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Rising interest rates notwithstanding, the economy is red hot right now, and that means Pittsburgh’s largest law firms are paying more for their summer help. Seven of the nine firms that responded to a recent survey conducted by the Pennsylvania Law Weekly reported increases to the weekly salaries they are offering summer associates this year versus what they offered in 1999. An eighth firm, Tucker Arensberg, declined to say how much it was offering this year, though its 1999 weekly salary for summer associates was $1,000. Klett Rooney Lieber & Schorling, which hired five summer associates this year, did not hire any in 1999. One remaining firm solicited for the survey, Dickie McCamey & Chilcote, declined to respond at all. NUMBERS, SALARIES UP Reed Smith Shaw & McClay led the pack with its increase in summer hiring by six new associates — totaling 23, up from 17 in 1999. That makes Reed Smith number two for total summer associates, behind Pittsburgh’s largest firm, Kirkpatrick & Lockhart. That firm still tops the charts with its total number of summer associates at 34, up from 31 last year. Following close behind Reed Smith is Buchanan Ingersoll, with 20 summer associates this year, up from 15 in 1999. The remaining firms ranged from two at Tucker Arensberg to nine at Doepken Keevican & Weiss. Along with increases in staffing, most firms increased their salaries as well. Cohen & Grigsby had the biggest jump in salary over the past year, up to $1,875 from $1,500 in 1999. And that matches the salaries offered by the significantly larger Buchanan & Ingersoll and Reed Smith. In addition, Cohen & Grigsby, with 80 total attorneys, exceeded the salaries of firms of similar size — Thorp Reed & Armstrong and Doepken Keevican — by at least $300. Of course, Cohen & Grigsby’s increase was offset by the fact that the firm hired just four summer associates this year, down from six in 1999. Eckert Seamans also hired fewer summer associates this year — five, down from seven in 1999, while Tucker Arensberg held steady at two. Summer associate salaries tend to be based on the pay scale for entry-level associates, which, like the rest of the salaries in the U.S. economy, are on the rise nationwide. “Everybody says it’s the dot-coms, it’s Silicon Valley. Your competitors are increasing your salaries, so you do,” said Kristin Gaybosh, recruiting coordinator for Eckert Seamans, which is paying its summer associates $1,500 this year, up from $1,450 last year. “Even if your salary wasn’t based on those trends, now you have to react to your competitors. It’s going to be difficult for a lot of firms.” Gaybosh said Eckert Seamans is taking on fewer summer associates this year after all six of those who were offered positions for the fall of 2000 accepted. “We don’t play numbers games with our summer program,” said Gaybosh, meaning the firm only offers as many positions as are actually available. “We didn’t want to do anything to change our philosophy.” At Tucker Arensberg as well, 100 percent of the summer associates offered positions accepted. Three of the firms surveyed offered full-time positions to 100 percent of their summer associates — Cohen & Grigsby, Doepken Keevican and Reed Smith. Acceptance rates at those firms were 67 percent, 89 percent and 80 percent, respectively. Kirkpatrick & Lockhart offered positions to 81 percent of its 1999 summer associates; 94 percent — all but one person — accepted, and that individual deferred the offer while pursuing a clerkship. Buchanan Ingersoll offered 85 percent of the 1999 summer recruits full-time positions, and 91 percent of those accepted, and again, the remainder deferred while pursuing clerkships. DIVERSITY The nine participating firms had a total of 109 associates. Of that group, 46 percent are women. Two firms should be noted for boosting the numbers for women hires: Thorp Reed will have six women to one man and Eckert Seamans will have four women to one man. Doepken Keevican and Buchanan Ingersoll were nearly even. But the remaining firms leaned more heavily toward male hires: Cohen & Grigsby hired one woman and three men; Kirkpatrick & Lockhart hired 12 women and 22 men; Klett Rooney will have one woman and four men; Reed Smith hired eight women and 15 men; and neither of the two recruits at Tucker Arensberg are women. Minority hiring appears particularly low. Of the 109 summer hires for 2000, only 16 percent are minorities. And for four of the firms responding — Cohen & Grigsby, Klett Rooney, Thorp Reed and Tucker Arensberg — there are no minorities on the roster for this summer. Kirkpatrick & Lockhart led the pack in numbers for minority hiring, with five summer associates listed as minorities. But that number only accounts for 15 percent of the firm’s hires. Doepken Keevican has the highest percentage of minorities — 30 percent, or three, of its nine hires are minorities. Twenty percent of the hires at Eckert Seamans are minorities, which had a big lead over the next two: Buchanan Ingersoll with 5 percent and Reed Smith with 4 percent. STAYING HOME Long known as a city of homebodies, Pittsburgh will be familiar stomping ground for many incoming summer associates. For example, 100 percent of the summer associates hired at Cohen & Grigsby, Klett Rooney and Thorp Reed grew up in the Pittsburgh area. “We (have) such a small-town way of thinking,” said Allyson Hurley, director of marketing for Cohen & Grigsby. “You don’t have to go very far in Pittsburgh to find someone that you grew up with.” But the remaining firms surveyed appear to have recruited a fair number of students who grew up somewhere else. For example, of Doepken Keevican’s nine summer associates, only one is a Pittsburgh native — and only two were recruited from a local school. Pittsburgh’s two law schools — the University of Pittsburgh and Duquesne — supplied nearly half the summer associates at the firms surveyed, with 22 coming from Pitt and 19 from Duquesne. Duke and Georgetown will each send six students to Pittsburgh this summer, and George Washington, the University of Virginia and West Virginia will send five. Penn, Michigan and Notre Dame will send four. Dickinson will send three, and the remaining summer associates will hale from as far as Stanford and the University of Texas. OUT AND ABOUT Apart from the work the associates will be taking on in the office, firms are also offering a plethora of social events to keep them busy in their off-hours. Nearly all are offering tickets to see the Pirates in their last season at Three Rivers Stadium, as well as parties, socials, dinners and picnics. Parrothead associates working for Eckert Seamans will get to check out a Jimmy Buffett concert, while Buchanan Ingersoll will hold a cocktail party at Dino Hall in the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Cohen & Grigsby is taking a theatrical turn by offering tickets to “Evita.” Eckert Seamans will also offer a downtown walking tour sponsored by the historical society. “I did absolutely consider the individuals who are not from Pittsburgh,” said Gaybosh. “The tour is so wonderful, because they actually get you to do something you’ve never done, which is look up” and appreciate the architecture and history of the buildings. Gaybosh said the firm will offer outings to jazz clubs and other events in order to cater to the diversity of the associates’ interests. “For so many years, firms have not even been thinking about that,” but rather stick to “stuffy lunches at the Duquesne Club — not what this generation is looking for,” she said. “You have to look at your entire group of individuals in terms of interest.” Tracy Blitz Newman contributed to this report.

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