NYC to 200k

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Re: NYC to 200k

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 04, 2018 9:58 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Not OP, but yeah, that's why the base pay match is a *signal* to summers and new recruits that the firm is aware of the raises and intends to remain competitive. Signal. As in, "this is not the final step." Whether that signal gets through to the outside through ABL's coverage is a different question.

This statement: "if the firm wanted to communicate that, they would either change the formula or say they're going to change the formula," while true, isn't helpful. Yes, the firm should change the formula. Saying "they could signal their intention to change by doing it," kind of misses the point of reading the tea leaves in what they *have* done. The executive committee is working on it (according to OP). Saying "yeah, but they should work faster," undervalues (1) how fundamental the formula is to the firm's culture/structure (or at least as perceived by the partners) and therefore how tentative the committee might be about making drastic changes; and (2) how inefficient and non-transparent BSF is when it comes to administrative matters. Seriously. Ask any BSF associate or even a summer. Even people who love the firm will admit that it sucks when it comes to admin and transparency even on trivial non-comp related issues. And given that the executive committee is essentially less than a year old (existed before, but many more decisions were made by the name partners), it's annoying but not surprising that they're being slow and opaque. So they aren't going to announce "hey we're changing the formula in some unspecified way at some unspecified date." They're just going to change it. So long as they change it before bonus season, the exec committee probably sees no harm in taking their time (I'm not saying I agree with that). In the mean time, I take the base match as an acknowledgement of the problem and see nothing to freak out about until there's a revised formula to analyze.

I will note that one way to help with both of these issues would be to include associates more directly in the process, but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

Also, a bonus formula tied to billing rate (like BSF's) will effectively give inflation-adjusted raises each year as the revenue generated by an associate increases. By contrast, at lock-step firms, associate pay remains constant (or *decreases* in real dollars) while the revenue they generate increases. So it is foreseeable that ten years after the market goes to $160K, BSF bonuses are blowing everyone else out of the water because they are tied to billing rates, which did not stay stagnant. Now that the rest of the market has moved to account for inflation, it's not surprising that the gap has shrunk (or, for lower billing mid-levels, there's now a gap the other way). Does this mean that BSF doesn't need to revise the formula but should just wait for the associates to reap the benefits of inflation? Probably not. But it does mean that David Lat's take of "above market comp at BSF is a lie" is overblown. Particularly when he's the one who had been overhyping the $350K bonuses that were clear outliers.


You make some good points, but you avoided what I consider to be the most indefensible, and telling, aspect of BSF's recent move. DOZENS of firms dipped into partner profits this year to pay special, one-off bonuses. BSF, one of the most profitable firms in the country, told associates they would pay "interim" bonuses on the same scale. So it was fair for them to expect that these payments would put extra money in their pockets, as they would at other firms. Not only is that not the case, the firm also was sorta shady about it. It only came out later that these bonuses are coming out of the December bonus pool, i.e., they're just advances. To a summer associate or a law student at OCI, doesn't that say more about the firm than how long it took them to match the new salary scale?


Fair point. As the current formula goes, basically everything is an advance on your December bonus and as long as they actually change the formula to give a net increase in pay, this is about the lack of transparency I expect. There isn't really a precedent at BSF for a special bonus that is separate from the December bonus calculations. (I think, maybe in the early days of the firm) (Also I never really understood what the summer bonus was for. It's good, obviously, but does is it a new annual thing? To compensate for 6 months on the 180k scale? Just because firms are lemmings and STB happened to give it?) Which is not to say the lack of transparency is good, just that BSF's transparency problems don't necessarily indicate an aversion to compensation. The system is opaque even when it gives juniors $100k or seniors on contingency matters $350k. It's a shady move, sure, but it doesn't tell me anything about how the firm will address the formula.

Not trying to be a BSF apologist, just putting their moves into the context of the issues they've had since before these raises even started.


Ah, but you are assuming the firm is going to change the formula. California associates were told in no uncertain terms that the formula would not change this year, comp would stay flat, and the firm would consider modifying the formula after the firm meeting—i.e., after bonuses. But this issue was brought to the fore in July 2016– check ATL- and fully debated last year, so that position is absurd.

Also, there isn’t really a precedent for special bonuses at any of the firms that paid them. They didn’t do it because firms are “lemmings”—that’s not how labor markets work. They did it to remain competitive and relevant in the minds of students of Top Law Schools.


Source? The message conveyed to new york associates was that the formula would be changing this year per the recommendation of a three member panel subject to the approval of the executive committee. Unless California and NY associates will receive different comp at BSF, we have divergent narratives. (My source is that I work in BSF’s new york office.)

sener212

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Re: NYC to 200k

Postby sener212 » Thu Aug 09, 2018 11:34 pm

What the f*** is this Fish & Richtttardson s***? Discuss pls.

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Re: NYC to 200k

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 12, 2018 3:28 am

Truly in shock with the Fish announcement. Pretty hard to swallow how the firm is killing it financially but is choosing to break the cycle of the past by paying below market going forward. Seems dumb and shortsighted.

QContinuum

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Re: NYC to 200k

Postby QContinuum » Sun Aug 12, 2018 12:28 pm

Fish probably didn't want to raise the scale for prosecutors given the ever-increasing billing pressure there, but also didn't want to establish a higher scale just for litigators, given its traditional prosecution core. And I also don't think any of the traditional IP shops, like Finnegan, have matched, so Fish may be trying to aggressively hold the line.

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Re: NYC to 200k

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 13, 2018 10:53 am

how's the mood at Fish?

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Re: NYC to 200k

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 13, 2018 4:00 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Not OP, but yeah, that's why the base pay match is a *signal* to summers and new recruits that the firm is aware of the raises and intends to remain competitive. Signal. As in, "this is not the final step." Whether that signal gets through to the outside through ABL's coverage is a different question.

This statement: "if the firm wanted to communicate that, they would either change the formula or say they're going to change the formula," while true, isn't helpful. Yes, the firm should change the formula. Saying "they could signal their intention to change by doing it," kind of misses the point of reading the tea leaves in what they *have* done. The executive committee is working on it (according to OP). Saying "yeah, but they should work faster," undervalues (1) how fundamental the formula is to the firm's culture/structure (or at least as perceived by the partners) and therefore how tentative the committee might be about making drastic changes; and (2) how inefficient and non-transparent BSF is when it comes to administrative matters. Seriously. Ask any BSF associate or even a summer. Even people who love the firm will admit that it sucks when it comes to admin and transparency even on trivial non-comp related issues. And given that the executive committee is essentially less than a year old (existed before, but many more decisions were made by the name partners), it's annoying but not surprising that they're being slow and opaque. So they aren't going to announce "hey we're changing the formula in some unspecified way at some unspecified date." They're just going to change it. So long as they change it before bonus season, the exec committee probably sees no harm in taking their time (I'm not saying I agree with that). In the mean time, I take the base match as an acknowledgement of the problem and see nothing to freak out about until there's a revised formula to analyze.

I will note that one way to help with both of these issues would be to include associates more directly in the process, but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

Also, a bonus formula tied to billing rate (like BSF's) will effectively give inflation-adjusted raises each year as the revenue generated by an associate increases. By contrast, at lock-step firms, associate pay remains constant (or *decreases* in real dollars) while the revenue they generate increases. So it is foreseeable that ten years after the market goes to $160K, BSF bonuses are blowing everyone else out of the water because they are tied to billing rates, which did not stay stagnant. Now that the rest of the market has moved to account for inflation, it's not surprising that the gap has shrunk (or, for lower billing mid-levels, there's now a gap the other way). Does this mean that BSF doesn't need to revise the formula but should just wait for the associates to reap the benefits of inflation? Probably not. But it does mean that David Lat's take of "above market comp at BSF is a lie" is overblown. Particularly when he's the one who had been overhyping the $350K bonuses that were clear outliers.


You make some good points, but you avoided what I consider to be the most indefensible, and telling, aspect of BSF's recent move. DOZENS of firms dipped into partner profits this year to pay special, one-off bonuses. BSF, one of the most profitable firms in the country, told associates they would pay "interim" bonuses on the same scale. So it was fair for them to expect that these payments would put extra money in their pockets, as they would at other firms. Not only is that not the case, the firm also was sorta shady about it. It only came out later that these bonuses are coming out of the December bonus pool, i.e., they're just advances. To a summer associate or a law student at OCI, doesn't that say more about the firm than how long it took them to match the new salary scale?


Fair point. As the current formula goes, basically everything is an advance on your December bonus and as long as they actually change the formula to give a net increase in pay, this is about the lack of transparency I expect. There isn't really a precedent at BSF for a special bonus that is separate from the December bonus calculations. (I think, maybe in the early days of the firm) (Also I never really understood what the summer bonus was for. It's good, obviously, but does is it a new annual thing? To compensate for 6 months on the 180k scale? Just because firms are lemmings and STB happened to give it?) Which is not to say the lack of transparency is good, just that BSF's transparency problems don't necessarily indicate an aversion to compensation. The system is opaque even when it gives juniors $100k or seniors on contingency matters $350k. It's a shady move, sure, but it doesn't tell me anything about how the firm will address the formula.

Not trying to be a BSF apologist, just putting their moves into the context of the issues they've had since before these raises even started.


Ah, but you are assuming the firm is going to change the formula. California associates were told in no uncertain terms that the formula would not change this year, comp would stay flat, and the firm would consider modifying the formula after the firm meeting—i.e., after bonuses. But this issue was brought to the fore in July 2016– check ATL- and fully debated last year, so that position is absurd.

Also, there isn’t really a precedent for special bonuses at any of the firms that paid them. They didn’t do it because firms are “lemmings”—that’s not how labor markets work. They did it to remain competitive and relevant in the minds of students of Top Law Schools.


Source? The message conveyed to new york associates was that the formula would be changing this year per the recommendation of a three member panel subject to the approval of the executive committee. Unless California and NY associates will receive different comp at BSF, we have divergent narratives. (My source is that I work in BSF’s new york office.)


Our narratives are not necessarily divergent. We agree that the executive committee is considering a change to the formula "this year." But I understand CA associates were told that to the extent the formula is changed, any changes would not be reflected in this year's bonuses. Upshot: comp will stay flat with last year, and bonuses will be lower across the board (for low and high billers alike) because of the salary bump and "interim" bonus advances this summer.

Anonymous User
Posts: 321633
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: NYC to 200k

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 14, 2018 12:23 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Not OP, but yeah, that's why the base pay match is a *signal* to summers and new recruits that the firm is aware of the raises and intends to remain competitive. Signal. As in, "this is not the final step." Whether that signal gets through to the outside through ABL's coverage is a different question.

This statement: "if the firm wanted to communicate that, they would either change the formula or say they're going to change the formula," while true, isn't helpful. Yes, the firm should change the formula. Saying "they could signal their intention to change by doing it," kind of misses the point of reading the tea leaves in what they *have* done. The executive committee is working on it (according to OP). Saying "yeah, but they should work faster," undervalues (1) how fundamental the formula is to the firm's culture/structure (or at least as perceived by the partners) and therefore how tentative the committee might be about making drastic changes; and (2) how inefficient and non-transparent BSF is when it comes to administrative matters. Seriously. Ask any BSF associate or even a summer. Even people who love the firm will admit that it sucks when it comes to admin and transparency even on trivial non-comp related issues. And given that the executive committee is essentially less than a year old (existed before, but many more decisions were made by the name partners), it's annoying but not surprising that they're being slow and opaque. So they aren't going to announce "hey we're changing the formula in some unspecified way at some unspecified date." They're just going to change it. So long as they change it before bonus season, the exec committee probably sees no harm in taking their time (I'm not saying I agree with that). In the mean time, I take the base match as an acknowledgement of the problem and see nothing to freak out about until there's a revised formula to analyze.

I will note that one way to help with both of these issues would be to include associates more directly in the process, but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

Also, a bonus formula tied to billing rate (like BSF's) will effectively give inflation-adjusted raises each year as the revenue generated by an associate increases. By contrast, at lock-step firms, associate pay remains constant (or *decreases* in real dollars) while the revenue they generate increases. So it is foreseeable that ten years after the market goes to $160K, BSF bonuses are blowing everyone else out of the water because they are tied to billing rates, which did not stay stagnant. Now that the rest of the market has moved to account for inflation, it's not surprising that the gap has shrunk (or, for lower billing mid-levels, there's now a gap the other way). Does this mean that BSF doesn't need to revise the formula but should just wait for the associates to reap the benefits of inflation? Probably not. But it does mean that David Lat's take of "above market comp at BSF is a lie" is overblown. Particularly when he's the one who had been overhyping the $350K bonuses that were clear outliers.


You make some good points, but you avoided what I consider to be the most indefensible, and telling, aspect of BSF's recent move. DOZENS of firms dipped into partner profits this year to pay special, one-off bonuses. BSF, one of the most profitable firms in the country, told associates they would pay "interim" bonuses on the same scale. So it was fair for them to expect that these payments would put extra money in their pockets, as they would at other firms. Not only is that not the case, the firm also was sorta shady about it. It only came out later that these bonuses are coming out of the December bonus pool, i.e., they're just advances. To a summer associate or a law student at OCI, doesn't that say more about the firm than how long it took them to match the new salary scale?


Fair point. As the current formula goes, basically everything is an advance on your December bonus and as long as they actually change the formula to give a net increase in pay, this is about the lack of transparency I expect. There isn't really a precedent at BSF for a special bonus that is separate from the December bonus calculations. (I think, maybe in the early days of the firm) (Also I never really understood what the summer bonus was for. It's good, obviously, but does is it a new annual thing? To compensate for 6 months on the 180k scale? Just because firms are lemmings and STB happened to give it?) Which is not to say the lack of transparency is good, just that BSF's transparency problems don't necessarily indicate an aversion to compensation. The system is opaque even when it gives juniors $100k or seniors on contingency matters $350k. It's a shady move, sure, but it doesn't tell me anything about how the firm will address the formula.

Not trying to be a BSF apologist, just putting their moves into the context of the issues they've had since before these raises even started.


Ah, but you are assuming the firm is going to change the formula. California associates were told in no uncertain terms that the formula would not change this year, comp would stay flat, and the firm would consider modifying the formula after the firm meeting—i.e., after bonuses. But this issue was brought to the fore in July 2016– check ATL- and fully debated last year, so that position is absurd.

Also, there isn’t really a precedent for special bonuses at any of the firms that paid them. They didn’t do it because firms are “lemmings”—that’s not how labor markets work. They did it to remain competitive and relevant in the minds of students of Top Law Schools.


Source? The message conveyed to new york associates was that the formula would be changing this year per the recommendation of a three member panel subject to the approval of the executive committee. Unless California and NY associates will receive different comp at BSF, we have divergent narratives. (My source is that I work in BSF’s new york office.)


Our narratives are not necessarily divergent. We agree that the executive committee is considering a change to the formula "this year." But I understand CA associates were told that to the extent the formula is changed, any changes would not be reflected in this year's bonuses. Upshot: comp will stay flat with last year, and bonuses will be lower across the board (for low and high billers alike) because of the salary bump and "interim" bonus advances this summer.


fair - I certainly wouldn't expect bonuses to change for 2018 on the basis of whatever they come up with. I missed that if it was your meaning



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