NYC to 200k

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Re: NYC to 200k

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jul 28, 2018 12:48 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Foley & Lardner to 190k in large city offices, years 2 and 3 seem to match market as well. At least some raises beyond year 3 in all offices to be relatively competitive, but unless you’re billing 2200+ still lots of compression and bonuses well below market after year 3.


Thanks for the update! I was wondering if they would ever match! Do you happen to know when the raises go into effect? I remember in 2016, they had a BS "we will raise the salary next year in February" schtick. Wondering if they're playing the same game again or not.

What is the minimum hours requirement for bonus? Is it 2200 as you mentioned? I know they historically never pay market bonuses, so I'm guessing they aren't going to match the summer bonus.

I was a summer at one of Foley's big city offices. I got the impression that even though they try to sell you on them being a "lifestyle firm", they are just plain cheap and hours are equally bad as market paying biglaw firms. I was wondering if you have a different opinion of them?


To answer earlier question, Miami likely not getting bumped for years 1-3 unless other biglaw firms in Miami did.

Yes, no raise for Foley until the fiscal year turns over in Feb 2019. I’m sure there are intra-firm practical reasons for that, but if every other firm can raise instantly then those reasons are probably excuses.

It’s really hard to tell if Foley is just cheap or legit has a better path to partnership than its peers. Office and practice group specific politics are probably the most important factors. The risk of getting pushed out despite being a good lawyer is probably 20% instead of 40% at peers. Is that worth leaving 500k-1mm on the table in the prime years of your life, vs. earning 3-5mm more long term assuming being a biglaw partner doesn’t ruin your life? You decide based on your risk tolerance, stamina, and long-term goals. However, Foley is no longer a “lifestyle” firm, minimum billables after year 3 is 1950 starting next year. Quotes around lifestyle because since well prior to 2016 quasi-raise, in some practice groups you’re still expected to be willing to work 80-100 hr weeks if a deal is on and be on call 9-6 if it’s not.

Bonuses are 10% at 2000 hours, 20% at 2200 hours. Can get higher if people like you but that still puts you well below market.

Despite all that people are generally chill and genuinely want you to succeed. Just don’t expect money to be used to show the value you bring to the firm or your clients.

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Re: NYC to 200k

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jul 28, 2018 2:05 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
JusticeJackson wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Boies match


With summer bonuses


All offices?


Would be glorious to be a Las Vegas BSF associate if they matched all offices and if the Vegas office had associates. Alas.


It's become clear the BSF summer bonus is not like the "special" bonuses paid at other firms, which everyone understands to be separate, one-off payments that don't affect December bonuses. At BSF it's an "interim" bonus that just amounts to an advance of the December bonus. Same is true of the salary increase -- more money in our pockets now means lower bonuses in December.

The upshot is that BSF raised salaries and paid summer bonuses without actually increasing overall associate comp. The same thing happened when they raised salaries in 2016, so this is the second time in two years that every other firm has increased associate comp while BSF stood still.


the executive committee is still determining where it will land on overall compensation with a formula change. the move this week is just signaling for OCI/summers that the firm will not fall behind on comp, and it was taken under extraordinary pressure from associates, esp in DC. my guess is partners wouldn't have done anything until the formula changes were announced if not for recruiting/retaining ect.


https://abovethelaw.com/2018/07/associa ... good-news/

I'm not sure all of your comrades agree with you on that...


What about that article is at all inconsistent with the quoted post? You cant just drop a link and ambiguously mischaracterize it

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Re: NYC to 200k

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 29, 2018 9:09 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
JusticeJackson wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Boies match



It's become clear the BSF summer bonus is not like the "special" bonuses paid at other firms, which everyone understands to be separate, one-off payments that don't affect December bonuses. At BSF it's an "interim" bonus that just amounts to an advance of the December bonus. Same is true of the salary increase -- more money in our pockets now means lower bonuses in December.

The upshot is that BSF raised salaries and paid summer bonuses without actually increasing overall associate comp. The same thing happened when they raised salaries in 2016, so this is the second time in two years that every other firm has increased associate comp while BSF stood still.


the executive committee is still determining where it will land on overall compensation with a formula change. the move this week is just signaling for OCI/summers that the firm will not fall behind on comp, and it was taken under extraordinary pressure from associates, esp in DC. my guess is partners wouldn't have done anything until the formula changes were announced if not for recruiting/retaining ect.


https://abovethelaw.com/2018/07/associa ... good-news/

I'm not sure all of your comrades agree with you on that...


What about that article is at all inconsistent with the quoted post? You cant just drop a link and ambiguously mischaracterize it
[/quote]

The linked article and earlier ATL coverage explains how this happened in pretty solid detail, but the gist is that the 2016 salary increase at other firms amounted to a raise for those associates, but when BSF implemented the $180k scale two years ago, that just shifted money the bonus column into the salary column. Maybe they thought this wouldn't be an issue because the formula was already so 'generous' or whatever, but this apparently led to lots of associates getting below-market bonuses in 2017, notwithstanding 1-2 crazy outliers the firm tends to brag about. But the firm never changed the formula.

Announcing another salary bump in 2018 and interim bonuses would appear to exacerbate the problem absent a change to the formula. Associates quoted in the article are obviously frustrated that a) everyone gets that there is a problem, b) everyone gets that a salary increase won't fix the problem, and c) 'interim' bonuses that just advance part of the December bonus to July REALLY misses the point of the 'special' bonuses paid at other firms. So I'm not sure these BSf associates would agree with the part of the previous post that I underlined -- "the move this week is just signaling for OCI/summers that the firm will not fall behind on comp" -- because if the firm wanted to communicate that, they would either change the formula or say they're going to change the formula. And paying "interim" bonuses that appear to be like the special, one-off payments received at other firms but that are, in reality, not extra money in associate pockets is a really, really poor look for OCI and summers.

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Re: NYC to 200k

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 30, 2018 1:32 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
JusticeJackson wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Boies match



It's become clear the BSF summer bonus is not like the "special" bonuses paid at other firms, which everyone understands to be separate, one-off payments that don't affect December bonuses. At BSF it's an "interim" bonus that just amounts to an advance of the December bonus. Same is true of the salary increase -- more money in our pockets now means lower bonuses in December.

The upshot is that BSF raised salaries and paid summer bonuses without actually increasing overall associate comp. The same thing happened when they raised salaries in 2016, so this is the second time in two years that every other firm has increased associate comp while BSF stood still.


the executive committee is still determining where it will land on overall compensation with a formula change. the move this week is just signaling for OCI/summers that the firm will not fall behind on comp, and it was taken under extraordinary pressure from associates, esp in DC. my guess is partners wouldn't have done anything until the formula changes were announced if not for recruiting/retaining ect.


https://abovethelaw.com/2018/07/associa ... good-news/

I'm not sure all of your comrades agree with you on that...


What about that article is at all inconsistent with the quoted post? You cant just drop a link and ambiguously mischaracterize it


Anonymous User wrote:The linked article and earlier ATL coverage explains how this happened in pretty solid detail, but the gist is that the 2016 salary increase at other firms amounted to a raise for those associates, but when BSF implemented the $180k scale two years ago, that just shifted money the bonus column into the salary column. Maybe they thought this wouldn't be an issue because the formula was already so 'generous' or whatever, but this apparently led to lots of associates getting below-market bonuses in 2017, notwithstanding 1-2 crazy outliers the firm tends to brag about. But the firm never changed the formula.

Announcing another salary bump in 2018 and interim bonuses would appear to exacerbate the problem absent a change to the formula. Associates quoted in the article are obviously frustrated that a) everyone gets that there is a problem, b) everyone gets that a salary increase won't fix the problem, and c) 'interim' bonuses that just advance part of the December bonus to July REALLY misses the point of the 'special' bonuses paid at other firms. So I'm not sure these BSf associates would agree with the part of the previous post that I underlined -- "the move this week is just signaling for OCI/summers that the firm will not fall behind on comp" -- because if the firm wanted to communicate that, they would either change the formula or say they're going to change the formula. And paying "interim" bonuses that appear to be like the special, one-off payments received at other firms but that are, in reality, not extra money in associate pockets is a really, really poor look for OCI and summers.


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.

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Re: NYC to 200k

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 01, 2018 1:11 am

Hunton Andrews kurth. Associates joining in the fall get $190 in nyc, dc, california, texas, $175 in Miami and richmond. Everyone else? We're still thinking about it and will get back to you.

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Re: NYC to 200k

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 02, 2018 12:28 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Hunton Andrews kurth. Associates joining in the fall get $190 in nyc, dc, california, texas, $175 in Miami and richmond. Everyone else? We're still thinking about it and will get back to you.


Texas is so obviously the clear winner from all this. Firms are forced to treat them like the coasts and yet the CoL hasn't caught up yet.

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Re: NYC to 200k

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 02, 2018 12:51 pm

The top tier Texas firms charge just as much as the NY firms (i.e., 600 for first years, 850 for third years, etc.), why would they not able to raise salaries? Salaries should attach to the market and what the market is willing to pay (e.g., professional athletes).

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Re: NYC to 200k

Postby minnbills » Thu Aug 02, 2018 1:43 pm

Anonymous User wrote:The top tier Texas firms charge just as much as the NY firms (i.e., 600 for first years, 850 for third years, etc.), why would they not able to raise salaries? Salaries should attach to the market and what the market is willing to pay (e.g., professional athletes).


The hourly rate isn't the key factor - it's how profitable those offices are. If these texas offices are profitable enough to sustain NYC-level pay, then yeah they might as well compensate their associates at NYC/major market levels.

That said, I (and I think a lot of others would agree) am skeptical that these offices are actually that profitable. The reason NYC firms pay so much is because they have big corporate matters that are like billable hour feeding frenzies. That type of matter is rare anywhere else.

One possibility is that some firms like Kirkland might want to incentivize their associates to go to satellite offices where total cost per associate is lower (think overhead like office space). Paying those associates at NYC market might work for those firms because they can work on large corporate-type matters but save on total output per lawyer.

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Re: NYC to 200k

Postby DMXdawg » Thu Aug 02, 2018 2:44 pm

It's also true that the Houston offices of some of the national firms (e.g., KE, LW, Sidley) are among the most profitable offices of their firms and are likely more profitable per capita than their respective NY offices. If you're unaware, Houston is a major energy hub in the United States, and many energy companies are based out of Houston. There's a high volume of massive deals that flow through Houston that are able to sustain high billing rates which a number of the Houston biglaw offices service. In fact, KE just opened a Dallas office b/c they cannot find enough support (read: non-partner) to support the energy dealflow in Houston.

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Re: NYC to 200k

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 02, 2018 5:49 pm

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?

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Re: NYC to 200k

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 02, 2018 6:48 pm

Starting to look like MIA will go to $175k.

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Re: NYC to 200k

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 02, 2018 7:05 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Starting to look like MIA will go to $175k.


Based on what? Satellites have moved but GT has said it won’t raise.

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Re: NYC to 200k

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 02, 2018 7:43 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Starting to look like MIA will go to $175k.


Based on what? Satellites have moved but GT has said it won’t raise.


Yes, Satellite offices.

Last time this happened, GT, HK and the other FL firms stayed at 145k for as long as they could, but eventually caved and went to 160k to match the satellites (or get closer to them).

It’s only a matter of time. GT can’t refuse to pay its associates below market (every satellite is now above 170 I think). Once GT moves, the rest of Florida will follow suit.

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Re: NYC to 200k

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 02, 2018 9:02 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Starting to look like MIA will go to $175k.


Based on what? Satellites have moved but GT has said it won’t raise.


Yes, Satellite offices.

Last time this happened, GT, HK and the other FL firms stayed at 145k for as long as they could, but eventually caved and went to 160k to match the satellites (or get closer to them).

It’s only a matter of time. GT can’t refuse to pay its associates below market (every satellite is now above 170 I think). Once GT moves, the rest of Florida will follow suit.


Window has passed for this year's recruiting.

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Re: NYC to 200k

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 03, 2018 8:49 am

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.

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Re: NYC to 200k

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 03, 2018 10:54 pm

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.

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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.

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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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