Survey finds new lawyer salaries remain stable

first_imgSurvey finds new lawyer salaries remain stable The national median salary for first-year associates this year ranged from $59,500 in firms of two-25 attorneys to $113,000 in firms of 500 or more lawyers, according to the National Association for Law Placement.A first-year median for all firms participating in the annual NALP survey was $93,190.A comparison with figures reported as of April 2002, April 2001, and April 2000 reveals that first-year salaries have remained stable in firms of 251 or more attorneys during this period, with a median of about $110,000, NALP said.“This is in sharp contrast to a 30 percent increase in the median, from April 1999 to April 2000,” NALP said. “In some major cities, such as Los Angeles and New York City, as well as the Silicon Valley area, the prevailing salary of $125,000 for first-year associates in large firms has remained unchanged since April 2000.”The organization said salary stability at this level was last experienced almost a decade ago in the mid-1990s.NALP said, as expected, each year of associate experience brings several thousand dollars in increased compensation: median salaries for eighth-year associates ranged from $106,000 in small firms to $165,000 in the largest firms, with a median for all participating firms of $124,900.The median salary for first-year associates in all firms of over 251 attorneys was highest in the West, at $120,000, followed by $117,000 in the Northeast, and $106,000 and $95,000 in the South and Midwest, respectively.The survey also reports on bonus systems at participating firms and the prevalence and size of bonuses for prior judicial clerks. Among the findings on bonus systems: about 67 percent of firms determine eligibility for bonuses on a “discretionary basis.” Many firms (60 percent) use “meeting fixed goals” as a determinant of eligibility — 42 percent of small firms consider this factor, while about three-quarters of the largest firms do so. Bonus amounts were based on various factors, the most common of which were merit/performance (76 percent of offices offering associate bonuses), billable hours (70 percent), and discretion (50 percent). About one-quarter of the firms reported paying a bonus to prior judicial clerks, with large firms most likely to offer such bonuses. Bonuses of $10,000 – $15,000 were most typical.A total of 578 offices provided salary information as of April 1, with 25 percent of respondents representing firms of 50 or fewer attorneys and 25 percent representing firms of more than 500 attorneys.More detailed results of the survey, including medians, averages, and ranges of base salaries for associates through the eighth year, aggregate compensation for associates, and comparisons of compensation structures, are found in the complete 2003 Associate Salary Survey, now available from NALP for $95. For more information go to Survey finds new lawyer salaries remain stablecenter_img September 1, 2003 Regular Newslast_img read more

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