WTO Raises Associate Salaries
DENVER - When nationally-recognized litigation firm Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell LLP opened its doors in 1998, it started a buzz in the Denver legal community and set a precedent of offering the highest salary to first-year associates of any Denver-based law firm. Less than two years after it last raised starting salaries, the firm is doing it again.
As of October 1, 2007, WTO is offering $135,000 as a starting associate salary. "We attract some of the very best young lawyers in the country," states Hugh Gottschalk, WTO’s Managing Partner. "Handling high caliber litigation across the country from our great location in Denver, matched with a competitive salary, makes Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell an enticing place to be. We want to make sure that this continues."
From its beginning, WTO has handled complex civil litigation and trials for some of the country’s best-known companies. The firm’s work for such companies has exploded in the last few months with the addition of several senior trial lawyers, including Kevin Kuhn and John Fitzpatrick, who has a national reputation as a "go-to" trial attorney for high exposure liability cases. By raising salaries, WTO hopes to continue to recruit and retain the high quality associates it needs to staff such cases.
While $135,000 may be tops for Denver-based firms and above the national average, it falls below the entry level salaries of $160,000 recently set by the largest firms in the major metropolitan areas on either coast.
WTO Chairman Michael O’Donnell says, "Having lower salary costs than the law firms with which we compete nationally for cases - such as the class-action lawsuit we’re handling for Ford in California in which plaintiffs are claiming multi-billion dollars in damages - keeps WTO attractive to Fortune 500 corporate counsel who are managing increasingly tight litigation budgets."