Lawyer Pay

Milbank, the first law firm to raise associate pay in 2018, makes a new move; will others match?

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Milbank, the law firm that was first to raise associate pay in 2018, announced Thursday that it is raising pay for first-year associates to $200,000.

Milbank is raising associate pay for all classes, paying $355,000 to the most experienced associates. The pay bumps range from $10,000 for associates with less experience and $15,000 for others, report Above the Law, and Bloomberg Law.

“Congrats, Milbank associates!” wrote Above the Law. “Now let’s see which firms match!”

One law firm—McDermott Will & Emery—was quick to match with a Thursday announcement, reports.

Another firm—Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft—also announced that it was matching the pay scale Thursday, Above the Law reports.

Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo is also matching, reported Thursday.

Here is Milbank’s new scale, which takes effect July 1:

• Class of 2021 and 2020: $200,000

• Class of 2019: $210,000

• Class of 2018: $230,000

• Class of 2017: $270,000

• Class of 2016: $295,000

• Class of 2015: $320,000

• Class of 2014: $340,000

• Class of 2013: $355,000

Scott Edelman, Milbank chair, told that the raises are in addition to special and year-end bonuses for associates.

“We recognize there have been a lot of bonuses paid, based on the success that we and other firms are having, but we thought it would be an opportune time to recognize the associates,” he told “It’s a modest raise, and we thought it would be nice to have Milbank’s associates feel like they were on the front edge.”

Bloomberg Law pointed out that Milbank’s decision comes as some firms are competing for talent, particularly in transactional practices.

Many firms are paying special bonuses this year that range from $12,000 to $64,000, based on class year. Year-end bonuses last year typically ranged from $15,000 to $100,000, based on class year.

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