PSA: Biglaw 2Ls, do your part to get to 190

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PSA: Biglaw 2Ls, do your part to get to 190

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 28, 2017 12:45 pm

If you have recently accepted an offer, you're probably getting emails from recruiters asking why you chose your firm over theirs. If you accepted at a firm that even has the potential for higher compensation compared to the firm you rejected (K&E, Boies, Wachtell, Quinn), or has lockstep bonuses (Weil, STB, DPW), or pays for your insurance (S&C), or has been a market leader in moving comp recently (Cravath, STB), or is in a lower CoL area (TX, FL, DE), it's probably a good idea to state that as your primary reason. Something like "nicer people" or "work/life balance" is realistically going to do nothing to change firms' behavior, but if we make it clear that choices are being driven in large part by compensation it could help nudge the market forward. All it takes is one firm thinking they're losing out on too many good candidates.

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Re: PSA: Biglaw 2Ls, do your part to get to 190

Postby Wild Card » Thu Sep 28, 2017 1:13 pm

What's the point? Law schools will just raise tuition another 10,000.

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Re: PSA: Biglaw 2Ls, do your part to get to 190

Postby LaLiLuLeLo » Thu Sep 28, 2017 1:21 pm

190? Didn't your mother teach you to aim for the stars?

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Re: PSA: Biglaw 2Ls, do your part to get to 190

Postby Danger Zone » Thu Sep 28, 2017 1:33 pm

NY TO 220
Last edited by Danger Zone on Sat Jan 27, 2018 2:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: PSA: Biglaw 2Ls, do your part to get to 190

Postby Nagster5 » Thu Sep 28, 2017 1:37 pm

Wild Card wrote:What's the point? Law schools will just raise tuition another 10,000.


Because the schools will raise tuition regardless?

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Re: PSA: Biglaw 2Ls, do your part to get to 190

Postby SmokeytheBear » Thu Sep 28, 2017 1:46 pm

Another raise this winter would be sweet. I know that the executive board of my firm (which was one of the first to match) had pre-approval to match raises (which is why they matched so quickly). Based on what a partner said to me after the raise, I also know that they had pre-approval to match at a higher number than what Cravath raised it to, meaning that there is still some hope!

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Re: PSA: Biglaw 2Ls, do your part to get to 190

Postby jd20132013 » Thu Sep 28, 2017 3:04 pm

Good thread, bad anon

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Re: PSA: Biglaw 2Ls, do your part to get to 190

Postby 84651846190 » Thu Sep 28, 2017 3:21 pm

Doesn't Quinn end up being lower pay in the end on a per-hour basis, considering the ridiculously high hours stipulations they have on bonuses?

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Re: PSA: Biglaw 2Ls, do your part to get to 190

Postby Hikikomorist » Thu Sep 28, 2017 4:06 pm

Wild Card wrote:What's the point? Law schools will just raise tuition another 10,000.

How does this matter to us?

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Re: PSA: Biglaw 2Ls, do your part to get to 190

Postby 2014 » Thu Sep 28, 2017 4:38 pm

Wild Card wrote:What's the point? Law schools will just raise tuition another 10,000.

Hell they can raise tuition by 20k per 10k compensation increase, sounds great to me.

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Re: PSA: Biglaw 2Ls, do your part to get to 190

Postby Nagster5 » Thu Sep 28, 2017 5:23 pm

ExBiglawAssociate wrote:Doesn't Quinn end up being lower pay in the end on a per-hour basis, considering the ridiculously high hours stipulations they have on bonuses?


Not the point. We just want firms understanding that they must offer more money in order to get those HIGH QUALITY APPLICANTS. Whether they are actually a better deal on a per hour basis matters for people looking to go to those firms, not for convincing firms compensation is the primary driver of students' decisions.

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Re: PSA: Biglaw 2Ls, do your part to get to 190

Postby Nagster5 » Thu Sep 28, 2017 5:24 pm

jd20132013 wrote:Good thread, bad anon


Was an accident, I'm the OP.

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Re: PSA: Biglaw 2Ls, do your part to get to 190

Postby RCSOB657 » Thu Sep 28, 2017 6:01 pm

Well I can point you to statistical data showing what you're already saying. (More modern students in the US base their expectations of higher learning on money earned potential than anything else.) Will that change the minds of people who started college in the 70s who had an inverse reaction to the same question? (70s students went to school for personal enrichment). I mean will telling them you want more money help? Above my pay grade.

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Re: PSA: Biglaw 2Ls, do your part to get to 190

Postby Nagster5 » Thu Sep 28, 2017 6:35 pm

RCSOB657 wrote:Well I can point you to statistical data showing what you're already saying. (More modern students in the US base their expectations of higher learning on money earned potential than anything else.) Will that change the minds of people who started college in the 70s who had an inverse reaction to the same question? (70s students went to school for personal enrichment). I mean will telling them you want more money help? Above my pay grade.


I think if we tell them we didn't go to their firm because we had the opportunity for more money elsewhere, they might listen. Also, I don't see a direct correlation between the opinions of the general higher ed population and a subgroup who have pretty clearly chosen to sacrifice personal enrichment for money (biglaw).

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Re: PSA: Biglaw 2Ls, do your part to get to 190

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 28, 2017 6:52 pm

People should do whatever they want to do. I doubt that what's being urged in this thread will have much impact on firms (particularly on the micro-scale on which it's likely to happen.) And some of what I'll say below will be of little interest to people who aren't interested in their professional development while at a firm and just want to make as much money as possible for a short amount of time before leaving. But with those disclaimers, I wanted to flag a few downsides of "NY to 190/220/1M" that may exist depending on your specific firm that law students and junior associates might not be aware of.

1. Higher salaries increase your billing rate. The key downside here is that it gets much harder for younger associates to get experience. Clients are less willing to have you in that call/meeting/etc. Partners are less willing to write off your time.

2. Higher salaries increase your billable hours expectations (certainly the informal expectations, and sometimes the formal ones).

3. Higher salaries don't necessarily increase overall pay. Firms may compensate for a salary increase they can't afford by scaling back bonuses. Consider this particularly if your firm pays above-market bonuses to high performers. They may cut back on those bonuses to facilitate a salary increase. If you are a mediocre or low-performing associate, this is good news for you since the money gets redistributed; less good if you are a strong associate. And some firms may even pay undermarket bonuses to compensate for the salary raise - bad news for all.

4. Higher salaries increase the risk of layoffs (including soft layoffs in which midlevels are counseled out before they can become seniors) and may impact the rate of partner promotion (admittedly only of interest to a few here.) Associate salaries are usually a law firm's largest bottom line expense. The hit on partner profits caused by higher salaries can have ramifications for associate longevity and promotions. We're still in flush biglaw times, but the pendulum can swing from feast to famine pretty quickly, as those of us who lived through 2000 and/or 2009 remember.

Again, not disagreeing with anything in this thread, and it won't apply to the very, very top of the biglaw food chain (i.e. disregard if you're headed to Wachtell). Just wanted to add a few relevant points that students and young lawyers of a non-Wachtell persuasion may not consider when they hope for the highest conceivable salaries.

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Re: PSA: Biglaw 2Ls, do your part to get to 190

Postby Danger Zone » Thu Sep 28, 2017 7:04 pm

Anonymous User wrote:People should do whatever they want to do. I doubt that what's being urged in this thread will have much impact on firms (particularly on the micro-scale on which it's likely to happen.) And some of what I'll say below will be of little interest to people who aren't interested in their professional development while at a firm and just want to make as much money as possible for a short amount of time before leaving. But with those disclaimers, I wanted to flag a few downsides of "NY to 190/220/1M" that may exist depending on your specific firm that law students and junior associates might not be aware of.

1. Higher salaries increase your billing rate. The key downside here is that it gets much harder for younger associates to get experience. Clients are less willing to have you in that call/meeting/etc. Partners are less willing to write off your time.

2. Higher salaries increase your billable hours expectations (certainly the informal expectations, and sometimes the formal ones).

3. Higher salaries don't necessarily increase overall pay. Firms may compensate for a salary increase they can't afford by scaling back bonuses. Consider this particularly if your firm pays above-market bonuses to high performers. They may cut back on those bonuses to facilitate a salary increase. If you are a mediocre or low-performing associate, this is good news for you since the money gets redistributed; less good if you are a strong associate. And some firms may even pay undermarket bonuses to compensate for the salary raise - bad news for all.

4. Higher salaries increase the risk of layoffs (including soft layoffs in which midlevels are counseled out before they can become seniors) and may impact the rate of partner promotion (admittedly only of interest to a few here.) Associate salaries are usually a law firm's largest bottom line expense. The hit on partner profits caused by higher salaries can have ramifications for associate longevity and promotions. We're still in flush biglaw times, but the pendulum can swing from feast to famine pretty quickly, as those of us who lived through 2000 and/or 2009 remember.

Again, not disagreeing with anything in this thread, and it won't apply to the very, very top of the biglaw food chain (i.e. disregard if you're headed to Wachtell). Just wanted to add a few relevant points that students and young lawyers of a non-Wachtell persuasion may not consider when they hope for the highest conceivable salaries.

Good use of anon, poster gunning for partner
Last edited by Danger Zone on Sat Jan 27, 2018 2:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: PSA: Biglaw 2Ls, do your part to get to 190

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 28, 2017 7:09 pm

Prior anon. I'm speaking as a senior associate based on issues I've observed in practice, and I'm not comfortable with those observations being associated with a screenname that has identifying information. That's precisely the point of anon.

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Re: PSA: Biglaw 2Ls, do your part to get to 190

Postby Danger Zone » Thu Sep 28, 2017 7:12 pm

Nailed it
Last edited by Danger Zone on Sat Jan 27, 2018 2:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: PSA: Biglaw 2Ls, do your part to get to 190

Postby LaLiLuLeLo » Thu Sep 28, 2017 8:21 pm

Anonymous User wrote:People should do whatever they want to do. I doubt that what's being urged in this thread will have much impact on firms (particularly on the micro-scale on which it's likely to happen.) And some of what I'll say below will be of little interest to people who aren't interested in their professional development while at a firm and just want to make as much money as possible for a short amount of time before leaving. But with those disclaimers, I wanted to flag a few downsides of "NY to 190/220/1M" that may exist depending on your specific firm that law students and junior associates might not be aware of.

1. Higher salaries increase your billing rate. The key downside here is that it gets much harder for younger associates to get experience. Clients are less willing to have you in that call/meeting/etc. Partners are less willing to write off your time.

2. Higher salaries increase your billable hours expectations (certainly the informal expectations, and sometimes the formal ones).

3. Higher salaries don't necessarily increase overall pay. Firms may compensate for a salary increase they can't afford by scaling back bonuses. Consider this particularly if your firm pays above-market bonuses to high performers. They may cut back on those bonuses to facilitate a salary increase. If you are a mediocre or low-performing associate, this is good news for you since the money gets redistributed; less good if you are a strong associate. And some firms may even pay undermarket bonuses to compensate for the salary raise - bad news for all.

4. Higher salaries increase the risk of layoffs (including soft layoffs in which midlevels are counseled out before they can become seniors) and may impact the rate of partner promotion (admittedly only of interest to a few here.) Associate salaries are usually a law firm's largest bottom line expense. The hit on partner profits caused by higher salaries can have ramifications for associate longevity and promotions. We're still in flush biglaw times, but the pendulum can swing from feast to famine pretty quickly, as those of us who lived through 2000 and/or 2009 remember.

Again, not disagreeing with anything in this thread, and it won't apply to the very, very top of the biglaw food chain (i.e. disregard if you're headed to Wachtell). Just wanted to add a few relevant points that students and young lawyers of a non-Wachtell persuasion may not consider when they hope for the highest conceivable salaries.


This could all be solved by not working at Covington

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Re: PSA: Biglaw 2Ls, do your part to get to 190

Postby bk1 » Thu Sep 28, 2017 8:26 pm

Anonymous User wrote:if we make it clear that choices are being driven in large part by compensation it could help nudge the market forward

lolololololololololololololololololoolololololololololoolololololo

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Re: PSA: Biglaw 2Ls, do your part to get to 190

Postby bk1 » Thu Sep 28, 2017 8:27 pm

ps, you are already making clear that your choices are being driven in large part by compensation (because you almost assuredly did not consider firms that paid below market)

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Re: PSA: Biglaw 2Ls, do your part to get to 190

Postby jd20132013 » Thu Sep 28, 2017 8:42 pm

higher salaries will lead to understaffing is a fair point, because those profits for partners must be maintained

That said...it may be worth it since you generally don't have a life anyway

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Re: PSA: Biglaw 2Ls, do your part to get to 190

Postby Nagster5 » Thu Sep 28, 2017 9:59 pm

bk1 wrote:ps, you are already making clear that your choices are being driven in large part by compensation (because you almost assuredly did not consider firms that paid below market)


Cravath partners didn't raise because they love giving their money to associates, they did it because they thought it would help them attract better associates. Whatever we can do to to convince firms that this is the right line of thinking is good IMO.

Also, plenty of people pass on firms that pay above market for market paying firms. People who choose W&C/Covington/Cravath/S&C/DPW over places like K&E/Boies/Desmarais/V&E convince firms that they can pay people in preftige and still get top candidates.

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Re: PSA: Biglaw 2Ls, do your part to get to 190

Postby notgreat » Thu Sep 28, 2017 10:09 pm

Upping salaries probably had more to do with trying to prevent losing people they already had than attracting "top talent". The people they are competing for all go to firms that they knew would match right away. And raising 20K isn't going to make Wachtell less attractive.

But a second year that hates his miserable life at Cravath and pays all his money to loans and his shitty apartment and fantasizes about suicide might not leave to go back to Cleveland if you pay him 30k more a year. I mean he still will, but at least a raise makes sense in that case.

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Re: PSA: Biglaw 2Ls, do your part to get to 190

Postby Nagster5 » Thu Sep 28, 2017 10:26 pm

notgreat wrote:Upping salaries probably had more to do with trying to prevent losing people they already had than attracting "top talent". The people they are competing for all go to firms that they knew would match right away. And raising 20K isn't going to make Wachtell less attractive.

But a second year that hates his miserable life at Cravath and pays all his money to loans and his shitty apartment and fantasizes about suicide might not leave to go back to Cleveland if you pay him 30k more a year. I mean he still will, but at least a raise makes sense in that case.


Hadn't considered this actually, thanks for the insight.



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