Two large Texas firms have bumped up base salaries for their 2012 first-year associates. Dallas-based Winstead and Houston-based Looper Reed & McGraw have increased annual base salaries for their entry-level associates by $18,000 and $10,000, respectively.
Winstead is paying its first-year associates a starting pay of $160,000. Five first-year associates joined the firm on Sept. 4.
The firm realized that first-, second- and third-year associates were more profitable for the firm in 2011 than previous years, says Mike Alessio, hiring shareholder of the 300-lawyer firm. The firm increased base salaries for all three classes, he says.
The younger associates have had more billable hours, due to increased business, and have had more success developing client relationships, he says.
“For us, we wanted to match compensation with profitability and value,” Alessio says.
Looper Reed & McGraw upped the ante to $120,000 for its first-year associates to stay competitive in the Texas market, says James “Jamie” Ribman, hiring shareholder for the 123-lawyer firm. Eight first-year associates began working at the firm between Aug. 27 and Sept. 10.
“We took a look at the legal market, and what other firms were doing, and felt this was the right time to make a move,” Ribman says. “There may be additional moves in the future.”
— Jeanne Graham