QI’ve been an associate at a New York area law firm since September. It’s a small firm that uses per diem attorneys for a lot of stuff, and associates like me do the bulk of the prep work for trials or hearings. Anyway, I’m less than a year out, knew the job market sucked, so took whatever I could find that was in the legal profession. I’m making $32,000 per year but did get a bonus of $600 last Fall when I passed the bar. I actually like the work and the hours are pretty regular. In other words, I’m out of the office by six each day and have yet to work a weekend. I guess that’s the upside.
But I’m underwater financially, with more than $160,000 in student loans. I live with my parents, which keeps costs down, but still need to make more so I can at least start the long road of repaying my loans and becoming a responsible citizen.
My question: I want to ask for a raise. Should I do it now or wait? And what’s best, a percentage request or a specific dollar amount? Keep Reading ⇒
This just in. BigLaw firms can increase their standing among overworked associates by 1) raising associate pay and 2) letting associates know what’s going on. In a recent American Lawyer profile, Foley Hoag partners and associates talk about how “increased communication” is one reason the firm moved up 92 places in an annual beauty pageant known as theassociates survey. That, and “restoring” starting associate pay to $160,000. And moving other associate pay levels up to “market level.” With the pay bumps, American Lawyer offers up this startling conclusion: “[m]oney makes associates happy with their firms, too.” Keep Reading ⇒
After the recent release of the list of highest paid general counsel, we though it would be appropriate to put money making in perspective. Some our readers may now think there is a light at the end of the tunnel, hope for a future of riches. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but you’re way less likely to be on this list than you are to make partner at your firm. But you can always dream. After all, the number 1 man on the list, Russel Deyo made over 4 mill and, everyone one of the 100 members of the list earned 1 million and that list didn’t include some high ranking GC’s like Goldman’s Gregory Palm because his salary wasn’t disclosed. According to Above the Law, he’s cashed in to the tune of around $10 mill a year for the past decade. Considering how much damage Goldman has done to this great country, we’d say he might be a tad overpaid. However, we wanted to put things in perspective, so we came up with a list of similarly overpaid people in other professions.
QI am a second-year associate working at a small boutique firm in a smaller market. For the most part, I enjoy my job and the people I work with. However, I need a raise and my boss keeps blowing me off. This has left me fairly bitter and willing to split the first chance I get.
Yesterday, I found out that another associate in our office who has the same amount of experience as me and is comparable in skill level got a written offer from another firm. He then leveraged to get a higher salary at our firm. While I’m bitter that the kid got a raise and I didn’t, I see an opportunity: obviously the firm that offered the other associate a job is looking, and they were willing to consider someone at my firm who is virtually identical to me. He clearly wasn’t supposed to tell me about his raise or the job, but I’m looking for opportunities wherever I can. So, my question is, do I contact the other firm and offer myself for the position? I expect them to see right through me and how I found out they were looking, but I need more money and opportunities are rare in this market. Keep Reading ⇒
• It’s like a legal headline Mad Lib: Jesse James, a 24-year-old law school student, may run in an Indiana House race next year, which would face him off against Republican incumbent Bruce Borders, a longtime Elvis Presley impersonator. How will it turn out? Who knows—apparently you can’t trust polling data anyway. [Indiana News Center]
• The b-word, c-word and f-word are, I guess, sort of inappropriate to use around the office. They’re harassing. Maybe. A judge is still thinking about it. [Fulton County Daily Report]
• Oops—that whole cameras in the courtroom thing didn’t work out for Illinois federal judge Joe Billy McDade, who had to apologize to his chief judge for violating a ban by bringing in lenses and lights. At this point, court artist renderer is still a recession-proof job. [Chicago Tribune]
• A BigLaw game of chicken is happening to see which firm will drop starting salaries below $160K and then go trick-or-recruiting. (Eventually, they all drive over the cliff.) [WSJ Law Blog]
• “Human Sacrifice Channel.” Cockfighting. Out-of-season arrows. Bullfights. Pâté de foie gras. Free speech. And SCOTUS. Oh, my. [The New York Times]
• Obama has seen his Chin, and he wants his Chin higher and mightier. [Angry Asian Man]
• Lawyer attack! Top Australian attorney Alex Lewenberg was assaulted in his home yesterday and suffered “serious facial injuries.” The offender fled the scene, and a search for the suspect has begun, based on a police description that sounds suspiciously like Hugh Jackman. Unfortunately, this isn’t Lewenberg’s first attack. He was beaten with a baseball bat in his office in 2006. [The Age]
• Initially excited about the title “A Happy Ending,” we then realized it was followed by “to the $50K Question, Should I Solo Now?” Certainly less interesting than we originally thought, but you still may care about it. [MyShingle.com]
• A man follows women around Target and takes video of their asses, but he isn’t breaking the law because the women are in a place where there is no expectation of privacy. And get this: Most Target shoppers aren’t familiar with voyeurism statues. Who’d a thought? [TBO.com via SunSentinel.com’s FloriDUH]
• For the love of vodka: “A Moscow court on Tuesday ruled against two lesbians seeking to become Russia’s first legally married gay couple.” [Chicago Tribune]
• “According to a survey conducted by Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions, 61 percent of law school admissions officers representing 152 law schools across the country said internships and job experience in the legal profession do not necessarily improve the chance of admittance to law school.” A pre-law legal gig would only confuse you when you learn nothing about what you’ll actually do in a law firm anyway. [The Badger Herald]
• One of 15 cases against former judge Herman Thomas was dropped today. Mainly because the prisoner filing the suit against Thomas has suddenly changed his story. Thomas is accused of fellating and being fellated by male prisoners in exchange for lesser sentences. (Oh, that former judge Thomas!) Let’s go to the video, shall we? Holy South. [WKRG.com]
In a startling piece of investigative journalism, the ABA Journal is reporting that associates who get paid the most are apparently the happiest with their compensation. The article explains that, according to a recent survey, “midlevel associates are most satisfied with their compensation at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, which paid huge bonuses last winter ranging from $175,000 to $215,000. That compares to median New York bonuses of $55,000 to $80,000.”
The article also busts wide open that well-guarded law-school secret that “interviewing students have little information to distinguish law firms and rely on compensation as a guide.” The madness doesn’t end with law school, apparently. “As associates became dissatisfied with the grind of law firm life,” the article reports, “bonuses or small differences in salary take on an outsize psychological importance.” And we thought they were just in it for the love of the game. Go figure. [ABA Journal]