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September 2022 - Big Law Salaries?


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Bob Jones
  • Lawyer
1 hour ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

This is such a fucking stupid post. 

It’s not a “borderline illegal scheme”. It’s a perfectly legitimate way of having underperforming employees find new positions without needing to formally fire them for performance reasons, which in turn allows them to search for a new position while employed and without having to disclose that they were fired if asked.

If the associate doesn’t leave within a reasonable time, the firm will terminate them in the usual course, complete with reasonable notice or (more likely) pay in lieu. 

As to your assertion that they’re not being fired for performance reasons – you keep saying that, but not having a sufficient business case to join the partnership is a performance reason. It doesn’t matter if you’re otherwise competent at your job, if your firm expects you to have a business case for partnership between years 8-10 and you fail to meet that expectation, you’re not performing at the expected level. 

Your posts are, if anything, a testament to the generosity of big law partners. I would be livid if I paid someone several hundred thousand dollars a year only to discover they don’t know what a pyramid scheme is, think it’s “borderline illegal” to pay your employees whilst they search for another job, and don’t understand that failing to meet the expectations of your employer is a performance issue. 

“This is such a stupid fucking post” - so much for civility. 

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Diplock
  • Lawyer
5 hours ago, Bob Jones said:

“This is such a stupid fucking post” - so much for civility. 

I'm no model for civility around here, so it's completely hypocritical of me to agree with you. I do agree BQ is being unnecessarily mean in a conversation that people are, at least, having sincerely. At the same time, civility has its limits and pitfalls. In Court it's desperately important to listen as opposing counsel, the presiding Justice, etc. say potentially very stupid things without calling them stupid because if we can't agree on that, the entire process falls apart. So civility is important, and has a place.

That said, excessive civility in every context just feeds Dunning–Kruger. Sometimes stupid things need to be called stupid just so we can maintain agreement on what is stupid and what isn't. And while you're entitled to your view on what's fair and isn't fair, your description of any of this as illicit, illegal, not permissible otherwise...that's all stupid. I'm sorry, but it is. You should and probably do know better. You don't think anyone can be dismissed from any other job for any other reason without cause and only the requirement of sufficient notice and/or payment in lieu? Have you never held another job in your life, or even cracked a text on employment law?

Anyway, that's all.

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Bob Jones
  • Lawyer
45 minutes ago, Diplock said:

I'm no model for civility around here, so it's completely hypocritical of me to agree with you. I do agree BQ is being unnecessarily mean in a conversation that people are, at least, having sincerely. At the same time, civility has its limits and pitfalls. In Court it's desperately important to listen as opposing counsel, the presiding Justice, etc. say potentially very stupid things without calling them stupid because if we can't agree on that, the entire process falls apart. So civility is important, and has a place.

That said, excessive civility in every context just feeds Dunning–Kruger. Sometimes stupid things need to be called stupid just so we can maintain agreement on what is stupid and what isn't. And while you're entitled to your view on what's fair and isn't fair, your description of any of this as illicit, illegal, not permissible otherwise...that's all stupid. I'm sorry, but it is. You should and probably do know better. You don't think anyone can be dismissed from any other job for any other reason without cause and only the requirement of sufficient notice and/or payment in lieu? Have you never held another job in your life, or even cracked a text on employment law?

Anyway, that's all.

2 issues -

 

1) regardless of anyone’s opinion on an issue, it is literally in this forum’s rules “not to be a jerk,” and civility is strongly encouraged on this thread. It is not particularly helpful to any reasonable debate, when people hide behind their anonymity to essentially bully users they disagree with, and violate the Rules. I’m all for a spirited debate, but the “don’t be a jerk” rule would be nice if it was followed. I’m surprised the Mods didn’t call out BQ and others for being uncivil and borderline bullying. 
 

 

 

2) Terminations - of course terminations happen all day long, that’s why L&E pretty much exists. But my observation is that there is something odd going on in this scheme of big firms, where after X years Associates are forcefully told to leave within 2-3 months, but also assured they’re not being terminated and then given wish washy promises about “assistance to find a new job.” It’s a scheme to get out of paying severance, in the hopes that Associates scramble and quickly land a new job. There’s nothing wrong with working notice, but this isn’t what it is either. 
 

The other issue is there’s an going scheme to hire X number of Associates for a fixed period of time, knowing there is an end date because there are not enough positions to move up to Partner, yet refuse to keep Associates on as Counsel/Sr Associate if everyone is happy and performing. 
 

It’s a weird business model/scheme which also engages in quasi wage fixing with other firms.
 

The result is Associates get screwed over, and unpaid. 
 

There is nothing “stupid” about that observation, even if QB and other individuals here think otherwise. 

Edited by Bob Jones
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Diplock
  • Lawyer
40 minutes ago, Bob Jones said:

2 issues -

 

1) regardless of anyone’s opinion on an issue, it is literally in this forum’s rules “not to be a jerk,” and civility is strongly encouraged on this thread. It is not particularly helpful to any reasonable debate, when people hide behind their anonymity to essentially bully users they disagree with, and violate the Rules. I’m all for a spirited debate, but the “don’t be a jerk” rule would be nice if it was followed. I’m surprised the Mods didn’t call out BQ and others for being uncivil and borderline bullying. 
 

 

 

2) Terminations - of course terminations happen all day long, that’s why L&E pretty much exists. But my observation is that there is something odd going on in this scheme of big firms, where after X years Associates are forcefully told to leave within 2-3 months, but also assured they’re not being terminated and then given wish washy promises about “assistance to find a new job.” It’s a scheme to get out of paying severance, in the hopes that Associates scramble and quickly land a new job. There’s nothing wrong with working notice, but this isn’t what it is either. 
 

The other issue is there’s an going scheme to hire X number of Associates for a fixed period of time, knowing there is an end date because there are not enough positions to move up to Partner, yet refuse to keep Associates on as Counsel/Sr Associate if everyone is happy and performing. 
 

It’s a weird business model/scheme which also engages in quasi wage fixing with other firms.
 

The result is Associates get screwed over, and unpaid. 
 

There is nothing “stupid” about that observation, even if QB and other individuals here think otherwise. 

It's obviously a valid conversation, and your general concerns aren't stupid of themselves. I hope you don't think I was saying that, or even (I don't think) that BQ is saying that. It's only when you marry those concerns to the claim that something illegal, illicit, etc. is going on that start piling on. As lawyers, if nothing else, we should all be capable of having a conversation where we clearly distinguish between something that's allowed but we dislike, disagree with etc and something that's actually improper or impermissible on any level. There is a different, and we should all acknowledge it.

I withhold comment on the forum rules. I think an unwritten rule is "if you've been around long enough, you get extra leeway." Another unwritten rule is or should be "you really shouldn't abuse the first unwritten rule" and I've been trying to be much better about that in recent times. Probably BQ could do better also. It isn't a good tone to set here, even when we get away with it.

Edit. I guess I don't withhold comment after all.

Edited by Diplock
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BlockedQuebecois
  • Lawyer

This is obviously a case of excessive civility harming the level of discourse on this forum. We could be having a productive (or at least a thought-provoking) discussion about big law wages. Instead, we're discussing conspiratorial nonsense.

In his most recent post alone, @Bob Jones has accused big firms of engaging in:

  • "a scheme to get out of paying severance"; and 
  • "an going [sic] scheme to hire X number of Associates for a fixed period of time, knowing there is an end date because there are not enough positions to move up to Partner, yet refuse to keep Associates on as Counsel/Sr Associate if everyone is happy and performing."

Those are stupid allegations with no basis in reality.

There's no scheme to get out of paying severance. The route big law firms take is to give folks the chance to save face and leave on their terms. If an associate wants to force the firm to pay severance, they can stick around until they're terminated and take their severance payment. That associates by and large prefer to save face is evidence that what big firms are doing is preferable to termination with severance, not of some illicit scheme to avoid employment laws. 

Similarly, there's no scheme to fire associates in circumstances where everyone is happy and performing. Firms don't fire people because everyone is happy and performing to expectations. They fire people because the firm is not happy and / or the associate isn't performing. The fact that BJ cannot comprehend that a firm would be unhappy and would consider an associate to be underperforming in circumstances where they are expected to be progressing to a new level and cannot do so doesn't make that untrue. 

@Bob Jones if you want a spirited debate, you need to come to the table with arguments that have an air of reality. You can't walk into a bar, spout some poorly thought-out conspiratorial nonsense, and then be upset when everyone laughs at you. 

Well, I guess you can. But it's not going to get you far.  

Edited by BlockedQuebecois
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Bob Jones
  • Lawyer
5 minutes ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

This is obviously a case of excessive civility harming the level of discourse on this forum. 

In his most recent post alone, @Bob Jones has accused big firms of engaging in:

  • "a scheme to get out of paying severance"; and 
  • "an going [sic] scheme to hire X number of Associates for a fixed period of time, knowing there is an end date because there are not enough positions to move up to Partner, yet refuse to keep Associates on as Counsel/Sr Associate if everyone is happy and performing."

Those are stupid allegations with no basis in reality.

There's no scheme to get out of paying severance because the route big law firms take is to give folks the chance to save face and leave on their own terms. If an associate wants to force the firm to pay severance, they can stick around until they're terminated and take their severance payment. That associates by and large prefer to save face is evidence that what big firms are doing is preferable to termination with severance, not of some illicit scheme to avoid employment laws. 

Similarly, there's no scheme to fire associates in circumstances where everyone is happy and performing. Firms don't fire people because everyone is happy and performing to expectations. They fire people because the firm is not happy and / or the associate isn't performing. Just because Bob Jones can't comprehend that a firm might be unhappy because someone is not progressing to the level they are expected of doesn't make that untrue. 

@Bob Jones if you want a spirited debate, you need to come to the table with arguments that have an air of reality. You can't walk into a bar, spout some poorly thought-out conspiratorial nonsense, and then be upset when everyone laughs at you. 

Well, I guess you can. But it's not going to get you far.  

So again, you are still personally attacking me, such as by calling my comments as “stupid” and violating this Forum’s “don’t be a jerk rule.”

Unless you are able to behave in a civilized and respectful manner (and refrain from being a jerk), it seems that we won’t be able to have a rational discussion.
 

It’s unfortunate the Mods haven’t called you out for breaking their rules, but I suppose it’s true that once you been here long enough, they don’t care.   

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BlockedQuebecois
  • Lawyer

It's unfortunate that instead of engaging with the content of my posts you keep trying to get the mods to come to your aid. If you were confident in your arguments, I suspect you would respond rather than ducking the critique and posting the same poor arguments. Here is a version you can feel safe responding to. 

1 hour ago, Bob Jones said:

It’s a scheme to get out of paying severance, in the hopes that Associates scramble and quickly land a new job.

There's no scheme to get out of paying severance. The route big law firms take is to give folks the chance to save face and leave on their terms. If an associate wants to force the firm to pay severance, they can stick around until they're terminated and take their severance payment. That associates by and large prefer to save face is evidence that what big firms are doing is preferable to termination with severance, not of some illicit scheme to avoid employment laws. 

1 hour ago, Bob Jones said:

The other issue is there’s an going scheme to hire X number of Associates for a fixed period of time, knowing there is an end date because there are not enough positions to move up to Partner, yet refuse to keep Associates on as Counsel/Sr Associate if everyone is happy and performing. 

There's no scheme to fire associates in circumstances where everyone is happy and performing. Firms don't fire people because everyone is happy and performing to expectations. They fire people because the firm is not happy and / or the associate isn't performing. I am not sure why you cannot understand that a firm would be unhappy and would consider an associate to be underperforming in circumstances where they are expected to be progressing to a new level and cannot do so doesn't make that untrue. 

Edited by BlockedQuebecois
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Underperforming associates get fired from their jobs (there couldn't POSSIBLY be any other reasons than performance).  But on this law school forum, certain individuals have been granted tenure, so they can't be terminated regardless of whether they underperform/use personal attacks (the lowest form of argument).

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BlockedQuebecois
  • Lawyer
11 minutes ago, myth000 said:

Underperforming associates get fired from their jobs (there couldn't POSSIBLY be any other reasons than performance).

There are lots of reasons associates can get fired from their jobs. There could be a market downturn, such that there's no work for them. They could not get along with their peers or the partners at the firm. They could be the victim of discrimination. 

Nobody is suggesting that associates never get fired for things unrelated to performance issues. That's clear from the fact that my post expressly refers to two things – happiness and performance – in discussing the reasons associates get fired.

What is being suggested is that getting fired because you can't make a business case for partnership and aren't good enough at your job to otherwise make up for your lack of a business case is a performance issue. 

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Of course, people can be terminated for a variety of reasons (including shady practices like pyramid schemes - I am not taking a position on this as I don't have any academic research to refer to, but I can imagine that it could be possible).   I was more trying to draw attention to the tenure granted to certain forum members.  I have always had problems with the practice of granting tenure, whether in law school or seemingly on this anonymous law school forum.  

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Psmith
  • Lawyer

I don't know first-hand how BigLaw firms ditch associates. But if Bob's right, it sounds like they're treated far better than employees in other fields. Most employers don't warn you well in advance and help you find a comfortable new gig quick enough that you're not out of pocket. 

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CleanHands
  • Lawyer

@myth000

I've actually been meaning to say, at a time and in a thread when it's appropriate, that I actually "get" and agree to some extent with your (repeated) comments on this forum about old guard members ganging up on people and different rules for different people (not necessarily in terms of moderation, I don't know that, but at least informally in a "social" sense). And for what it's worth I actually did internalize your point there and not dismiss it. With that said, believe it or not I actually don't flame people just because certain other people people here do so, or because I'm playing to an audience here. On the contrary, I think certain opinions (some of them admittedly abrasive) tend to become prevalent on this board (or any online discussion space for that matter) because people have a tendency to gravitate towards, and remain at, communities that broadly share their values.

I do have a question for you: have the mods been giving you a hard time for your posts? I ask because you've done your share of talking shit and wrestling in the dirt here yourself. And I don't mind that, and if when we argue the mods were giving you grief and not me, I wouldn't agree with that. But if the mods are leaving you alone and you just think that you haven't crossed lines but people like BQ and I have, well, that's bullshit.

Anyways, it's a wider Internet forum problem that it's sort of human nature that established members are able to develop reputations for being generally half-decent and somewhat useful and not trolls, even if they are abrasive at times. So yes, that does tend to lead to them getting a pass for an outburst here and there (not just from mods, but from other members) that doesn't get extended to people who sign up and act the same way in their very first posts. Again, I am not a mod and have no idea if that's happening here. But I agree with you that it is annoying being part of the "out group."

And FWIW I've been there myself on the previous iteration of this forum. There used to be a complete imbecile who went by the handle Providence who was a long-established member and was treated to a preferred class of moderation (by the old mod team, not the people running the show here). Based on your posts on this forum I'm sure you'd have hated her, as I did (as much as one can "hate" a random pseudoanonymous person on the Internet). In every other post she made sure to mention she was supposedly at the top of her JD class grades-wise and that she articled at a Heinen/Peck-tier criminal defence firm, but she was eventually outed as a pathological liar (I don't know the details, just that summary), which was unsurprising because it was obvious she was far too stupid for that to be true. She was not only a rude asshole but she constantly argued with everyone about politics and came across like some right-wing troll trying to espouse straw man "woke" beliefs framed to make them sound as dumb as possible.

There was a thread where she was arguing essentially that abortion should be permissible up until literally the instant before birth and that the "fetus" was entitled to absolutely no moral consideration whatsoever at any point during the pregnancy and that anyone who thought otherwise was very obviously a complete idiot taking a totally indefensible position. I challenged this, actually (believe it or not) taking the time to think and formulate my response as politely as possible (far more than deserved) and I actually got a warning on my account by mods for arguing with her and had to click an acknowledgement in order to continue posting. So I ditched the account and created a new one instead, on principle, even though I knew that was against the rules. There was some horrible mod going by erin-something who would go off and abuse her mod powers against people for disagreeing with her and I figure she was probably responsible. Anyways, my point is, I actually do sympathize with that being annoying as hell and I hope that's not happening here.

Edited by CleanHands
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Bob Jones
  • Lawyer
14 minutes ago, CleanHands said:

@myth000

I've actually been meaning to say, at a time and in a thread when it's appropriate, that I actually "get" and agree to some extent with your (repeated) comments on this forum about old guard members ganging up on people and different rules for different people (not necessarily in terms of moderation, I don't know that, but at least informally in a "social" sense). And for what it's worth I actually did internalize your point there and not dismiss it. With that said, believe it or not I actually don't flame people just because certain other people people here do so, or because I'm playing to an audience here. On the contrary, I think certain opinions (some of them admittedly abrasive) tend to become prevalent on this board (or any online discussion space for that matter) because people have a tendency to gravitate towards, and remain at, communities that broadly share their values.

I do have a question for you: have the mods been giving you a hard time for your posts? I ask because you've done your share of talking shit and wrestling in the dirt here yourself. And I don't mind that, and if when we argue the mods were giving you grief and not me, I wouldn't agree with that. But if the mods are leaving you alone and you just think that you haven't crossed lines but people like BQ and I have, well, that's bullshit.

Anyways, it's a wider Internet forum problem that it's sort of human nature that established members are able to develop reputations for being generally half-decent and somewhat useful and not trolls, even if they are abrasive at times. So yes, that does tend to lead to them getting a pass for an outburst here and there (not just from mods, but from other members) that doesn't get extended to people who sign up and act the same way in their very first posts. Again, I am not a mod and have no idea if that's happening here. But I agree with you that it is annoying being part of the "out group."

And FWIW I've been there myself on the previous iteration of this forum. There used to be a complete imbecile who went by the handle Providence who was a long-established member and was treated to a preferred class of moderation (by the old mod team, not the people running the show here). Based on your posts on this forum I'm sure you'd have hated her, as I did (as much as one can "hate" a random pseudoanonymous person on the Internet). In every other post she made sure to mention she was supposedly at the top of her JD class grades-wise and that she articled at a Heinen/Peck-tier criminal defence firm, but she was eventually outed as a pathological liar (I don't know the details, just that summary), which was unsurprising because it was obvious she was far too stupid for that to be true. She was not only a rude asshole but she constantly argued with everyone about politics and came across like some right-wing troll trying to espouse straw man "woke" beliefs framed to make them sound as dumb as possible.

There was a thread where she was arguing essentially that abortion should be permissible up until literally the instant before birth and that the "fetus" was entitled to absolutely no moral consideration whatsoever at any point during the pregnancy and that anyone who thought otherwise was very obviously a complete idiot taking a totally indefensible position. I challenged this, actually (believe it or not) taking the time to think and formulate my response as politely as possible (far more than deserved) and I actually got a warning on my account by mods for arguing with her and had to click an acknowledgement in order to continue posting. So I ditched the account and created a new one instead, on principle, even though I knew that was against the rules. There was some horrible mod going by erin-something who would go off and abuse her mod powers against people for disagreeing with her and I figure she was probably responsible. Anyways, my point is, I actually do sympathize with that being annoying as hell and I hope that's not happening here.

I remember providence as well. I believe the other mod was ErinL2 or something like that. 

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StoneMason
  • Law Student
On 11/30/2023 at 10:55 AM, Bob Jones said:

but when looking to the amount of work and energy we're putting in, the majority of us won't end up anywhere near the top end of US Associate rates

Curious why you think the amount of work and energy Canadian Big Law associates putting in should be relevant to compensation? Not to dumb things down too much but the reason US firms pay a lot more is because of supply and demand. The top firms want to attract a certain caliber of students and incentivize them through pay increases, leading other firms to match. The problem with Canadian firms is the associates do not have much bargaining power due to a plethora of schools providing a lot more associates than the market demands each year. I can assure you US firms aren't paying their associates that much because they're a bunch of mother Teresas wanting to give money out. It's just basic free market economics. 

Don't get me wrong – I'd love to make the NY Salary too when I graduate. But to compare Toronto's market to NY and then complain about working too much is emotional at best. As others have pointed out, this isn't something unique to law (e.g., when I was in tech for an international company, I was paid 40% less than my counterparts in our San Fran office). 

The solution? Go down to New York. If enough Canadians do that to the point where Bay Street firms feel they aren't attracting the desired caliber of associate anymore, they'll up their salaries as incentive. 

Edited by StoneMason
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Dinsdale
  • Lawyer
23 hours ago, realpseudonym said:

About what cut of associate billings in Canadian big law go to partners vs associate salaries vs expenses?

To answer this question directly, which no one has to this point, do the following calculation.  Add together: (1) the associate's salary; (2) the associate's bonus, if any; and (3) the overhead per lawyer as calculated by firm management (can vary considerably, depending on rent, staffing levels for secretaries and other support, etc., but let's say $300K per lawyer).  Compute the delta of that sum and the associate's total cash received for the year.  That is the "cut" that partners take for themselves.  So it's not a set percentage, as it varies depending on how much cash the associate generates.  

Example: associate's total comp is $150, plus $300 overhead = $450K.

Associate bills and collects 1,600 hours @ $500/hour = $800K.

The partners clear $350K on said associate.

My comp vs. billing rate figures for any given year of call may not be precisely accurate, but you get the idea.

 

Edited by Dinsdale
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Rashabon
  • Lawyer
6 hours ago, Bob Jones said:

2 issues -

 

1) regardless of anyone’s opinion on an issue, it is literally in this forum’s rules “not to be a jerk,” and civility is strongly encouraged on this thread. It is not particularly helpful to any reasonable debate, when people hide behind their anonymity to essentially bully users they disagree with, and violate the Rules. I’m all for a spirited debate, but the “don’t be a jerk” rule would be nice if it was followed. I’m surprised the Mods didn’t call out BQ and others for being uncivil and borderline bullying. 
 

 

 

2) Terminations - of course terminations happen all day long, that’s why L&E pretty much exists. But my observation is that there is something odd going on in this scheme of big firms, where after X years Associates are forcefully told to leave within 2-3 months, but also assured they’re not being terminated and then given wish washy promises about “assistance to find a new job.” It’s a scheme to get out of paying severance, in the hopes that Associates scramble and quickly land a new job. There’s nothing wrong with working notice, but this isn’t what it is either. 
 

The other issue is there’s an going scheme to hire X number of Associates for a fixed period of time, knowing there is an end date because there are not enough positions to move up to Partner, yet refuse to keep Associates on as Counsel/Sr Associate if everyone is happy and performing. 
 

It’s a weird business model/scheme which also engages in quasi wage fixing with other firms.
 

The result is Associates get screwed over, and unpaid. 
 

There is nothing “stupid” about that observation, even if QB and other individuals here think otherwise. 

Your continued use of the word "scheme" demonstrates that you're incapable of discussing issues without appeals to emotion.

There's nothing odd going on with big firms. People are told to leave because they are underperforming after years of rope and being given criticism on how to improve. The only place underperforming people have an easier tenure than big law associates are cops. We almost never fire anyone and it takes forever to do so because people get chance after chance after chance to improve and prove themselves. I do think it is worth calling your claim that big law firms have a "scheme" to avoid paying severance "stupid". These associates are around for 5-7 years. We're talking $50-$60K in severance and notice. This isn't a huge dollar figure. Most big law firms want associates to land on their feet and continue to have good careers even if they think they are better off if that happens outside of their firm because this is a relationship business and we don't just coldly chuck people out, even when it is deserved.

If an associate doesn't want to find another job at the end of that supposed 2-3 month period (I've seen this process go over the bulk of a year often) they can go get fired and cash their severance cheque if they want.

And yes, attrition is part of the law firm (and all professional services companies and banking, finance, consulting, etc. industries) model. As BQ notes, the people that get shown the door are not "performing" and the firm is "not happy" because if they were, they'd move them to Counsel or make them partner. This is a silly point and it is kind of silly to even try and make the claim.

Other firms having similar compensation seems like a total red herring and you're just grasping at various complaints and trying to weave disparate threads together using conspiratorial glue. It's poor reasoning.

Big law firm associates are in some of the cushiest gigs in the universe. Highly paid with zero expertise, years of runway with poor performance, constant, fixed, guaranteed wage increases, easily accessible bonuses, and the softest landing in the entire industry when it comes to being "terminated". Get some perspective and a grip.

Edited by Rashabon
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Bob Jones
  • Lawyer
24 minutes ago, Rashabon said:

Your continued use of the word "scheme" demonstrates that you're incapable of discussing issues without appeals to emotion.

There's nothing odd going on with big firms. People are told to leave because they are underperforming after years of rope and being given criticism on how to improve. The only place underperforming people have an easier tenure than big law associates are cops. We almost never fire anyone and it takes forever to do so because people get chance after chance after chance to improve and prove themselves. I do think it is worth calling your claim that big law firms have a "scheme" to avoid paying severance "stupid". These associates are around for 5-7 years. We're talking $50-$60K in severance and notice. This isn't a huge dollar figure. Most big law firms want associates to land on their feet and continue to have good careers even if they think they are better off if that happens outside of their firm because this is a relationship business and we don't just coldly chuck people out, even when it is deserved.

If an associate doesn't want to find another job at the end of that supposed 2-3 month period (I've seen this process go over the bulk of a year often) they can go get fired and cash their severance cheque if they want.

And yes, attrition is part of the law firm (and all professional services companies and banking, finance, consulting, etc. industries) model. As BQ notes, the people that get shown the door are not "performing" and the firm is "not happy" because if they were, they'd move them to Counsel or make them partner. This is a silly point and it is kind of silly to even try and make the claim.

Other firms having similar compensation seems like a total red herring and you're just grasping at various complaints and trying to weave disparate threads together using conspiratorial glue. It's poor reasoning.

Big law firm associates are in some of the cushiest gigs in the universe. Highly paid with zero expertise, years of runway with poor performance, constant, fixed, guaranteed wage increases, easily accessible bonuses, and the softest landing in the entire industry when it comes to being "terminated". Get some perspective and a grip.

I don’t believe I ever accused Associate salaries as being anything other than “cushy” and I repeatedly noted that our salaries vastly exceed Median incomes in Canada. But I do appreciate the misquote and the call to “get a grip.”

 

Rather, my observation is there is an odd scheme (and yes, it is very much a scheme) of artificially pushing Associates out the door to make room for the bottom, but without formally firing them, in the hopes they quickly secure new employment and don’t much care to challenge their exit. 
 

My other observation is that the quasi-wage fixing arrangement does not do Associates any favours. 
 

That’s it. That’s the observation. 
 

I’m sorry if airing out firm practices offends you and BQ, but that’s the fact of the matter. So respectfully “get a grip.”

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Diplock
  • Lawyer

You're still out to lunch. What exactly do you think any employee, anywhere, does to "challenge their exit" other than haggle over appropriate severance? I still cant shake the feeling you haven't internalized the fact that no one, outside a union environment, has any security of employment beyond their perceived value to the employer. If you want to call for the unionization of big law associates then say so. That would at least be a coherent position. As stands, you still come across like you just don't understand how the employment marketplace works for anyone.

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BlockedQuebecois
  • Lawyer
9 minutes ago, Bob Jones said:

I’m sorry if airing out firm practices offends you and BQ, but that’s the fact of the matter.

I’ve said my piece on the merits, and think it’s pretty clear to readers what the better view is here.

But I have to point out the hypocrisy of trying to play the tough guy by saying we’re offended in circumstances where you’ve claimed I am “bullying” you by calling your posts “stupid”. 

You can be the tough guy who talks about how you’re revealing hard truths and offending the Man, or you can be the guy who cries for the mods to intervene when you think the tone has been too harsh. You can’t be both. 

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Bob Jones
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50 minutes ago, Diplock said:

You're still out to lunch. What exactly do you think any employee, anywhere, does to "challenge their exit" other than haggle over appropriate severance? I still cant shake the feeling you haven't internalized the fact that no one, outside a union environment, has any security of employment beyond their perceived value to the employer. If you want to call for the unionization of big law associates then say so. That would at least be a coherent position. As stands, you still come across like you just dont unserstand how the employment marketplace works for anyone.

I believe I’ve outlined it like 3 times at this point, but I am happy to try again. 
 

The concern is not that “BigLaw” doesn’t guarantee employment for life. They would be absurd. People get fired and have HR issues all day. 
 

What I find peculiar is 1) hiring X number of Associates knowing full well that there’s a pending expiry because there’s only Y number of positions to move up to; 2) that Associates can’t stay on if they’re not going to make partner (if they’re happy to, the firm is happy, there’s enough work etc, as Counsel) and 3) Associates are quasi-terminated by being encouraged to clear their stuff and get out within X number of days (usually 60-90 days) but given false assurances that they’re not being terminated but they also can’t stay. If you’re going to fire someone, then fire them (whether with working notice or not), but this wishy washy game is essentially a scheme to get out of paying severance if we’re being honest. 
 

The other issue I find odd is wage fixing. 

47 minutes ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

I’ve said my piece on the merits, and think it’s pretty clear to readers what the better view is here.

But I have to point out the hypocrisy of trying to play the tough guy by saying we’re offended in circumstances where you’ve claimed I am “bullying” you by calling your posts “stupid”. 

You can be the tough guy who talks about how you’re airing hard truths and offending “the Man”, or you can be the guy who cries for the mods to intervene when you think the tone has been too harsh. You can’t be both. 

I don’t recall being the tough guy at all. To the contrary, I called for civility and following the Rules, while observing its unfortunate the Mods didn’t call you out for being a bully. 
 

 

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Diplock
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1 minute ago, Bob Jones said:

I believe I’ve outlined it like 3 times at this point, but I am happy to try again. 
 

The concern is not that “BigLaw” doesn’t guarantee employment for life. They would be absurd. People get fired and have HR issues all day. 
 

What I find peculiar is 1) hiring X number of Associates knowing full well that there’s a pending expiry because there’s only Y number of positions to move up to; 2) that Associates can’t stay on if they’re not going to make partner (if they’re happy to, the firm is happy, there’s enough work etc, as Counsel) and 3) Associates are quasi-terminated by being encouraged to clear their stuff and get out within X number of days (usually 60-90 days) but given false assurances that they’re not being terminated but they also can’t stay. If you’re going to fire someone, then fire them (whether with working notice or not), but this wishy washy game is essentially a scheme to get out of paying severance if we’re being honest. 
 

The other issue I find odd is wage fixing. 

And I'll repeat what I'm saying again. You have specified "people get fired and have HR issues" as if you believe - and at this point I do think it's what you believe - that the only legitimate way or reason to end someone's employment is for cause. And that simply isnt true, in law or anywhere else. Until you grapple with that truth, you'll be talking at cross purposes with everyone who lives in the marketplace we have, instead of whatever kind of alternative reality you're trying to construct.

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Bob Jones
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36 minutes ago, Diplock said:

And I'll repeat what I'm saying again. You have specified "people get fired and have HR issues" as if you believe - and at this point I do think it's what you believe - that the only legitimate way or reason to end someone's employment is for cause. And that simply isnt true, in law or anywhere else. Until you grapple with that truth, you'll be talking at cross purposes with everyone who lives in the marketplace we have, instead of whatever kind of alternative reality you're trying to construct.

I see the disconnect re Terminations - yes, I agree that people get let go without cause too and I wasn’t trying to  suggest otherwise. However, it’s the manner with which they’re going about it for Associates at the end of the line, which is odd. 

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LMP
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3 minutes ago, Bob Jones said:

I believe I’ve outlined it like 3 times at this point, but I am happy to try again. 
 

The concern is not that “BigLaw” doesn’t guarantee employment for life. They would be absurd. People get fired and have HR issues all day. 
 

What I find peculiar is 1) hiring X number of Associates knowing full well that there’s a pending expiry because there’s only Y number of positions to move up to; 2) that Associates can’t stay on if they’re not going to make partner (if they’re happy to, the firm is happy, there’s enough work etc, as Counsel) and 3) Associates are quasi-terminated by being encouraged to clear their stuff and get out within X number of days (usually 60-90 days) but given false assurances that they’re not being terminated but they also can’t stay. If you’re going to fire someone, then fire them (whether with working notice or not), but this wishy washy game is essentially a scheme to get out of paying severance if we’re being honest. 
 

The other issue I find odd is wage fixing. 

I don’t recall being the tough guy at all. To the contrary, I called for civility and following the Rules, while observing its unfortunate the Mods didn’t call you for being a bully. 
 

 

But even if we do define it as a scheme, aren't the associates willing participants? No rug is being pulled out, they know that only some members of each cohort will get partnership but all agree to be there anyways. And in exchange they get not only handsome salaries but also tremendous exit options. 

Ditto for not keeping associates on as non-partners, that's part of the deal. Everyone knows it and can choose to simply not work in biglaw if they want. 

Lastly I'll say you have far too grim a view of what these departures look like. I spoke recently to someone who was asked to leave after 6 years at a big firm. She was given time to look for jobs, introductions to people at companies and firms that were hiring and even a career coach. 

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Naj
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Can someone clarify what these exit options generally look like? Based on this thread, I understand that an associate in this context is stuck in some limbo of being good but not good enough to make partner, an otherwise necessary part of the big law, long-term, organizational mechanism at work.

So are these associates being moved to other big law firms? Wouldn’t the issue persist, just under someone else’s roof?

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Rashabon
  • Lawyer
29 minutes ago, Bob Jones said:

I believe I’ve outlined it like 3 times at this point, but I am happy to try again. 
 

The concern is not that “BigLaw” doesn’t guarantee employment for life. They would be absurd. People get fired and have HR issues all day. 
 

What I find peculiar is 1) hiring X number of Associates knowing full well that there’s a pending expiry because there’s only Y number of positions to move up to; 2) that Associates can’t stay on if they’re not going to make partner (if they’re happy to, the firm is happy, there’s enough work etc, as Counsel) and 3) Associates are quasi-terminated by being encouraged to clear their stuff and get out within X number of days (usually 60-90 days) but given false assurances that they’re not being terminated but they also can’t stay. If you’re going to fire someone, then fire them (whether with working notice or not), but this wishy washy game is essentially a scheme to get out of paying severance if we’re being honest. 
 

The other issue I find odd is wage fixing. 

I don’t recall being the tough guy at all. To the contrary, I called for civility and following the Rules, while observing its unfortunate the Mods didn’t call you for being a bully. 
 

 

This is idiotic at this point

1) What is peculiar about hiring a bunch of untrained, know-nothing junior associates to try and train them on the job and see which ones have what it takes and which don't? We also know that associates leave of their own volition all the time - should we somehow restrict that so we can perfectly match open positions to associates, 7-10 years out? This is rank stupidity and honestly the dumbest complaint I've seen about the job market in some time.

2) Because that's not the job. Why pay someone to do the work that someone can also do while doing more? We do make Counsel, when it makes sense. We're not running charities though. All else being equal I'll take the person that can do 1700 efficient hours and also bring in work over the person that can do 1700 efficient hours and nothing else.

3) You're not being honest, you're being an idiot. I've made my point and you refuse to engage with it.

 

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