out in NYC?

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dowu
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Re: Pay scale for Phoenix Biglaw

Postby dowu » Tue Jun 19, 2012 3:22 pm

loomstate wrote:..

Anonymous User
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Re: Pay scale for Phoenix Biglaw

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 19, 2012 4:05 pm

Anonymous User wrote:How can you believe that you have a good shot at the USAO in AZ? You know that the USAO is on a hiring freeze, right? So I wouldn't be banking on this any time soon.


Yes, I know they aren't hiring now. I'm talking about years down the road. I think I have a good shot because I clerked for the 9th Circuit and the Arizona US district court. I also grew up in AZ and went to undergrad in AZ. So did my parents and grandparents. I also externed at their office after 1L. I have none of those ties to NY. Additionally, the quality of applicant to SDNY far exceeds the applicants to Arizona's USAO.


Anonymous User wrote:
BTW, what makes your credentials stand out in AZ, whereas your credentials do not stand out in NYC?


As top quarter at a lower T-14 with two fly-over clerkships, I would be very average at the NYC firms I interviewed with. With the same stats, I am well above average at the big AZ firms. Again, it's a function of how many applicants there are per position in AZ vs. NYC and the quality of those applicants.

Anonymous User
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Re: Pay scale for Phoenix Biglaw

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 19, 2012 4:14 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:How can you believe that you have a good shot at the USAO in AZ? You know that the USAO is on a hiring freeze, right? So I wouldn't be banking on this any time soon.


Yes, I know they aren't hiring now. I'm talking about years down the road. I think I have a good shot because I clerked for the 9th Circuit and the Arizona US district court. I also grew up in AZ and went to undergrad in AZ. So did my parents and grandparents. I also externed at their office after 1L. I have none of those ties to NY. Additionally, the quality of applicant to SDNY far exceeds the applicants to Arizona's USAO.


Anonymous User wrote:
BTW, what makes your credentials stand out in AZ, whereas your credentials do not stand out in NYC?


As top quarter at a lower T-14 with two fly-over clerkships, I would be very average at the NYC firms I interviewed with. With the same stats, I am well above average at the big AZ firms. Again, it's a function of how many applicants there are per position in AZ vs. NYC and the quality of those applicants.


The 9th Circuit clerkship is really what makes you a stellar applicant. District court clerkship + T14 top quarter is pretty normal at the good Phoenix firms.

Anonymous User
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Re: Pay scale for Phoenix Biglaw

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 19, 2012 4:21 pm

Anonymous User wrote:The 9th Circuit clerkship is really what makes you a stellar applicant. District court clerkship + T14 top quarter is pretty normal at the good Phoenix firms.


I tend to agree. I also know if I go to either place, I need to do great work and nothing will be handed to me. I just think it will be a bit easier to get good work and advance if I'm not objectively below average when compared to others in my class. As noted above, the relative cost of living is also a factor.

I also shouldn't have said I would be "well" above average in AZ. But I do think I would be somewhat above average.

Anonymous User
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Re: Pay scale for Phoenix Biglaw

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 19, 2012 4:31 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:The 9th Circuit clerkship is really what makes you a stellar applicant. District court clerkship + T14 top quarter is pretty normal at the good Phoenix firms.


I tend to agree. I also know if I go to either place, I need to do great work and nothing will be handed to me. I just think it will be a bit easier to get good work and advance if I'm not objectively below average when compared to others in my class. As noted above, the relative cost of living is also a factor.

I also shouldn't have said I would be "well" above average in AZ. But I do think I would be somewhat above average.


Have you already lined up that 9th Circuit clerkship? Are you a graduate? Or are you a rising 2L engaging in hypotheticals?

If you are a 9th Circuit clerk and come to a Phoenix firm with a good commercial litigation group (S&W/L&R/Perkins Coie), you will get All-Star treatment. People will want to work with you. You will get on the cases and appeals you want to be on.

The exception is if you go to an elite boutique like Osborn or Coppersmith. At either of those places you will be fairly ordinary. But, at Osborn especially, you will have a great chance at going USAO eventually.

Anonymous User
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Re: Pay scale for Phoenix Biglaw

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 19, 2012 4:37 pm

Clerkships are either lined up, in progress, or finished. I.e., no hypotheticals. I think I've posted enough info about me that I should try to be a little vague.

Also, thanks for the info. I haven't been quite as in-tune with the Phoenix market as I should have been.




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