Lawyer Pay

$160,000 to Start in NYC--and Seattle


An intellectual property boutique has raised its starting pay in Seattle to $160,000, matching the salary its first-years earn in New York City.

The move by Darby & Darby is the latest in a series of such salary increases by West Coast law offices, according to the National Law Journal (sub. req.). However, most if not all of these moves appear to have been made by firms in California, which traditionally have paid lawyers more than firms in the Pacific Northwest.

Firms in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco have recently matched the $160,000 starting salary paid to an elite group of first-year associates working at major New York City firms, Law.com reported last month. That has led to “whispers” of a possible raise to $190,000 for first-years at big New York City firms, since it costs significantly more to live there than in virtually any other major city in the country.

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