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Merit Based Pay at Drinker Biddle
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Drinker Biddle is moving to a merit based pay system, becoming the latest in a string of major law firms to abandon lockstep compensation. Under the new plan associates in their second year and beyond are broken down into four tiers. Each tier has a baseline salary but the firm is quick to emphasize that final salaries will recognize the individual contributions an associate makes to the firm’s success and could rise well above the minimum salaries. There are also two separate scales for major markets such as New York, and offices in other locations.

Associates in New York, Chicago, Washington DC and California will have base salaries of $145k, $165k, $185k, and $250k depending on tier, with the top tier reserved for those expected to make partner within two years. Outside the major markets, salaries range from $130k to $185k. Abovethelaw.com is reporting that this represents a salary cut for 53% of Drinker Biddle’s associates, but that’s based only on minimum salaries for each tier and may not be reflective of final salaries.

This system applies to associates in their second year and beyond. Drinker Biddle is continuing its new first year program, as reported here. First year associates will undergo extensive training while drawing salaries of $105k, and clients will be charged a reduced rate for any work done by this group.

  
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Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP was founded in Philadelphia in 1849. The firm has more than 650 attorneys in 12 offices in the US. Its largest offices are in Philadelphia; Chicago; Florham Park, New Jersey; and Washington, DC.



 

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