I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: the easiest way to keep associates happy (re: compensation) is matching the market rate in a lockstep fashion. If you black box most associates’ salary numbers, well, there’s bound to be discontent.
That’s why, even though the Biglaw firm of Lowenstein Sandler announced raises, not everyone is thrilled.
See, it’s kind of a mixed bag. The good news for associates — well, first, second and third year associates anyway — is that the firm matched the market standard. Everyone else’s base compensation changes will be communicated individually. And, according to tipsters at the firm, folks aren’t happy:
Lowenstein Sandler matched for first three associate classes and then went to individual comp for more senior attorneys. The firm is known for paying more senior attorneys $10-50k less than market. Mid-level and senior associates (and counsel) are not happy and there are rumblings of many associates looking for new positions if the firm doesn’t increase salaries by the same amount of the new market increase (or match market).
Adding to the distrust is an updated bonus policy. The firm streamlined the process, but in a sample bonus grid shared with associates, only the highest performers match the market rates. As a tipster complained:
The firm also amended its bonus structure, which is below market except for the highest performers.
Last year the firm stated it wanted to compete for the best talent, but it appears that they can’t, or won’t, compete with the best firms when it comes to salary.
The raises are retroactive to January 1. You can read the full memo on the next page.
*** Wondering if the grass is greener on the in-house side? Click here for a look inside the black box of corporate counsel pay in our 2021 In-House Compensation Report. ***
Remember everyone, we depend on your tips to stay on top of important bonus updates, so when your firm matches, please text us (646-820-8477) or email us (subject line: “[Firm Name] Matches”). Please include the memo if available. You can take a photo of the memo and send it via text or email if you don’t want to forward the original PDF or Word file.
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Kathryn Rubino is a Senior Editor at Above the Law, host of The Jabot podcast, and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. AtL tipsters are the best, so please connect with her. Feel free to email her with any tips, questions, or comments and follow her on Twitter (@Kathryn1).
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