Friday, April 27, 2012

Friday Open Thread: Raises

My employment anniversary is coming up soon, which means it's time to remind the boss that I need a raise. My Bentley ain't gonna pay for itself, right guys! Working for a small firm has its perks, but it also comes with some disadvantages, like a lack of set policies for bonuses/yearly raises.

My previous firm worked like clockwork. Each year on the dot, I got a letter from the partners telling me what my raise would be.  I would then spend the next week either doing the chicken-dance, or struggling with my sense of entitlement and wondering whether my ass was on the chopping block because I didn't get the raise I expected.

How does your firm handle raises? Do you have to remind your boss that you're worth more than they are paying you? Does the raise come automatically in the form of a letter from the accounting gods? If you are one of the lucky few to receive yearly raises, what percentage of your salary does it amount to?

Anything else going on out there in the legal community that you want to talk about? We usually get our best tips from the Friday Open Threads, so let it all hang out.

-JD

(Image from here)

78 comments:

  1. Small firm, no set policy. I am a first year, so when my anniversary comes up I don't know that I will ask for a raise. I am paid more than most first years in Vegas. Next year, however, I will ask.

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  2. Related:

    Nancy Rapoport expects law schools to close:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5XnSp6HmeFc&feature=player_embedded

    I nominate Boyd, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Cooley (sorry, Barry!), California Western, Stetson, Barry and pretty much the entire third and fourth tier. Those stench pits are scams and need to be closed.

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  3. It would certainly create barriers to entry that would help Nevada attorneys if Boyd closes. That said, Boyd is a much better school than the others listed. It has much more capable incoming classes, and the work I've seen from Boyd grads generally trumps work I've seen from third and fourth tier grads (especially taking into account experience of the attorney). Almost every state has at least one law school, and several have multiple. That considered, the competition from Boyd grads isn't that stifling.

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  4. http://www.lvrj.com/news/mystery-defense-motion-raises-stakes-in-medical-kickback-case-148637895.html

    I wonder what "public scandal" this "mystery defense motion" is all about??

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  5. 11:08 - Just in this region, you could also shut down Western State, Golden Gate, USF, Willlamette, Loyola Marymount, McGeorge, USD, Southwestern, Whittier, Lewis & Clark, Gonzaga, Seattle University, Pepperdine, Arizona State, Chapman, and UCI. No one (except possibly the ridiculously-overpaid faculty) would even notice.

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  6. 2:36, since this is anonymous, where did you and 11:08 go to school, and, do you believe you are above average lawyers? Sincere curiosity.

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  7. 2:36- Arizona State is a top-30 school now. Don't think they're getting shut down.

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  8. I'll guess @2:36 went to Arizona since he/she included ASU in the "Shut em down list".

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  9. Good attorneys come out of all kinds of schools. The smartest guy I know went to DU because his wife has a killer job in Denver. I know a brilliant UNLV grad that went to UNLV because he had kids and a job in town. Both could have got in anywhere.

    Additionally, I've looked at bios for the head partners at all the major firms in town, and most went to non-top schools.

    The more attorneys that graduate every year, the harder the competition for clients, but I don't think that's reason to limit opportunities for capable people. If you as a superior attorney offer a better product, then you'll be compensated. If not, the lowly second and third tier grads will take your clients.

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  10. 2:36: Your list of schools contains patent problems. I will give you the opportunity to go through your list and pick out the obvious misnomers therein before roasting you any longer.

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  11. 11:08 here.

    I attended Brigham Young University for both undergrad and law school. I am proud to say that because BYU has been a beacon of ethical behavior compared to the other 199 ABA schools. If other schools behaved like BYU, the legal profession would not be in this mess.

    About half of the kids at Boyd are there because they couldn't get into BYU. I don't mean to crush dreams, kids, but even BYU grads are having a difficult time getting jobs these days. If that is true, what are you chances further down trough at a borderline third tier law school like UNLV?

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  12. Perhaps 2:36 would nix ASU because she belives a state the size of Arizona really doesn't need more than one law school. Just a guess. She also nixes two in Oregon and two in Washington; so there's a theme there.

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  13. 3:32:

    "Patent?" "Misnomers?" "Therein?" Drop the legalese and don't be such a douche.

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  14. 4:27: Wash your mouth out or whatever part you think your "douche" appropriate for

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  15. 3:33 - Please, please give some indication that you're being sarcastic. I thought you were serious for a second.

    11:08, 2:36, get off your high horses. If you practice in this town you are surrounded by grads from these schools. What makes you think you're clever enough to judge? Even the top ten schools lobby against the US News Rankings each year.

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  16. I agree with 3:51 - the point is that we simply need fewer law schools. We're goint to end up consuming ourselves if we don't stop adding to the lawyer population. The work just isn't there. There are too many vultures trying to eat the same decaying carcass.

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  17. There's nothing wrong with BYU. It's a fine school. But bragging about BYU while putting down UNLV is like bragging about Cal Western while putting down Cooley. As far as major employers go, both schools are not really on their radar, and as far as Vegas employers go, the difference between the two isn't that significant or relevant. If you went to a top-20 school, I'd be more apt to agree with your premise. I could be wrong, but I doubt there's a major firm in Vegas that's more willing to hire either school over the other. I'm at one of the bigger firms and I know that's true here.

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  18. Although 3:33 is being sarcastic, he/she is not too far off from reality.

    And what's the deal with ASU's meteoric rise in the rankings? I'm guessing some cooked employment numbers. Solid school, but it wasn't even top 50 three or four years ago.

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  19. The rumor is they hire any grads who can't get work, so they can report ridiculously high employment numbers. Seems very shady.

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  20. That's not even a rumor. ASU has admitted that they hire students who can't find jobs. Coincidentally, those jobs last just about long enough to report the students as employed.

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  21. 11:08/3:33 here.

    It's a fact that there are many firms in this town that consistently hire BYU (and now and again a Utah grad) over anyone from Boyd. It's a fact that BYU's LSAT/GPA numbers are significantly higher than UNLV. It's a fact that about a third of the kids at UNLV are LDS and were rejected by BYU. What am I missing here?

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  22. I'm betting 8:44 works at H&S. What a smug a-hole.

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  23. US News rankings are tied almost entirely to numbers -- LSAT and undergrad GPA. This is too bad b/c it makes the competition second think an admissions decision on what it will do to their overall average and so their overall ranking. There are people out there who are extraordinary and will make extraordinary lawyers yet get culled out while others who went to easier undergrad schools or prepped for a life time to take the LSAT are admitted. Worshipping averages rewards in-system kids and mediocrity and that's worrisome.

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  24. I just sent the long post right above. But I didn't finish it. What I wanted to end up with is that school ranking doesn't mean much outside the top 10. After that achievement does--performance IN lawschool not BEFORE lawschool. So, class rank, moot court, law review, all that mean more than schools once you're out of the top 10. I think that is how most employers see it too.

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  25. and of course once youre out of law school it again becomes meaningless -- how many people know where don campbell, randall jones or bob eglet went to law school? or care?

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  26. well i went to a top 10, and i think the difference between byu and unlv is the difference between number 2 and 3 at the special olympics. i.e. the firms that want to hire me think youre both nobodys. grads from neither school will ever get offers from the firms offering me unless you wasta a year as a 9th circuit clerk

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  27. 425 here shouldnt have posted that the unwarranted hubris of the byu grad got under my skin us top 10 grads arent douches and really understand the lsat/gpa game is a joke sorry if i pissed anyone from unlv off

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  28. "11:08/3:33 here.

    It's a fact that there are many firms in this town that consistently hire BYU (and now and again a Utah grad) over anyone from Boyd. It's a fact that BYU's LSAT/GPA numbers are significantly higher than UNLV. It's a fact that about a third of the kids at UNLV are LDS and were rejected by BYU. What am I missing here?"

    There are many predominantly LDS firms who consistently hire BYU grads. That's what your missing.

    4:25 - For me, I don't understand why a grad from a top 10 school would choose to live here. This is great place for us non-top 10 lawyers to practice because firms don't care, even the big ones. Isn't the best thing about a top notch education the options it affords its grads?

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  29. @4/22 8:44p (since there are 2 8:44)--- In answer to your question: Don Campbell went to Creighton, Randall Jones went to Cal Western and Bob Eglet went to McGeorge.

    @4:25-- Please tell me at your "Top 10" that the school shared with you that punctuation and capitalization matters. If you do not ride in on a high horse, no one will need to knock you down to the level at which you are, which is trolling a Law Blog at 4:25 on a Saturday afternoon.

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  30. 10:57 - anyone can look that up on the bar's website. What is that supposed to prove? Also, most people understand that a posting on a blog is not a brief.

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  31. I went to a crap school and my grades sucked and I'm one of the top 1% of attorneys in town. Going to a great school might help you get an initial job, but the fact is that we're predisposed to be talented or lack talent when we come out of our mother's womb.

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  32. @ 8:50--- What does it prove? Well the debate seemingly grew out of a proposal that a variety of law schools in the West be closed and has focused on the quality of law schools and alumni that they churn out, including someone proposing that there might be really fine attorneys in town who graduated from said institutions. Someone else named 3 relatively esteemed attorneys- 2 of whom it turns out graduated from schools which were proposed as being subpar. So linking it up, many fine attorneys graduate from institutions which might otherwise not garner esteem.

    While most people understand that a blog is not a brief, if someone comes in touting the superiority of their education and claiming that 2 other schools are akin to the Special Olympics, it is fair to challenge that self-admitted hubris when it bears out in a person who is struggling with fourth grade grammar.

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  33. I dare say that I have hired more attorneys in the last 20 years than any other poster thus far. Ambition, effort and attitude carry the day every time. We will teach you to be a good attorney. Where you went to school doesn't mean squat.

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  34. @9:10 - I missed the Las Vegas attorney rankings this year. How did you get to be in the Top 1% of attorneys in town? I'd personally put myself in the top 0.5% of attorneys in town. We're an exclusive group.

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  35. Sometimes when I look at the pleadings from opposing attorneys, I think that all it takes to be in the Top 1% of attorneys in Las Vegas is the ability to write a coherent and mostly grammatically correct sentence. So I can see how 9:10 might have mistakenly put himself in that group.

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  36. You will not get a raise this year. But you will be promoted to senior associate and have more responsibilities ... and by the way, your billables will still need to be done. :)

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  37. I think the top 1% of attorneys in this town spend a lot of time and money making the elected judiciary predisposed to giving them certain advantages. Just my opinion of course.

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  38. @9:27 - Definitely a big part of what they do. It's also something non-top 1% lawyers do too (and if they're not, maybe they should be).

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  39. Ballard Spahr has a terrible website.

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  40. 8:34 --- You can start with the Best Lawyers in America listing which I believe is about Top 1.5% or so.

    Even better, although my name is in there every year and has been for years, more to the point, I would conclude that my annual income puts me well into the Top 1%of attorneys.

    I recognize that this is anonymous, but I assume my point is proven.

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  41. “I assume my point is proven.” The only thing you’ve proven is that you likely have a tiny penis.

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  42. 2:02- the only point you've proven is that on the Internet, no one knows if you're a dog.

    The fact that you think your income puts you into the top 1% is a sign that reality and your thinking have long parted company. Feel free to post your name if you want to prove otherwise.

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  43. If you are taking the time to post on this blog, you defenitely are not a top 1% attorney in Las Vegas. I call BS on you sir.

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  44. or definitely

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  45. well i am the number 1 attorney in this town, based on esteem, rankings, income, trials won, just everything.

    i am seriously laughing my ass off at the things people post anonymously on here, i mean, WOW!!!

    in my opinion, the top 1% of nevada attorneys are the ones who are licensed here, have firms here, and who sit around in beverly hills drinking cocktails all day because they are so rich they no longer have to practice. if income defines you, then that is the summit.

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  46. I can say, with a fair amount of certainty, that the "number 1 attorney in this town" would neither have the time to post incessantly on this blog, nor use the phrase "i am seriously laughing my ass off."

    And, in my opinion, the top 1% of nevada attorneys would never spend their time "stting around in beverly hils drinking cocktails all day because they are so rich they no longer have to practice" because the top 1% of nevada attorneys enjoy the practice of law, which is why they are the top 1%, and the reason "they are so rich" is becuase they don't "sit around in beverly hills drinking cocktails all day." But I am sure poolside in beverly hills is where you are posting from at this very moment, right?

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  47. @4:01 you very clearly do not understand sarcasm. at all. christ on a bike, go hide in a hole somewhere.

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  48. 9:44 ok, you were right on the first point. I hadn't read carefully enough. However, I still disagree with you on the second point. There is an obvious difference between not knowing grammar and simply being knowingly careless when posting on a blog

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  49. Intentionally careless? Did you really go to law school? After reading the back and forth, I am beginning to think you only aspire to apply someday. Nevertheless, if I am wrong, it is clear that 9:44 is the better attorney, no matter where he/she went to school.

    Or, maybe you're just trying to keep a slowly dying discussion lively. In which case I commend your efforts.

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  50. You know what I'd like to see? A thread about who the biggest asshole lawyers (redundant?) in town are. Nothing defamatory, no allegations of fact, just people naming assholes.

    I'm fairly new to practicing in this community and I've already seen my fair share of the good and bad, but I'd love to hear others' opinions.

    Is that too much to ask?

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  51. Start with @9:10, Mr.1%.

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  52. Has anyone else seen this Craigslist "seeking" ad? I am usually not a grammar nazi, but seriously, this person is a judge pro tem and does not know the basic rules of pluralization? this person has handled hundreds of "arbitration's and mediation's." Good lord.

    http://lasvegas.craigslist.org/lgl/2991949426.html

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  53. I love that the Craigslist poster "concentrates" on the following areas: corporate, contract, entertainment, insurance defense, personal injury and all family law matters, including, but not limited to: custody, paternity, divorce, grandparent rights, adoptions, same sex couple work, guardianship, probate, wills, trusts and estate planning.

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  54. "Anonymous said...
    8:34 --- You can start with the Best Lawyers in America listing which I believe is about Top 1.5% or so.

    May 1, 2012 2:02 PM"

    Just in case anyone reading this does not know, Best Lawyers is just a marketing tool used by larger firms.

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  55. Just so you all know, Steve Gibson of Righthaven fame is listed in the Best Lawyers of America. In fact, I'm guessing he's the one who's been commenting.

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  56. @ 1:18--You take that back! Do not diminish the accomplishments of the select few, Best Lawyers. Even if some of them have only practiced for a year or two, they EARNED it.

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  57. I always kinda feel bad for the third year attorneys that are billed as "superlawyers." They've got to know it's bs, that every lawyer in town knows its bs, and the only got it because their 50-attorney firm all voted for all the attorneys in the building. I remember when I was a first year at a firm and a 3d year at the firm was on the list. The guy was a "litigator" that had never once argued in court.

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  58. 9:13 - I've heard law schools are going to scrap the LSAT in favor of using blog posts to evaluate applicants because blog posts are "clearly" indicative of a person's capabilities as a lawyer. You pulled out the 'you're argument is so bad you must not be a lawyer' remark which suggests you are a first year.

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  59. and, before you seize upon the grammar thing again, of course, the "you're" error is a sloppy error because I was typing fast and, like most people, I don't give a crap about grammar on blog posts

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  60. The person noting the Best Lawyers in America listing above has a big ego. However, he/she is 100% correct. I wish I was in there. Look at the names in there. They're the go-to lawyers. I'm not afraid to admit it.

    I dispute the comment that Steven Gibson is listed in there. I doubt it.

    Good for whoever is in there. Unlike some of these services, Best Lawyers has always been the one legit rating service. I;m on their ballot this year and hope to get voted in.

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  61. You're on the ballot for Super Lawyers, huh?

    Well I've got a nine inch penis. And I went to BYU.

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  62. Best Lawyers is not legit and every corporation and in-house counsel will tell you that. Are there some heavy hitters listed there? Yes, but there are also attorneys who have no business being recognized as such. Same goes for Super Lawyers. The only legit rating organization for lawyers is Chambers USA. It requires extensive information from the attorney and interviews clients. It does not exist simply to sell ad space and plaques.

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  63. There really is a place for a fun, informational, witty blog for Las Vegas lawyers. When posters are puerile and vicious, though, who wants to read it or maintain the blog?

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  64. Well, I do. But, I don't maintain the site. I hope whoever does has a sense of humor that is both a little childish and mean.

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  65. Can we do a post about the Board of Governor's elections?

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  66. Sorry, loyal readers! I've been up to my eyeballs in work this week.. Either myself or JD will do a proper post by tomorrow a.m... And thanks for the suggestion on the Board of Governor's elections.. We will work that in!

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  67. How about a post about the Shark Pimp's attempted coup d'etat of the Las Vegas territory of Constables Lou Toomin and John Bonaventura using disgraced, ethically challenged and possibly ressurected Michael McDonald and henchman Rick Henry? Trying to match sleaze with sleaze? Who knows? It could work. Is Rick Rizzolo coming on board to assist the Pimp once released from custody?

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  68. It's funny how people who aren't in the Best Lawyers in America book @#$% all over it. Lawyers are so competitive.

    Good for anyone who is in there. I agree with the person above that I think it is something like top 1.5%.

    It's funny how people here keep confusing Super Lawyers with Best Lawyers. I'm in Super Lawyers, but not Best Lawyers. Super Lawyers is Top 5%. Any anonymous posters here who don't know the difference are showing their ignorance (and showing whay they're in neither).

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  69. I believe they are both total BS. My impression is they salt the gold mine with a few quality attorneys and then fill it up with the schlubs that pay to be listed or had their law firms mount a campaign to load the ballot box. The only attorneys who care about it are the ones listed. Nobody else wastes one second on that nonsense. I bet you still include your junior high student government involvement and yu-gi-oh club secretary on your resume or web site bio as well @6:02.

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  70. The skills I learned as secretary of yu-gi-oh club are the foundation of my professional success! For shame, 6:30! For shame!

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  71. http://lasvegas.craigslist.org/lgl/2978397346.html

    Is this real? Bigelow is looking for attorneys?

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  72. I went to a better law school than you did.
    I make more money than you do.
    My firm is better than your firm.
    I'm a Super Lawyer.
    I'm one of the Best Lawyers in America.
    I'm the top lawyer in Las Vegas.
    I'm the best.lawyer.ever!!!!!

    Some of you people sound like insecure little children. This crap makes me embarassed to be a part of the Vegas legal community.

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  73. @8:49 Pikachu is that you?

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  74. @1:43,

    You're either not actually in the "legal community," or you haven't been to many other places. This behavior is pretty typical.

    P.S.: CAPTCHA word 1: provo. I love it!

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  75. I remember that last year, or the year before, Superlawyers or Best Lawyers Ever or what not listed a 2nd year associate from Ballard Spahr in its list. A SECOND YEAR ASSOCIATE. Come on. At least make an effort to look legit.

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  76. Best Lawyers is more credible than SuperLawyers. Far more credible. With that being said, they are books and publications--books and publications that really no one in their right mind would purchase if one was not listed therein. The concept is not difficult to understand and goes back to "Who's Who lists" and your high school yearbook. Why would anyone purchase it who was not in the book? Why would you publish a book unless you were relatively certain that you could get people to purchase it? It is a symbiotic relationship which clouds content.

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  77. @6:02 So your theory is not knowing there exists a difference between Super Lawyers and Best Lawyers (or not caring) proves one is neither. That is quite an amazing conclusion on your part Mr. 6:02. I nominate you for "DOUCHE-TURD OF THE WEEK" maybe the MONTH. FYI, I can state with 100% certainty, your are now and have been your entire life, a mediocre blowhard always on the outside looking in at the successful/popular people. I also suspect you are a probably savant- like when it comes to your fraudulent billable hours as well.

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