Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

Maxing out associate salary

I believe I've maxed out as a "senior associate". 10+ years cheapbrass06/29/17
Basically, there will be point where the firm cannot pay yo ternarydaemon06/29/17
Is the paid-one-third-of-billables a reasonable standard for 3lol06/29/17
On plaintiff's side PI I'd say the maximum any associate cou trickydick06/29/17
Good post. vohod06/29/17
I'll just add it depends on firm and case types. Plaintiffs lolasaurusrex06/29/17
And while these numbers may seem impressive to the uninitiat trickydick06/30/17
even in NYC biglaw, the max you can make as a non-partner is dingbat06/30/17
Which is kinda hilarious when a guy in the ID thread can hit vohod06/30/17
My firm caps associate salary at 100k, but then uses bonus t jd4hire06/30/17
Yeah, that seems to be a common arrangement. It seems like e trickydick06/30/17
cheapbrass (Jun 29, 2017 - 6:11 pm)

I believe I've maxed out as a "senior associate". 10+ years as an associate. What's the highest salary that an associate can max out at without making partner?

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ternarydaemon (Jun 29, 2017 - 7:27 pm)

Basically, there will be point where the firm cannot pay you more or else you become a cost center instead of an income center. Usually it is 1/3 of what you generate the firm. So if you get paid 200k you ought to generate 600k in billables.

By 10th year you should have rare skill that continue to support your billables or else have generated clients with billables enough to make you a partner. If you have clients of your own but not enough revenue, you might be made off counsel. If you lack either valuable skills or clients, then you will be fired eventually.

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3lol (Jun 29, 2017 - 7:48 pm)

Is the paid-one-third-of-billables a reasonable standard for salary?

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trickydick (Jun 29, 2017 - 7:58 pm)

On plaintiff's side PI I'd say the maximum any associate could ever hope to make would be $125,000, maybe $150,000. And we're talking a huge mill with thousands of cases. Smaller firms probably cap you out between $75,000 and $100,000.

Bear in mind that these numbers come from my experience in the high COL Los Angeles area.

The one advantage it has over defense's side is that they won't just boot you out after you hit the point of diminishing returns on experience, if you've got the experience they'll keep you on at the same low pay until you off yourself.

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vohod (Jun 29, 2017 - 8:12 pm)

Good post.

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lolasaurusrex (Jun 29, 2017 - 8:54 pm)

I'll just add it depends on firm and case types. Plaintiffs Botique firms you can make range that Tricky said without it being a mill but again all depends on the type and value of cases coming through the door.

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trickydick (Jun 30, 2017 - 11:40 pm)

And while these numbers may seem impressive to the uninitiated, remember that these numbers generally come within reach only after about a decade of grinding away. That's a long, tough grind and a lot of people never make it that far.

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dingbat (Jun 30, 2017 - 9:13 am)

even in NYC biglaw, the max you can make as a non-partner is around $300-$350k.

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vohod (Jun 30, 2017 - 9:26 am)

Which is kinda hilarious when a guy in the ID thread can hit that doing personal injury. Preftige!

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jd4hire (Jun 30, 2017 - 3:01 pm)

My firm caps associate salary at 100k, but then uses bonus to address. Bonuses are normally anywhere from 2 - 30k dependent upon experience, clients brought in, etc. In New England, not Boston.

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trickydick (Jun 30, 2017 - 11:37 pm)

Yeah, that seems to be a common arrangement. It seems like everyone with over a decade of experience who isn't a partner seems to have some kind of bonus structure. Naturally, people's opinions of such an arrangement varies from person to person.

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