Lawyer Pay

Which City's New Associates Get the Most Buying Power for Their Pay?


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Newly minted associates who want to maximize the buying power of their salaries should not practice in New York City.

More than 60 percent of the cities evaluated by NALP, the Association for Legal Career Professionals, provided better buying power than New York. The city is ranked 47th on the list of buying power, according to a press release.

Dallas tops the list for best buying power for the class of 2011. The median salary for new associates in private practice there is $135,000, but only $70,350 is needed to achieve the buying power of a New York salary. The top five cities are:

1) Dallas (median salary $135,000; $70,350 needed to achieve New York buying power)

2) Wilmington, Del. (median salary $145,000; $79,710 needed to achieve New York buying power

3) Houston (median salary 115,000; $65,670 needed to achieve New York buying power)

4) Charlotte, N.C. (median salary $115,000; $68,230 needed to achieve New York buying power)

5) Los Angeles (median salary $160,000; $97,110 needed to achieve New York buying power)

Last on the list is Honolulu, where the median salary for new associates is $70,000. To develop the index, NALP used median new associate salaries in 76 cities for which cost of living information was available. NALP’s figures for the class of 2010 rated the top five as Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Chicago and Boston.

Above the Law reports on the statistics, saying they are “a great way to find out where you’ll get the most bang for your buck if you land a lucrative BigLaw gig.”

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