Litigation firm Bickel & Brewer is offering its 2013 first-year associate class a base annual salary of $185,000, an increase of $10,000 over the firm’s current first-year associate base salary of $175,000, says William Brewer (pictured), a founding partner of the Dallas-based firm. The 43-lawyer firm is also giving each of its 32 associates a base salary increase of $10,000, effective Jan. 1, 2013, Brewer says.
“The goal here is always to be ahead of the curve,” Brewer says. Although the overall economy is still lackluster, Brewer says business is good for the firm, which handles large, complex litigation, and it wants to maintain its position as a salary leader. “We’re blessed,” Brewer says. “The fact is the firm is just doing great.” The firm has offered permanent positions to eight third-year law students, he says. The base salaries exclude bonuses, which are discretionary, he says.
Sixteen of the state’s 25 largest firms are offering their 2013 first-year associates salaries ranging from $120,000 to $165,000. Most of the large firms also offer guaranteed bonuses to associates during their first year.
Bickel & Brewer was also a market leader when it offered its 2002 first-year associate class a salary base of $175,000. At that time the firm was increasing first-year salaries from a base of $145,000 and gave a parallel boost of $20,000 to the base pay of all the firm’s associates.
Brewer says the firm also gave salary increases earlier this year to its nonlawyer professionals, which include 17 consultants, and its staff members. “You make a change in the hope and belief and optimism that your efforts are paying off,” he says. “This is the new normal, and we’re going to be even better because we’re working hard across the board.”
-- Jeanne Graham