Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Magic Numbers 2015

Here are the results for the 2015 Magic Number survey. These numbers are based on what first year associates are making and what the billable requirement is at a firm. These two pieces of information combined give us the salary per billable hour or Magic Number. These numbers come from your survey responses, as well as last year's responses. We make no guarantees regarding their accuracy. If we received more than one response for a firm and the numbers differed, we put the average. (That means if you submitted a response for your first year salary and the number below is higher--that is probably a good sign someone else is making more than you at your same firm.) You also have to remember that this does not take into account benefits or intangibles (like a private chef), so your mileage may vary. If you are an experienced attorney and get sick at the thought of how underpaid you are, enter at your own risk. The results are after the jump.



Firm Salary Billable Hours Magic Number Bonus/Notes
Glen Lerner Firm $140,000.00 1825 $76.71
Legal Aid Center $135,000.00 1950 $69.23
McCormick Barstow $120,000.00 1800 $66.67
Snell Wilmer $115,000.00 1800 $63.89
Greenberg Traurig $118,500.00 1900 $62.37 most people are way above the minimum billables
Akerman LLP $130,000.00 2100 $61.90 Annual raise and bonus around $25K
Holland & Hart $110,000.00 1800 $61.11 Also requires mandatory 100 pro bono and 200 admin hours; 10% cut of originations
Lewis Roca Rothgerber $115,000.00 1900 $60.53 small chance at bonus, but they don't freak if you don't hit hours so it's a wash
Littler Mendelson $115,000.00 1900 $60.53
Brownstein Hyatt $115,000.00 1900 $60.53
Ballard Spahr $115,000.00 1900 $60.53
Weinberg Wheeler $130,000.00 2150 $60.47
Durham Jones $100,000.00 1850 $54.05 discretionary bonus for hours above 1850
Kolesar & Leatham $95,000.00 1800 $52.78
Pisanelli Bice $93,750.00 2025 $46.30
Armstrong Teasdale $90,000.00 1950 $46.15 They hold back 15% of your salary and pay you the held back portion every 6 months if you made your hours
Hutchison Steffen $85,000.00 1900 $44.74 Compensation structure is arbitrary
Lewis Brisbois $86,200.00 1950 $44.21
Wood Smith Henning $85,000.00 2000 $42.50 $75 for ever hour billed over minimum
Small firm 4 $80,000.00 1900 $42.11
Alverson Taylor $80,000.00 1950 $41.03 After first 6 months, pay by billable hour only, so salary is fluid
Marquis Aurbach $80,000.00 2000 $40.00 Bonus formula
Gordon & Rees $75,000.00 1950 $38.46
Gerrard Cox $70,000.00 1850 $37.84
Hall Jaffe $70,000.00 1900 $36.84
Wilson Elser $75,000.00 2050 $36.59
Barron & Pruitt $70,000.00 1920 $36.46
Jolley Urga $65,000.00 1800 $36.11
Canon Law Services $70,000.00 2000 $35.00 No billing requirement for first years, but work average of 50 hrs/ week. 20% referral fee for new cases
Dick (small firm 3?) $70,000.00 2000 $35.00
Small Insurance Defense firm $65,000.00 1900 $34.21 no bonus structure, but you get between $500-$1000 at Christmas
Small Firm 1 $60,000.00 1800 $33.33
Small Summerlin Firm $70,000.00 2150 $32.56
Lincoln Gustafson $65,000.00 2000 $32.50
Small Firm 2 $65,000.00 2000 $32.50 no bonuses
Bremer Whyte $65,000.00 2000 $32.50
Small CD Firm $65,000.00 2000 $32.50
Springel & Fink $65,000.00 2100 $30.95
Ranalli & Zaniel $60,000.00 1950 $30.77
Gordon Silver $0.00 0 $0.00 Compensation subject to judicial approval
Craig P. Kenney Firm $60,000.00 ? ? Plus % of cases brought in

For those of you who want to know what these numbers were historically, go visit the old Wild Wild Law blog, or as others suggested, salary information for some of these firms may be available on the NALP directory.

36 comments:

  1. "They hold back 15% of your salary and pay you the held back portion every 6 months if you made your hours."

    That's a dick move by the firm. I would never work for a firm that did that.

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    1. They started doing that something like 5-6 years ago. I'm surprised they're still doing it.

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    2. They stopped doing that years ago. The starting salary is wrong too. It's over $117k now.

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  2. Legal Aid pays 1st years $135,000? Who is THAT first year because that is so out of whack for anything that LACSN has paid to anyone. That might be the salary for 2 first years....

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    1. I think the blog had this same discussion last year. That number for LACSN can't possibly be correct. And if it were correct, it would be obscene.

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    2. Legal Aid pays like $55-62k with certain reimbursements. Maybe if you run the self help center or something, you can get the larger salary. Didn't Amber Candelaria get like $100k back in 2007 when she ran it?

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    3. That was before legal aid ran the self help center. Back then it was run I think by Nevada Legal Services under a contract with the Court. The funding came from the County (Court). The same way that Donna's House is funded and many other Court sponsored programs.

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  3. No way McCormick Barstow pays 1st year associates $120k. Maybe 1st year income partners. Also, Gordon & Silver salary subject to judicial approval = classic.

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    1. McCormick pays 1st year associates between 76k-78k. Billable hour requirements are very lax though.

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  4. I'm not good at math because I am just a dumb PI attorney. What is the magic number for our first year claims associate who has zero billable hours and made $85,000 salary plus a $95,000 performance bonus? He does have to work from 9:00 am until 4:00 pm almost 5 days a week. Also, he was only given 3 weeks of vacation (plus the mandatory 2 weeks of vacation that everyone here gets during the holidays).

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    1. ... well, I guess you have to compensate your associate well after putting him in a position in which he is constantly subjected to legal malpractice suits/bar discipline because you allow your legal assistants to do all the work and settle cases without even talking to the client.

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    2. You paid a first year $175,000 for being in the office (maybe not even working) a maximum of 1470 hours a year (30 hours a week)?

      Your right, you are a dumb PI attorney. You could have paid some other first year $80,000 and no bonus and likely got the same work product.

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    3. I think the implication is that the first year learned to hustle, and so got $95k for leaving his business card in emergency rooms.

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    4. I love when 2:19 calls the PI attorney dumb and is grammatically incorrect. Good for you bitter insurance defense lifer.

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    5. Haters going to hate.

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  5. @10:45-- your firm hiring??

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  6. While the information in this post is generally useless, I enjoy it for its entertainment value. thanks.

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  7. Wow - I thought everyone made more than me haha - but I opened a solo practice n have always made more than the highest amount here at far less hours

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  8. Ackerman pays associates 130k, that is funny!

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    1. I heard the same numbers through the grape vine. Long hours for relatively high pay.

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    2. Ackerman attorneys put in long hours. 2100 sounds low.

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    3. Akerman's numbers are accurate, but you essentially live in your office.

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  9. This is a fun discussion, but I know for a fact, there is some serious BS in the list.

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  10. Pisanelli Bice can't be correct. That is substantially below the market and they wouldn't be able to attract the talent they want for it.

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    1. I have no knowledge of Pisanelli, but I tend to agree. They have had some fairly long-termed associates that I doubt would have stayed for that salary and all those hours. They work very hard over there. Though, I heard that one year they received 6-figure bonuses.

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    2. I heard they work like crazy as well. Didn't hear about the 6 figure bonuses though. If that is true, my guess is that it wasn't across the board but only offered a few select high billers.

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    3. I want to say it was a few years ago and tied to a contingency fee or some other big win, not hours billed. A firm-wide bonus.

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  11. A lot of these salaries seem highly inflated. Most attorneys I know are underemployed and making much less than use to.

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  12. I want to work for Lerner. How/where does he hire/post?

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  13. Unfortunately for us 2009-2013 graduates, the legal market was shit then and so we were all underpaid as first years. It's good to see that the larger firms who are hiring the top of the class talent are back to paying in the over $100,000 range.

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    1. who at the top of the Boyd School of Law class is getting paid over $100,000 a year?

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    2. I know there are at least 4-5 people from the 2014 Boyd Class that made close to 100K their first year...and definitely in their second year.

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    3. http://www.lstscorereports.com/schools/unlv/sals/2014/

      Only 12% of UNLV Law's Class of 2014 reported a starting salary in excess of $80,000.00.

      Now, compare that to 2011, the class that graduated in the worst of the recession:

      http://www.lstscorereports.com/schools/unlv/sals/2011/

      Only 15% reported salaries in excess of $75,000.00.

      It appears then, that the market hasn't improved much, if at all, for recent graduates.

      These claims of $100k salaries for first years from UNLV remind me a lot of male celebrities interviewed by Howard Stern. As you may be aware, Stern regularly asks his male guests how large their penis is. Even though the median penis is about 6 inches, for some strange reason Stern's guests usually fall into the 7.5-9 inch range.

      Sure, there MIGHT be one or two UNLV first years making around $100k. MAYBE. But they are extraordinary outliers. Most UNLV grads will start out making about $70,000.00 a year.

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    4. It's true that most UNLV grads aren't making 100k+ in their first year, but it's more than 1 or 2. Off the top of my head, GT, Snell, Lewis and Roca, Holland and Hart, BHFS, and Fennemore Craig all do OCI at UNLV, and they all pay 100k+ to first years. It's probably closer to 10 grads per year that start at 100k+.

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