Compensation at LA Appellate Boutiques

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Anonymous User
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Compensation at LA Appellate Boutiques

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jul 21, 2012 7:41 pm

Disclaimer: I know that getting into an appellate boutique is insanely difficult. In fact, it's a pipe dream for most people. That being said...

Anyone have any idea on the compensation schemes at either of the major appellate boutiques in LA, Greines Martin and Horvitz Levy? Comparable to BigLaw, better, worse?

Anonymous User
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Re: Compensation at LA Appellate Boutiques

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jul 21, 2012 11:51 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Disclaimer: I know that getting into an appellate boutique is insanely difficult. In fact, it's a pipe dream for most people. That being said...

Anyone have any idea on the compensation schemes at either of the major appellate boutiques in LA, Greines Martin and Horvitz Levy? Comparable to BigLaw, better, worse?


Midlaw, maybe a little less than midlaw.

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Re: Compensation at LA Appellate Boutiques

Postby Anonymous User » Mon May 13, 2013 9:08 pm

Less than midlaw? Anyone have current or more specific knowledge on this?

anon168
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Re: Compensation at LA Appellate Boutiques

Postby anon168 » Mon May 13, 2013 9:21 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Disclaimer: I know that getting into an appellate boutique is insanely difficult. In fact, it's a pipe dream for most people. That being said...

Anyone have any idea on the compensation schemes at either of the major appellate boutiques in LA, Greines Martin and Horvitz Levy? Comparable to BigLaw, better, worse?


Your absolute total comp (base plus bonus) will be lower than comparable biglaw in LA, but because you are working less, your total comp/hour will be higher.

Anonymous User
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Re: Compensation at LA Appellate Boutiques

Postby Anonymous User » Mon May 13, 2013 10:02 pm

So how much less than BigLaw are we actually talking? 120k instead of 160k starting?

anon168
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Re: Compensation at LA Appellate Boutiques

Postby anon168 » Mon May 13, 2013 10:51 pm

Anonymous User wrote:So how much less than BigLaw are we actually talking? 120k instead of 160k starting?


Lower.

Understand something. Biglaw profits come not from actual legal work, but the daily churn that is discovery.

There is almost no discovery, if any, in pure appellate work. And leverage is significantly lower.

Do the math. People, associates and partners incl, do not get rich doing appellate work.

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Re: Compensation at LA Appellate Boutiques

Postby Anonymous User » Tue May 14, 2013 12:23 pm

This makes sense. But isn't that mostly an argument for keeping such a firm really small? Aren't they still able to bill a decent amount per hour?
Not trolling... just curious why small and successful appellate boutiques wouldn't be able to pay its lawyers BigLaw wages.

anon168
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Re: Compensation at LA Appellate Boutiques

Postby anon168 » Tue May 14, 2013 1:57 pm

Anonymous User wrote:This makes sense. But isn't that mostly an argument for keeping such a firm really small? Aren't they still able to bill a decent amount per hour?
Not trolling... just curious why small and successful appellate boutiques wouldn't be able to pay its lawyers BigLaw wages.


It's never the amount/hour that's key. It's the total number of hours that's the real driver of firm profits.

It matters little if you can only bill something like 1000 hours on a case even if you are billing out at 1000/hour, when a typical biglaw litigation firm can bill 100,000 hours on a case with an average of 300/hour. As an appellate firm, there's only so much you can bill on a matter because the majority of the heavy lifting in terms of hours in litigation comes in the form of discovery, which is nearly nonexistent in appellate work.

stoogesreal
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Re: Compensation at LA Appellate Boutiques

Postby stoogesreal » Tue May 14, 2013 2:08 pm

But if you have a small number of lawyers, then

smaller total number of hours/
smaller number of lawyers

compensates for that right?

anon168
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Re: Compensation at LA Appellate Boutiques

Postby anon168 » Tue May 14, 2013 2:15 pm

stoogesreal wrote:But if you have a small number of lawyers, then

smaller total number of hours/
smaller number of lawyers

compensates for that right?


I have never done the math, but not really. Part of the reason is that the total number of hours for biglaw is significantly higher and outpaces what you assume would be a 1:1 ratio of the number of lawyers (denominator) between biglaw and appellate boutique.

Most biglaw appellate sections are loss-leaders, firms have them on board more for door decoration than as real profit centers. In fact, many of the biglaw corporate folks view the entire litigation dept as dead-weight. So, you can only imagine the kind of revenue/profits a stand-alone appellate firm makes.

stoogesreal
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Re: Compensation at LA Appellate Boutiques

Postby stoogesreal » Tue May 14, 2013 2:17 pm

Gotcha. That makes sense. And probably explains why lawyers like the "lifestyle" of appellate work.

anon168
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Re: Compensation at LA Appellate Boutiques

Postby anon168 » Tue May 14, 2013 2:51 pm

stoogesreal wrote:Gotcha. That makes sense. And probably explains why lawyers like the "lifestyle" of appellate work.


I have a pretty good friend who's a partner at H&L, and loves it there. Basically 9-5, plan out your year (yes, year) in advance, take vacations without nary a worry, sit in the office and ruminate about "what ought" or "what should" happen, and then at 4:30 go home cursing trial counsel for failing to preserve the record.

It's not a bad work/life mix, but there are tradeoffs (as we've been discussing).




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