CompensationWe are committed to recruiting, retaining, developing and promoting the best legal talent. Accordingly, the total compensation package—base salary, bonus and benefits—for all lawyers at the firm is highly competitive with that of other major law firms.
In 2010, WilmerHale transitioned from a lockstep compensation model to a merit-based compensation model. Under the merit-based model, we continue to have a highly competitive total compensation package for all associates, senior associates and counsel that recognizes and rewards an individual lawyer’s skill level and the value of his or her overall contributions each year. The merit-based model aligns well with our clients’ focus on value delivered, rather than simply hours billed. Our overall objective in implementing a merit-based compensation model was to recognize and reward strong performance at all levels, and to recognize and reward lawyers for the qualities and contributions that both the firm and our clients value most.
Annual performance bonuses are awarded based on factors such as: core competencies (commitment; confidence; matter management; oral communication; problem solving; relationship building; teamwork; writing); a lawyer’s level of experience; productivity and value; and overall firm performance.
Base SalaryWe provide a market lockstep base salary for first, second, and third-year associates and a tiered base salary program for senior associates and counsel. This gradual approach from lockstep to tiers allows our junior associates to focus on the development of their skills and to adjust to the demands of private practice, without tying a significant portion of their compensation to a performance-based bonus. By the time our lawyers reach the senior associate and counsel level, we believe it is appropriate to place a greater emphasis on individual performance and, therefore, as seniority increases, a greater amount of total compensation is placed in the bonus. Those who are meeting and exceeding our high expectations are rewarded at or greater than market levels.
The current base salary for a first-year Associate is $160,000.
Annual Performance BonusThe annual performance bonus reflects our Career Advancement Program’s focus on the individual lawyer and his or her development. The bonus program incorporates our philosophy of rewarding overall contributions, including significant contributions to the success of the firm. To achieve this, the bonus program is designed as a matrix with two key measures: Quality of Contribution and Productivity and Value. Quality of Contribution is measured from the overall evaluation assessment of each individual lawyer into which our core competencies play a significant part. Productivity and Value factors in the time spent performing substantive legal work, whether for a paying or pro bono client, and the value of those hours. Once overall firm performance is determined, the design of the bonus system ensures that each year, those who are meeting expectations for quality of performance and productivity receive total compensation that is market competitive, and that those who are exceeding our expectations receive total compensation that is above market.
Lindsay Kosan, Boston
Harvard Law School
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Sonia Fleury, Los Angeles
University of California, Berkeley, School of Law
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In every area of practice, WilmerHale brings the insight, dedication to excellence, and commitment to client service needed for our clients to achieve their business objectives. Our five-department structure and team approach to service enable us to provide the highest level of responsiveness and access to lawyers with the most appropriate experience.
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