Advice Pls -How to handle salary expectation question?

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Advice Pls -How to handle salary expectation question?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:42 pm

Sorry for the anon - giving some details here & want to remain private..
Invited back for 2nd interview at small NYC firm ~25 attorneys. First interview with partner in my group went well. Friendly chit chat and good vibe. I am very interested in this role because of my perception of the firm, their cases, what I saw from the bios, and generally very favorable view of the hiring partner as a potential boss etc. Partner asked in passing what my salary expectations are and I answered in generalities = flexible depending on total package etc.. firm is in NYC. Trying to do some research on salary points to have something to talk about at second interview but such large disparities in data and generally not very much info out there.. This is for 1st year lit position. Firm does both trx & lit but job is in lit practice (smaller part of firm). So I guess two questions here:

1 - if the subject comes up again - how do I get them to throw out the first number and how to generally handle this part of the interview.
2 - any experience w/second round in small firm - will be meeting with the remainder of the (very small) lit team - I know second round is good sign just hoping for any tips on bringing on an offer.. could I expect it then or generally do these come at some point after?

1styearlateral

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Re: Advice Pls -How to handle salary expectation question?

Postby 1styearlateral » Fri Mar 16, 2018 1:58 pm

IME, firm size, especially in NYC, does not really give indication on how much associates are paid. There are Amlaw 100 firms that aren't on the Cravath scale. There are Amlaw 200 firms that don't pay "close" to market (e.g., large insurance defense firms). There are firms, such as Duval & Stachenfeld, that pay Cravath market and aren't in the Amlaw 200 and that have like 60 attorneys. I am sure there are 2-3 person firms in NYC that have an associate that's paid $250k based upon needs, work exp., pedigree, etc. Anecdotally, my first NYC firm was a relatively well respected boutique that consisted of about 50 attorneys, and they started me out at $65k. I think I got a $5k bump after being admitted automatically. My new firm, which by comparison is much smaller (a little more than 20 attorneys), started me at $130 with a $10k raise after 6 mo.

Bottom line, I don't think you can go in there asking for $180k, or even $160k, depending on what sense you get of the practice (if insurance/foreclosure, you can guarantee shit pay). How busy are they? How much are you expected to bill? What's your rate? What part of town are they in (downtown, midtown, Tribeca, etc.)? Do they have a floor or a suite? Are there ex-biglaw associates/partners? Those could be good indicators as to what your compensation might be, but not necessarily what it should be. Firms that aren't lock-step try to keep their costs as low as possible, especially with associates. If they can generate $500k/year from your work and only pay you $60k, they will (like my first firm).

The best indicator would be to see what other associates at the firm make, but I highly doubt anyone would willingly disclose that. Perhaps if you know a former associate that would be willing to tell you. Otherwise, the best strategy would be to high-ball them as best as you can so that you can meet somewhere in the middle.

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Re: Advice Pls -How to handle salary expectation question?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 16, 2018 2:47 pm

1styearlateral wrote:IME, firm size, especially in NYC, does not really give indication on how much associates are paid. There are Amlaw 100 firms that aren't on the Cravath scale. There are Amlaw 200 firms that don't pay "close" to market (e.g., large insurance defense firms). There are firms, such as Duval & Stachenfeld, that pay Cravath market and aren't in the Amlaw 200 and that have like 60 attorneys. I am sure there are 2-3 person firms in NYC that have an associate that's paid $250k based upon needs, work exp., pedigree, etc. Anecdotally, my first NYC firm was a relatively well respected boutique that consisted of about 50 attorneys, and they started me out at $65k. I think I got a $5k bump after being admitted automatically. My new firm, which by comparison is much smaller (a little more than 20 attorneys), started me at $130 with a $10k raise after 6 mo.

Bottom line, I don't think you can go in there asking for $180k, or even $160k, depending on what sense you get of the practice (if insurance/foreclosure, you can guarantee shit pay). How busy are they? How much are you expected to bill? What's your rate? What part of town are they in (downtown, midtown, Tribeca, etc.)? Do they have a floor or a suite? Are there ex-biglaw associates/partners? Those could be good indicators as to what your compensation might be, but not necessarily what it should be. Firms that aren't lock-step try to keep their costs as low as possible, especially with associates. If they can generate $500k/year from your work and only pay you $60k, they will (like my first firm).

The best indicator would be to see what other associates at the firm make, but I highly doubt anyone would willingly disclose that. Perhaps if you know a former associate that would be willing to tell you. Otherwise, the best strategy would be to high-ball them as best as you can so that you can meet somewhere in the middle.


op here. appreciate the response. No idea what associates are paid here and don't have ties with any present/former either.. Not thinking biglaw $ for sure. They generally handle commercial lit with some branches in specific niche markets which I won't go into for risk of outing myself.. won't specify location for same reasons - can I make assumptions based on their neighborhood? and what would those assumptions be from your experience? Don't know what their billing rates are but they are expecting 1800 hours from incoming associates.. Hate to lowball on this and cut myself short but also don't want to be way above their numbers and take me out of the running altogether..

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Re: Advice Pls -How to handle salary expectation question?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 21, 2018 9:17 pm

BUMP for any advice.
Got an idea on hourly rate at the firm.
From the numbers I saw, associates bill between 300 - 390, partners between 425 - 550. Was told there was a 1800 min hours req. Assuming I would be at the low end since this is a first year position.
My second interview is scheduled for Friday and I really want to try to be prepared for the question if it comes up. Any advice would be much appreciated!



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