Administratively Determined Pay Plan Charts

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Administratively Determined Pay Plan Charts

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jan 20, 2017 7:10 pm

Obviously putting the cart way before the horse here but am confused about how these work. I'd be coming in with 2 years of clerking, 4 years of biglaw, do you start at the minimum no matter? I'm confused at the difference between the minimum, midpoint, and maximum as the base rates can be almost double. Is this negotiated, and what incentive does the office have to offer anyone over the minimum given funding restrictions and overwhelming supply (of candidates)?

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Re: Administratively Determined Pay Plan Charts

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jan 20, 2017 8:11 pm

Your grade is determined by your years of legal experience, it doesn't have to be experience with the federal government or that office. So you can come in at AD-26 if that's how long you've been practicing.

The minimum/midpoint/maximum - I still don't know how that works, to be honest. I think some of it is office-specific (I hear there are some offices that put everyone at the maximum, and some that don't), some of it depends on your annual review (for ex. you can't get above 75th percentile without all outstandings on your annual review), and some of it depends on how much money the offices get each year.

The grades aren't discretionary - once you hit that amount, you move up. The rest of it (as far as I can tell) is discretionary. Frankly, I'm probably paid at around the 25th percentile (that's without locality pay), but I just moved up a grade so I think they start you near the bottom of a new grade (to give room for growth within that grade? even though after a year I should move up again). I'm not sure if you can negotiate much - I have been pretty much told what my salary is going to be, but your situation might be different. I don't see any reason not to ask, at least.

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Re: Administratively Determined Pay Plan Charts

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jan 21, 2017 12:11 am

Much appreciated. Unbelievably confusing as I have to wonder if openings are contingent on AD scale (ie we have a budget for 25 or less, but they don't seem to ever be advertised that way. I guess in the end it's just incredible that there is such competition for something that (for me) will be a 10k paycut from clerking (at least at the minimum).

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Re: Administratively Determined Pay Plan Charts

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jan 21, 2017 12:24 am

I've never seen an opening contingent on AD-scale, and I know people who've come into an AUSA gig with like 10 years of experience. I don't think that's an issue - you get paid where you fall on the AD-scale (though of course I suppose it's possible to mess with where you fall on the minimum --> maximum). You do have to show that you have enough experience to meet the job requirements (like you might answer questions on the application to show that you can be hired at AD-23), but I've never seen a ceiling.

And yeah, I have a friend who was a career clerk for 5 years and making over 6 figures and took a major pay cut for the job. You have to decide if it's worth it to you. For many people it clearly is (my friend who took the pay cut loves this job and considers it the best she has ever had). Personally it's the most I've ever been paid in my life (including in my previous career before law school) so I can't complain. Yes, it kind of sucks that the AD-scale pays less than the GS-scale (and whatever scale the financial regulators use), but plenty of people still want the jobs.

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Re: Administratively Determined Pay Plan Charts

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jan 21, 2017 1:00 am

Yea, it's been my singular goal and is the whole reason I left biglaw to clerk. I could have stayed on biglaw salary for at least another 4-5 years (not sure partner but I wouldn't have gotten pushed out). I value the job much more than the money, but sort of thought I'd be closer to midpoint (100k is much easier to swallow than 80) and when you start getting contacted about 75k bonuses for clerking alone, start thinking about down payments and all that shit. I grew up lower/middle middle class and somehow can't imagine how people can afford a home and kids on less than 100k now.

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Re: Administratively Determined Pay Plan Charts

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jan 21, 2017 1:25 am

I should clarify that when I said "start at the bottom" before I meant around the 25th percentile. I don't know what a lot of other people are paid but I don't think anyone I know is at the actual bottom. A couple of other things too: first, keep in mind that pay scale chart doesn't include locality pay. If you're in a major metro you're adding basically around another 25-30% on top of the base rate. (And if you're not in a major metro area it's still 15%+ and your COL is cheap.) For another, once you hit 5 years' experience you get bumped up each year for a few years, which adds up quickly. (And of course there's the retirement stuff and benefits which I believe are way better than in biglaw, but I get that still feels different from looking at the big paycheck every two weeks.)

But yeah, it's easier given that I never had the biglaw salary to get used to (and I clerked, but I don't think I'd have commanded the $75k bonus, either). And I think one of the reasons the pay scale works as it does is that there are a lot of offices that hire state prosecutors, and in most states these salaries are still a decent step up. I think a lot of the offices that have a revolving door with biglaw expect people to leave to go back to biglaw at some point, so the salary for the job isn't the main draw.



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