Biglaw

Firms Follow Cravath’s $180,000 Base Pay Scale
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Photo courtesy of Wall Street Journal.

Summary: Some New York law firms have announced they will match the new salary scale set by Cravath, Swaine & Moore. 

Yesterday, Cravath, Swaine & Moore announced that the firm will raise its associate’s base pay from $160,000 to $180,000, a 12.5% increase. Today, other New York firms announced they will match Cravath’s new initial offer, and other big firms are expected to follow suit.

  
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  • To learn more about Cravath, Swaine & Moore, read this LawCrossing profile.

Cahill Gordon & Reindel; Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy; Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison and Weil, Gotshal & Manges announced today that they will match Cravath’s scale, which will affect first to eight year associates.

“We have consistently paid our associates at the same level as the top New York firms,” Milbank Chairman Scott Edelman said to American Lawyer. “We are fortunate to have a terrific group of associates and we want them to have compensation consistent with the top firms. It is as simple as that.”

Pay raises are expected to happen on July 1. Cahill Gordon said the class of 2015 will receive a $180,000 annual salary while the class of 2008 will receive up to $315,000/a year.

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Janet Stanton, a consultant for Adam Smith Esq., said that she believed a lot of firms would follow because the industry had a “lemming-like” mentality. However, she added that raised salaries would not “endear these firms to their clients.”

While a slew of firms have pledged to change their salary scale, some firms outside of New York have stated they will match their city’s market scale, not New York’s. However, Kelley Drye & Warren of New York has stated they will remain the same.



“With [Monday’s] announcement some big law firms demonstrate that they do not listen to what their clients have been saying over the past decade about the price of legal services,” Kelley Drye & Warren’s new chair, James Carr said. “While we continue to monitor the compensation market, in our view, sophisticated purchasers realize that they can obtain equal or better legal services at Kelley Drye for a fraction of the cost.”

  • To learn more about Kelley Drye & Warren, read this LawCrossing profile.

In Philadelphia, Drinker Biddle & Reath’s base pay is $160,000, and Duane Morris pays $150,000 for first year associates. In Washington, DC, Williams & Connelly pays first year associates $200,000, but other firms in the area have the potential to pay more with generous bonuses.

What do you think about the new salary increases? Let us know in the comments below.

Source: American Lawyer

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