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Wake Up Call: Steptoe to Cut Pay for ‘Under-Budget’ Associates

June 23, 2022, 12:59 PM

In today’s column, salaries for public sector attorneys are up but still lag those for the private sector; London-based Ashurst is opening an Austin, Texas office, its third in the US; Baker McKenzie is still the top US firm by headcount.

  • Leading off, Steptoe & Johnson LLP is giving some associates Cravath-level raises, but it’s cutting pay for under-performing associates, legal blog Above The Law reported. The Washington-based firm said it will match the full Cravath scale, which runs from $215,000 to $415,000 depending on year of seniority, starting July 1. However, the firm said a “small number of associates” whose hours fall short of 80% of the firm’s performance expectations will see their compensation “prorated.” (Above The Law)
  • Salaries for public service attorneys have climbed since 2018, in particular for attorneys in civil legal services and public interest organizations. However, they remain significantly below pay for private sector attorneys, according to new data from the National Association for Law Placement. (NALP.org)
  • London-based Big Law firm Ashurst said it’s opening a “small branch office” in Austin, Texas, its third US outpost. The office, led by projects partner Wes Strickland, will support clients on infrastructure investment and development and finance matters in the transport, social infrastructure, and water sectors. Strickland will divide his time between Austin and Los Angeles. (Ashurst.com)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • Baker McKenzie is still the biggest US law firm by headcount with 4,795 attorneys followed by DLA Piper with 4,028 and Norton Rose Fulbright with 3,084, according to new data. Latham, the biggest US firm by revenues, is next with 3,078 US attorneys. (National Law Journal)
  • Jenner & Block tops the National Law Journal’s new 2022 LGBTQ scorecard with 46 of its 401 total US attorneys and partners, or 11.5%, self-identifying as LGBTQ. Cleary Gottlieb is second, with 10.3% or 55 of its 539 US attorneys and partners, and Ropes & Gray third with 9.5%, 113 of its 1,185 attorney US headcount self-identifying as LGBTQ. LGBTQ attorneys accounted for 4.1% of total US headcount across law firms on the NLJ 350 ranking. (National Law Journal)
  • U.S. prosecutors asked a judge for an investigation into reports that a group controlled by former Trump lawyer Sydney Powell is paying legal fees for the Oath Keepers. Members of that far-right group are facing trial in the Jan. 6 Capitol riots. (US News & World Report)

Laterals, Moves, In-house

  • Goodwin grabbed Schulte Roth & Zabel employee benefits and executive compensation special counsel Melissa Sandak as a partner in New York. She advises on the Employee Retirement Income Security Act and Internal Revenue Code compliance; DLA Piper said Antony Hainsworth, the UK financial services regulation head at French bank group Societe Générale, is joining the firm as a partner in London starting July 1; Reed Smith said its London office picked up structured finance partner Tariq Zafar Rasheed from Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner in London; Proskauer Rose London private equity attorney Tony Downes is jumping to Sidley Austin as a partner. (Law.com International)
  • Ropes & Gray hired private funds attorney Glen Chen as counsel in Los Angeles. He arrives from Paul Hastings; Perkins Coie brought in emerging companies & venture capital partner Dan Austin. He joins the firm’s Austin, Texas, office from Dickinson Wright. (PerkinsCoie.com)
  • President Biden nominated former Nixon Peabody partner Anjali Chaturvedi as general counsel at the US Department of Veterans Affairs. She’s currently deputy assistant attorney general in the Justice Department’s criminal division; California biotech company Nutcracker Therapeutics, Inc. announced it hired former Irell & Manella partner Ian Wiener as executive vice president and general counsel; Toronto-based bitcoin mining company Hut 8 Mining Corp. hired health-care services in-house veteran Aniss Amdiss as chief legal officer, effective July 11. (Canadian Lawyer)

Technology

  • Foley & Lardner launched a new contract review tool powered by automation platform ThoughtRiver. (Foley)

To contact the correspondent on this story: Rick Mitchell in Paris at rMitchell@correspondent.bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chris Opfer in New York at copfer@bloomberglaw.com; Darren Bowman at dbowman@bloomberglaw.com