Lawyer Pay

Two-Tier Associate Pay at Thelen

Only the biggest-billing associates will make $160,000 a year at one California law firm.

Thelen Reid Brown Raysman & Steiner will pay that amount to new associates who bill at least 2,000 hours a year, and $145,000 to those who work less, according to the Recorder.

“We wanted a compensation structure that would pay top-of-the-market compensation to top performers and that was flexible enough to account for the life-work balance that some associates are faced with,” co-chairman Stephen O’Neal told the legal newspaper.

The law firm’s announcement appears to address the concerns of many associates about high billable hour requirements. Many associates told the ABA Journal in an unscientific survey that they would be willing to earn less money in exchange for lower billables.

The firm is the last large California law firm to announce an associate salary increase.

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