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May 15, 2009 2:34 PM

DLA Piper Cuts Associate Pay

Posted by Rachel Breitman

After announcing layoffs of more than 80 associates in February, and pay cuts for partners in March, DLA Piper has more bad new for its lawyers. This time around, the firm is slashing salaries for its 550 U.S.-based associates, and shifting their compensation towards a merit-based system.

As the National Law Journal reports Friday, the global law firm said in a memo that it will reduce first-year associate salaries in its major markets from $160,000 to $145,000. First-year salaries in second-tier cities, which were already at $145,000, will drop to $130,000. For all other associates, cuts will be on a case-by-case basis, depending on performance and class year. The cuts will become effective in June.

Cuts in associate salaries have been widespread recently, with the likes of McKenna Long & Aldridge; Baker & McKenzie; Thompson Hine; Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice; Chadbourne & Parke; and Nixon Peabody announcing they would be pushing down associate pay. And the notion of losing lockstep compensation for associates is becoming increasingly popular. Firms like Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe and Howrey have already decided to reward associates based on merit, not seniority. 

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