Dickstein Shapiro Abandoning Lockstep
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The lockstep march away from lockstep compensation continues unabated as 2010 gets into full swing. The latest firm to join the thundering herd is Dickstein Shapiro, which will initiate a three tiered merit based system as of January 22. Regulars readers of our page are no doubt familiar with the basic concept – associates are broken down into three tiers based on various subjective and objective criteria. Dickstein Shapiro associates are, in yet another market conforming convention, broken down into A and B levels within their tiers to determine base pay.

Entry level A associates will be making $145k per year and Entry B associates will earn $160k. What’s the difference between level A and level B associates? According to a statement made to abovethelaw, it’s “…based on their achievement in a number of core competencies, including productivity, problem solving, legal research, writing, communication, fact development, negotiation skills, supervisory responsibilities, and adherence to the firm’s core values…”.

Maybe it’s just me, but if I had known that I could earn $145k per year working as a lawyer in a major law firm without being productive, competent at problem solving, legal research, writing, communication, fact development and negotiating, I would have chosen a different career. That sounds like easy money. As for supervisory responsibilities, how much supervising are entry level associates expected to do?


It’s easy to pick on Dickstein Shapiro for basing salary differences on the skills required to be a lawyer, but the truth is it’s not all that different from a variety of firms moving toward merit based compensation plans.

Dickstein Shapiro LLP, founded in 1953, is a multi-service law firm with more than 400 attorneys in Washington, DC, New York, and Los Angeles.

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