Is this possible? (litigation boutique salary) Forum

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Is this possible? (litigation boutique salary)

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Sep 18, 2013 10:26 pm

I have a CB with a litigation boutique in (Baltimore/Philadelphia/St.Louis/Miami). The firm has 35 attorneys and has been around for a few decades. So it seems pretty solid. I checked on the web about salary and glass door says a 1st year year at this firm makes $110k. I can't really believe this is true given that this is big law starting salary for this city. Is this possible? I mean this firm is on Chambers but I assumed the salary would be like 60-80k.

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Re: Is this possible? (litigation boutique salary)

Post by anon168 » Wed Sep 18, 2013 10:37 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I have a CB with a litigation boutique in (Baltimore/Philadelphia/St.Louis/Miami). The firm has 35 attorneys and has been around for a few decades. So it seems pretty solid. I checked on the web about salary and glass door says a 1st year year at this firm makes $110k. I can't really believe this is true given that this is big law starting salary for this city. Is this possible? I mean this firm is on Chambers but I assumed the salary would be like 60-80k.
Possible? Sure.

Probable? Dunno. Plus, consider the source (i.e. Glass Door).

That said, 110k if it includes bonuses and depending on the type of firm certainly isn't impossible nor improbable.

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Re: Is this possible? (litigation boutique salary)

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Sep 18, 2013 10:39 pm

anon168 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I have a CB with a litigation boutique in (Baltimore/Philadelphia/St.Louis/Miami). The firm has 35 attorneys and has been around for a few decades. So it seems pretty solid. I checked on the web about salary and glass door says a 1st year year at this firm makes $110k. I can't really believe this is true given that this is big law starting salary for this city. Is this possible? I mean this firm is on Chambers but I assumed the salary would be like 60-80k.
Possible? Sure.

Probable? Dunno. Plus, consider the source (i.e. Glass Door).

That said, 110k if it includes bonuses and depending on the type of firm certainly isn't impossible nor improbable.
It isn't like IP or some specialized financial lit practice, it's a general litigation firm. Some people have T14 JDs most don't. Basically I'm wondering if anyone knows of similar pay in this type of secondary market.

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Re: Is this possible? (litigation boutique salary)

Post by Liam » Wed Sep 18, 2013 10:44 pm

The rough heuristic I've gleaned from seeing which firms in DC and NYC pay market (or at least track market from a slightly lower base) vs. those that completely ignore the market is this: if they are openly competing with Biglaw for quality, they are openly competing with Biglaw for talent.

I have no idea whether this holds true for the markets you mentioned, but if its a litigation boutique that tries to differentiate on service rather than just on price or niche specialization, it seems to me they would need to be more competitive than $30k below market in order to actually maintain that quality.

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Re: Is this possible? (litigation boutique salary)

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Sep 18, 2013 10:46 pm

Yes, I know of a litigation boutique like that in Denver that pays first-year associates that rate. (There are a couple of national firm-branches in Denver that pay market, but most don't - they seem to range from around $110K up to market.)

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Re: Is this possible? (litigation boutique salary)

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Sep 18, 2013 10:52 pm

I'm not sure if this firm is competing with big law for talent. I kind of doubt it because a handful of attorneys at the firm are from T14 and if you imagine the market is Denver most of the remainder have a JD from UColorado or UDenver. But having said that the seem confident, they have had some good matters, and I loved the people during the screener interview.

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Re: Is this possible? (litigation boutique salary)

Post by NJPitcher » Wed Sep 18, 2013 11:03 pm

Does it have market salary increases as well? It's not unheard of.

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Re: Is this possible? (litigation boutique salary)

Post by ggocat » Wed Sep 18, 2013 11:37 pm

A true boutique will pay biglaw or more.

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Re: Is this possible? (litigation boutique salary)

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Sep 18, 2013 11:38 pm

I worked at a small firm that competed with biglaw... though they did not hire recent grads. They paid associates biglaw wages...

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Re: Is this possible? (litigation boutique salary)

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Sep 18, 2013 11:44 pm

NJPitcher wrote:Does it have market salary increases as well? It's not unheard of.
I have no idea, but the cost of living in this city is so low--and this firm has such a good reputation for quality of life--that I honestly would consider picking it over big law if the salary is accurate and I get an offer.

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Re: Is this possible? (litigation boutique salary)

Post by lolwat » Thu Sep 19, 2013 12:52 am

Lots of high end lit boutiques will be paying market or close to it. I don't know about all of your possible locations, but Miami has several litigation boutiques that roughly match your description and that I would absolutely not be surprised if they did pay first-year associates 110k (market there is something like 120k anyway for most firms). I can't really speak to the rest of the places.

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Re: Is this possible? (litigation boutique salary)

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Sep 19, 2013 1:34 am

Glassdoor often averages associate salaries across the board, be careful.

Source: it says you start making 200k at my firm.

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Re: Is this possible? (litigation boutique salary)

Post by 20160810 » Thu Sep 19, 2013 1:59 am

110 for a good firm in a big, non-primary city doesn't sound hard to believe at all.

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Re: Is this possible? (litigation boutique salary)

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Sep 19, 2013 10:13 am

The general litigation boutique in my city pays its incoming associates $120K. It is possible.

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Re: Is this possible? (litigation boutique salary)

Post by hoos89 » Thu Sep 19, 2013 10:17 am

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Last edited by hoos89 on Fri Jul 04, 2014 1:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Is this possible? (litigation boutique salary)

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Sep 19, 2013 10:31 am

I work at a lit boutique that pays under market for base, but bonuses bring you in line with and may even make it so you exceed market. The firm explicitly competes with larger firms for work (these guys used to work at one of those firms until recently). So yes it's possible.

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Re: Is this possible? (litigation boutique salary)

Post by rad lulz » Thu Sep 19, 2013 10:33 am

hoos89 wrote:It seems to me that it wouldn't be a "boutique" if it didn't pay at least biglaw. It would just be a mid-size litigation firm.
If you do the exact same work for the same type of clients as the full service firms, how does what you pay disqualify you from bring a "boutique"

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Re: Is this possible? (litigation boutique salary)

Post by bk1 » Thu Sep 19, 2013 10:36 am

Boutique is such a nebulous term. Quibbling over its precise meaning is pointless.

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Re: Is this possible? (litigation boutique salary)

Post by rad lulz » Thu Sep 19, 2013 10:40 am

bk1 wrote:Boutique is such a nebulous term. Quibbling over its precise meaning is pointless.
It's like that awesome thread we had about what biglawlz was

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Re: Is this possible? (litigation boutique salary)

Post by NJPitcher » Thu Sep 19, 2013 12:04 pm

bk1 wrote:Boutique is such a nebulous term. Quibbling over its precise meaning is pointless.
boutique |bo͞oˈtēk|
noun
1. a small store selling fashionable clothes or accessories.

Now let's quibble over what "fashionable" is.

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Re: Is this possible? (litigation boutique salary)

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Sep 19, 2013 3:23 pm

OP here. I think boutique really has no precise meaning--it just sounds much better than mid-size litigation firm. I was asking about salary because my understanding has been that salary is very bimodal and I thought there was basically a chasm between big law salaries and then salaries for mid-size/boutique at like 2/3 or 1/2 of big law. Because for me making $110k in this secondary city, with what is likely a better work/life balance, is maybe better than making $160k at big law, where I would be doing a lot of doc review, working longer hours, and very possibly have worse job security.

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Re: Is this possible? (litigation boutique salary)

Post by lolwat » Thu Sep 19, 2013 5:07 pm

OP here. I think boutique really has no precise meaning--it just sounds much better than mid-size litigation firm. I was asking about salary because my understanding has been that salary is very bimodal and I thought there was basically a chasm between big law salaries and then salaries for mid-size/boutique at like 2/3 or 1/2 of big law. Because for me making $110k in this secondary city, with what is likely a better work/life balance, is maybe better than making $160k at big law, where I would be doing a lot of doc review, working longer hours, and very possibly have worse job security.
Well, to answer the question again, yes, high-end litigation boutiques generally pay market or very close to it (some slightly higher, some slightly lower).

As for your choosing between boutique and biglaw, figure out if you want to live in the secondary market first. If you're sure that you want to live there, and won't mind living there long-term, my feeling is that the boutique is worth taking a serious look at. A lot of attorneys at litigation boutiques I've interviewed at have been VERY straightforward about things, so I'd definitely talk to them about any concerns you might have at working at a boutique vs. biglaw. Also, I suspect you're being intentionally anon and vague for good reason, but if you want to talk, feel free to PM me.

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Re: Is this possible? (litigation boutique salary)

Post by rad lulz » Fri Sep 20, 2013 12:06 am

Anonymous User wrote:OP here. I think boutique really has no precise meaning--it just sounds much better than mid-size litigation firm. I was asking about salary because my understanding has been that salary is very bimodal and I thought there was basically a chasm between big law salaries and then salaries for mid-size/boutique at like 2/3 or 1/2 of big law. Because for me making $110k in this secondary city, with what is likely a better work/life balance, is maybe better than making $160k at big law, where I would be doing a lot of doc review, working longer hours, and very possibly have worse job security.
Depending on the firm, you could still have all 3

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Re: Is this possible? (litigation boutique salary)

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Sep 22, 2013 6:27 pm

rad lulz wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:OP here. I think boutique really has no precise meaning--it just sounds much better than mid-size litigation firm. I was asking about salary because my understanding has been that salary is very bimodal and I thought there was basically a chasm between big law salaries and then salaries for mid-size/boutique at like 2/3 or 1/2 of big law. Because for me making $110k in this secondary city, with what is likely a better work/life balance, is maybe better than making $160k at big law, where I would be doing a lot of doc review, working longer hours, and very possibly have worse job security.
Depending on the firm, you could still have all 3
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