Lawyer Pay

NJ Firms Raise Associate Salaries


While they’re not at the absolute top of the associate salary scale, a number of law firms in New Jersey are nonetheless raising starting pay for first-years significantly.

Although some firms are holding the line, others say they are upping the associate ante by as much as 10 to 15 percent or more, reports NJBIZ (sub. req.).

Among them: Starting associates at Archer & Greiner will get $110,000 this year, plus a $5,000 signing bonus, says Steven Mignogna, chair of the Haddonfield firm’s hiring committee. That compares to compensation of $95,000 plus the same bonus last year. And Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer in Woodbridge is raising first-year pay from $100,000 to $110,000, reports Brian Molloy, the firm’s managing partner.

“We don’t compete directly with Philadelphia firms, but we do want to keep our salaries within a competitive range,” Mignogna says.

Starting salaries for associates at major firms in New York topped out at around $160,000 at the beginning of the year, according to the New York Times’ Dealbook blog (and could well go higher as firms in a number of other big—but less expensive—cities reportedly recently hit the $160,000 level, too). Meanwhile, the salary stratosphere for first-years in Philadelphia is around $145,000, as discussed in an earlier ABAJournal.com post.

However, these salaries are at the upper end of the associate pay scale; many starting lawyers in private practice can expect to earn a figure closer to $45,000, as another ABAJournal.com post notes.

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