Lawyer Pay

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Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy set a new standard for associate salaries last week when it announced higher salaries across all experience levels, paying $190,000 for new associates and $330,000 to the most experienced associates.

Now Cravath is adopting a new salary structure for associates that beats Milbank on salaries for mid- and upper-level associates, report the National Law Journal, Bloomberg Big Law Business and Above the Law, which broke the news. Cravath’s range is $190,000 to $340,000.

Cravath beats Milbank by $10,000 for sixth- to eighth-year associates, and by $5,000 for fourth- and fifth-year associates. Cravath is also paying special bonuses ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 to associates.

Here is the new salary structure for Cravath associates, including special bonuses:

  • First year: $190,000, with $5,000 special bonus
  • Second year: $200,000, with $7,500 special bonus
  • Third year: $220,000, with $10,000 special bonus
  • Fourth year: $255,000, with $15,000 special bonus
  • Fifth year: $280,000, with $20,000 special bonus
  • Sixth year: $305,000, with $25,000 special bonus
  • Seventh year: $325,000, with $25,000 special bonus
  • Eighth year: $340,000, with $25,000 special bonus

Here is Milbank’s scale:

  • First year: $190,000
  • Second year: $200,000
  • Third year: $220,000
  • Fourth year: $250,000
  • Fifth year: $275,000
  • Sixth year: $295,000
  • Seventh year: $315,000
  • Eighth year: $330,000

Some law firms have matched Milbank’s salary structure, including Proskauer Rose (for associates in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C.); Winston & Strawn (for U.S. associates); Simpson Thacher & Bartlett; Jones Day (for new associates; compensation is not lockstep); Irell & Manella; and Selendy & Gay, formed with lawyers from Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan.

Simpson Thacher is also paying summer bonuses to associates that range from $5,000 to $25,000.

Above the Law keeps track of salary announcements here.