A Better Day’s Pay for Associates

Most firms say to get the talent, you have to pay market. San Jose’s Day Casebeer takes things up a notch — or three.

The philosophy at the 34-lawyer IP litigation boutique is to get superior talent, you have to pay superior salaries. And that is what they aimed to do when, following a string of announcements by L.A. and Bay Area firms in recent weeks, Day, too, raised its associate salaries across the board.

Partner Paul Grewal said that Day lawyers can’t ignore Irell & Manella’s and Quinn Emanuel’s moves to raise associate pay. “We compete most directly with large Bay Area firms,? he said, “but our competition in terms of high-stakes IP litigation is national.?

That’s why, the firm says, it has to do more than keep up with the Joneses. Or Quinns. While first- and second-year levels match the going market rate of $135,000 and $145,000, respectively, Day beats even the New York base pay starting in year three: Day’s third-year class is paid $175,000, fourth-year associates get $190,000 and seventh-year salaries hit a staggering $235,000.

Is this pay scale unreasonable in light of the market peak at $210,000? Not a chance, Grewal says.

“Associates in the third year and above begin to really contribute value and we believe the compensation should match,? said Grewal, who is in charge of Day’s salary program. He said it was “tempting? to ditch the “bump over the market? but, at the end of the day, “it was important to keep it.?

The firm, founded in 1998, last raised salaries in 2000.

— Petra Pasternak

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