This brief article over at law.com reports on the 2006 law firm salary bumps, and makes the argument that inflated junior associate salaries may increase mid-level and senior associate attrition by encouraging people to work at a large firm for a few years until their debt is paid down, and then move on to other things (what we in the business call "three and out").
But one statistic in the article really caught my eye:
Indeed, attrition has jumped dramatically from 2000, especially for experienced associates, according to NALP. In 2000, some 60 percent of associates with about five years of experience left their firms. By contrast, 78 percent of those lawyers with the same level of experience left in 2005.
78%? Yow! I knew that large firms experienced a steady attrition rate but I had no idea that only one out of every five associates made it to the senior level last year. I mean, really. Talk about a pyramid scheme.
When I quoted this factoid to one of my co-workers (actually, mu only co-worker for the next week or so), her theory was that a lot of associates who signed on during the boom years have grown dissatisfied now that wining and dining has faded into assloads of billable hours, and that may account for a lot of people jumping ship. That makes sense, but that still seems like an unreasonably high number. Maybe I'm just naive.