Lawyer Pay

Milbank boosts associates' starting pay to $190K

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New associates at Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy will be paid $190,000, the law firm announced on Monday.

The pay hike is $10,000 more than the BigLaw industry standard of $180,000 in base pay, set in 2016, report and Above the Law, which published the announcement here. “Looks like the firm’s decided to take on the mantle of industry trailblazer,” Above the Law says of Milbank.

Traditionally, Cravath, Swaine & Moore has been the first to announce associate pay hikes, and other law firms fall in line.

Milbank is giving pay hikes to all of its associates. Second- and third-year associates will get pay increases of $10,000, while fourth- to eighth-year associates will get $15,000 more. The top salary will be $330,000, for eighth-year associates. spoke with Milbank chairman Scott Edelman about the increase.

“What we’re trying to do is set fair, market-leading compensation for our associates,” Milbank chairman Scott Edelman told, adding that Milbank isn’t “in a race with other firms” but it does ‘want to signal to the market that we do want the best, and we’re willing to pay for the best.”

“The market for the best and the brightest,” he said, “is extremely competitive. There are lots of law firms out there, and we’re all competing for some really talented people.”

Here is the new salary structure for Milbank associates:

  • 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

The move comes soon after Weil, Gotshal & Manges announced it is seeking to retain more associates by cutting the wait for partnership to 7 1/2 years, a decrease of two years.

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