McKenna Long & Aldridge Lowers Associate Compensation in Response to Client Needs

Supports Merit-Based Promotion System for all Associates

WASHINGTON, DC (April 14, 2009) -- McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP (MLA) will reduce starting salaries for new associates by $20,000 to better reflect client needs and the current economic environment, the firm announced today.

“We are committed to providing our clients with top-quality legal counsel at a cost that is appropriate to the market and economic conditions,” said MLA chairman Jeff Haidet.

Since 2007, MLA has been adjusting compensation practices in an effort to more closely and quantitatively align cost with value, according to Haidet. The firm moved to a merit-based promotion system for associates two years ago, using an evaluation process based on defined core competencies. Compensation and billing rates are based on these competencies rather than years out of law school, which is the measure for most law firms, he noted.

“Using a completely merit-based system enables us to avoid salary freezes in an unstable market, and at the same time, reward top performers,” added MLA Hiring & Professional Development Partner Mike Rizzo.

Concerns about associate salaries have been expressed by the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC), which represents the professional and business interests of attorneys who practice in the legal departments of corporations, associations and other private-sector organizations.

"Part of our motivation for making this move away from the standard industry approach to associate advancement and compensation has come from the Value Challenge initiative started by the ACC," said Haidet. In 2008, ACC started the Corporate Challenge initiative to facilitate a dialogue between outside and inside legal counsel on how to deliver better value to clients. See* MLA was an early participant in this initiative.

"McKenna Long & Aldridge is making the kind of operational changes that focus on delivering value to corporate clients that we hoped for when we created the Value Challenge," said ACC General Counsel Susan Hackett. She continued, “MLA is looking to create long-term sustainable practices by adjusting their compensation to the market and positioning themselves to be flexible to offer more innovative teams and cost-effective services.”


About McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP
McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP is an international law firm of 475 attorneys and public policy advisors. The firm provides business solutions in the areas of environmental regulation, international law, public policy and regulatory affairs, corporate law, government contracts, political law, intellectual property and technology, complex litigation, real estate, energy and finance. To learn more about the firm and its services, visit