{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "I think firms should seriously consider raising the associate salaries for NY (and maybe LA) offices. It makes no sense that we are paid the same as Houston and Chicago associates.", "post_id": "61e584e7865c50002f801967", "reply_count": 63, "vote_count": 31, "bowl_id": "5dd6e67090e5a1001c26ead1", "bowl_name": "New York Big Law", "feed_type": "bowl" }

I think firms should seriously consider raising the associate salaries for NY (and maybe LA) offices. It makes no sense that we are paid the same as Houston and Chicago associates.

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As works shifts more and more to remote work vs. in person, firms are losing, not gaining, the incentive to pay associates in certain offices more. I’m in NYC and I don’t care that people in Texas make the same amount. They have to live in Texas. You can always move.

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A4 - in Jan of 2020 I left NYC for Houston, TX after spending almost my entire life in the Northeast. I left for the some of the same reasons you articulate - low cost of living, high pay, same sophisticated work (i went to a branch or a major NYC firm), etc. And, like you, I figured culture wouldn't be an issue because Houston, despite how red Texas is, was a blue bastion. All of that made me comfortable moving to a place where i didnt have any family or roots. I moved back to NYC this summer. I am telling you and anyone reading this as someone who has actually been there: listen to Associate 3. He is right. There is a massive difference between living in a blue city in a very blue state and living on a blue island in a very red state. The Bible Belt is a very different place, and the blue cities are not an exception to that reality. Do not run down there thinking it's gonna be a smooth, easy 1 to 1 transition. Houston is a world away from NYC, the culture shock can be very real and not every person who comes from NYC (or places like Boston, SF, etc) is going to be able to make that adjustment. I personally couldn't, and that is why I'm back here. In Houston I made more money, had far more space, barely ever dealt with winter...and in the end, the price I had to pay wasn't worth it to me. I gave all of that up to come back. I know plenty of folks who made the transition much more amicably than I did and are very happy in Houston. Just be careful before you make that jump. It should not be taken lightly.

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You could always try to negotiate a lateral move with a class bump, which would effectively increase your salary over same-class colleagues in other markets. If the turnover is as big as you think, other firms will be willing to make special exceptions before any major shift in pay scale.

Is this a thing? I’ve only ever heard about lateraling with a class year downgrade or a like-for-like transfer if you’re lucky

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To everyone finding this post “funny” or disagreeing, maybe you haven’t realized associates are unhappy with working significantly more hours while working/living in shoebox conditions, which has led to massive turnover in NYC practices.

likefunny

Sadly, Austin is just as expensive as LA now too.

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NYC offices paid more than other cities until like 2016. This really isn’t such an insane take. I have lower take home than my law school classmates who live in Chicago and LA and Texas who work the same job for the same hours even before accounting for cost of living. And people saying “just move” are acting like taxes and cost of living are the ONLY reasons to live somewhere and not like being close to family and liking other things about the area? I’m not going to move away from all my family for a small bump in take home, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be annoyed that I’m effectively paid less than my peers, especially when this is a relatively new way for the market to work

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The people saying “just move then” aren’t actually suggesting that you move. They are calling to mind all the reasons you don’t and won’t move. The whole point we’re making is that there’s more to life than taxes and cost of living. And it’s still a silly take because it moves in a regressive direction. If I said “I think salaries should be $160K; that’s what they were in 2016!” it would be silly because salaries tend to and should rise, right? Similarly, suggesting that firms do away with national scales is silly because the trend of making more uniform payscales tracks trends of increasing mobility and support of remote work in legal practice (and across all industries right now). That trend is not reversing.

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The issue is really just the NYC taxes. Texas has no state or local taxes which makes the checks way larger.

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Not to mention the enormous difference in cost of living

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Just finished my first year in NYC. Spoke to a recruiter on Friday about moving to Texas. Sent my materials out over the weekend. This city is very different from the time I spent here during my summer (in person), and I just can’t justify the cost anymore. I work so much that I don’t feel I can enjoy the city or build a network. There is also no firm culture since none of the mid-levels and seniors go into the office. I’m going to try Austin/Dallas/Houston (I’m from Texas originally).

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DM if you need a referral for Texas corporate

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Yes, but you get to live in NYC! That magic atmosphere (smell of sewage). USSR-grade subway. Canal Street Gucci bags. $50 million a month rent for a shoebox. International calibre airports such as JFK and LGA.

likefunny

LGA is actually world class now. Check it out.

Associates should move to Texas if that works best for them. However if they need an abortion they can’t come back to a blue state. Fair is fair.

likefunny

Congrats, you have successfully signalled virtue

If NY salaries will rise, so will the salaries of these other places you are talking about. If you want more money, then move to Utah and work at Kirkland there.

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Because they were done firm wide, that’s why they matched.

🙄 no one is forcing you to live in a HCOL area. I get that you have friends and family in NY, most people have friends and family where they live. If they’re billing as many hours as you (they are), doing the same quality of work (they are), charging the same rates and making the same amount of money for the firm (they are) and are also willing to tolerate living in TX or whatever, that’s the deal. Personally I would not want to live in TX. If you think there’s higher billing expectations in NY that’s honestly your problem. I don’t know of any firms that officially require 2200 in NY and 2000 in Houston but pay the same, learn to push back on your partners/clients if you want to set boundaries and work less (if it’s even the case that TX associates are billing less on average). If you want to continue living in NY, great, but the rest of the firm has no obligation to subsidize your higher cost of living in NY.

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I meant significantly more hours over the past two years while WFH compared to prior years, not compared to associates at other offices. I wasn’t clear on that point. Not complaining about the hours, I know that’s part of the job.

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Don’t live in NY or Cali. It’s also needed for recruiting.

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Also more firms bill on a national scale at least for associates. The problem is not with firms doing that, the problem is the COL in NY when there is less and less need to work in NY.

worst take ever lol

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If this is gonna be done it would have to be through bonuses because Houston is just gonna match

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I’m talking about discretionary bonuses that aren’t public

That’s your issue for choosing to live in ny

Pay isn’t about fairness, it’s about supply and demand. The economics of paying NY more doesn’t work, because it would hurt them too much everywhere else. Not going to happen.

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