2008 has been an interesting year in the legal industry. We’ve had major law firm dissolutions, legal scandals, and a collapse of the financial markets which has lead to weekly layoffs at the AmLaw 200 firms.

Marketing in a down economy is a common topic of discussion amongst my legal marketing peers these days. Looking at 2009, most firms that I have spoken to are in deep discussions about freezing their rates, if they have not already made that decision. While other firms are cutting marketing and business development budgets.

The headlines in the legal trades this morning highlight the latest trend for Big Law: the salary freeze. And it’s starting with AmLaw #2, Latham. And, might I add, it’s about time.

Knowing the legal industry as I do, as goes Latham, so too will the rest of the industry. Once all the law firm ducks get in a line, most Big Law’s pay scales will look like this next year:

  • First and Second Year associates – $160,000
  • Third Year- $170,000
  • Fourth Year- $185,000
  • Fifth Year- $210,000
  • Sixth Year- $230,000
  • Seventh Year- $250,000
  • Eighth Year- $265,000

Maybe it’s just me, but anyone else find that the sense of entitlement (read comments section) to a huge salary, plus bonus and annual 5-figure pay increases, appalling?

For every Big Law associate who would like to bemoan their lack of a pay increase, I’d be happy to introduce your firm to the 200 Thelen and Heller associates who are still looking for a job.