1) Hourly rates, 2) billable requirements, 3) typical bonus (origination bonus and/or discretionary) for 3-4 year associates in small and mid sized firms in California. Go!

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I was at a small firm in California in the transactional corporate “group.” My pre-bar salary was $52,500. Upon passing the bar it was $70k. My first year bonus I think was $750. My second year salary at the small law firm was $75,000. I think my bonus was $1500. I lateraled to a midsize firm my third year. My salary was $112,000. I didn’t get a bonus because I didn’t meet my hours, but they did give me a $750 gift card...Then I lateraled again to big law but was brought down a class year since I was coming from smaller firms. So my third year big law salary was $210k. It wasn’t the full cravath scale because the office is in a smaller market, but my bonus was the full cravath scale bonus ($50k plus $5k for exceeding hours). My fourth year salary at the smaller market office of the big law firm was $230k and my bonus was the full cravath $65k. Now as a fifth year it’s $250k, but I just transferred to a major city office in the same firm and now it’s $280k.

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Sheesh, you make big law sound pretty attractive. I’m at $130k with a 10% origination bonus, which would be around $15k-20k. Work is extremely casual and I never work past 6 pm and never, ever on the weekends. What is your schedule like? Do you like your team?

Big law has its perks and I love my team, but it comes with the understanding that I am on call 24/7. A regular, low pressure day in the office usually runs from 8:30-7, plus an hour or so in the evening before bed. Long days easily start at 5 or 6am and go well past midnight, if not all night. I work every single weekend and every single holiday, though I have the flexibility to work from home. On more than one holiday I have received emails from partners with “Today” in the subject line, meaning whatever is in that email has to be done that day. On one of those occasions I was on a boat in the middle of the lake on 4th of July. I had to ask my friends to take me back to shore then I had to call a (very expensive uber) to take me home so I could do the work. Partners have explicitly told us that our holidays, vacations and weekends are all fair game. That said, I love my firm and the partners I work for and I’ll stay here forever if they let me. Though, my perspective on this may change if I ever get married and have children.

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Also, typical raise year over year?

What area of law?

Sorry, transactional corporate/business.

Ok. Sorry can’t help you.

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