Lawyer Pay

Most Big Calif. Firms Pay Associates $160K to $265K in Lockstep

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Most California law firms responding to a new poll by the Recorder pay their associates lockstep compensation that begins at $160,000.

The “vast majority” of the 17 law firms that responded to the survey (PDF) increased pay to $210,000 for fourth-year associates and $265,000 for seventh years, the Recorder story says. Bonuses paid by most respondents began at $40,000 and increased by $20,000 for fourth years and another $20,000 for seventh years.

Billable-hour requirements at most firms were around 1,950 hours.

While pay is largely consistent now, some law firms are considering abandoning lockstep increases, the story says. Manatt, Phelps & Phillips has already abandoned lockstep, and Orick, Herrington & Sutcliffe is considering making the change. Bingham McCutchen, on the other hand, went to a nonlockstep model, then ditched it, partly because it was so labor-intensive to administer, San Francisco managing partner Geoff Howard told the publication.

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