the american lawyer surveys biglaw associates every year to find out how happy they are

by Julio Dickinson PhD 8 min read

Which 9+ year attorneys have the greatest number of options?

 · The 2010 American Lawyer survey reports the lowest overall level of associate satisfaction since 2004. The firms faring poorly will take comfort in standard disclaimers: response rates are low and negatively biased; survey questions are flawed; the poll captures attitudes from a generation of young attorneys who feel entitled. We all know the list.

How do lawyers get paid in BigLaw?

 · Associates in 2020 find their work less meaningful and interesting than they did last year. “Ensure that associates get the kind of work they enjoy,” one third-year associate in …

What is a BigLaw firm?

 · You want to gather as much knowledge as possible around the following points: (1) the number of associates who have recently left; (2) why those associates left (e.g., asked to leave/left voluntarily); (3) where each departing associate went; and (4) how the firm handled the departures. While it can be difficult (and unfair) to glean broad ...

Why don’t more senior associates move laterally in BigLaw?

 · In forums and on social media, associates lamented the working conditions that they feel prompted the raises and rejoiced in the pay bump. Meanwhile, seasoned lawyers and recruiters expressed ...

How many years are you out of law school?

For those new to BigLaw, you will learn quickly (often by how many recruiter calls you receive in a given week), that a short window of time determines when you are best positioned to make a lateral move from current Firm A to potentially better Firm B. This window is typically between your second and fifth years post-law school graduation.

Are you busy?

In short, are you consistently meeting your billable hour and bonus requirements? This question is critical for associates on a couple of levels, including your current job security, and your marketability as a lateral candidate. As to your current job security, alarm bells should ring if you are not busy for a prolonged period of time.

What are your partnership prospects, truly?

Whether or not you aspire to become a partner in your current firm, you must at least understand what your partnership prospects are to stay ahead of managing your career. It is no secret that BigLaw’s advancement model looks like a triangle (or some may argue a diamond), with fewer and fewer attorneys achieving partnership status.

How is attrition and morale?

I recommend tackling this question at the practice group and firm level.

Do you emulate anyone in your practice group or firm?

In other words, are there any senior attorneys in your firm for whom you would say: I hope to be doing that type of work in that context when I reach his/her experience level? If the answer is no, ask yourself why, and think very carefully about whether your current firm can and should be a home for you long-term.

What is the American Lawyer's annual report?

The American Lawyer's annual report on the state of lateral hiring in the legal industry, including insights and analysis on the trends shaping the lateral market, as well as profiles of the year's most significant moves.

What is ALM survey?

ALM’s surveys, rankings and data are an essential resource for knowledge managers, firm leadership and anyone seeking to better understand the legal market, the firms that comprise it, and the issues and challenges endemic to both.

Which other law firm markets pay the Cravath scale?

In the past, the Biglaw salary scale has been set out of the New York city offices of major firms like Jones Day, Skadden, etc. Initially, these starting salaries were not paid to associates working in “secondary” markets such as Los Angeles, Chicago or Houston.

What is the Biglaw bonus scale?

In addition to receiving standardized salaries across the industry, associates working in Biglaw can expect to receive the same annual bonuses and summer bonuses as their peers based on the market bonuses set by the leading firms.

How are Cravath bonuses set each year?

Typically, in late November or early December, a Biglaw firm will announce its year-end bonuses via a memo delivered to associates. In most years, the first firm to make the announcement is Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP, but that isn’t always the case.