Lawyer Pay

Big TX Firms Pay Grads $160 K But Balk at Raises for All

Two more Texas firms have joined the move to raise starting pay for first-year associate attorneys to a top-of-the-market $160,000.

They are: Dallas-based Gardere Wynne Sewell, which has 282 lawyers, and Jackson Walker, with 315, according to a New York Lawyer (reg. req.) article that reprints a Texas Lawyer story.

Gardere will pay first-years $160,000 as of Sept. 1. But Jackson Walker is upping the ante only as of Jan. 1, 2008—and even then the figure includes only $140,000 in salary. The remaining $20,000 is a bonus, although associates will be paid $15,000 of that amount when they arrive at the firm.

Houston-based Vinson & Elkins led this year’s salary move, announcing in July a starting salary of $160,000—and increases for all subsequent associates classes, too, as discussed in an earlier post.

While a number of Texas firms have matched the $160,000 figure, and at least three have matched Vinson’s $170,000 for second-year associates, most have—like Gardere and Jackson Walker—hesitated to promise to bump up compensation for more senior associates by a specific amount and say they are studying the issue.

Other Texas firms that initially followed Vinson’s lead on first-year pay are Andrews Kurth and Locke Liddell & Sappe. The two firms also agreed to pay second-years $170,000. However, they have not yet committed to higher salaries for other senior associates, as discussed in articles referenced in previous posts about Andrews Kurth and Locke Liddell.

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