We strive to provide attorneys who join us from other firms, in-house or government positions with the opportunity to meet all of their professional and career goals.
The firm does not have a lockstep compensation program for associates. Our goal is to provide associates with the training and experience necessary to develop the skills they need to be first-rate lawyers and productive members of the Herrick, Feinstein community. These skills include not only exceptional professional and technical legal ability, but also other factors that make a law firm successful, such as teamwork, cooperation, leadership, respect for others, marketing, recruiting, firm administration and continuing legal education. The development of competence in these areas is not solely the function of tenure. To attract and retain the best lawyers, we have pioneered an innovative associate compensation system. We have done away with the traditional lockstep method of associate promotion so that there is no limit to the pace at which associates can advance in the firm. We also have a merit bonus program available to all associates. Thus, new lawyers will be able to reap all of the advantages of working at a mid-sized firm without making a substantial economic sacrifice.
We have adopted four levels of associate development and identified the performance criteria expected at each level. Progression from one level to the next, and therefore one compensation level to the next, requires demonstrated competence and ability with respect to the criteria specified. We recognize that each associate has a unique mix of skills and experiences.
We do not expect that every associate will excel in all of the criteria. However, we do expect that the total contribution of the associate will generally satisfy the specific criteria of competence and ability outlined for each level.
At orientation, each new associate is given a copy of the criteria for his or her practice area. Associates are expected to familiarize themselves with the criteria and be active participants in achieving the goals described.
We recognize that not all associates develop their skills at the same pace. Some of our associates move very rapidly from one skill level to the next, and others take a bit more time. The compensation system is designed to recognize these differences.
All associates are eligible for bonus consideration.
Each department has a partner who is responsible for monitoring associates' workload and distributing assignments. Associates may work alone with a partner, counsel or senior associate or, depending on the complexity of the matter, work with a group of attorneys on a larger matter.
There is no billable hour requirement for associates.
The firm has a long history of service to the community and encourages its attorneys to participate in pro bono projects of their own choosing or to volunteer their time to non-profit organizations such as Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts and New York Lawyers for the Public Interest.
While the firm does not seek to limit an attorney's choice of pro bono work, all projects must be approved by the firm and are subject to conflicts checks. Pro bono is considered to be billable time when calculating total billed hours each year.