Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Associate salaries - could a cycle be turning?

When I graduated law school in 1993, associate salaries for recent graduates had just climbed to a whopping $70,000 a year at most of the BigLaw firms in LA and New York. But there were few jobs to be had at all, let alone ones with those kinds of numbers.
A post on this subject by Patrick Lamb today is, in my view, spot on. He cites a recent survey of general counsels by Altman Weil, the results of which can be seen in the post. To sum it up, GCs are not at all happy about recent associate recent salary increases. The backlash? For work that is not "bet the company" in nature, many GCs will turn to firms with quality lawyers at lower rates. (I have already heard grumblings that some Chicago BigLaw lititgation departments are not super busy.) Lacking work, the BigLaw firms, in turn, will cut back summer associate hiring or even look at ways to trim associate ranks, just as happened in the 90s. It's all very Santayanaesque...those who cannot remember the past....