Robert Jewell, managing partner of Andrews Kurth, reports that top-producing employees of the Houston-based company will receive an increase in their base salaries on January 1. The company is making this move in response to market competition. Rather than relying on the amount of their year-end bonuses, associates with at least four years’ experience who have been performing well will receive a significant salary boost instead.
To quality, employees must have worked 2000 hours during each of the past 2 years and must have at least four years’ experience with the firm. About 19% of Andrews Kurth’s employees fall into this category. Hours worked must be qualifying hours, which includes both billable hours and nonbillable hours, such as those hours spent in pro bono work.
Associates who have been employed with the company since 2007 and meet the above requirements will receive a $55,000 increase in their base salary, from $175,000 to $230,000, while those who have been with the company since 2004 will see an increase in their base salary of $60,000, from $200,000 to $260,000. In comparison to these numbers, bonuses given to associates for December 2011 topped at $100,000.
The management at Andrews Kurth does not plan for associates receiving the January 1 base salary increases to receive the year-end bonuses in December 2012 because of the higher monthly salaries being paid throughout the year. While associates who do not have the 2000 hours or 4 years’ experience will possibly receive a bigger year-end bonus, their base salary will remain the same as in the past.
Jewell states that 2011 was a successful year for the law firm, which currently has 405 lawyers, reporting the firm’s revenue as 10 percent greater than had been forecasted. He feels this is a result of a resurgence of capital markets as well as energy transactions, but that all areas of the practice experienced an increase in activity. The firm’s revenue was also greater than predicated in 2010, with the firm bringing in about 25% greater than expected.
While the firm paid out bonuses as high as $100,000 in 2011, the prior year they were even more generous. In addition to the $100,000 year-end bonuses in mid-December 2011, an additional bonus of up to $20,000 bonus was given just a couple of weeks later to those associates who had billed greater than 2200 hours for the firm.
The managing partner says he is happy to be able to pay the increased salary base for the associates who are performing well for the company. For those employees with the company since 2004, the increase amounts to about $5000 in extra income per month. He states their employees work very hard in what is a very demanding career, and he feels they should be well compensated for their efforts.