Oregon State Bar Bulletin — FEBRUARY/MARCH 2007

First-Year Associate Salary Wars
An escalating first-year associate salary war is being reported from various corners of the country, with numbers that may sound shocking to the Oregon law office ear.

It started with the New York firm of Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett, which raised first-years’ starting pay to $160,000 on Jan. 22, 2007. At the time, you had to be a fourth-year associate in most California-based big firms to command $175,000, and first-years received $145,000. In response, though, some California firms have quickly raised first-years from $145,000 to $160,000 to match — but only in their New York offices.

However, some New York firms will be paying their California office associates on the higher scale, so how will that in turn sit on the West Coast? According to reports on law.com, firms in Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Boston and elsewhere are feeling the immediate pressure, and they are acting upon it. If firms feel a responsibility to offer the most competitive salaries in the industry, this could get more interesting — and expensive (or lucrative, depending on your point of view). Follow the evolving story on law.com, beginning with articles on Jan. 31 and Feb. 5, 2007.

Book Offers Tips on Probation,
Post-Prison Supervision
Former probation and parole officer William D. Sawyer of West Linn is the author of a new book, Probation and Post-Prison Supervision: Strategies for Success.

Sawyer, a community corrections coordinator for the Oregon Department of Corrections, learned from his experience of supervising hundreds of clients as they moved through the criminal justice system. Though many would succeed, he says, far too many would fail. He wrote this handbook to provide strategies for people from any background to promote positive change in their lives while under supervision and beyond. "Offenders cannot depend on probation officers to help them through the system anymore," Sawyer says. "They must learn how to teach themselves how to succeed." The hope is that lawyers will share the book with appropriate clients.

For more information, go to the Publish America website at www.publishamerica.com.

CDs For JDs:
Soundtrack of the Legal Life
Ever wonder what background music to play as you bang out that brief? Looking for some songs to psych you up on the way to court? The Billable Hour Co. has the answers at its new online music store featuring CDs by and for members of the legal profession.

Lawyer-artists include The Bar & Grill Singers from Austin, Texas ("A Time to Grill," "Grilling Me Softly" and "Licensed to Grill") and West Virginia’s Bob Noone and The Well-Hung Jury ("Wingtips Optional" and "Second Helping of Chicken Suit for the Lawyer’s Soul"). The groups perform in a wide range of styles and cover topics ranging from lifetime judicial appointments to legal education.

CDs are available for $14.95 each at www.TheBillableHour.com

Law Firm Leverage Varied
with Firm Size, Location in 2006
Major law firms employ one associate for every partner nationally, and the overall ratio of lawyers to partners is just over 2.0 (2.19), according to the 2006-2007 NALP Directory of Legal Employers, the annual compendium of legal employer information published by NALP, a legal placement organization.

Recent analyses of the directory’s data reveal that, whether measured as the ratio of all lawyers to partners, as the ratio of associates to partners, or as the ratio of other lawyers (of counsel, senior and staff attorneys) to partners, law firms vary widely in their mix of lawyers.

Regardless of the measure used, on average, larger law firms leverage their partners with associates and other lawyers to a greater degree than do smaller firms. For example, the ratio of associates to partners in firms of 100 or fewer lawyers is about 0.7. Leverage figures rise rapidly for firms of 251 or more lawyers. In firms of more than 700 lawyers, the figure is about double, at 1.38.

City averages for leverage vary from city to city: lawyer/partner ratios ranged from a low of about 1.6 in Grand Rapids and Milwaukee, to a high of 3.16 in New York City. A number of cities, including Portland, are in the middle, with leverage in the 1.68 to 1.75 range.

The directory is available online at www.nalpdirectory.com.

Supreme Court Justice Scalia
to give free public talk April 12
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia will participate in a conference, "The American Experiment: Religious Freedom," set for April 12-14 and sponsored by the University of Portland Garaventa Center for Catholic Intellectual Life and American Culture. The conference will examine the meaning of religious freedom and its protections in the history of the United States.

Justice Scalia will deliver the keynote address at 5 p.m. Thursday, April 12 in the Chiles Center on campus, 5000 North Willamette Blvd. His address is free and open to the public, but tickets are required. To obtain tickets, contact Jamie Powell at the Garaventa Center (503) 943-7702.

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