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

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

Postby nouseforaname123 » Fri Jan 09, 2015 11:25 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
nouseforaname123 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
nouseforaname123 wrote:
+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.


Of course there isn't any rule that government has to pay less than the private sector. I just have this crazy notion that government should be a good steward of limited public resources.

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


You really don't get why tax-paying citizens might care about how government spends its revenue?

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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 11:34 pm

nouseforaname123 wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:I don't get why people care? Is it that it challenges the only undisputed advantage of biglaw over other jobs, which is salary?


You really don't get why tax-paying citizens might care about how government spends its revenue?

And you don't get why there might be benefits to the city of having a well-paid legal department?

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

Postby nouseforaname123 » Fri Jan 09, 2015 11:42 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
nouseforaname123 wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:I don't get why people care? Is it that it challenges the only undisputed advantage of biglaw over other jobs, which is salary?


You really don't get why tax-paying citizens might care about how government spends its revenue?

And you don't get why there might be benefits to the city of having a well-paid legal department?


As I said earlier, I'm not sure LA has to pay as much as it's paying to get the quality of legal representation it's receiving (granted, like every other poster in this thread, I'm just speculating).

You really don't get why tax-paying citizens might care about how government spends its revenue?

ETA: to answer your question directly, I do see the value in a well-paid legal department. I think the discussion is about the difference between well-paid and paying too much.

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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 11:55 pm

To be fair and answer your question directly, yes, I see why tax payers care. Mostly it's just that higher-than-average salaries for the legal department is way low down on my list of concerns about how a government spends its money, and I also think that there are way too many details we don't have if we really want to evaluate whether the salaries are fair.

(But then, I also think most public school teachers aren't paid enough, so we may just have different standards for public salaries.)

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

Postby Yukos » Sat Jan 10, 2015 12:08 am

One reason they might be higher than most is many cities offer very low salaries in exchange for insane deferred compensation packages (see Detroit, MI). I believe LA is one of two cities in the country that has actually fully funded its deferred compensation plan, and one reason why might be its a more modest program balanced out with higher upfront salaries.

But by all means, person who knows nothing about the city's finances or the legal department, assert that they're overpaid.

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

Postby nouseforaname123 » Sat Jan 10, 2015 12:14 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote:To be fair and answer your question directly, yes, I see why tax payers care. Mostly it's just that higher-than-average salaries for the legal department is way low down on my list of concerns about how a government spends its money, and I also think that there are way too many details we don't have if we really want to evaluate whether the salaries are fair.

(But then, I also think most public school teachers aren't paid enough, so we may just have different standards for public salaries.)


That's fair. I will note that the quote from the LA City Controller that introduces the data set suggests the salary info was released so that these very conversations could take place.

City of Boston seems to release comprehensive salary data. Can't do a deep dive in it right now, but cursory review suggests Boston pays more inline with NYC.

https://data.cityofboston.gov/Finance/2 ... /c94m-dcyt

Interesting note (though I might not be reading the data right): not a single attorney for the City of Boston made over $200k in 2013 compared to ~two dozen or so LA attorneys making over $200k.

https://data.cityofboston.gov/Finance/B ... /r3qv-gjnd
Last edited by nouseforaname123 on Sat Jan 10, 2015 12:18 am, edited 1 time in total.

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

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Jan 10, 2015 12:16 am

I guess when I said we don't have enough details, I wasn't thinking so much about comparisons with other city's salaries as more details about other forms of compensation that go with the job. Everyone assumes government jobs have cushy benefits/pensions, but I'd want to see what those numbers are if we're really comparing compensation. (See Yukos' post.)

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

Postby nouseforaname123 » Sat Jan 10, 2015 12:41 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote:I guess when I said we don't have enough details, I wasn't thinking so much about comparisons with other city's salaries as more details about other forms of compensation that go with the job. Everyone assumes government jobs have cushy benefits/pensions, but I'd want to see what those numbers are if we're really comparing compensation. (See Yukos' post.)


I get that there are a lot of variables. I only posted the Boston data for a rough comparison.

For LA, pension plan for employees hired AFTER 2012.

http://www.lacers.org/active/tier-2/Tie ... 0webLA.pdf

Back of the napkin math, ending average salary of 150k for final 36 months of service after 25 years of service would amount to a pension of $75k/year. I'm assuming employees hired before 2013 received a more generous pension.

Can't find a direct source on employee portion of healthcare premiums, but second-hand sources suggest $50-700/month (the latter being high end family plans, which,based on my experience, is better than what people are getting in the private sector).

Summary plan description for health care plan has no deductible and fairly low OOP maximums (better than what I've seen in the private sector, though, tbf, it looks like a Kaiser only plan):

http://per.lacity.org/bens/CityOfLosAng ... nID947.pdf

Time off for employee with one year of service: 12 paid holidays off (including comp time for holidays that fall on weekends) + 11 paid vacation days.

http://per.lacity.org/eeo/EmployeeHandb ... 2-2012.pdf (starting at Page 20, from 2012).
Last edited by nouseforaname123 on Sat Jan 10, 2015 12:42 am, edited 1 time in total.

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

Postby Elston Gunn » Sat Jan 10, 2015 12:42 am

nouseforaname123 wrote:
You really don't get why tax-paying citizens might care about how government spends its revenue?
.

Please tell me you are an LA resident

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

Postby nouseforaname123 » Sat Jan 10, 2015 12:45 am

Elston Gunn wrote:
nouseforaname123 wrote:
You really don't get why tax-paying citizens might care about how government spends its revenue?
.

Please tell me you are an LA resident


I have already established in this thread that I am not.

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

Postby Elston Gunn » Sat Jan 10, 2015 12:47 am

nouseforaname123 wrote:
Elston Gunn wrote:
nouseforaname123 wrote:
You really don't get why tax-paying citizens might care about how government spends its revenue?
.

Please tell me you are an LA resident


I have already established in this thread that I am not.

just LOL

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

Postby nouseforaname123 » Sat Jan 10, 2015 12:48 am

Elston Gunn wrote:
nouseforaname123 wrote:
Elston Gunn wrote:
nouseforaname123 wrote:
You really don't get why tax-paying citizens might care about how government spends its revenue?
.

Please tell me you are an LA resident


I have already established in this thread that I am not.

just LOL


Okay.

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

Postby fats provolone » Sat Jan 10, 2015 12:55 am

"$143,924??? that seems at least 5.3% high!"

- uninterested aspserver

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

Postby Yukos » Sat Jan 10, 2015 1:02 am

Jesus man, how much free time do you have?

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

Postby nouseforaname123 » Sat Jan 10, 2015 1:08 am

Yukos wrote:Jesus man, how much free time do you have?


None. Wife's out of town and kids are pretty sick and asleep. Don't really know how to burn away a weekend night without alcohol....

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

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Sat Jan 10, 2015 10:59 am

I don't "care," and to the extent I have any dog in the fight, I'm selfishly in favor of the existence of high paying attorney jobs. I wish there were more. My point is only that if the $140k-whatever number is accurate, it strikes me as much higher than necessary to attract a qualified candidate pool, when you consider what similar jobs pay. Maybe it does get made up in other compensation, don't know. And speaking for myself, I'm perfectly happy for these guys to be "overpaid" so whatever.

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

Postby fats provolone » Sat Jan 10, 2015 12:05 pm

well as long as an average of a bunch of different jobs salaries "strikes you" as too high then sure seems like a real problem

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

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Sat Jan 10, 2015 1:12 pm

glad we agree

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

Postby iamgeorgebush » Sat Jan 10, 2015 3:21 pm

fats provolone wrote:well as long as an average of a bunch of different jobs salaries "strikes you" as too high then sure seems like a real problem

I don't know why you are so opposed to the average figure. If you look at the data I linked in the first post, the vast majority make six figures; in fact, 95% of the LA city employees with "attorney" in their title make over $100,000. The average is not a misleading figure. You can easily export the data to .csv and look for yourself.

Looking at the Boston data someone else posted, the difference is pretty striking. It appears the highest paid attorney working for Boston makes $139,056, which is less than the average LA city attorney compensation. This person is "Corporation Counsel" in the Legal Department, so I'm assuming that means this is the #1 person. In fact, of the 51 people that appear to be lawyers in Boston, only 5 make six figures. Boston, by the way, appears to be a higher COL city than LA. See http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/co ... ston%2C+MA. Granted, Boston is a smaller city than LA, but it still seems like a pretty big disparity.

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

Postby Cogburn87 » Sat Jan 10, 2015 3:27 pm

This does seem problematic. Based on this disparity you have pointed out, I think it's fair to conclude these attorneys in Boston are making too little.

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

Postby Elston Gunn » Sat Jan 10, 2015 3:30 pm

The two times I have encountered iamgeorgebush, he/she has quibbled about whether CLS costs $325K or merely $275K if you don't include the interest and has complained about how LA attorneys start at $77K when NYC attorneys only start at $60K.

Superb law studenting.

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

Postby fats provolone » Sat Jan 10, 2015 3:49 pm

lol i forgot he was the cls burger




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