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When the Biglaw market moved to the $215K scale in January, it seemed like every major firm would embrace the scale. Many moved within the first month of Milbank’s announcement. It was an almost existential decision for companies that were staring at a white-sided market and bursting with new business. If the company cannot keep up with the competition for talent, it can lose.

Troutman Pepper didn’t join the $215,000 party in January. That wasn’t too surprising, since the company has been persistently dragging its feet on compensation, though it usually gets there eventually. But this time the whole year did not move. In May, the company held its associate retreat and announced that updates on the salary situation would be coming “soon.” According to sources, the company has followed suit despite colleagues demanding salary updates at every Associate Development Committee meeting since the announcements in May.

But they finally got their answer this week… no raise.

Troutman Pepper ranks 47th on the Am Law 100, with earnings per equity firm ending at $1,386,000. And yet, the company has avoided raises on MAJOR HOLIDAYS. While there’s always the possibility that some ghosts might visit the partners on Christmas Eve, it’s more likely that the partners will just have to find some other way to cover up Tiny Tim’s operation.

Although after months of being teased with updates it’s a bitter pill to swallow, somehow it gets worse. According to multiple sources, the partnership didn’t even bother to release a comprehensive statement about the decision to keep associates below the market, instead choosing to have the Associate Development Committee relay the news to “a select few affiliates … and then the affiliates passed it on to their constituents.”

Partners were too quick to blow up the entire company when trying to get everyone back in the office in mid-2021, but when it comes to toughening up partners after straining them all year, the news is passed down to the contacts. Partners put in the hard work and missed lateral opportunities, believing the grass was only temporarily greener on the other side. The company reaped the benefits all year, and partners have been left looking longingly over the fence.

Troutman Pepper may have excuses, and they may even be “good” excuses, but a company can only be judged by the communication that associates actually receive. And here it was sorely lacking.

Maybe the company had a bad year and couldn’t cover the pay raise it was hoping to secure. It happens! We won’t really know until this year’s Am Law numbers come out. But even if profits are declining, this announcement is a management failure. Management must get ahead of such news with transparency and accountability.

And if profits actually increased… well, they would a lot with the questions of like-minded people.

EarlierA biglaw firm is finally joining the $205K party
Troutman Pepper Announces Big Compensation Changes
Biglaw Partner begs partners to come into the office


Shot to the headJoe Patrice is a senior editor at Above the Law and co-author of Thinking Like A Lawyer. Feel free to email any tips, questions, or comments. Follow him Twitter: if you’re interested in law, politics and a healthy dose of college sports news. Joe also serves as CEO of RPN Executive Search.

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