Monday, October 25, 2010

How does your small firm salary stack up?

That other (far superior) legal tabloid Above The Law is doing a series on small law firms, and has started publishing the results of its survey of small firm lawyers regarding their salaries. With over 650 respondents, they had a pretty good sample size, and came up with some interesting numbers.

Check it out. If you work for a smaller firm, let us know if the figures look accurate for our market.

(Thanks, Tipster!)

70 comments:

Anonymous said...

Spot on. And it confirms what I believed to be true. No complaints here, the small firm life is divine.

Anonymous said...

The only problem with the results is that their definition of "small firm" is anything less than 50 attorneys. By that definition, every firm in Nevada is a small firm.

Anonymous said...

Scooped by that other blog?

http://abovethelaw.com/2010/10/nevada-lawyer-sues-over-mean-facebook-comments/

Anonymous said...

I work for a small firm (4 attorneys) and make 65K. This is substantially lower than most of my friends who are also at smaller firms (less than 10 attorneys)and are making 75-80K. FML

Anonymous said...

re: 10:38 - how can Jonathan Goldsmith claim that he practices before the US Supreme Court when he's not yet eligible for admission? The Supreme Court requires three years of practice, but he was admitted in 2010. Scary that he thinks he's capable of practicing in all the areas identified on his website.

Anonymous said...

I work at a 5 attorney firm and make $78k as a 2nd year. I've learned that it could be much worse.

Anonymous said...

Solo - those numbers seem correct as net figures. You would have to collect 25-50% more than that gross, depending on your overhead.

Jordan Ross, Principal, Ross Legal Search said...

9:25 AM makes a very valid point. I always encourage attorneys to judge a firm by it's billing rate rather than the sheer number of attorneys.

Anonymous said...

FWIW, I like Jonathan Goldsmith. I think if you are professional with him, he returns the favor. He does have a rather large ego, however.

Anonymous said...

11:03 AM

How am I supposed to know the answer to that? I'm just here to surf and report. It appears from ATL that he also separates his practice areas into “60% Bankruptcy/ 10% Family Law/ 10% Criminal Defense/ 5% Personal Injury” and I'm a lawyer because I'm bad at math, but it seems that he's an 85% attorney. Of course, I also spend 15% of my time messing around, I just don't advertise it.

10:38

Anonymous said...

10 atty firm here, 1800 billables, 2nd year associate, make 115k.

Anonymous said...

There's another report out there that says if you aren't making at least $65,000, regardless of firm size, then law school was a bad gamble if you're carrying a typical student loan debt load.

Anonymous said...

Can anybody recommend a decent estate planning attorney? Any help is much appreciated.

Anonymous said...

10 atty Reno firm, 1750 billables, 3rd yr, 90K + bonuses (about 5-10K).
Would like to see less parity between small firms. Seems to me that some of my peers work a lot less hard, and only with micromanagement supervision. Those are $65K attys. Be able to handle the matters with the partners, then your a six figure atty.

Anonymous said...

hey 12:03-

liane wakayama @ m&a is top-notch. 702.382.0711

Anonymous said...

"How am I supposed to know the answer to that? I'm just here to surf and report. It appears from ATL that he also separates his practice areas into “60% Bankruptcy/ 10% Family Law/ 10% Criminal Defense/ 5% Personal Injury” and I'm a lawyer because I'm bad at math, but it seems that he's an 85% attorney. Of course, I also spend 15% of my time messing around, I just don't advertise it."


Good answer!!

Anonymous said...

Poor Goldsmith. If I had a dime for every time I was defamed by someone....

That reminds me of Noel Gage. He used to threaten to sue attorneys regularly. Anyone know where he is now? I assume he is enjoying retirement, luxuriating in silk jammies by the pool as an attractive lady gives him a foot massage.

Anonymous said...

OMG not Liane Wakayama. Seriously. Anyone but her. Even Troy Fox.

Anonymous said...

For Estate Planning, Jay Larsen is great.

Anonymous said...

For estate planning, Craig Stone at Fox Rothschild is the bees knees.

Anonymous said...

For Estate Planning, Lee Drizin is great.

Anonymous said...

Where is double kickstand guy when we need him?

Anonymous said...

Amber Candelaria can help you plan your own estate. She is so good at it that she could have been a judge.

Anonymous said...

Fred Waid and Steve Mayfield at H&S are solid as well for estate planning. Haters gonna hate.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all the recommendations!

12:03

Anonymous said...

H&S are a bunch of clowns, son!

Anonymous said...

Mark my words, Amber Candelaria WILL be a judge in Clark County. She is the most wonderful and beautiful woman on the face of the earth. She is perfect. I love her and I want her to have my children. And yes, 1:59, she is a preeminent estate planning lawyer. And she is a fantastic litigator and a brilliant legal mind. And she puts ",Esq." after her name. I love her. I love her. I love her. Oh Amber, you make me suffer.

Anonymous said...

Also for estate planning: Jeffery Burr, Steve Oshins, Jeff Morse.

Anonymous said...

What is an appropriate salary for a first/second year associate at a small firm ?

Anonymous said...

@3:28 - I think it depends on a lot of different factors, especially what type of law you'll be practicing. I started out three years ago at a small insurance defense firm making $70k per year. No raises were given to anybody "due to the recession" and I jumped ship after my second year to make more money.

Anonymous said...

3:28 - Can you provide more details? Plaintiff vs. defense work, or transactional; firm's reputation/billing rate. As a young lawyer, you have to remember that a firm has to invest in mentoring/training you...

Anonymous said...

10 Atty firm, 1st year assoc., 1500 hours, commercial litigation, decent benefits (Health, Dental, Vision, Cellular), $75K + $5-15K bonus depending on receivables. $5K raise every 6 months.

Anonymous said...

3:28 here-Primarily Plaintiff's work, expected/preferred 8 billables a day, no benefits, no 401K, etc., only making 65K.

Anonymous said...

Unless you get a sizeable percentage of the $$ you bring in -Jump ship! You can get that salary at another firm, and with standard benefits. Plus any firm that expects you live in the office should pay more.

Anonymous said...

3:28 here-I'd love to jump ship, I'm just concerned there isn't another ship to jump too for someone with under two years experience.

Ben Darre said...

If you graduated from Boyd, Southwestern, Cal Western, or the equivalent, be happy to have a job.
If you graduated from McGeorge, USD, Loyola, UofA, Utah, BYU, be patient; things will get better.
If you graduated from UCLA, USC, or the law school of just about any major university or real school (this does not include UNLV), you are probably already in six figures.
If you graduated from Thomas Jefferson, Western Sierra, National U, Concord, Peoples, Abe Lincoln, be happy if you can get a job as a paralegal.

Anonymous said...

The Standing Committee on Judicial Ethics issued its decision today censuring Joanna Kishner. What a piece of * * * * would do what Kishner did. She got a public censure for violating canons lying about Phil Dabney on Jon Ralston. Incredible. Hope everyone will read before voting in that race.
Sorry, the link would not take into pasting on comments.

Anonymous said...

http://judicial.state.nv.us/Published%20Decision%2010-7.pdf

Joanna Kishner decision. A must read. Wonder if the Ralston show can be pasted

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Anonymous said...

I highly doubt most of the voters even know what "censure" means. So, I doubt this will have any effect on her campaign.

But, since about only 4 people watch Ralston's show, her statement probably had as much effect on Dabney's campaign as the censure will have on her campaign.

Anonymous said...

Kishner was represented by Dennis Kennedy! Now that's rich. Mr. Kennedy fashions himself an ethical maestro.

Anonymous said...

For estate planning, you go to Oshins & Oshins unless it's a small estate. I don't think they handle small estates.

Anonymous said...

Jeffrey Burr for all your estate planning needs.

Anonymous said...

@ 10:42 - Quit whining. Think about the quality of your work environment. You have it made. No overhead, a percentage of what you bring in, and amazing co-workers. You have an opportunity to learn from the one of the best trial attorneys in town. After you have nothing else to learn from your current firm, move on. If you think you can do better now, go for it. In the meantime, count your blessings and STFU.

Anonymous said...

I manage a firm with 6 attorneys including myself and we pay $85k. We pay bonuses based on several factors, such as money collected, money brought in, billed hours, etc.

Jordan Ross, Principal, Ross Legal Search said...

October 25, 2010 12:03 PM - If the estate in question in one of significant high net value, I would suggest Mark Solomon of Solomon Dwiggins Freer & Morse, John Dawson at Lionel Sawyer and Collins or Ken Burns at Kolesar & Leatham.

Anonymous said...

@ 10:38 PM is @10:42 AM's boss -- BUSTED

Anonymous said...

Couldn't be my boss, none of that description is applicable.

Anonymous said...

Hahaha! Seriously, how does 10:38 p.m. know where 10:42 a.m. works?

Anonymous said...

Either 9:17 a.m. is 10:38 p.m. (evil genius) or he/she is way gullible.

Anonymous said...

7:53 p.m.--10/25/10--misses the point about the decision on Kishner violating ethics in her race against Dabney. She is getting into trouble already and is not even elected. Is she a skinny Halverson in the making? Will the blog do a post/story. This is worthy of discussion. Think the race will be close and the legal community needs to know about this.

Anonymous said...

I didn't vote for Kishner because she thinks way more of herself than she has a right to. She constantly references her labor law cases as if they are Supreme Court Must Reads. Also, at a meeting once, a date to reconvene was bantered about. Her constant use of I WILL BE OUT OF POCKET THAT DAY" were annoying and pretentious and stupid. We don’t need her on the bench and Dabny seems to do quite well on the bench when I have been in front of him. He knows that there is stuff he does not know. Kishner does not. That is dangerous.

Anonymous said...

@12:33am (Jordan Ross)- Interesting list of names given. I bet it would be a coincidence that those firms use you to find attorneys to hire. Shame on you. You know who the better estate planning attorneys are.

I'm a family law attorney and I know who handles large estate plans and who mdoesn't in this town. You named three litigation firms who dabble in estate planning.

Anonymous said...

T&E: Rob Bolick, his firm was bought up by Durham Jones Pinegar

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't send an enemy to "let's see how much I can bill the crap out of a file" solomon

Anonymous said...

@ 4:36

Amen

Anonymous said...

Does Soloman even do any estate planning work? He's a T&E litigator. Does his firm do any estate planning work? I don't think so. Maybe some simple trusts.

Anonymous said...

Trusts and Estates Lawyer in Nevada --- search in Best Lawyers in America book:

Search Results
Results: 9

Henderson, NV

Jeffrey L. Burr
2600 Paseo Verde Parkway
Henderson, NV 89074
702-433-4455

Las Vegas, NV

Richard A. Oshins
Oshins & Associates, LLC
1645 Village Center Circle, Suite 170
Las Vegas, NV 89134
702-341-6000

Steven J. Oshins
Oshins & Associates, LLC
1645 Village Center Circle, Suite 170
Las Vegas, NV 89134
702-341-6000

Layne T. Rushforth
The Rushforth Firm, Ltd.
9505 Hillwood Drive, Suite 100
P.O. Box 371655
Las Vegas, NV 89137-1655
702-255-4552

Scott A. Swain
McDonald Carano Wilson LLP
2300 West Sahara Avenue Number 10, Suite 1000
Las Vegas, NV 89102
702-873-4100

Reno, NV

Robert E. Armstrong
McDonald Carano Wilson LLP
100 West Liberty Street, 10th Floor
P.O. Box 2670
Reno, NV 89505-2670
775-788-2000

Mark W. Knobel
Avansino, Melarkey, Knobel, Mulligan & McKenzie
4795 Caughlin Parkway, Suite 100
Reno, NV 89519
775-333-0300

Michael J. Melarkey
Avansino, Melarkey, Knobel, Mulligan & McKenzie
4795 Caughlin Parkway, Suite 100
Reno, NV 89519
775-333-0300

Matthew E. Woodhead
Holland & Hart LLP
5441 Kietzke Lane, Second Floor
Reno, NV 89511
775-327-3000

Anonymous said...

4:36 PM - Amen to that. Great attorney who has the vampire lust for money. He just can't stop feeding. "The thirst!"

Anonymous said...

Solomon bills more than other T&E litigators because he is better than all of the other T&E litigators.

If Solomon is on the other side, I am probably going to lose but his client is going to pay for it.

Anonymous said...

Brad Richardson's poop has fragments of Solomon in it.

Anonymous said...

I think the question posed earlier was about an estate planner. I don't think Solomon's firm does any estate planning. They do T&E litigation.

Anonymous said...

It's funny how people just post their own names and their friends' names. Would you really, honestly refer a "friend" to random people who don't have any qualifications if it's a larger estate? Seriously, folks...the only person who made some sense was the one who listed the lawyers in the Best Lawyers book.

Anonymous said...

If they are posting their own names or their friend's names, does that really qualify as "random people"?

Anonymous said...

I think his/her point is that "random names" are attorneys who aren't qualified to handle complex estates and that people are just throwing out random names without really helping the person who is looking for an attorney who excels in the field.

It would be nice to see people throw out credible names and actually HELP the person looking for a good lawyer. If you aren't a top notch estate attorney, then don't post your name on a blog. Otherwise, you might actually receive the referral and be over your head. Too many desperate attorneys out there.

Anonymous said...

7-10 attorneys (fluctuates)

First year - $65k

How much of a raise should I beg off the boss? I'm feeling bold.

Anonymous said...

I work at a firm with about 12 associates. Starting salary is $65k. They raise maybe $2k a year. They're cheap asses.

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