I'm a 1st year @ a civil lit defense firm. I summered here and got the "our firm culture is amazing, we want to grow and help you learn" pitch and accepted the offer of $75k, thinking that was what most other associates make (I'm 1st gen). But today I found out that associates with 4yrs experience are making $80k; for hitting the 1950 billable req., the bonus is $1k. I've also found there are big DEI problems that I can't overlook. It feels like the pitch was a big lie. Advice?

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Do what I did and get experience for a year or 2 and go elsewhere. One thing I liked about civil defense is by the time I hit my second year I had over 100 depos, loads of mediation and court room experience and second chaired a few trials. By the time I said time to go I was very marketable and nearly doubled my salary. I used my first 2 years as “boot camp.” Granted Im going on 5th year so maybe I’m still in boot camp haha

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Y'all are making great points! I know I'll be getting a lot of experience - like I'll start deposing witnesses as early as January. The volume is just massive but they crush associates, underpay them, and then are shocked when they leave. I wondered why so many associates left after 1-2 years. Now I know.

What market is this? That comp is insanely low. I started at a firm that gave laughably low year over year raises, but at least the bonuses were more substantial. I’m much happier at a larger firm in a better market now and making nearly 3x what I would be if I stayed at my original place. I agree that you should look to lateral ASAP while hiring is still hot.

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Connecticut metro-area. So at minimum, firms like mine are paying $105k (which i did not know) and most of my friends are making $130-150k, all with less billables which was a big ol' shock.

That job is fine to break into to get your wits about you as to who to lawyer. Sounds like you matured enough now to move on.

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If 4th years are only making 5k more than you then… it sounds like your firm is underpaying everyone. I made $75k as a student, $100k + bonus in first year. Toronto “big law” but not 7 sisters.

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