{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "How are non-market (comp) Amlaw100-200 firms going to survive the associate salary hikes? I’m at an Amlaw100+ firm and our comp is about 25% under the new market for junior/midlevel and up to 40% under for seniors. We have tons of work and NO associates left to do it. Many (if not most) associates have jumped to market firms and no laterals to replace them. How will this place survive with no foreseeable associates and (allegedly) no plans for raises?", "post_id": "621f6702f152dc002544b3f0", "reply_count": 120, "vote_count": 50, "bowl_id": "5df70ed2f7169f002b172d3f", "bowl_name": "Big Law", "feed_type": "bowl" }
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How are non-market (comp) Amlaw100-200 firms going to survive the associate salary hikes? I’m at an Amlaw100+ firm and our comp is about 25% under the new market for junior/midlevel and up to 40% under for seniors. We have tons of work and NO associates left to do it. Many (if not most) associates have jumped to market firms and no laterals to replace them. How will this place survive with no foreseeable associates and (allegedly) no plans for raises?

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I’m at an Amlaw200 (almost 100) firm that’s a strong regional presence in the western U.S. but pays less than Market. I’ve seen a lot of associates leave for greener pastures.

This is purely anecdotal, but I’ve noticed that we’ve hired a lot of new associates and laterals that are either (a) non-traditional, i.e. older and doing law as a second career and might already have kids so they value flexibility and WLB, or (b) from schools that might not have been targets a few years ago. In both cases they seem to be producing good work product and from what I can tell our revenues are still growing.

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As an old, second career lawyer who went to a TTT school and has kids, I can confirm that I like money.

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A lot of the Amlaw 100-200 firms are not in major markets (e.g., NY, SF, DC, Chicago) and may get away with paying less due to lower COL at the midsize cities (e.g., ATL, TX, CLT, pacNW, Midwest) and keeping business as usual.

For the players in the major markets, I’d suggest they truly lean in on one of lifestyle respect (WLB) or comp (match market and knowingly be a sweat shop, but accordingly compensated). I don’t really see a path forward otherwise while also maintaining talent pool of associates.

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Dallas and Houston are still midsize biglaw markets. Big cities but small biglaw markets.

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At some point these firms will have to decide if they want to offer less pay but also truly offer better hours and work environments. Trying to be a top level firm in all but pay is a recipe for disaster. They’ll either make that transition, or they will bleed out and we will be left with a more consolidated big law market.

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A37; it’s surprising that more of them don’t accept this as a path forward and a carrot for retention. I agree that it would go a long way but most of them are having a hard time with identity crisis. They will learn the hard way.

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No clue. They’ll just bleed associates as they do. We’ve already lost 7 in the 8 months I’ve been here. I’m currently looking to leave and willing to take a 10-12% pay cut just to get out of an Am Law 200 firm.

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Same here. Required to hit 2000 hrs with 50k lees pay.

My thought (idea?) is that if they want to stay competitive they should offer fully remote roles. There are a few Amlaw 50 firms that do so, but most don’t and won’t. Remote work could be used as a bargaining chip and I think non-market firms would be wise to use it. There are a lot of people that would choose less money for a fully remote role.

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I think most firms are allowing remote to retain talent at a minimum. Some places like Goodwin have jumped all into it even hiring a fully remote corporate partner the other day, but most firms are open to it for the right candidates even if they don’t have as robust of policies and programs for remote attorneys.

likesmartfunny

Amlaw firms are definitely in trouble if they are in markets where multiple firms pay on the Cravath scale. I think Amlaw 100+ firms in tertiary markets will be fine though.

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What I’m curious about is whether the Cravath scale is generally sustainable for anything other than huge banks, hedge funds, etc. I recently worked on a transaction across from a V10 firm and their fees were 4x what ours were. And there is no way they provided even close to that level of value based on drafting and general deal management.

I’m at an Amlaw 100 and make 75k less than my market peers. It’s hard and unsettling. The only saving grace is that I really do have WLB.

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I know what WLB means…it was sarcastic. There is not WLB in AM100. How many hours do you bill per year OP?

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They will swim downstream, hire associates drudging along in ID practices, and try to make do until the work slows down.

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Lmao! A9, A23, looks I need to crack open that blue book gathering dust on my shelf….. (thanks A23!!! Haha)

They’ll find less “qualified” attorneys to fill in. I’m making the move to biglaw from my Amlaw 100+. My raise this year was about 3%, and I get paid 8% more than an associates two years below me. There’s no way I can justify staying at this job.

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LA1 that pay scale looks pretty familiar......

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A lot of the 2018-2020 grads have left below market firms for market firms during the lateral frenzy over the past 6 months.

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Either hire attorneys from lower ranked schools (which despite the stigma has no bearing on quality of work) or merge with a bigger firm, risk being clients leave because can’t afford higher rates but if most non-“big law” firm do this, clients have no choice. #inflation

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Good point A33.

Big money take little money. Big bank take small bank

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Huh?

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I recently lateraled from an AM200 firm to a market paying firm. My comp this year (together with signing bonus) will be about double what I would have made if I stayed put.

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Congrats!

They’ll either need to pay or offer a significant and tangible improvement in WLB over market firms. Otherwise, associates are going to keep leaving for the money. The problem is that these firms don’t generate enough $ to pay market salaries across all markets and have enough $ to stay competitive in partner comp.

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Competition is good. Lower ranked firms need to show improvement on other aspects like WLB

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I was at am Amlaw 200 firm in a big market working 2400+ and making substantially less than NY market. I lateraled your a v5 firm about a year ago and am making at least 6 figures more all in AND am somehow working less / have substantially less stress. It all depends on your current firm - but in my case moving to top firm for top comp has given me more of a WLB somehow (but I’ll also note this was very much to my surprise and not expected when I decided to lateral).

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Same. I make 30% more for 150 less billable hours after leaving a shitty ass AM200 to go to one of the big 4

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I’m a recruiter and we’re calling the firms that can’t / won’t match (regional firms etc) nonstop moving the people to market firms. They’re going to just have to make by with less talent.

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If you are placing in GA, I may have a lead for you… a friend. Dm me if you want

I’m now 70k below cravath scale as an 8th year. Honestly I don’t care because I still make a lot of money and I don’t work insane hours. I have no idea what my firm will do. I’m afraid they’re going to raise salaries and then raise the hours requirement (currently 1850).

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A25 I do think the delta matters at a certain point. Take associates in SE markets like Tampa, nashville, Charlotte - the delta for 5th years and up is over $100k.

Idk but I think my v10 (at least in my practice group) is getting nervous about how much we’re charging clients now. I’m curious how that’ll affect the rest of the amlaw 200.

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Did rates go up? I didn’t think they did

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Dumb question but how are there not juniors to fill the ranks? Weren’t the headlines a few years ago that there were so many T2 grads not getting jobs that pay the bills? These firms seem like a great option. Know training juniors sucks but seems inevitable with mids jumping ship.

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I feel this is the problem, junior does 2 years and walks away... You need to poach seniors from lower leagues to fix this

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