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12 June 2018 at 09:44 BST

Associate pay levels increase again, and there's more to come!

Associate pay levels hit the headlines again as Cravath Swaine & Moore raises the bar once more. Could $200k salaries be on the horizon?


One week after Milbank raised associate pay, Cravath Swaine & Moore has decided to join in the fray. Cravath is matching salaries along the Milbank scale for junior associates. For midlevel associates, the Cravath scale is a $5,000 above the level set by Milbank last week, while senior levels are raised to $10,000. In addition, Cravath is to give out special bonuses similar to those announced by Simpson Thacher.


An internal memo stated the Firm will pay a special bonus and increase associate base salaries, with bonuses to be paid on June 29. An associate must be at the Firm on June 29 to be eligible for the bonus. Associates who have been with the Firm for only part of the year or are working part-time will receive a pro-rated portion of the applicable class-level bonus. The base salary increase is effective July 1 and will be reflected in paychecks commencing on July 6. Summer associate salaries will also be increased to match the new first year associate weekly salary, effective July 1. The memo signed off ‘we would like to express the Firm’s appreciation for all your efforts.’

$200k next?

Cravath Swaine & Moore was responsible two years ago for breaking a nine-year stalemate on associate salaries. Milbank,Tweed, Hadley & McCloy surprised observers by increasing salaries from the 2016 $180,000 level. Selendy & Gay also raised its associate salary scale. Expectations now are for most major Biglaw firms to follow suit, and with on-campus recruiting about to start, more decisions may start coming thick and fast, starting salaries of $200,000 now appear to be on the horizon.


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