Avg LA City Att'y Salary: $143,924

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iamgeorgebush
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Avg LA City Att'y Salary: $143,924

Postby iamgeorgebush » Fri Jan 09, 2015 12:49 am

The range is $77,131-$220,764. The vast majority make six figures. (This is for Deputy City Attorneys and the like, not Deputy District Attorneys. In NYC terms, it's like the Corporation Counsel rather than District Attorney.)

Source: http://projects.latimes.com/la-city-salaries/?page=1

Does this seem to anyone else like an ridiculously large amount of money for city employees to be making? There are 486 attorneys employed by the city here. That means the LA is paying its lawyers $70 million per year, and that's not counting the Deputy District Attorneys. Assistant Corporation Counsel in NYC, by contrast, start at $62,038, and NYC is a MUCH more expensive city than LA.

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runinthefront
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Re: Avg LA City Att'y Salary: $143,924

Postby runinthefront » Fri Jan 09, 2015 12:55 am

are u advocating that gov't lawyers in LA should be paid less or nah

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Avg LA City Att'y Salary: $143,924

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Jan 09, 2015 1:19 am

They're getting paid less than they would be in in biglaw, and LA is one fucking huge corporation with what has to be a lot of extremely expensive and complex legal work. You mentioned what NYC lawyers start at - what do they top out at? Is it less than LA?

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Re: Avg LA City Att'y Salary: $143,924

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jan 09, 2015 1:21 am

Public employee salaries in California are traditionally much higher than on the East Coast. In many counties Deputy DAs make six figures or close to start, and in a few counties so do public defenders. This also extends to other public employees like police officers, who make around 80k to start vs 40k in NYC. However, this allows the state to attract much better qualified employees that tend to not run off to the private sector, and the state is ridiculously expensive as a whole. Also while starting salaries for NYC corp counsel are lower, most attorneys there make six figures as well because, you know, they need to attract qualified employees who don't want to take a vow of poverty.

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Yukos
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Re: Avg LA City Att'y Salary: $143,924

Postby Yukos » Fri Jan 09, 2015 2:10 am

The funny thing is state lawyers make barely anything in CA. It's pretty common for you to be able to make twice as much working for a county or a second-tier city like San Jose than if you were working for California.

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iamgeorgebush
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Re: Avg LA City Att'y Salary: $143,924

Postby iamgeorgebush » Fri Jan 09, 2015 2:25 am

Well, just seems weird that they're paid more than both AUSAs and NYC corporation counsel, considering that the former is more difficult to obtain than a city position and that the latter is in a higher COL area. Not sure what NYC corporation counsel top out at, maybe $130k based on this: http://prbany.com/job/assistant-corporation-counsel-3/
Last edited by iamgeorgebush on Fri Jan 09, 2015 2:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Avg LA City Att'y Salary: $143,924

Postby iamgeorgebush » Fri Jan 09, 2015 2:58 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote:I think you mean paid more?

And I guess I figure they pay what they pay. They're probably good attorneys because I would imagine there's a lot of competition for the jobs. I don't know that they are easier to get than an AUSA gig.

Ah yes, I did mean paid more. Edited.

Yeah, I understand they're probably good attorneys and all; it just seems weird that public employees would be paid so much. That's way more than the average attorney salary of $113,000 (granted that LA attorneys probably earn more than attorneys around the U.S. generally), and I've always thought that government employees make less than their private sector counterparts, in return for more meaningful work and greater job security/benefits/pensions/etc.

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Re: Avg LA City Att'y Salary: $143,924

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jan 09, 2015 3:32 am

iamgeorgebush wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:I think you mean paid more?

And I guess I figure they pay what they pay. They're probably good attorneys because I would imagine there's a lot of competition for the jobs. I don't know that they are easier to get than an AUSA gig.

Ah yes, I did mean paid more. Edited.

Yeah, I understand they're probably good attorneys and all; it just seems weird that public employees would be paid so much. That's way more than the average attorney salary of $113,000 (granted that LA attorneys probably earn more than attorneys around the U.S. generally), and I've always thought that government employees make less than their private sector counterparts, in return for more meaningful work and greater job security/benefits/pensions/etc.


As most people on this site know, the average attorney salary is meaningless because attorney salaries are clumped into two distinct pools: the "shitlaw" pool and the "biglaw" pool. The attorneys who work for places like the LA City Attorney's Office generally come from, or have a lot in common with, the biglaw pool. Additionally, few of them are entry level--most have years or even decades of experience. Thus they actually make significantly less than they would in the private sector. They are making a financial sacrifice to work in government. If you want attorneys of that caliber (rather than the "shitlaw" pool) to work in complex and important government agencies that often handle cases of biglaw complexity, you need to pay them enough to lead a high middle class lifestyle. Most attorneys in the federal government make significantly more than 100k except in the first few years of their career, because paying people in experience and security doesn't cut it when they could make 3 times as much in the private sector--they need to be paid enough to lead a decent lifestyle to stick around for more than 2 years.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Avg LA City Att'y Salary: $143,924

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Jan 09, 2015 9:45 am

^ totally agree with this, especially that the "average" attorney salary is helpful here. That's all attorneys, all fields and practices, all levels. Being paid more than that average doesn't make you overpaid, depending on what you're doing.

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BruceWayne
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Re: Avg LA City Att'y Salary: $143,924

Postby BruceWayne » Fri Jan 09, 2015 10:07 am

Just so you know principals and superintendents for public school systems in low COL areas frequently make this kind of money and the latter often make much more. I don't see how this is any "worse".

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Re: Avg LA City Att'y Salary: $143,924

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Fri Jan 09, 2015 12:41 pm

I'm all for lawyers getting paid, but I definitely think these salaries are "too much" in the sense that they could attract very good candidates while paying less.

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fats provolone
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Re: Avg LA City Att'y Salary: $143,924

Postby fats provolone » Fri Jan 09, 2015 7:54 pm

dixiecupdrinking wrote:I'm all for lawyers getting paid, but I definitely think these salaries are "too much" in the sense that they could attract very good candidates while paying less.

edit: never mind

nouseforaname123
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Re: Avg LA City Att'y Salary: $143,924

Postby nouseforaname123 » Fri Jan 09, 2015 9:20 pm

dixiecupdrinking wrote:I'm all for lawyers getting paid, but I definitely think these salaries are "too much" in the sense that they could attract very good candidates while paying less.


+1. This would frustrate me if I were a taxpayer in LA.

I don't think the comparisons to big law above are valid. Big law billable rates are about the complexity of the work. Big law associate salaries are about the personal sacrifices required by the job. Taking a completely wild guess here, LA city attorneys are not putting in big law hours.
Last edited by nouseforaname123 on Fri Jan 09, 2015 9:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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t-14orbust
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Re: Avg LA City Att'y Salary: $143,924

Postby t-14orbust » Fri Jan 09, 2015 9:24 pm

how do i la citty attorney

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Re: Avg LA City Att'y Salary: $143,924

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jan 09, 2015 10:09 pm

nouseforaname123 wrote:
dixiecupdrinking wrote:I'm all for lawyers getting paid, but I definitely think these salaries are "too much" in the sense that they could attract very good candidates while paying less.


+1. This would frustrate me if I were a taxpayer in LA.

I don't think the comparisons to big law above are valid. Big law billable rates are about the complexity of the work. Big law associate salaries are about the personal sacrifices required by the job. Taking a completely wild guess here, LA city attorneys are not putting in big law hours.


Yes, that's why these salaries are significantly less than what even a first year associate earns in biglaw even though many of these attorneys have years of experience. Like someone mentioned, LA is a giant corporation with incredibly complex legal work. These are its in-house counsel. Their expertise saves taxpayers money because it's a hell of a lot cheaper to pay 140k than hiring a biglaw firm every time the city has a complex legal case, or settling cases unnecessarily for large amounts. Unlike the NYC Corporation Counsel, they also hire almost all experienced attorneys (5 years+) and virtually no entry levels. This obviously drives the average salary up.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Fri Jan 09, 2015 10:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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iamgeorgebush
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Re: Avg LA City Att'y Salary: $143,924

Postby iamgeorgebush » Fri Jan 09, 2015 10:22 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
iamgeorgebush wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:I think you mean paid more?

And I guess I figure they pay what they pay. They're probably good attorneys because I would imagine there's a lot of competition for the jobs. I don't know that they are easier to get than an AUSA gig.

Ah yes, I did mean paid more. Edited.

Yeah, I understand they're probably good attorneys and all; it just seems weird that public employees would be paid so much. That's way more than the average attorney salary of $113,000 (granted that LA attorneys probably earn more than attorneys around the U.S. generally), and I've always thought that government employees make less than their private sector counterparts, in return for more meaningful work and greater job security/benefits/pensions/etc.


As most people on this site know, the average attorney salary is meaningless because attorney salaries are clumped into two distinct pools: the "shitlaw" pool and the "biglaw" pool. The attorneys who work for places like the LA City Attorney's Office generally come from, or have a lot in common with, the biglaw pool. Additionally, few of them are entry level--most have years or even decades of experience. Thus they actually make significantly less than they would in the private sector. They are making a financial sacrifice to work in government. If you want attorneys of that caliber (rather than the "shitlaw" pool) to work in complex and important government agencies that often handle cases of biglaw complexity, you need to pay them enough to lead a high middle class lifestyle. Most attorneys in the federal government make significantly more than 100k except in the first few years of their career, because paying people in experience and security doesn't cut it when they could make 3 times as much in the private sector--they need to be paid enough to lead a decent lifestyle to stick around for more than 2 years.

Dunno, I'm still skeptical that they should be paid this much. Don't gov't attorneys work only 40 hours per week? That plus good benefits, lots of vacation time, good job security, and a low six-figure salary for experienced attorneys (maybe ranging from $60,000-$170,000) seems like it should be enough incentive to get qualified attorneys. That's how NYC appears to do it, and it's a higher COL city.

It's not like many of these Assistant City Attorneys would (or even could) be BigLaw partners if they weren't in the City Attorney's Office. More realistically, wouldn't their private sector analog be something like in-house counsel at a corporation? Most in-house counsel at large corporations peak around mid-six figures in compensation, right?

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Re: Avg LA City Att'y Salary: $143,924

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jan 09, 2015 10:35 pm

iamgeorgebush wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
iamgeorgebush wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:I think you mean paid more?

And I guess I figure they pay what they pay. They're probably good attorneys because I would imagine there's a lot of competition for the jobs. I don't know that they are easier to get than an AUSA gig.

Ah yes, I did mean paid more. Edited.

Yeah, I understand they're probably good attorneys and all; it just seems weird that public employees would be paid so much. That's way more than the average attorney salary of $113,000 (granted that LA attorneys probably earn more than attorneys around the U.S. generally), and I've always thought that government employees make less than their private sector counterparts, in return for more meaningful work and greater job security/benefits/pensions/etc.


As most people on this site know, the average attorney salary is meaningless because attorney salaries are clumped into two distinct pools: the "shitlaw" pool and the "biglaw" pool. The attorneys who work for places like the LA City Attorney's Office generally come from, or have a lot in common with, the biglaw pool. Additionally, few of them are entry level--most have years or even decades of experience. Thus they actually make significantly less than they would in the private sector. They are making a financial sacrifice to work in government. If you want attorneys of that caliber (rather than the "shitlaw" pool) to work in complex and important government agencies that often handle cases of biglaw complexity, you need to pay them enough to lead a high middle class lifestyle. Most attorneys in the federal government make significantly more than 100k except in the first few years of their career, because paying people in experience and security doesn't cut it when they could make 3 times as much in the private sector--they need to be paid enough to lead a decent lifestyle to stick around for more than 2 years.

Dunno, I'm still skeptical that they should be paid this much. Don't gov't attorneys work only 40 hours per week? That plus good benefits, lots of vacation time, good job security, and a low six-figure salary for experienced attorneys (maybe ranging from $60,000-$170,000) seems like it should be enough incentive to get qualified attorneys. That's how NYC appears to do it, and it's a higher COL city.

It's not like many of these Assistant City Attorneys would (or even could) be BigLaw partners if they weren't in the City Attorney's Office. More realistically, wouldn't their private sector analog be something like in-house counsel at a corporation? Most in-house counsel at large corporations peak around mid-six figures in compensation, right?


If you look at the data, the vast majority of the attorneys in that office do fall into the range you mentioned. The only ones in the 190k plus range are the very senior managers, many of whom could and would go on to become partners or counsel in midlaw and sometimes biglaw firms. I agree that it's likely too top heavy, but it doesn't seem nearly as extreme as some posters are making it seem.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Avg LA City Att'y Salary: $143,924

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Jan 09, 2015 10:43 pm

I'd bet they're working more than 40/hrs a week. Not all government positions are the same. There are also plenty of in-house counsel who make this much or more, especially depending on where you're in-house, although I'm not sure why you say the LA City attys wouldn't/couldn't be biglaw partners. What are you basing that on? I don't think the salary range is at all outrageous.

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Elston Gunn
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Re: Avg LA City Att'y Salary: $143,924

Postby Elston Gunn » Fri Jan 09, 2015 10:45 pm

We need more threads complaining about how lawyers are coddled and paid too much.

Cogburn87
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Re: Avg LA City Att'y Salary: $143,924

Postby Cogburn87 » Fri Jan 09, 2015 10:49 pm

Yep. I also agree (based entirely on my intuition, of course) that these fuckers make too much money considering the value of the work they perform.

*goes back to reviewing a draft purchase agreement at $410/hour to ensure no straight quotation marks slipped through*

nouseforaname123
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Re: Avg LA City Att'y Salary: $143,924

Postby nouseforaname123 » Fri Jan 09, 2015 11:06 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
nouseforaname123 wrote:
dixiecupdrinking wrote:I'm all for lawyers getting paid, but I definitely think these salaries are "too much" in the sense that they could attract very good candidates while paying less.


+1. This would frustrate me if I were a taxpayer in LA.

I don't think the comparisons to big law above are valid. Big law billable rates are about the complexity of the work. Big law associate salaries are about the personal sacrifices required by the job. Taking a completely wild guess here, LA city attorneys are not putting in big law hours.


Yes, that's why these salaries are significantly less than what even a first year associate earns in biglaw even though many of these attorneys have years of experience. Like someone mentioned, LA is a giant corporation with incredibly complex legal work. These are its in-house counsel. Their expertise saves taxpayers money because it's a hell of a lot cheaper to pay 140k than hiring a biglaw firm every time the city has a complex legal case, or settling cases unnecessarily for large amounts. Unlike the NYC Corporation Counsel, they also hire almost all experienced attorneys (5 years+) and virtually no entry levels. This obviously drives the average salary up.


The trade off between private sector and government employment used to be lower pay for better hours, job security and benefits (do you realize how much a public pension in a state like CA is really worth?). At this average salary, LA seems to be paying like a non-firm private sector employer while also giving public sector benefits.

The citizens of LA can do whatever they want with their money, but as a disinterested party, I have a hard time believing LA has to pay what it's paying to get the quality of legal services it's getting.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Avg LA City Att'y Salary: $143,924

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Jan 09, 2015 11:07 pm

I don't get why people care? Is it that it challenges the only undisputed advantage of biglaw over other jobs, which is salary?

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Re: Avg LA City Att'y Salary: $143,924

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jan 09, 2015 11:13 pm

nouseforaname123 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
nouseforaname123 wrote:
dixiecupdrinking wrote:I'm all for lawyers getting paid, but I definitely think these salaries are "too much" in the sense that they could attract very good candidates while paying less.


+1. This would frustrate me if I were a taxpayer in LA.

I don't think the comparisons to big law above are valid. Big law billable rates are about the complexity of the work. Big law associate salaries are about the personal sacrifices required by the job. Taking a completely wild guess here, LA city attorneys are not putting in big law hours.


Yes, that's why these salaries are significantly less than what even a first year associate earns in biglaw even though many of these attorneys have years of experience. Like someone mentioned, LA is a giant corporation with incredibly complex legal work. These are its in-house counsel. Their expertise saves taxpayers money because it's a hell of a lot cheaper to pay 140k than hiring a biglaw firm every time the city has a complex legal case, or settling cases unnecessarily for large amounts. Unlike the NYC Corporation Counsel, they also hire almost all experienced attorneys (5 years+) and virtually no entry levels. This obviously drives the average salary up.


The trade off between private sector and government employment used to be lower pay for better hours, job security and benefits (do you realize how much a public pension in a state like CA is really worth?). At this average salary, LA seems to be paying like a non-firm private sector employer while also giving public sector benefits.

The citizens of LA can do whatever they want with their money, but as a disinterested party, I have a hard time believing LA has to pay what it's paying to get the quality of legal services it's getting.


Where is there a rule that government has to pay less than ANY private sector employer? If the citizens of LA are getting quality legal work that lowers the cost of settlements, litigation losses, and outside counsel for the city, then why does it matter that these attorneys are paid only a little less than many in-house attorneys? I don't think you get how complex a lot of these cases are that they work on. You need qualified lawyers.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Fri Jan 09, 2015 11:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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runinthefront
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Re: Avg LA City Att'y Salary: $143,924

Postby runinthefront » Fri Jan 09, 2015 11:14 pm

what was the point of calling out LA city attorney salaries on a forum for attorneys

I can't believe I'm lurking a thread w/ someone advocating that these lawyers are getting paid too much while I'm currently looking for a SA to pay me 30k to do literally nothing

I know literally nothing

Cogburn87
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Re: Avg LA City Att'y Salary: $143,924

Postby Cogburn87 » Fri Jan 09, 2015 11:20 pm

nouseforaname123 wrote:The citizens of LA can do whatever they want with their money, but as a disinterested party, I have a hard time believing LA has to pay what it's paying to get the quality of legal services it's getting.


Yeah, you definitely come across as a neutral defender of the public fisc and certainly don't display the slightest bit of crab mentality.




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