In an eat-what-you-kill law firm culture, associates are the appetizer. They might keep us from starving, but when’s the last time you made a decision where to eat based on the appetizer?
Yet, time and again we read in surveys how associates want “work-life balance,” interesting work, mentors, a pathway to partnership, etc. However, when there are good alternatives presented, associates are still lured away by the prospects of the $165k firm.
[Washington, DC managing partner William] Zimmerman, who joined the firm out of law school in 1998, said its short partnership track has the added benefit of giving more responsibility to younger lawyers, such as taking depositions and participating in trials.
Most of the firm’s hires are first-year associates who stand a good chance of making partner within five years, [managing partner Steven] Nataupsky said.
Knobbe Martens has hired more than two dozen associates in the past year.
The firm boasts a more relaxed culture; most attorneys work, on average, seven hours a day and bill about 1,640 hours a year.
The catch: associate salaries of $150,000, which are below market rates. Some former associates, speaking on condition of anonymity, said pay was a factor in their decision to leave.