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FROM THE JOB FRONT

FROM THE JOB FRONT is EmplawyerNet's monthly newsletter covering the latest developments in the area of legal employment -- and a few other things. FROM THE JOB FRONT is published as a service of EmplawyerNet, the online interactive legal employment network.

FEBRUARY 2001

NEWS FROM THE JOB FRONT

Corporate Legal Departments Feel the Impact of Higher Associate Salaries

Federal Judges Push for Pay Hike

Hiring Up at New Jersey Firms

Lock-Step Associate Pay Increases Reexamined

OTHER FEATURES

Legal Trivia

Quote, UnQuote

One More Thing Before You Go


CORPORATE LEGAL DEPARTMENTS FEEL THE IMPACT OF HIGHER ASSOCIATE SALARIES

A survey conducted among in-house lawyers belonging to the American Corporate Counsel Association indicates that the increase in law firm salaries has not gone unnoticed. Seventy-six percent of the chief legal officers surveyed said they have felt the impact of steady increases in law firm associate salaries. Most pointed to the higher legal fees they now have to pay. At the same time, 44 percent mentioned that the increase in law firm salaries have forced them to pay a higher price for legal talent they seek to hire for their legal departments. More than a third of the chief legal officers surveyed said they plan to increase their use of outside this year and next year. Twelve percent said they plan to cut back.

The Legal Intelligencer

FEDERAL JUDGES PUSH FOR PAY HIKE

The American Bar Association and the Federal Bar Association have presented the US Supreme with a report demonstrating the drop in federal judges' buying power in recent years. Chief Justice William Rehnquist has called for a 9.6 percent raise for all federal judges and the report supports the increase. Just three days after the report was presented, in an independent matter the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit rejected an attempt by judges to recover cost-of-living increases they say they are due from the 1990s. The Court of Appeals held that Congress acted properly when it blocked raises that would have otherwise been awarded under a 1989 law. Federal judges currently earn $145,100 a year. Associate justices of the Supreme Court earn $178,300; while the chief justice makes $186,300.

Law.com

HIRING UP AT NEW JERSEY FIRMS

There's one more reason to move to New Jersey. That state's law firms are hiring. The market even looks good for recent law school graduates. The National Association for Law Placement reports a 12.3 percent increase in hiring of summer associates at the state's law firms. The NALP study looked at small, medium and large sized firms and found a more than ten percent increase in the hiring of summer and first-year associates. In New York, the increase was only 6.6 percent while Philadelphia firms showed no rise in hiring. Going higher up among the associate ranks, New Jersey firms grew by 18.3 percent last year compared with 7.3 percent in the larger mid-Atlantic region.

New Jersey Law Journal

LOCK-STEP ASSOCIATE PAY INCREASES REEXAMINED

For as long as most can remember, law firms have used the lockstep method for increasing associate pay. When a second-year associate becomes a third-year, or a third-year associate becomes a fourth-year, he or she got the salary slated for that rank. Bonuses are used to reward outstanding performances. Associate salary wars, however, have made more firms consider giving pay raises on an associate-by-associate basis. The 865-lawyer Piper Marbury Rudnick & Wolfe, for example, has turned to a merit-based salary system that puts associates on one of three salary scales based on performance. Other major firms have adopted similar approaches that take into consideration an associate's performance before graduating to the next pay level. Lockstep firms point to the difficulty of administering a merit system and the potential resentment it can cause among the associate ranks.

American Lawyer

LEGAL TRIVIA

Sam Seaborn, NBC's West Wing fictional character played by Rob Lowe, worked at which real-life law firm prior to joining the White House staff?

(Answer at the end of the newsletter)

QUOTE

"Marc Rich is to asset concealment what Babe Ruth was to baseball."

    --New York Tax Commissioner Arthur Roth on the recently-pardoned Marc Rich

UNQUOTE

ONE MORE THING BEFORE YOU GO...

Ever wonder what class rank means at different law schools? Some light is shed on this subject by an extensive report located at www.bcgsearch.com/erc/guide.html.

  • Trivia Answer:

      Dewey Ballantine


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