Info on Small Firm Starting Salaries for SoCal

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Info on Small Firm Starting Salaries for SoCal

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Nov 02, 2012 7:28 pm

For what its worth -
I'm a recent graduate who recently reached the negotiation phase with a small firm. I consulted with my law schools career services for info on what would be a reasonable offer to expect from the firm. I reasoned to them that I needed to have some concept on what the market was paying new law school grads/1st year associates and since pretty much all of us only have discredited law school/us news employment rates to rely upon, I really had no idea what to expect. This is what they told me.

Based on their research/knowledge, (for civil litigation) they suggested to me that a reasonable starting salary for a smaller firm is currently:
Plaintiff's side:
$45,000-$55,000
Defense side:
$60,000-$70,000

The offer I accepted - without much negotiation - was at the high end of one of these ranges - so in my experience - the research was accurate.
So there ya go. Some food for thought. Good luck to everyone with their job searches - to say I'm relieved to be done looking....would be a gross understatement.

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cinephile
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Re: Info on Small Firm Starting Salaries for SoCal

Postby cinephile » Fri Nov 02, 2012 9:57 pm

Thanks for the info!

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Lasers
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Re: Info on Small Firm Starting Salaries for SoCal

Postby Lasers » Sun Nov 04, 2012 1:43 am

fuck me. i'd rather work a non-law job then practice for $45k.

seriously, i won't do it.

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Re: Info on Small Firm Starting Salaries for SoCal

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Nov 05, 2012 2:12 am

I think those are too low. When I was negotiating with a small firm in OC (less than 10 attys), I ended up with an offer of $85k. That was probably on the higher side, but I wouldn't have accepted less than $75k. Granted, this also depends on your school/rank/etc (of which I was probably on the higher side). My friends working in LA at small firms are making at minimum $65k. However, I am aware of at least one Plaintiff-side employment lit firm (literally just churning worthless cases out) that was paying $45k, no benefits, but he realized that was "below market."

Edit: If you're coming from one of CA's many 3rd/4th tier schools, the above numbers might be spot on.

zomginternets
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Re: Info on Small Firm Starting Salaries for SoCal

Postby zomginternets » Tue Nov 06, 2012 1:52 am

Don't you love how the CSO only tells you this stuff once you're 180k in debt? sigh.

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2LsAPlenty
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Re: Info on Small Firm Starting Salaries for SoCal

Postby 2LsAPlenty » Tue Nov 06, 2012 10:32 am

I don't think those numbers are too far off. Look at the NALP report for smaller firms and consider entry level at the US Attorney's office is around $ 50,000 last time I checked.

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cinephile
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Re: Info on Small Firm Starting Salaries for SoCal

Postby cinephile » Tue Nov 06, 2012 11:51 am

zomginternets wrote:Don't you love how the CSO only tells you this stuff once you're 180k in debt? sigh.


Ours told us things like this as 1Ls. But then I was like, so why would I spend 3 years in school and thousands of dollars to make what I could've made without the JD? And they're like, but isn't it worth it to you to be a lawyer? And I'm like, no.

Anonymous User
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Re: Info on Small Firm Starting Salaries for SoCal

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 06, 2012 9:12 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I think those are too low. When I was negotiating with a small firm in OC (less than 10 attys), I ended up with an offer of $85k. That was probably on the higher side, but I wouldn't have accepted less than $75k. Granted, this also depends on your school/rank/etc (of which I was probably on the higher side). My friends working in LA at small firms are making at minimum $65k. However, I am aware of at least one Plaintiff-side employment lit firm (literally just churning worthless cases out) that was paying $45k, no benefits, but he realized that was "below market."

Edit: If you're coming from one of CA's many 3rd/4th tier schools, the above numbers might be spot on.


OP here
The OC may be a different beast, I honestly don't know. This firm had offices in multiple socal locations that were non-OC.
I think in LA and other socal locations, there is such an excess of supply that this is the going rate firms can pay. Now maybe 6 months in to this employment you can leverage another offer to get an immediate raise or use your employment as a stepping stool - I think this is very common btw - but at least initially I think this is now reality. What I think is a truism is that plaintiffs work is always gonna pay less than similar defense work for associate positions.

Also worth noting is that benefit packages vary wildly from employers now, with some offering nothing and others offering the pre-recession generous 401k, health, dental, etc. Outside the private sector, for people looking to do Gov in CA, all the socal DA fellowships I've looked at are flat pay between $50-60k with no bene's of any kind for instance and no clear path to jumping to a DDA 1. That's why I would recommend DA and PD gunners get into private litigation and then apply when there are openings rather than going the post-grad intern or fellows rout hoping and waiting for job openings.

pom fig
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Re: Info on Small Firm Starting Salaries for SoCal

Postby pom fig » Sun Apr 05, 2015 5:27 pm

Bumping this to see if anyone at or below median at UCLA/USC looking at similar work and getting similar amounts? Thank you in advance.

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Re: Info on Small Firm Starting Salaries for SoCal

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Apr 06, 2015 1:12 am

Small labor and employment firm (representing workers and unions) in LA is paying 70K starting

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Re: Info on Small Firm Starting Salaries for SoCal

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Apr 06, 2015 9:09 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Small labor and employment firm (representing workers and unions) in LA is paying 70K starting

2014 USC/UCLA grad looking for a full time position; the figures i've seen during interviews are around $50-75k. i think you can reasonably expect around $60-70k at most smaller p-side or defense firms.

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Re: Info on Small Firm Starting Salaries for SoCal

Postby XxSpyKEx » Tue Apr 07, 2015 9:57 pm

Anonymous User wrote:For what its worth -
I'm a recent graduate who recently reached the negotiation phase with a small firm. I consulted with my law schools career services for info on what would be a reasonable offer to expect from the firm. I reasoned to them that I needed to have some concept on what the market was paying new law school grads/1st year associates and since pretty much all of us only have discredited law school/us news employment rates to rely upon, I really had no idea what to expect. This is what they told me.

Based on their research/knowledge, (for civil litigation) they suggested to me that a reasonable starting salary for a smaller firm is currently:
Plaintiff's side:
$45,000-$55,000
Defense side:
$60,000-$70,000

The offer I accepted - without much negotiation - was at the high end of one of these ranges - so in my experience - the research was accurate.
So there ya go. Some food for thought. Good luck to everyone with their job searches - to say I'm relieved to be done looking....would be a gross understatement.


:shock: This is really bad for SoCal. I mean at these salary levels, you're better off in public interest, since your loans will at least get forgiven (tax-free) after 10 years. But I guess if you don't have the PI option, you gotta do what you gotta do.

Nomo
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Re: Info on Small Firm Starting Salaries for SoCal

Postby Nomo » Tue Apr 07, 2015 10:24 pm

These numbers make perfect sense if you look at the NALP bimodal graph: http://www.nalp.org/class_of_2013_bimodal_salary_curve

About half of all new lawyer's (whose salaries were actually reported) made between 40 and 60k. The numbers you cite are a little higher, which I would expect for SoCal.




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