Lawyer Pay

Cravath beats Milbank on salaries for some associates

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Updated: Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy set a new standard for associate salaries last week when it announced higher salaries across all experience levels, paying $190,000 for new associates and $330,000 to the most experienced associates.

Now Cravath is adopting a new salary structure for associates that beats Milbank on salaries for mid- and upper-level associates, report the National Law Journal, Bloomberg Big Law Business and Above the Law, which broke the news. Cravath’s range is $190,000 to $340,000.

Cravath beats Milbank by $10,000 for sixth- to eighth-year associates, and by $5,000 for fourth- and fifth-year associates. Cravath is also paying special bonuses ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 to associates.

Here is the new salary structure for Cravath associates, including special bonuses:

  • First year: $190,000, with $5,000 special bonus
  • Second year: $200,000, with $7,500 special bonus
  • Third year: $220,000, with $10,000 special bonus
  • Fourth year: $255,000, with $15,000 special bonus
  • Fifth year: $280,000, with $20,000 special bonus
  • Sixth year: $305,000, with $25,000 special bonus
  • Seventh year: $325,000, with $25,000 special bonus
  • Eighth year: $340,000, with $25,000 special bonus

Here is Milbank’s scale:

  • First year: $190,000
  • Second year: $200,000
  • Third year: $220,000
  • Fourth year: $250,000
  • Fifth year: $275,000
  • Sixth year: $295,000
  • Seventh year: $315,000
  • Eighth year: $330,000

In the days that followed Cravath’s announcement, several large law firms announced they were following the Cravath scale in the United States, and also paying special bonuses of up to $25,000. They include Debevoise & Plimpson (for associates in New York and Washington, D.C.); Paul Weiss, Sullivan & Cromwell, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, Davis Polk, Willkie Farr & Gallagher, Weil, Cleary Gottlieb, Skadden, and Kirkland & Ellis.

Some law firms have also matched Milbank’s salary structure, including Proskauer Rose (for associates in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C.); Winston & Strawn (for U.S. associates); Simpson Thacher & Bartlett; Jones Day (for new associates; compensation is not lockstep); Irell & Manella; and Selendy & Gay, formed with lawyers from Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan.

Simpson Thacher is also paying summer bonuses to associates that range from $5,000 to $25,000.

Above the Law keeps track of salary announcements here.

Updated on June 14 to report on law firms that matched the Cravath scale.

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