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Law Practice Management

Nixon Peabody Cuts Associate Pay, Shifts to Performance-Based Bonuses

Posted Apr 27, 2009 4:01 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Nixon Peabody has cut the starting salary for incoming first-year associates to $145,000 in "major financial centers" that reportedly include Boston, Chicago, New York, Washington, D.C. and offices in California.

"Additionally, we have made downward adjustments to the base pay of our current associates based on their individual performance and contribution to our firm," says Richard Langan Jr., the firm's managing partner and CEO, in a written statement provided to the ABA Journal.

Although Langan's statement (PDF) to the ABA Journal doesn't name the cities affected by the salary cut, an internal memo from Langan to associates at the firm does, reports Above the Law.

A new bonus program confirmed in Langan's statement underlines the firm's apparent shift from a more traditional lockstep salary scale for associates to performance-based pay as they progress in experience. As detailed in the internal memo obtained by Above the Law, bonuses could now be as much as 30 percent of a star associate's base pay—depending on firm and individual performance.

"Through this innovative approach to associate compensation, along with a wide range of innovative pricing arrangements to meet the varied needs of our clients, we are able to continue to provide our clients with the highest level of service and lower-cost practical solutions in order to meet their business needs in this challenging economic climate," concludes the statement Langan provided to the ABA Journal. "We appreciate our associates' understanding and commitment to our firm and its future."

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