No base pay at small/mid-sized firm?

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No base pay at small/mid-sized firm?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue May 23, 2017 12:07 pm

Is this normal? TO be only paid by how much you bill? They said they already have a solid client base and wouldn't expect me to bring in clients, but that while they will start me on a base salary, I wouldnt be kept on it forever, since it is actually "lower" than what I would be making. Something seems fishy to me but please advise.

lolwat

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Re: No base pay at small/mid-sized firm?

Postby lolwat » Tue May 23, 2017 12:14 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Is this normal? TO be only paid by how much you bill? They said they already have a solid client base and wouldn't expect me to bring in clients, but that while they will start me on a base salary, I wouldnt be kept on it forever, since it is actually "lower" than what I would be making. Something seems fishy to me but please advise.


I don't think that's normal but I also wouldn't see it as a problem assuming the attorneys are reputable and their client base is a good one. My firm has low base salary but moderate to very high bonuses depending on what happens any given year. I'd personally love to be paid by how much I bill assuming a decent rate.

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Re: No base pay at small/mid-sized firm?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue May 23, 2017 12:19 pm

lolwat wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Is this normal? TO be only paid by how much you bill? They said they already have a solid client base and wouldn't expect me to bring in clients, but that while they will start me on a base salary, I wouldnt be kept on it forever, since it is actually "lower" than what I would be making. Something seems fishy to me but please advise.


I don't think that's normal but I also wouldn't see it as a problem assuming the attorneys are reputable and their client base is a good one. My firm has low base salary but moderate to very high bonuses depending on what happens any given year. I'd personally love to be paid by how much I bill assuming a decent rate.


What is the base salary if you don't mind me asking?

lolwat

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Re: No base pay at small/mid-sized firm?

Postby lolwat » Tue May 23, 2017 12:27 pm

Anonymous User wrote:What is the base salary if you don't mind me asking?


Can't speak for everyone because it's a black box but somewhere in the realm of 66% of my equivalents at biglaw. They try to get close to biglaw numbers after bonuses but there are good years and bad years depending on what happens that year.

If you're the OP, I wouldn't use biglaw numbers as a benchmark, but I'm just offering some perspective that smaller firms like yours might be trying to be creative in compensation without necessarily having nefarious intentions behind it.

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deadpanic

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Re: No base pay at small/mid-sized firm?

Postby deadpanic » Tue May 23, 2017 1:09 pm

I think this is common in a small firm, but seems uncommon for a "mid-sized" firm.

I am curious to get further details. How much of your hourly billing rate do you get to keep? They are obviously not going to let you just keep 100% of what you bill. How long until you switch over from base to getting paid by how much you bill?

Also, are a lot of clients insurance companies? They will slash a lot of your billables. I would be weary of how much you make is based on how much you bill vs. how much is actually realized/collected.

There are just too many missing details as to whether this is a good arrangement or not.

SFSpartan

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Re: No base pay at small/mid-sized firm?

Postby SFSpartan » Tue May 23, 2017 2:05 pm

I would be very wary of this arrangement, particularly if their "reputable clients" are named Allstate, GEICO, Traveler's, etc. I think you really need to ferret out the details before agreeing to this, as it seems very uncommon for a midsize firm.

snowball2

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Re: No base pay at small/mid-sized firm?

Postby snowball2 » Tue May 23, 2017 4:38 pm

Well, they can't pay you nothing at all without violating federal and local laws, but they don't have to pay more than minimum wage if you're an employee.

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jchiles

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Re: No base pay at small/mid-sized firm?

Postby jchiles » Tue May 23, 2017 4:51 pm

snowball2 wrote:Well, they can't pay you nothing at all without violating federal and local laws, but they don't have to pay more than minimum wage if you're an employee.


^Now this is the kind of advice and insight you aren't going to get anywhere else!

But seriously you need more info to make an educated decision, and whether they are forthcoming (within reason) about billing rates, average hours, and how your compensation would be calculated will give you a good idea if this place is reputable and not trying to shortchange you.

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Re: No base pay at small/mid-sized firm?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue May 23, 2017 5:16 pm

deadpanic wrote:I think this is common in a small firm, but seems uncommon for a "mid-sized" firm.

I am curious to get further details. How much of your hourly billing rate do you get to keep? They are obviously not going to let you just keep 100% of what you bill. How long until you switch over from base to getting paid by how much you bill?

Also, are a lot of clients insurance companies? They will slash a lot of your billables. I would be weary of how much you make is based on how much you bill vs. how much is actually realized/collected.

There are just too many missing details as to whether this is a good arrangement or not.



So apparently their model is a Draw Against Commission model. Any of yall heard of this or have experience with it?

1styearlateral

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Re: No base pay at small/mid-sized firm?

Postby 1styearlateral » Tue May 23, 2017 5:30 pm

I have heard of this and it seems like a way to entice young associates to come work, bill crazy hours, and pay them nothing. If it was my only option I would take it, but it wouldn't be my first choice. Nothing beats base salary because you can plan for the future.



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