Lawyer Pay

Nonequity Partners a 'Mishmash' Group; Average Pay Ranges from $1.53M to $100K

The average pay for nonequity partners at 168 of America’s top law firms is about $406,000, but the figure doesn’t tell the whole story.

The nonequity partner population is “becoming more and more of a mishmash,” the American Lawyer reports, and that means wide differences in average pay for this group at law firms.

At the high end is Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy, paying an average $1.53 million to its nonequity partners, according the story and a chart. At the low end is Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease, paying an average of $100,000.

One reason for the big differences is that there is no standard definition for a nonequity partner. “There are a half-dozen different names for this cohort,” the American Lawyer says, “income partners, salary partners, nonshare partners, fixed-dollar partners, contract partners—and the types of lawyers that carry these titles are just as varied. They can include ambitious junior partners on the path to equity partnership, laterals with a short-term fixed-compensation arrangement, senior partners on their way to retirement, partners seeking a predictable income or better lifestyle, or at many firms, some combination of all of the above.”

The top five firms for average nonequity partner pay are:

• Milbank Tweed, $1.525M

• Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler, $1.295M

• Weil, Gotshal & Manges, $1.295M

• Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, $1.075M

• Cahill Gordon & Reindel, $1.045M

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