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Porter & Hedges announces new salary structure

Houston-based Porter & Hedges has increased associate salaries to a $135,000 base pay, plus up to $5,000 in bonuses.

Retroactive to January 1st, second-year associates at the firm will receive $145,000 and earn up to $10,000 in bonuses. Salaries for third- to sixth-years will range from $150,000 to $170,000, while prospective bonuses will range from $20,000 to $50,000. A 2,050 billable hour minimum has been established for bonuses.

Senior associates at the firm will be not be grouped into yearly classes but will instead fall under the category of senior associate. The new salary and bonus structure for senior associates has not yet been announced.

The firm's 50 associates will receive higher pay for their April 1st paycheck, but the retroactive portion of the raises will not be paid until the summer.

Law firms seek diversity
Law firms across the U.S. have taken significant steps to build diversity, including forming special committees to recruit and retain minority and female attorneys. The task can be daunting, not only to implement but to maintain, as many mid-sized firms are discovering.

While firms are building a diverse workforce, studies have shown that law firm diversity depends mainly on two factors. Larger, coastal markets have an edge, as their populations are more ethnically diverse. Therefore minority attorneys are more likely to be attracted to firms in the top-10 legal markets and firms ranked in the top-100 since they are more likely to offer a diverse staff.

Experts say law school recruitment is the solution to this critical problem. The NALP reports that the percentage of minority law school graduates has doubled since the 1980s, from 10% to 20%, and the number of female graduates now outnumbers males.

Analyzing the demographics of 1,425 law firms, the NALP reported that women comprised about 44% of associates and 17% of partners. African-American, Asian/Pacific Islander, American Indian and Hispanic attorneys represent about 16% of associates and 5% of partners.

Legal guide for Gulf Coast post-Katrina
One of the largest law firms in the South, Butler Snow O'Mara Stevens & Cannada, has issued a guide called "The Gulf Opportunity Zone Act of 2005: Benefits Available to Businesses," which outlines incentives for businesses seeking to rebuild, expand or begin operations in the Gulf Coast, which suffered the brunt of Hurricane Katrina.

According to the guide book, parts of Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi, nicknamed the "Gulf Opportunity (or GO) Zone," are eligible for federal benefits, such as bonus depreciation, tax-exempt financing and five-year net operating loss carry back. The guidebook also highlights additional incentives offered by the Mississippi State government.

The guide is written by Butler Snow's attorneys, who are actively participating in recovery efforts, including advising businesses who seek to benefit from the GO Zone legislation.  

The National Association for Law Placement (NALP)


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