{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "Am I getting ripped off? Suburban Philadelphia, firm is ~200 attorneys across all offices but ~40 at my location, required billables are 2,040 minimum. Salary is $70,000.", "post_id": "5e1278116a240e001af047ea", "reply_count": 31, "vote_count": 2, "bowl_id": "552d1d24dc1c586b09d2d052", "bowl_name": "Law" }

Am I getting ripped off? Suburban Philadelphia, firm is ~200 attorneys across all offices but ~40 at my location, required billables are 2,040 minimum. Salary is $70,000.

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This is absolutely standard for the philly suburbs (I'm on the jersey side). My first offer was $75K and the firm wanted 2200 billable hours. I negotiated up, but I know the other clerks I worked with were recieving offers in the same neighborhood. Not uncommon for ppl to get a few years litigation experience and jump ship for a big pay raise, (aka trading places with the big law burn outs) but it was a saturated market for awhile so the firms acted accordingly.

Thanks for the insight. Most of my friends from law school work in Philly and make significantly more but are required to bill significantly less (but most times end up actually billing around the same as me). It’s been difficult to figure out the standard for the suburbs.

On the bright side, the indentured servitude that you all (for some unexplained reason) have agreed to is keeping our insurance rates lower than what they otherwise could be given the scourge of frivolous PI litigation. Personally, I’m fairly confident that I could make money similar to that in a non-law job and have half the work/stress. This would appear to be pretty strong evidence that we have far too many lawyers in the market.

funny

Happy to help

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Yes, unless you’re allowed to bill for everything (CLE’s, admin work, client development, etc.)

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Let me take a stab. Insurance defense (or foreclosure on the plaintiff side) and your firm has 5-7 institutional clients that account for 95% of its revenue? How did I do?

likefunny

Yes. I don’t see any way that answer could be qualified in any way. I wish it could.

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Yes.

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Yes. That is absolutely shocking.

likehelpful

I have legitimately never heard of a comp so low for those kinds of hour expectations. That’s insanity. My firm (AmLaw 50) pays staff attorneys at least 125k and their hour expectations are far less than the normal track associate hours target. Even if they bill you out at some really low figure (say $200/hr) they are making six figures in profit after overhead and assuming a low realization (70-80%). That’s sounds like a really terrible place to work.

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This is common place for insurance defense and some midsized full service firms. The tristate area (PA NY NJ) market has too many damn attorneys.

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Yes.

likeuplifting

I’d assume it also is a toxic atmosphere and culture.

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I’m a third year associate a similar-sized regional insurance defense firm in the Philadelphia office, salary $82,000, 2100 BILLABLE requirement (nothing except actual billed work counts). Just chiming in to say everyone is right- yes this is relatively common for this size insurance defense firm in the Philadelphia/NJ area, and yes we are getting ripped off.

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How much revenue does the firm collect from your work? Actual dollars received from clients.

What type of firm (and what type of clients)?

Yes. I work in a midwest city of about 300K. Annual billable of 1850. Starting salary of 110K (which is the lowest of all our locations, by a good deal). Can't imagine working more hours, by a city with much high COL, for less money. Find something else. Go into Philly if need be. Or, accept your fate.

Thanks for the insight all. It is an insurance defense firm. I work mostly on pharmaceutical and biotech litigation. The problem is that the culture is actually awesome. I love the work and my team. I’m getting great experience and there’s a lot of freedom. But the comp simply is not enough for the amount how work you have to put in. Guess it is time to start looking...

You said a few things here that I don’t want you to simply dismiss: awesome culture, love the work & your team, receiving great experience and freedom. Having worked in several areas, I’d hate to see you discard those tangibles for only salary. Is there anyone you can approach to actually have a conversation about salary (without risking your job)? I’ve often found that these conversations fit into nicely with evaluations and personal finance goals. Or, in the alternative, if they are not willing to pay more, then what about some other perk that you would find valuable? An extra week of vacation? Attendance at a seminar / professional development ? Also, depending upon your level of client exposure, don’t miss the opportunity to go in house with one of those companies you are working for . . . The raise could easily come in that direction as well. Bb

likehelpful

Suburbs should only be like 30k less than a city like Philly

I have the same issue at my firm. We have 12+ offices. Mine is in a small market (300K city). Pay in the larger markets is drastically more. Yet, sometimes 1/4-1/2 of my work is for matters in the larger offices, and I'm billed out there at rates 30% higher than in my market. But I don't seem a dime more for that work. Really discourages wanting to work cross-office.

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Yes you are getting ripped off-no question about it. Time to move on.

No. I’m in a similar spot, and make $69,000!

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