Editor’s note: The single most important firm story since the beginning of 2000 is the spectacular increase in associate compensation, a trend that has rocketed through the nation ever since Silicon Valley firm Gunderson Dettmer Stough Villeneuve Franklin & Hachigian decided to pay its first-year lawyers a $145,000 base salary. Gunderson has an office in Austin, Texas, guaranteeing at least some impact on the Texas market. But the phenomenon moved into Texas in a big way in late February, when Houston’s Andrews & Kurth became the first large Texas-based firm to raise its associate salary scale — a 20 percent hike effective Feb. 19. By the time Texas Lawyer held this Managing Partner Roundtable on March 6, Vinson & Elkins had also raised associate salaries, paying first-year lawyers in Texas a base plus standard year-end bonus of $115,000. While details of the new salary scales ricochet through the Texas legal community at Internet speed — a chatroom for “greedy Texas associates” helps spread the news quickly — Texas Lawyer asked the managing partners of Houston’s Andrews & Kurth, Vinson & Elkins and Bracewell & Patterson and Dallas’ Jenkens & Gilchrist to talk about the salary market and the repercussions of increasing overhead — and to shed some light on what it all means. (Since this roundtable discussion was recorded, Jenkens and Bracewell raised salaries for their associates and Andrews & Kurth boosted the lower end of its scale to meet a new, higher market.) The discussion has been edited for length and style.
Texas Lawyer: Obviously it’s a very important issue for firms — how you compensate your associates — and also it’s the big talk in the market right now. …[Let’s] get a sense of where the market is and then we can go from there onto what this means to the firms.
This content has been archived. It is available through our partners, LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law.
To view this content, please continue to their sites.
LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law are third party online distributors of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law customers are able to access and use ALM's content, including content from the National Law Journal, The American Lawyer, Legaltech News, The New York Law Journal, and Corporate Counsel, as well as other sources of legal information.
For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]