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Law—Survey reveals law salaries in San Diego and beyond



Thorsnes to Receive County Bar Association’s

Daniel Broderick Award

Buildings are taller and hills are steeper in other cities, and an associate at a law firm can make more money than in San Diego.

Then again, associates at area law firms can easily pull down six figures in their first year.

First-year associates at seven San Diego firms were making an average of $103,429 this spring, says a new survey released by the Washington, D.C.-based National Association for Law Placement. By contrast, a first-year associate at a large firm in San Francisco was probably earning upwards of $110,000.

The survey provides a snapshot of salaries in 23 cities and nationwide as of April 1. Both large and small firms are represented in the study.

The study’s authors say they offer a view of associate pay following the wave of salary increases that hit during the first quarter of this year. That happened because Silicon Valley firms decided to raise salaries in January.

The seven local firms responding to the salary survey in April reported a low of $67,000, a median of $110,000 and a high of $125,000 for a first-year associate.

The median salary for a fourth-year associate in Los Angeles then was $155,000; for firms reporting from other areas of California, the median was $101,000. In San Diego, the median for a fourth-year associate was $125,000.

Some 450 law offices nationwide contributed to the 2000 Associate Salary Survey.

Additional details on the study are available on the Web at (www.nalp.org). The entire report is available for $95. For information, visit the Web site or call (202) 667-1666.

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Broderick Winner Named: Michael Thorsnes, founding partner of Downtown’s Thorsnes, Bartolotta & McGuire, will receive the county bar association’s Daniel T. Broderick III Award, which recognizes civility, integrity and professionalism in civil litigation.

Thorsnes will receive the award at the 16th annual Red Boudreau Trial Lawyers Dinner, set for Oct. 21 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel on Harbor Drive. The American Board of Trial Advocates, the San Diego Defense Lawyers, the Association of Business Trial Lawyers as well as the Consumer Attorneys of San Diego sponsor the charity event. It benefits the Toussaint Teen Center at Father Joe’s Villages.

For information, call (619) 696-1166.

Growth Spurt: Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison LLP has signed a five-year lease for an additional 28,000 square feet of office space. The firm will move approximately one-quarter of its 100-plus attorneys to two floors in the Highlands Corporate Building at 12750 High Bluff Drive, about a half-mile from the firm’s Carmel Valley facility. After tenant improvements, Brobeck expects to occupy the space in November.

The San Francisco-based firm has almost doubled its local staff since January, creating the need for additional facilities.

Brobeck moved into its custom-built, three-story, 72,300-square-foot building in March, “expecting it to meet our needs for at least five years,” said Rick Parker, San Diego managing partner. “The acquisition of our new San Diego intellectual property group has pushed us far past our original growth projections.”

The Highlands Corporate Building is owned by Square 24 Associates LP and managed by CarrAmerica. The Irving Hughes Group represented Brobeck, and Business Real Estate represented the landlord. Lease terms were not disclosed.

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State Bar Post: Robert Stansell, a partner with Downtown’s Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch LLP, will serve as co-chair of the corporations committee of the state bar’s business law section. The section’s executive committee appointed Stansell to the post. His one-year term starts next week.

Rules Change On Wages, Hours: Are you an employer with Assembly Bill 60 on your mind? Wondering what’s up with overtime, meal periods and other aspects of wage and hour law? Information about the Industrial Welfare Commission’s amendments to the state’s 15 industry-specific wage orders is available at a San Diego Employers Association, Inc. breakfast from 7:30 to 9 a.m. Sept. 26 at the association headquarters at 9665 Chesapeake Drive, Suite 355, in San Diego.

Attorney Mike Sullivan of Downtown’s Paul Plevin and Sullivan LLC will speak. Changes he will discuss include new penalties involving meal period waivers, new duty requirements for exempt employees, scheduling flexibility for alternative work weeks and maximum and minimum shift lengths. A continental breakfast will be served. The cost for the seminar is $45 for members and $70 for nonmembers. For information, call (858) 576-7332 or (760) 944-7788, or visit the association on the Web at (www.sdea.com).

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Law School News: Adrianne Baker, who has worked with the Legal Aid Society of San Diego for the last decade, is now acting assistant dean of student services at California Western School of Law. James M. Cooper, who has been executive director of the school’s McGill Center for Creative Problem Solving, has been appointed assistant dean for mission development.

Graves covers law for the Business Journal. E-mail him at bgraves@sdbj.com.

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