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Salary Cuts and Merit Based Compensation at McDermott Will & Emery
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McDermott Will & Emery is moving to a merit based compensation system beginning in 2011. Like several other merit based plans we’ve detailed on these pages, this is a three tiered system. Some firms have moved to a merit based plan that holds the line on starting salaries, while others have cut base pay. McDermott is squarely in the latter category.

Under the new plan, associates on the bottom tier will have a base salary of $145k. Any associates looking for a bonus plan that will help make up the difference in base salary may be disappointed. The bonuses will be based on market conditions, the success of the firm, and merit. If the market scale for bonuses is anything like 2009, McDermott associates will need the bonus just to catch up to the base salaries their contemporaries are earning.

As noted, this plan isn’t going into effect until next year. This year the firm is just cutting salaries. New associates will be pulling in $145k and second year associates are seeing their pay cut to the same level. Which, remarkably, is the same as it would be under the merit based system that isn’t actually in effect.

  
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McDermott Will & Emery LLP, founded in 1934, is a prestigious international law firm headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. It is one of the top 10 largest law firms in the United States and one of the 20 largest in the world.



 

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