Only yesterday I cited the Law.com article about Simpson Thacher & Bartlett increasing associate base salaries to a cool $160,000 before bonus. Surprise. Surprise. Today Law.com has an article that most of the big New York City firms have matched that price and Washington DC heavy-weight Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom is also matching the salary for first year associates.
So where is the cloud? Money can’t buy morale. The CollegeJournal reports that the big law firms are struggling to reduce soaring attrition rates among young lawyers due to poor morale. For example, Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, which lost 31% of its associates in 2004 and 30% in 2005 gave a presentation to partners on how to treat associates. Even teaching partners to say "please" and "thank you" and suggesting that partners "Be sensitive to not canceling associates’ vacations."
Yes those salaries are alluring, but make sure you know what you’re getting into, and when to get out.