Lawyer Pay

Some associates not meeting 'utilization expectations' get pay cuts at this law firm

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Associates at Steptoe & Johnson who aren’t meeting “utilization expectations” will be getting prorated pay cuts through the end of 2022.

The firm confirmed the lower pay for a small number of associates, even as it raises pay for the other associates July 1, Above the Law reports.

The new pay rate for those billing within expectations is at the scale set by Cravath, Swaine & Moore, which ranges from $215,000 to $415,000. Those who are below 80% utilization on a sustained basis will get a prorated amount of the Cravath pay scale.

Above the Law had reached out to Steptoe & Johnson after hearing from tipsters who said the law firm was cutting pay for associates who were below 80% utilization. The law firm provided a statement to the blog.

The statement said Steptoe & Johnson laid out its vision in January, which included strengthening its high-performance culture, growing its talent and enhancing client success.

“We also announced in January that we would be matching associates who are consistently under budget with reduced work schedules to make sure that compensation and work effort are equitable and aligned. Over the course of the past few days we’ve contacted every U.S. associate to inform each of them of salary changes and their utilization expectations,” the statement read. “A small number of associates will be moving to reduced utilization budgets and prorated compensation through the end of the 2022, at the July 1 scale. At year end, we will review again associate utilization and performance and expect to continue to reward our high performers.”

Above the Law reports that the new scale being implemented July 1 is:

  • Class of 2021: $215,000, the same as the current scale
  • Class of 2020: $225,000, the same as the current scale
  • Class of 2019: $250,000, the same as the current scale
  • Class of 2018: $295,000, up from $285,000
  • Class of 2017: $345,000, up from $325,000
  • Class of 2016: $370,000, up from $350,000
  • Class of 2015: $400,000, up from $370,000
  • Class of 2014: $415,000, up from $385,000

Updated June 24 at 3:45 p.m. to make clear that the underutilized associates are being paid a prorated amount based on the Cravath, Swaine & Moore scale.

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