Thursday, May 03, 2007

Raising California

Well as news is spreading, Orrick just went to $160,000. ATL assumes that the big West Coast firms will follow. At best I think they MAY follow. Yeah, I know, I'm right if they do, and I'm right if they don't. I feel like the weather guy who predicts 30% chance of showers. But here's my thinking. All the NY firms already pretty much pay $160 on the WC (Simpson, Skadden, etc.). On top of that, Quinn is also at $160. Orrick is now jumping into that category.

For the Gibsons, Lathams, O'Melveny's, and MoFos of the world, the question is fairly simple: will this affect our recruiting. That's why I have to answer the question with a maybe. If it's JUST Orrick and Quinn, they might hang tough and not cave in. But I think the movers are going to be Munger, Irell, and Kecker. If they go $160, then the big guys have no choice. They have to rise up to compete. Whatever the case, theI don't have much to base this on. It's just mostly intuition.

Maybe we should apply Malcolm Gladwell's "The Tipping Point" theory to all this.

UPDATE: O'Melveny has gone up to $160 according to the comments at ATL. When Frege created his mechanical reasoning, Bertrand Russell pointed out an inherent contradiction just as his work was about to be published. So in the end he just added a footnote saying something along the lines, "everything int his book is wrong." That's how I feel right now. Everything in the post above is wrong. Expect fairly quick moves from all WC firms now. Congrats to us.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Munger, Irell, Keker, and Quinn seem like they should go together as the handful of small, super-elite litigation firms (e.g. "transcript-fuckers").

But if I know my history, they're actually pretty disparate: Irell went to 145k more than year ago, Munger dragged their feet in getting to 145k this year, and Keker and Quinn bumped to 160k in the last 6 months. Not a lot of parallel movement.

I do love the idea that all these Boalties fleeing to NYC to cash in are going to soon find 1) horribly worse hours 2) shitty weather and 3) hiring cost-of-living all for...uh....the same amount of money.

5/03/2007 10:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Note: Finnegan & Fish also moved to $160 in addition to the NY firms.

I'm not to sure on NY having that much higher cost of living.

5/03/2007 11:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can the NY firms please move to $175k now. I want to feel better than everyone else again.

5/04/2007 1:25 AM  
Blogger Disco Stu said...

The timing on this is weird. These firms moving to 160, who are they looking to hire? They have their summer recruiting class. OCIP hasn't started yet. Are there peeps at MOFO willing to jump ship for an extra 20-25 in 3rd year associate salary? If more SF and LA firms are going to move, expect it to occur after this summer and in time to compete for summer 2008's recruiting class during this fall's OCIP.

5/04/2007 6:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Personally, I'd rather have firms lower their minimum billable hours requirement. $145k for 1600 min billable hours -- that'd be great! I prefer that over $160k for 2000+ hours.

5/04/2007 6:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone know whether this year's Orrick summers are going to get their pay bumped up too? That would explain the timing. It gets the SA's going into the summer with a really positive impression of the firm.

If Orrick pays higher for the summer, and other firms wait until OCIP starts to raise, that might prompt some to re-interview as 3Ls, because all summer they'll be wondering "WTF, why isn't this firm moving with the pay raises" (I guarantee you that was a major topic of discussion last summer when there was a 145 NYC / 135 West Coast split in pay). That would be a move that would be penny wise and pound foolish for non-raising firms.

5/04/2007 7:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hell, I'd prefer 100K for 1600 billables than 160K for 2000

5/04/2007 7:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

slightly off topic- anybody know why N&B's user tracker freezes up Firefox running on a Mac but seemingly nothing else? (safari works, as does my PC running firefox)

on topic of money raises: yay- bring it home to daddy. sad thing is that my summer firm is one that usually is late in the process...

5/04/2007 12:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

congratulations to all for now being higher priced hookers.

5/04/2007 12:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a little embarrassed for OMM. The move smacks of desperation. I mean, who convenes a partnership call at 7 PM on a Thursday, then sends out a company wide voicemail in a panic? To me, it screams, "Our mid-levels are so miserable, we don't want them contemplating jumping ship for even 12 hours! Our recruiting is so lax, we can't have the 1Ls wondering about shit for even one day." It's angst and panic.

I have a lot more respect for a firm that says, "Uh, that's nice. We're going to take a week to think about it."

And then if they don't match they're pathetic.

5/04/2007 8:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

MoFo matched:

5/04/2007 9:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

MoFo didn't really give a raise. If I understand it correctly (and I may not), they went to $160,000 but took out the automatic bonus at 1950 hours. Now it's 2100 for a bonus. So basically, if you work 2000 hours, you get the same amount you would have been getting in the first place (except through the course of the year, rather than in a bonus at the end). So really they didn't give a raise, they just moved the money around.

5/05/2007 1:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's some bullshit. Then again, what happens if I'm at MoFo now and I only work 1900 -- bonus-free and care-fee at 160k. Is that still cool, or will there be a partner in my office?

5/05/2007 3:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I'm going to be a whore, I'd rather be a high-priced whore.

5/05/2007 11:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As I understand it, most firms that increased their pay to 160k are just messing around with the year-end bonus or the "bar gift"--more money up front in the salary now, smaller bonus (or no bonus) at the end of the year and no bar gift (becomes an advance or loan). The change to 160k looks better for recruiting without impacting the bottom line too much, and the other details re: bonus/bar loan or gift are pretty hard to compare during interviews.

Remember: our raises come straight out of the partners' paychecks and they don't like giving up their money any more than we do.

We're all suckers.

5/05/2007 11:50 PM  

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