2014 was gangbusters all around...NYC to 190k?

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: 2014 was gangbusters all around...NYC to 190k?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Feb 27, 2015 10:17 am

SBL wrote:Eh, IDK about biglaw pay being amazing. It's certainly generous, but assuming reasonable efficiency (1.3 hours in office for every 1 billed - actually pretty ambitious for most first years) and 2400/yr billed (a lot but common in NYC and it can be worse) that's 62.4 hrs/week with a 2-week for which you're making about $50/hr before taxes, which are high. Take loans and NYC rent off the top and I honestly wonder if it doesn't compare to what you'd make managing a Home Depot only with worse hours

That was partly what I meant to get at with the poorly-worded "leaving aside the things about the job that weigh against that, since they're not going to change if the salary goes up $15-30K." I know there's a lot of debate over associates being underpaid/overpaid, and I don't mean to weigh in on that or claim that the salary is amazing in real terms. Just that when you're a law student, biglaw still offers the highest salary (and lots of students still have debt). I'm not sure there's a big enough group of people who are going to say "I won't work biglaw at $160k but $175/190K? Bring it on!" to make NYC to 190k a real thing, at least on the basis of needing to attract qualified applicants (there may well be other reasons to raise salaries).

It seems to me that the bigger issue firms would/will face is dealing with attrition after folks who think $160k sounds great figure out that it isn't that much money in real terms and decide to bail out of biglaw after a couple of years.

But also keep in mind that when it comes to firms I'm talking out of my ass.

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20160810
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Re: 2014 was gangbusters all around...NYC to 190k?

Postby 20160810 » Fri Feb 27, 2015 10:19 am

What I find interesting is that anyone goes to NYC, DC and LA for $160K when they could make the same money in Texas cities that cost nothing to live in and probably work you fewer hours.

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jbagelboy
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Re: 2014 was gangbusters all around...NYC to 190k?

Postby jbagelboy » Fri Feb 27, 2015 10:50 am

SBL wrote:What I find interesting is that anyone goes to NYC, DC and LA for $160K when they could make the same money in Texas cities that cost nothing to live in and probably work you fewer hours.


b/c you would have to live in texas

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jbagelboy
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Re: 2014 was gangbusters all around...NYC to 190k?

Postby jbagelboy » Fri Feb 27, 2015 10:52 am

SBL wrote:Eh, IDK about biglaw pay being amazing. It's certainly generous, but assuming reasonable efficiency (1.3 hours in office for every 1 billed - actually pretty ambitious for most first years) and 2400/yr billed (a lot but common in NYC and it can be worse) that's 62.4 hrs/week with a 2-week for which you're making about $50/hr before taxes, which are high. Take loans and NYC rent off the top and I honestly wonder if it doesn't compare to what you'd make managing a Home Depot only with worse hours


home depot doesn't give you a consistent five figure raise and bonus every year. when people model big law earning on TLS they never account for lock step

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cookiejar1
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Re: 2014 was gangbusters all around...NYC to 190k?

Postby cookiejar1 » Fri Feb 27, 2015 11:30 am

lacrossebrother wrote:Is there anyway to get American Lawyer and its sister publications for less than $30/month? I can't find a student rate or anything


How about for free?

Lexis Advance >> Browse Sources >> The American Lawyer >> Sort by Date.

I get daily ALM alerts sent to me too. This also works for Law360.

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Old Gregg
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Re: 2014 was gangbusters all around...NYC to 190k?

Postby Old Gregg » Fri Feb 27, 2015 11:44 am

SBL wrote:What I find interesting is that anyone goes to NYC, DC and LA for $160K when they could make the same money in Texas cities that cost nothing to live in and probably work you fewer hours.


have you lived in texas? if not, this is a dumb post.

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2014
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Re: 2014 was gangbusters all around...NYC to 190k?

Postby 2014 » Fri Feb 27, 2015 11:54 am

SBL wrote:What I find interesting is that anyone goes to NYC, DC and LA for $160K when they could make the same money in Texas cities that cost nothing to live in and probably work you fewer hours.

The amount of people who self select into NY/DC/LA who could otherwise be competitive for a job in Texas is probably like 100 a year bc of ties, grades, w/e.

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Cobretti
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Re: 2014 was gangbusters all around...NYC to 190k?

Postby Cobretti » Fri Feb 27, 2015 12:07 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
Poopface wrote:
Magic Hat wrote:Why would they? Attracting quality first years isn't an issue.


Yeah but it will be once all the smart people from college realize they can make more money doing some other job versus going to school for 3 more years with the best possible outcome being a not-that-great salary. Firms need to attract talented people to the profession and into law school by showing them "hey if you are at a top firm (big law firm) you're going to get paid very well"


People who work in biglaw do get paid very well (on the face of their salary - leaving aside the things about the job that weigh against that, since they're not going to change if the salary goes up $15-30K). It's still the top paid job for law grads and most law grads aren't going to have more lucrative options. I guess I don't see big firms having to worry about attracting newbies for a while.

But maybe you define a not-that-great salary differently than I do.

Poopface is talking about attracting people to law school in the first place, not getting law students to want to do biglaw. The fact that attracting people to the profession might not create a crisis "for a while" doesn't mean it isn't a significant part of the long term strategy at firms (some of which are over 100 years old to put in perspective).

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Re: 2014 was gangbusters all around...NYC to 190k?

Postby Desert Fox » Fri Feb 27, 2015 12:08 pm

Cobretti wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:
Poopface wrote:
Magic Hat wrote:Why would they? Attracting quality first years isn't an issue.


Yeah but it will be once all the smart people from college realize they can make more money doing some other job versus going to school for 3 more years with the best possible outcome being a not-that-great salary. Firms need to attract talented people to the profession and into law school by showing them "hey if you are at a top firm (big law firm) you're going to get paid very well"


People who work in biglaw do get paid very well (on the face of their salary - leaving aside the things about the job that weigh against that, since they're not going to change if the salary goes up $15-30K). It's still the top paid job for law grads and most law grads aren't going to have more lucrative options. I guess I don't see big firms having to worry about attracting newbies for a while.

But maybe you define a not-that-great salary differently than I do.

Poopface is talking about attracting people to law school in the first place, not getting law studeents to want to do biglaw. The fact that attracting people to the profession might not create a crisis "for a while" doesn't mean it isn't a significant part of the long term strategy at firms (some of which are over 100 years old to put in perspective).


I don't think it is part of the consideration at all. It is too attenuated.

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Cobretti
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Re: 2014 was gangbusters all around...NYC to 190k?

Postby Cobretti » Fri Feb 27, 2015 12:31 pm

Desert Fox wrote:
Cobretti wrote:Poopface is talking about attracting people to law school in the first place, not getting law studeents to want to do biglaw. The fact that attracting people to the profession might not create a crisis "for a while" doesn't mean it isn't a significant part of the long term strategy at firms (some of which are over 100 years old to put in perspective).


I don't think it is part of the consideration at all. It is too attenuated.

Its too attenuated for a 190 year old firm to have a recruiting horizon of > 3 years?

The hivemind keeps fighting me on this issue every time it comes up and it blows my mind.

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Re: 2014 was gangbusters all around...NYC to 190k?

Postby Desert Fox » Fri Feb 27, 2015 12:36 pm

Cobretti wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:
Cobretti wrote:Poopface is talking about attracting people to law school in the first place, not getting law studeents to want to do biglaw. The fact that attracting people to the profession might not create a crisis "for a while" doesn't mean it isn't a significant part of the long term strategy at firms (some of which are over 100 years old to put in perspective).


I don't think it is part of the consideration at all. It is too attenuated.

Its too attenuated for a 190 year old firm to have a recruiting horizon of > 3 years?

The hivemind keeps fighting me on this issue every time it comes up and it blows my mind.


Honestly, they haven't had too. Enough people went to law school that it isn't an issue. Firms seem completely uninvolved in the 0L space.

If a partner said that they should give people raises so that in 5 years they'll have enough law students, he'd be laughed out of the conference room.

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Re: 2014 was gangbusters all around...NYC to 190k?

Postby JohannDeMann » Fri Feb 27, 2015 12:48 pm

you guys act like law firms need someone smart to do the work. very few practice groups need someone smart so much as they need a hard worker. nyc aint going to 190 before 2020. they might give midlevels a raise. but there's no incentive because they have ample supply of fist years to choose from.

before nyc goes to 190, recruiters will start adding law students on linked in. you can bank on that.

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Re: 2014 was gangbusters all around...NYC to 190k?

Postby JohannDeMann » Fri Feb 27, 2015 12:55 pm

Cobretti wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:
Cobretti wrote:Poopface is talking about attracting people to law school in the first place, not getting law studeents to want to do biglaw. The fact that attracting people to the profession might not create a crisis "for a while" doesn't mean it isn't a significant part of the long term strategy at firms (some of which are over 100 years old to put in perspective).


I don't think it is part of the consideration at all. It is too attenuated.

Its too attenuated for a 190 year old firm to have a recruiting horizon of > 3 years?

The hivemind keeps fighting me on this issue every time it comes up and it blows my mind.


yeah youre very wrong on this. my firm has had soem pretty open talks about recruiting efforts with younger people in my firm to figure out how to keep getting talent and salary talks have been avoided completely. they arent wrong either. theyre basically just looking for new ways to find people capable of the job that other law firms arent looking at. the results have basically been - ok we have really only tapped 1/3 of available resources.

edit - younger peopel are not me. others ive heard from.

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Old Gregg
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Re: 2014 was gangbusters all around...NYC to 190k?

Postby Old Gregg » Fri Feb 27, 2015 12:58 pm

only so many stress balls, rubik's cubes, fancy umbrellas and firm branded pens can sway the mind of a rising 2L. money talks. and firms dont seem willing to talk. until then, recruiting will be difficult for many, and retention will be difficult for even more.

it's funny how prestige talks though. ive mentored law students who have taken a V5 over a V10 despite the V10 giving $30k more during the SA (it was a fellowship offer in addition to the regular summer salary) for the inexplicable reason that "it's a V5."

and more and more im seeing people take brand names over a fit (a mistake I think I myself have made quite a few times now). the latter leads to much more happiness than the former

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Re: 2014 was gangbusters all around...NYC to 190k?

Postby Cobretti » Fri Feb 27, 2015 12:59 pm

JohannDeMann wrote:
Cobretti wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:
Cobretti wrote:Poopface is talking about attracting people to law school in the first place, not getting law studeents to want to do biglaw. The fact that attracting people to the profession might not create a crisis "for a while" doesn't mean it isn't a significant part of the long term strategy at firms (some of which are over 100 years old to put in perspective).


I don't think it is part of the consideration at all. It is too attenuated.

Its too attenuated for a 190 year old firm to have a recruiting horizon of > 3 years?

The hivemind keeps fighting me on this issue every time it comes up and it blows my mind.


yeah youre very wrong on this. my firm has had soem pretty open talks about recruiting efforts with younger people in my firm to figure out how to keep getting talent and salary talks have been avoided completely. they arent wrong either. theyre basically just looking for new ways to find people capable of the job that other law firms arent looking at. the results have basically been - ok we have really only tapped 1/3 of available resources.

edit - younger peopel are not me. others ive heard from.

If your firm isn't Cravath/STB/Skadden/other viable market setting firm, I don't care because of course they aren't considering increasing pay on their own.

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Re: 2014 was gangbusters all around...NYC to 190k?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 27, 2015 1:12 pm

Desert Fox wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:A junior partner at my firm (which has led in the past) told me we were considering raising salaries until Simpson boosted bonuses.

If the m&a boom continues, I wouldn't be surprised if salaries went up.

For what it's worth, 190k seems too high. I would guess 175k, if anything.


Bonuses seem like the safe choice for firms. In a slow year they can more easily cut.

Though this benefits the non-elite firms who tend to weasel out of bonuses if you don't meet hours expectations. They get to claim to be market not paying a huge chunk of people bonuses.


Also better for the elite firms, though, who can stand out from the pack by saying that they pay top bonuses to everyone. If Cravath/STB/DPW/someone else raises bonuses to 20k or 25k for first years this year (which I think is very plausible), the bottom half of the pack won't be able to afford it, and news will get out. The flattening of biglaw compensation in recent years (since 2007) has hurt the elite firms' distinctive edge the most.

Definitely agree that base salary increase won't come this year. Maybe next year. And if it does come, 190 is a stretch. 170 or 175 sounds more likely to me.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Fri Feb 27, 2015 1:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 2014 was gangbusters all around...NYC to 190k?

Postby Desert Fox » Fri Feb 27, 2015 1:14 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:A junior partner at my firm (which has led in the past) told me we were considering raising salaries until Simpson boosted bonuses.

If the m&a boom continues, I wouldn't be surprised if salaries went up.

For what it's worth, 190k seems too high. I would guess 175k, if anything.


Bonuses seem like the safe choice for firms. In a slow year they can more easily cut.

Though this benefits the non-elite firms who tend to weasel out of bonuses if you don't meet hours expectations. They get to claim to be market not paying a huge chunk of people bonuses.


Also better for the elite firms, though, who can stand out from the pack by saying that they pay top bonuses to everyone. If Cravath/STB/DPW/someone else raises bonuses to 20k or 25k for first years this year, the bottom half of the pack won't be able to afford it, and news will get out. The flattening of biglaw compensation in recent years (since 2007) has hurt the elite firms' distinctive edge the most.

Definitely agree that base salary increase won't come this year. Maybe next year. And if it does come, 190 is a stretch. 170 or 175 sounds more likely to me.


Most firms can afford 25k per first year. Easily. Especially if half or more don't even get it.

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Re: 2014 was gangbusters all around...NYC to 190k?

Postby cookiejar1 » Fri Feb 27, 2015 1:20 pm

JohannDeMann wrote: . . . my firm has had soem pretty open talks about recruiting efforts with younger people in my firm to figure out how to keep getting talent and salary talks have been avoided completely . . .


Hey man could you, like, do us all a favor and NOT avoid salary talks? NYC to 190k or the LEGAL PROFESSION IS DOOMED. Tell everyone.

KM2016
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Re: 2014 was gangbusters all around...NYC to 190k?

Postby KM2016 » Fri Feb 27, 2015 1:21 pm

Desert Fox wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:A junior partner at my firm (which has led in the past) told me we were considering raising salaries until Simpson boosted bonuses.

If the m&a boom continues, I wouldn't be surprised if salaries went up.

For what it's worth, 190k seems too high. I would guess 175k, if anything.


Bonuses seem like the safe choice for firms. In a slow year they can more easily cut.

Though this benefits the non-elite firms who tend to weasel out of bonuses if you don't meet hours expectations. They get to claim to be market not paying a huge chunk of people bonuses.


Also better for the elite firms, though, who can stand out from the pack by saying that they pay top bonuses to everyone. If Cravath/STB/DPW/someone else raises bonuses to 20k or 25k for first years this year, the bottom half of the pack won't be able to afford it, and news will get out. The flattening of biglaw compensation in recent years (since 2007) has hurt the elite firms' distinctive edge the most.

Definitely agree that base salary increase won't come this year. Maybe next year. And if it does come, 190 is a stretch. 170 or 175 sounds more likely to me.


Most firms can afford 25k per first year. Easily. Especially if half or more don't even get it.


Agreed. It's the mid-level and senior bonuses that most firms won't be able to afford if they go up even more. In fact, many couldn't afford the DPW scale this year.

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Re: 2014 was gangbusters all around...NYC to 190k?

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Fri Feb 27, 2015 1:27 pm

JohannDeMann wrote:you guys act like law firms need someone smart to do the work. very few practice groups need someone smart so much as they need a hard worker. nyc aint going to 190 before 2020. they might give midlevels a raise. but there's no incentive because they have ample supply of fist years to choose from.

before nyc goes to 190, recruiters will start adding law students on linked in. you can bank on that.


Dumb people are usually lazier than smart people.

Also, I agree that 95% or more of the time you don't need to be smart to survive as a biglaw associate, but there are times (maybe 5% or less) when you need to be smart in order to not screw something up.

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Re: 2014 was gangbusters all around...NYC to 190k?

Postby Cobretti » Fri Feb 27, 2015 1:29 pm

Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:
JohannDeMann wrote:you guys act like law firms need someone smart to do the work. very few practice groups need someone smart so much as they need a hard worker. nyc aint going to 190 before 2020. they might give midlevels a raise. but there's no incentive because they have ample supply of fist years to choose from.

before nyc goes to 190, recruiters will start adding law students on linked in. you can bank on that.


Dumb people are usually lazier than smart people.

Also, I agree that 95% or more of the time you don't need to be smart to survive as a biglaw associate, but there are times (maybe 5% or less) when you need to be smart in order to not screw something up.

Realistically you probably only have to be a total badass <5% of the time to be a navy seal.

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Old Gregg
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Re: 2014 was gangbusters all around...NYC to 190k?

Postby Old Gregg » Fri Feb 27, 2015 1:37 pm

Agreed. It's the mid-level and senior bonuses that most firms won't be able to afford if they go up even more. In fact, many couldn't afford the DPW scale this year.


LOL bullshit. Any firm with a $1mm+ PPP can afford it. It's not even about "affordability." it's purely a factor of whether partners are comfortable taking home less, which is essentially based on whether they want a new vacation home that year or not.

Anyone who is sympathetic to firms that don't match by saying "they can't afford" is even more bitchmade than the 9th year V5 associate still thinking he has a shot at partnership.

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Re: 2014 was gangbusters all around...NYC to 190k?

Postby KM2016 » Fri Feb 27, 2015 1:41 pm

zweitbester wrote:
Agreed. It's the mid-level and senior bonuses that most firms won't be able to afford if they go up even more. In fact, many couldn't afford the DPW scale this year.


LOL bullshit. Any firm with a $1mm+ PPP can afford it. It's not even about "affordability." it's purely a factor of whether partners are comfortable taking home less, which is essentially based on whether they want a new vacation home that year or not.

Anyone who is sympathetic to firms that don't match by saying "they can't afford" is even more bitchmade than the 9th year V5 associate still thinking he has a shot at partnership.


Read "can't afford it" as "partners are too greedy to take a PPP hit."

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Old Gregg
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Re: 2014 was gangbusters all around...NYC to 190k?

Postby Old Gregg » Fri Feb 27, 2015 1:41 pm

and all v100 can afford to compensate all associates higher, esp midlevels. midlevels are only second in value to parter-track senior associates. they're trained up, expensive to replace (both in terms of paying headhunters finder fees, but also in terms of retraining the new hire in firm culture, as well as the risk that the new hire just sucks). those expenses in the parenthetical are not easily quantifiable in the aggregate, but i'd say they exceed $50k or so. just give a $40k raise to midlevels and call it a day.

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Old Gregg
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Re: 2014 was gangbusters all around...NYC to 190k?

Postby Old Gregg » Fri Feb 27, 2015 1:41 pm

Read "can't afford it" as "partners are too greedy to take a PPP hit."


much better




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