biglaw to 200k??

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SmokeytheBear
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Re: biglaw to 200k??

Postby SmokeytheBear » Tue Oct 31, 2017 1:04 pm

I just read all of this only to find out that I am not getting a raise.

Thank you all for nothing.

Wipfelder
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Re: biglaw to 200k??

Postby Wipfelder » Tue Oct 31, 2017 2:01 pm

PorscheFanatic wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
FascinatedWanderer wrote:I don't know if it will happen, but there should definitely be a premium for NYC salaries. There's no reason associates in any other market should get paid as much as NYC lawyers.

In those markets that have similar high costs (really only SF) associates work fewer hours on average. NYC has the most brutal combination of high costs and rough hours. There's no reason for associates in random markets like Chicago to be on the same scale.


This won’t happen until more people start turning down nyc firms for non-nyc firms.

2 of my friends chose nyc biglaw over Texas biglaw. Plenty others chose nyc over Chicago/DC/etc. Some of them prestige driven, some of the actually like nyc.

To be fair to nyc, it is a pretty fuckin bomb city. Believe it or not, lots of people want to be there and are willing to pay the premium. Enough so that nyc doesn’t need to raise salaries to compete with non-nyc firms/offices for new hires.

Also, the firms that need to “feel the pain” are the market leaders in nyc: cravath, etc. White & Case isn’t gonna be the first to hike to 200k because they have to hire more sub-median kids from Cornell. And cravath isn’t gonna be hurting for top candidates anytime soon.


Pretty sure this hits the nail on the head. The compensation leaders aren't going to hurt for candidates, because most people are not turning down Cravath, WLRK, etc. to go to a smaller market with a shot at work-life balance. They'll put in their dues in these top firms, then someday lateral to a smaller market. And everyone else going to NY does so because they don't have ties to other markets and it's where all the jobs are, or they want the NY lifestyle/training/experience.

So, NY won't be getting a salary premium unless people start turning down the TOP firms for non-NY jobs (which won't happen, IMO). Also, to keep quality candidates coming to smaller markets, those markets need to offer something better than NY, such as equal income, better COL, to attract candidates away from NY (because it really is an awesome city and the mecca of legal work in many respects).


Wouldn't this description apply to any point in time up till now? Like, you've described the legal market every day, more or less, since the 70's. Yet there have been raises, led by Top NY firms.

Anonymous User
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Re: biglaw to 200k??

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 31, 2017 3:31 pm

I was talking about a NYC salary premium, not an across-the-country raise. Frankly, the people billing 1800 and feeing underpaid at 180k scale need some serious perspective. Billing 2400 and living in NYC... more understandable.

toast and bananas
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Re: biglaw to 200k??

Postby toast and bananas » Tue Oct 31, 2017 3:39 pm

Anonymous User wrote: Frankly, the people billing 1800 and feeing underpaid at 180k scale need some serious perspective.


Is anyone even making this claim?

Anonymous User
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Re: biglaw to 200k??

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 31, 2017 4:08 pm

toast and bananas wrote:
Anonymous User wrote: Frankly, the people billing 1800 and feeing underpaid at 180k scale need some serious perspective.


Is anyone even making this claim?

Yeah I'm looking at maybe a 2100 hour year max, not NYC, but on 180k scale and fucking loving it

I still would love more money though because money

PorscheFanatic
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Re: biglaw to 200k??

Postby PorscheFanatic » Tue Oct 31, 2017 5:21 pm

Wipfelder wrote:
PorscheFanatic wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
FascinatedWanderer wrote:I don't know if it will happen, but there should definitely be a premium for NYC salaries. There's no reason associates in any other market should get paid as much as NYC lawyers.

In those markets that have similar high costs (really only SF) associates work fewer hours on average. NYC has the most brutal combination of high costs and rough hours. There's no reason for associates in random markets like Chicago to be on the same scale.


This won’t happen until more people start turning down nyc firms for non-nyc firms.

2 of my friends chose nyc biglaw over Texas biglaw. Plenty others chose nyc over Chicago/DC/etc. Some of them prestige driven, some of the actually like nyc.

To be fair to nyc, it is a pretty fuckin bomb city. Believe it or not, lots of people want to be there and are willing to pay the premium. Enough so that nyc doesn’t need to raise salaries to compete with non-nyc firms/offices for new hires.

Also, the firms that need to “feel the pain” are the market leaders in nyc: cravath, etc. White & Case isn’t gonna be the first to hike to 200k because they have to hire more sub-median kids from Cornell. And cravath isn’t gonna be hurting for top candidates anytime soon.


Pretty sure this hits the nail on the head. The compensation leaders aren't going to hurt for candidates, because most people are not turning down Cravath, WLRK, etc. to go to a smaller market with a shot at work-life balance. They'll put in their dues in these top firms, then someday lateral to a smaller market. And everyone else going to NY does so because they don't have ties to other markets and it's where all the jobs are, or they want the NY lifestyle/training/experience.

So, NY won't be getting a salary premium unless people start turning down the TOP firms for non-NY jobs (which won't happen, IMO). Also, to keep quality candidates coming to smaller markets, those markets need to offer something better than NY, such as equal income, better COL, to attract candidates away from NY (because it really is an awesome city and the mecca of legal work in many respects).


Wouldn't this description apply to any point in time up till now? Like, you've described the legal market every day, more or less, since the 70's. Yet there have been raises, led by Top NY firms.


Not saying NY firms won't raise salaries again, just saying it won't be a PREMIUM over other markets. Read a few posts back to see what my post was responding to, then read the bolded/underlined.

Anonymous User
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Re: biglaw to 200k??

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Nov 01, 2017 9:55 am

Partners at my (very conservative V10) firm think the lockstep model is on its way out. There is such a difference in the quality of individual associates’ work that it’s becoming impossible to justify paying us all the same thing. The best associates are eventually going to act in their own self-interest and go to the firms that pay them the most, even if they’re not the old-line prestigious white shoe firms. If this is true at my firm, which has a rep for attracting strong talent across the board, I can only imagine what it’s like at other firms.

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SmokeytheBear
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Re: biglaw to 200k??

Postby SmokeytheBear » Wed Nov 01, 2017 10:30 am

Anonymous User wrote:Partners at my (very conservative V10) firm think the lockstep model is on its way out. There is such a difference in the quality of individual associates’ work that it’s becoming impossible to justify paying us all the same thing. The best associates are eventually going to act in their own self-interest and go to the firms that pay them the most, even if they’re not the old-line prestigious white shoe firms. If this is true at my firm, which has a rep for attracting strong talent across the board, I can only imagine what it’s like at other firms.


So isn't this more or less what JD does (except for it not being a V10, getting paid top of the market, or having strong talent across the board)?

Point is that the lock step model is not going anywhere. The realignment will likely (and is already) coming in the form of fewer firms being able to pay lock step due to the changing industry conditions that are already happening, with those fewer firms having slightly smaller classes, with those fewer firms attracting the best candidates because they pay the most.

merde_happens
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Re: biglaw to 200k??

Postby merde_happens » Wed Nov 01, 2017 11:22 am

Anonymous User wrote:Partners at my (very conservative V10) firm think the lockstep model is on its way out. There is such a difference in the quality of individual associates’ work that it’s becoming impossible to justify paying us all the same thing. The best associates are eventually going to act in their own self-interest and go to the firms that pay them the most, even if they’re not the old-line prestigious white shoe firms. If this is true at my firm, which has a rep for attracting strong talent across the board, I can only imagine what it’s like at other firms.


A couple of things here:

1. Isn't this exactly what a bonus is supposed to address (i.e. rewarding the "best" associates)?

2. Is there really that big of a discrepancy in associate performance that you could justify different levels of salary increases? How do you distinguish a first year that's going on to 190k versus one that's getting bumped to 195k? What - did that junior draw up a better diligence matrix or do more doc review projects? And if you're basing it off of something like a performance review, how much of that is going to be pure luck of the draw in terms of what you happened to get staffed on or who you happened to work with? And as you move up the levels, the "up or out" model of big law firms addresses those more senior associates who purportedly aren't performing to expectations.

3. Partners will always bitch that associates are getting paid too much but they simply don't have the balls to be the first firm to move away from the Cravath model and salaries. You telling me they were all happy to bump salary levels last year? No. But they're beholden to the NY firms.

Anonymous User
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Re: biglaw to 200k??

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Nov 01, 2017 1:52 pm

merde_happens wrote:A couple of things here:

1. Isn't this exactly what a bonus is supposed to address (i.e. rewarding the "best" associates)?

2. Is there really that big of a discrepancy in associate performance that you could justify different levels of salary increases? How do you distinguish a first year that's going on to 190k versus one that's getting bumped to 195k? What - did that junior draw up a better diligence matrix or do more doc review projects? And if you're basing it off of something like a performance review, how much of that is going to be pure luck of the draw in terms of what you happened to get staffed on or who you happened to work with? And as you move up the levels, the "up or out" model of big law firms addresses those more senior associates who purportedly aren't performing to expectations.

3. Partners will always bitch that associates are getting paid too much but they simply don't have the balls to be the first firm to move away from the Cravath model and salaries. You telling me they were all happy to bump salary levels last year? No. But they're beholden to the NY firms.


I’m the anon you’re responding to.

1. Not at all. At most if not all biglaw firms, everyone either gets a bonus no matter what or gets a bonus for hitting a certain target. In the first instance, it’s pretty self-explanatory why the bonus doesn’t function as a reward to high-performing associates, and in the second instance, you can easily make your hours by doing shitty due diligence or doc review type work or taking on a ton of pro bono work (if you are at a firm that lets you count pro bono hours toward your target). Also, no matter how crappy your work product is, you can count it toward your target even if the partners end up writing it off. Bonuses don’t mean anything.

2. Yes, of course. There are associates you can count on to consistently fuck things up, need a ton of hand-holding for the smallest tasks, send things out late or not at all, etc., and there are the superstars who are running the show as third years (far rarer). As with everything, most people fall somewhere in the middle, but that doesn’t justify penalizing the high performers or rewarding the poor performers. Deciding who deserves a raise and a promotion and who doesn’t is something every functional workplace is able to do. That’s why performance reviews exist. Also, everyone I know works with multiple senior associates and partners, so one bad review won’t sink you, especially if it’s from someone known to be a tough reviewer or difficult to get along with.

3. More firms are moving away from lockstep bonuses. K&E and Boies are the best known ones, but some others are Latham, Sidley, Cahill...just check the ATL bonus posts if you want to know who all of them are. If the trend continues, I don’t see why it wouldn’t move into salaries. There is no reason every single firm NEEDS to be beholden to Cravath, and more of them seem to be catching on.

FascinatedWanderer
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Re: biglaw to 200k??

Postby FascinatedWanderer » Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:44 pm

The above may be true, but is a very corp-heavy perspective. Standard V5/V10 firms already don't get the top tier litigation associates because they go to boutiques. Those top candidates who do come presumably want some sort of stability. If you get rid of that, I'd expect V10 firms to have huge trouble attracting lit associates out of clerkships.

Anonymous User
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Re: biglaw to 200k??

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Nov 01, 2017 3:13 pm

FascinatedWanderer wrote:The above may be true, but is a very corp-heavy perspective. Standard V5/V10 firms already don't get the top tier litigation associates because they go to boutiques. Those top candidates who do come presumably want some sort of stability. If you get rid of that, I'd expect V10 firms to have huge trouble attracting lit associates out of clerkships.


I doubt boutiques present any real threat to V5/10's abilities to attract talent. There are definitely more top tier lit associates than there are elite boutique positions nationally.

FascinatedWanderer
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Re: biglaw to 200k??

Postby FascinatedWanderer » Wed Nov 01, 2017 3:35 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
FascinatedWanderer wrote:The above may be true, but is a very corp-heavy perspective. Standard V5/V10 firms already don't get the top tier litigation associates because they go to boutiques. Those top candidates who do come presumably want some sort of stability. If you get rid of that, I'd expect V10 firms to have huge trouble attracting lit associates out of clerkships.


I doubt boutiques present any real threat to V5/10's abilities to attract talent. There are definitely more top tier lit associates than there are elite boutique positions nationally.


I'm not sure that's true. If, broadly speaking, you assume the top shelf lit places want top 5% T14 with a major D. Ct. and/or CoA clerkship, there's probably roughly as many spots as there are candidates.

Anonymous User
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Re: biglaw to 200k??

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Nov 01, 2017 4:29 pm

FascinatedWanderer wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
FascinatedWanderer wrote:The above may be true, but is a very corp-heavy perspective. Standard V5/V10 firms already don't get the top tier litigation associates because they go to boutiques. Those top candidates who do come presumably want some sort of stability. If you get rid of that, I'd expect V10 firms to have huge trouble attracting lit associates out of clerkships.


I doubt boutiques present any real threat to V5/10's abilities to attract talent. There are definitely more top tier lit associates than there are elite boutique positions nationally.


I'm not sure that's true. If, broadly speaking, you assume the top shelf lit places want top 5% T14 with a major D. Ct. and/or CoA clerkship, there's probably roughly as many spots as there are candidates.


Top shelf lit often take top 5% from T20 as well, and top 1-5% from T1's get major d. ct./CoA clerkships. KVN takes UCLA/USC, etc. Also, top 1/3 at HYS generally have a decent shot, and top 15-10% at CCN also. It's not just top 5% across the board.

PorscheFanatic
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Re: biglaw to 200k??

Postby PorscheFanatic » Fri Nov 10, 2017 7:47 pm

Does the raise from Williams & Connolly affect this calculus at all?

jd20132013
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Re: biglaw to 200k??

Postby jd20132013 » Fri Nov 10, 2017 9:07 pm

no, I'm guessing they just had to move bc they've been losing way too many people to peer firms

Anonymous User
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Re: biglaw to 200k??

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Nov 10, 2017 9:19 pm

jd20132013 wrote:no, I'm guessing they just had to move bc they've been losing way too many people to peer firms


Nah, but people were starting to complain.

To answer the original question, I don't see this affecting the market. The raises put W&C back to where it traditionally was--a bit above market for the first few years and then dipping slightly lower as partnership becomes more realistic.

BernieTrump
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Re: biglaw to 200k??

Postby BernieTrump » Fri Nov 10, 2017 10:15 pm

I could see a midlevel raise. Firms can't keep them in booming deal economy. Maybe that adds $5K to bottom and $20K to 5th year.

I would bet against it. Last gap between raises was 10 years, and it's not like they can't fill their classes. Deal flow also slowed considerably in past few months.

Anonymous User
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Re: biglaw to 200k??

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Nov 10, 2017 10:18 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
jd20132013 wrote:no, I'm guessing they just had to move bc they've been losing way too many people to peer firms


Nah, but people were starting to complain.

To answer the original question, I don't see this affecting the market. The raises put W&C back to where it traditionally was--a bit above market for the first few years and then dipping slightly lower as partnership becomes more realistic.

? I can't find any data (i.e., numbers) at all about W&C raises, save for an ATL article saying that they needed more information about the actual raises




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