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Will California Firms Match N.Y. Pay?


— January 23, 2007

Dollar Sign Diamond Jewlery

Quinn Emanuel partner William Urquhart just returned Tuesday from a trip to Finland, but he’s already heard word of New York-based firms raising first-year associate salaries to $160,000. Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver & Hedges is one of the few California firms that — until Monday — had matched the New York going rate of $145,000.

Now, says Urquhart, “The question is: Will others follow outside of New York? Up until now, we’ve been the oddball paying all associates the same rate regardless of office, but I really don’t know what we’re going to do yet.”

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, the first firm to up salaries this year, raised associate pay across the board, including its offices in Palo Alto, Calif., and Los Angeles. Most major California-based firms are still at $135,000. Simpson, with 700 lawyers, reported profits per partner of $2.37 million in 2005, according to Recorder sibling publication The American Lawyer.

Several other New York firms — including Sullivan & Cromwell and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison — followed Simpson’s raise this week. But not all of them matched Simpson’s rate in every office. For example, Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft’s raise was for its New York and Washington, D.C., offices but not its substantial Charlotte, N.C., office, according to the New York Law Journal, also affiliated with The Recorder.

Industry observers doubt whether highly profitable California-based firms will stay behind for long, at least in their New York branches. . . .

[T]hat’s music to associate ears, but as of late Tuesday, no California firm had publicly made the move.

Details here from The Recorder via Law.com.


Dollar Sign Diamond Jewlery

Quinn Emanuel partner William Urquhart just returned Tuesday from a trip to Finland, but he’s already heard word of New York-based firms raising first-year associate salaries to $160,000. Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver & Hedges is one of the few California firms that — until Monday — had matched the New York going rate of $145,000.

Now, says Urquhart, “The question is: Will others follow outside of New York? Up until now, we’ve been the oddball paying all associates the same rate regardless of office, but I really don’t know what we’re going to do yet.”

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, the first firm to up salaries this year, raised associate pay across the board, including its offices in Palo Alto, Calif., and Los Angeles. Most major California-based firms are still at $135,000. Simpson, with 700 lawyers, reported profits per partner of $2.37 million in 2005, according to Recorder sibling publication The American Lawyer.

Several other New York firms — including Sullivan & Cromwell and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison — followed Simpson’s raise this week. But not all of them matched Simpson’s rate in every office. For example, Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft’s raise was for its New York and Washington, D.C., offices but not its substantial Charlotte, N.C., office, according to the New York Law Journal, also affiliated with The Recorder.

Industry observers doubt whether highly profitable California-based firms will stay behind for long, at least in their New York branches. . . .

[T]hat’s music to associate ears, but as of late Tuesday, no California firm had publicly made the move.

Details here from The Recorder via Law.com.

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