Law Firm Salaries Jump for the First Time in Nearly a Decade by Elizabeth Olson

Some interesting news in the law community reveals that for the first time in years, annual salaries at major firms are increasing by $20,000 to $35,000. Cravath, Swaine & Moore issued a memo from their partners discussing these salary changes which could likely signal to other firms to make similar changes or risk losing out on the most skilled law school recruits. Elizabeth Olson explains,

It has been nearly a decade since entry-level lawyer salaries were last increased. Law firms, buffeted by a changing economy, have been struggling to adjust to corporate clients who are increasingly demanding billing discounts and refusing to pay steep rates for junior associates to learn on the job.

At the same time, partner profits have rebounded as corporations continue to turn to experienced lawyers to handle their high-stakes matters. The seven-figure salaries at the top of the law firm pyramid were stirring some dissatisfaction among the lower-paid lawyers closer to the bottom.

Still, few law school graduates are likely to turn down a spot at a big law firm, leaving competition for those coveted positions as keen as ever. While changes to associate compensation at big law firms are closely watched, in reality only a small slice of the nation’s law graduates begin their practices earning salaries in the mid-$100,000 range.

The salaries, however, are a benchmark of how major law firms are faring; the most prestigious firms pay the best. And top firms like Cravath that have demonstrated winning expertise in areas such as litigation or intellectual property are doing very well, with partners richly remunerated for their work for top clients like IBM and JPMorgan Chase.

Find the entire article here: Law Firm Salaries Jump for the First Time in Nearly a Decade

Posted by Allison Trupp, Associate Editor, Wealth Strategies Journal