Midwest Salary Data Question

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Midwest Salary Data Question

Post by Anonymous User » Wed May 20, 2020 2:11 pm

I’ve been applying to a few firms in the Midwest (Des Moines, Omaha, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, etc.) (AmLaw 200 firms). A lot of them have no salary data for associates. I know that PPP is around $450/500k (which seems high for the Midwest) and non-equity partner salary seems to be around $250,000.

Glass door is all over the place with associate salary, though. Some say anywhere from $90k to $220k. Do these firms really top out over $200k?

I’m wondering because these applications specifically require you to write down your salary expectations. I put negotiable when possible, but some require a number.

Anyone have any useful data points?

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Re: Midwest Salary Data Question

Post by Anonymous User » Wed May 20, 2020 4:08 pm

$90k-$220k seems about right across DSM, MPLS, and MKE. It's probably much more realistically $90k-$200k, though I have no personal knowledge of Omaha. Breaking $200k as a 7th-8th year would probably only be possible in MPLS and MKE, because their bases are normally around $135k-$145k while DSM sits around $100-$115k.

PPP is going to be all over the place due to compensation structures and variable firm economics, but $450-500k is a possibility, albeit nowhere near guaranteed. It's very possible to get equity and land in the $250k-$350k range too, which is nothing to cry about in the Midwest.

Non-equity partner pay is so much more black box compared to associate and equity partner pay, imo, that it's really not worth speculating on beyond you "probably" won't make less than an 8th year.

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Re: Midwest Salary Data Question

Post by Anonymous User » Wed May 20, 2020 6:38 pm

This thread's recent posts are accurate to my knowledge on Des Moines salaries. $90-115k base is standard at the top firms except for Belin McCormick, which is market-shattering and also has early partnership. Most Des Moines firms have 6-7 year partnership tracks I think; a lot of them list what it is on their website even if they don't list comp.

viewtopic.php?f=23&t=265630

Note that most of the top firms in Des Moines are not AmLaw. The (rough) general tiers are something like:

Ultra-selective: Belin McCormick ("WLRK for Iowa"), Weinhardt (small lit boutique spun off of Belin)

"Biglaw for Iowa": Faegre Drinker (our only true biglaw satellite), Davis Brown, Nyemaster Goode (largest two firms in the state by some distance)

Good firms: Dickinson, Brown Winick, Fredrickson & Byron (midlaw satellite, selective), McKee Voorhees & Sease (IP boutique)

Decent firms (probably blends with the former): Dorsey & Whitney (small satellite of a big Midwest firm), Whitfield & Eddy, Ahlers & Cooney, Finley, probably some others

Shitlaw

Most blueblood Iowa companies and major out-of-state corporations use Belin, Faegre, Davis Brown, or Nyemaster for their Iowa work, though Faegre does a lot of out-of-state satellite work.

I would expect Omaha salaries to be pretty similar, though a bit higher, though I don't know firsthand.

Simmons Perrine, Lane & Waterman, Shuttleworth & Ingersoll, and Nyemaster's Cedar Rapids office are the best firms in eastern Iowa (Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, Davenport, etc.) if you're interested in it as well.

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Re: Midwest Salary Data Question

Post by Anonymous User » Wed May 20, 2020 9:43 pm

Thank you both. I’m an early midlevel (3rd/4th year). From what was said, outside of the few outliers, I am assuming I should state that I am looking for around $110k-140k in Des Moines/Omaha, and probably closer to $150k-160k in places like Minneapolis and Milwaukee.

Can either of you, or anyone else, talk more about the general hours requirements at some of the firms? Faegre, Dorsey & Whitney, Kutak Rock, Stinson, and similar firms. I’m assuming these firms at 1800 hours requirements.

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Re: Midwest Salary Data Question

Post by Anonymous User » Wed May 20, 2020 11:25 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Wed May 20, 2020 9:43 pm
Thank you both. I’m an early midlevel (3rd/4th year). From what was said, outside of the few outliers, I am assuming I should state that I am looking for around $110k-140k in Des Moines/Omaha, and probably closer to $150k-160k in places like Minneapolis and Milwaukee.

Can either of you, or anyone else, talk more about the general hours requirements at some of the firms? Faegre, Dorsey & Whitney, Kutak Rock, Stinson, and similar firms. I’m assuming these firms at 1800 hours requirements.
From NALP Belin, Dorsey, and Fredrickson are all 1850, Stinson is 1750, Foley is 1900.

I think you're pretty safe putting down $125-140k in Des Moines/Omaha. Foley in Milwaukee starts at $160k (though it's hegemonic and probably well above market). In Minneapolis, Stinson starts at $132,500 and Dorsey and Fredrickson start at $140k. I think you could ask for at least $150-160k in Minneapolis or Milwaukee.

You might have to take a haircut on class year especially if you're moving from out of the market (as I assume you are). And of course all of these markets are tie-sensitive.

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Re: Midwest Salary Data Question

Post by Anonymous User » Thu May 21, 2020 9:22 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Wed May 20, 2020 9:43 pm
Thank you both. I’m an early midlevel (3rd/4th year). From what was said, outside of the few outliers, I am assuming I should state that I am looking for around $110k-140k in Des Moines/Omaha, and probably closer to $150k-160k in places like Minneapolis and Milwaukee.

Can either of you, or anyone else, talk more about the general hours requirements at some of the firms? Faegre, Dorsey & Whitney, Kutak Rock, Stinson, and similar firms. I’m assuming these firms at 1800 hours requirements.
Faegre recently merged with Drinker Biddle, and went from 1850 to 1950 billable hours for bonus.

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Re: Midwest Salary Data Question

Post by Anonymous User » Thu May 21, 2020 10:11 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 9:22 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Wed May 20, 2020 9:43 pm
Thank you both. I’m an early midlevel (3rd/4th year). From what was said, outside of the few outliers, I am assuming I should state that I am looking for around $110k-140k in Des Moines/Omaha, and probably closer to $150k-160k in places like Minneapolis and Milwaukee.

Can either of you, or anyone else, talk more about the general hours requirements at some of the firms? Faegre, Dorsey & Whitney, Kutak Rock, Stinson, and similar firms. I’m assuming these firms at 1800 hours requirements.
Faegre recently merged with Drinker Biddle, and went from 1850 to 1950 billable hours for bonus.
Is this true in all markets? And any idea what Faegre’s comp is like after first year (both base and bonus) in general? Particularly interested in DSM and Twin Cities.

Also on Des Moines specifically it looks like Faegre is highly leveraged for the market and has hired pretty quickly recently. I assume that means it’s not guaranteed partnership. Any idea if they keep busy? Mildly concerned that they have that many associates while being seemingly pretty weak in transactional. And it looks like they have lots of products liability associates, I assume that means a lot of satellite work rather than local clients (as IA isn’t a big center for that work)? Would appreciate any insight you can give, thanks!

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Re: Midwest Salary Data Question

Post by trebekismyhero » Thu May 21, 2020 10:40 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 10:11 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 9:22 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Wed May 20, 2020 9:43 pm
Thank you both. I’m an early midlevel (3rd/4th year). From what was said, outside of the few outliers, I am assuming I should state that I am looking for around $110k-140k in Des Moines/Omaha, and probably closer to $150k-160k in places like Minneapolis and Milwaukee.

Can either of you, or anyone else, talk more about the general hours requirements at some of the firms? Faegre, Dorsey & Whitney, Kutak Rock, Stinson, and similar firms. I’m assuming these firms at 1800 hours requirements.
Faegre recently merged with Drinker Biddle, and went from 1850 to 1950 billable hours for bonus.
Is this true in all markets? And any idea what Faegre’s comp is like after first year (both base and bonus) in general? Particularly interested in DSM and Twin Cities.

Also on Des Moines specifically it looks like Faegre is highly leveraged for the market and has hired pretty quickly recently. I assume that means it’s not guaranteed partnership. Any idea if they keep busy? Mildly concerned that they have that many associates while being seemingly pretty weak in transactional. And it looks like they have lots of products liability associates, I assume that means a lot of satellite work rather than local clients (as IA isn’t a big center for that work)? Would appreciate any insight you can give, thanks!
A friend of mine was a senior associate at Faegre MPLS who billed over 2,000 hours last year and his bonus was $37,000. I am not sure what his base salary was exactly, but I am guessing it was around $200k because he said raises are around $10k per year.

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Re: Midwest Salary Data Question

Post by Anonymous User » Fri May 22, 2020 3:17 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 10:11 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 9:22 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Wed May 20, 2020 9:43 pm
Thank you both. I’m an early midlevel (3rd/4th year). From what was said, outside of the few outliers, I am assuming I should state that I am looking for around $110k-140k in Des Moines/Omaha, and probably closer to $150k-160k in places like Minneapolis and Milwaukee.

Can either of you, or anyone else, talk more about the general hours requirements at some of the firms? Faegre, Dorsey & Whitney, Kutak Rock, Stinson, and similar firms. I’m assuming these firms at 1800 hours requirements.
Faegre recently merged with Drinker Biddle, and went from 1850 to 1950 billable hours for bonus.
Is this true in all markets? And any idea what Faegre’s comp is like after first year (both base and bonus) in general? Particularly interested in DSM and Twin Cities.

Also on Des Moines specifically it looks like Faegre is highly leveraged for the market and has hired pretty quickly recently. I assume that means it’s not guaranteed partnership. Any idea if they keep busy? Mildly concerned that they have that many associates while being seemingly pretty weak in transactional. And it looks like they have lots of products liability associates, I assume that means a lot of satellite work rather than local clients (as IA isn’t a big center for that work)? Would appreciate any insight you can give, thanks!
I'm the poster who mentioned the Faegre Drinker merger above. I'm an incoming first year associate. When the merger was announced, management put us on a conference call where they told all of us (across all offices), that the billable hour expectation would move from 1850 to 1900, with 1950 hours for bonus. So I assume that this is the same across all offices. Not sure how that changes as you move up into midlevel, though.

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Re: Midwest Salary Data Question

Post by Anonymous User » Fri May 22, 2020 7:31 pm

OP here. I have an interview with Kutak Rock in Omaha scheduled and I was asked about salary requirements ahead of the call. What would a fair junior/midlevel salary be? I see that some firms are probably 120k-130k in the market, but that seems high for a firm with a PPP of $450k and an RPL of $495k. Any thoughts?

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Re: Midwest Salary Data Question

Post by Sackboy » Fri May 22, 2020 9:09 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 7:31 pm
OP here. I have an interview with Kutak Rock in Omaha scheduled and I was asked about salary requirements ahead of the call. What would a fair junior/midlevel salary be? I see that some firms are probably 120k-130k in the market, but that seems high for a firm with a PPP of $450k and an RPL of $495k. Any thoughts?
Those finances sound about right. These reputable firms need to offer high enough base salaries to make sure the top graduates at local schools don't go elsewhere in the market or leave to a bigger market. The part of the equation that you're missing is that raises are usually quite small (~$5k) and sometimes even discretionary in regards to whether they happen or not. It's not uncommon to hit $180k as an 8th yr at a regionally reputable midwest firm, make $200k as a nonequity partner, and then start at $250k as an equity partner while spending a decent amount of time under the PPP number, depending on the compensation system.

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Re: Midwest Salary Data Question

Post by Anonymous User » Sat May 23, 2020 4:26 pm

Does anyone know if there are any other firms that substantially beat local market in these areas besides Belin, Foley, and Jones Day’s tiny Minneapolis office? Especially interested in litigation but curious in general.

Good luck and congrats on the interview OP, that’s a great firm in that market.

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Re: Midwest Salary Data Question

Post by Anonymous User » Sun May 24, 2020 4:29 pm

OP here. If I go to one of these smaller markets, is it assumed that I will never be able to go back to a larger market (Chicago, NY, DC)? While I am looking to go to a smaller market now, I’m not sure if I Want that permanently, so I want to know what to expect before jumping in.

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Re: Midwest Salary Data Question

Post by Sackboy » Sun May 24, 2020 8:14 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sun May 24, 2020 4:29 pm
OP here. If I go to one of these smaller markets, is it assumed that I will never be able to go back to a larger market (Chicago, NY, DC)? While I am looking to go to a smaller market now, I’m not sure if I Want that permanently, so I want to know what to expect before jumping in.
It's going to be hard to get back to top biglaw firms in CHI/NY/DC if you spend a few years at a regional shop, because (1) you left biglaw in the first place for presumably a lifestyle firm back home, and (2) you're getting more senior and likely just spent the last few years handling a different type/levels/intensity of work as the biglaw firm.

Landing midlaw/low-tier biglaw should be not terribly hard, especially if you started out in biglaw. You could reasonably easily go to a place like Belin, lateral to Foley Des Moines, and then transfer offices to Foley Chicago.

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Re: Midwest Salary Data Question

Post by Anonymous User » Sun May 24, 2020 8:34 pm

Sackboy wrote:
Sun May 24, 2020 8:14 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sun May 24, 2020 4:29 pm
OP here. If I go to one of these smaller markets, is it assumed that I will never be able to go back to a larger market (Chicago, NY, DC)? While I am looking to go to a smaller market now, I’m not sure if I Want that permanently, so I want to know what to expect before jumping in.
It's going to be hard to get back to top biglaw firms in CHI/NY/DC if you spend a few years at a regional shop, because (1) you left biglaw in the first place for presumably a lifestyle firm back home, and (2) you're getting more senior and likely just spent the last few years handling a different type/levels/intensity of work as the biglaw firm.

Landing midlaw/low-tier biglaw should be not terribly hard, especially if you started out in biglaw. You could reasonably easily go to a place like Belin, lateral to Foley Des Moines, and then transfer offices to Foley Chicago.
Thanks. This is very helpful. I would probably be aiming for a lower ranked vault firm if I ever moved back to the big city, and that seems like a possibility!

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