Lawyer Pay

Why raise associate pay to $180,000? Bank of America's top lawyer questions the need

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Tiny lawyers standing on a stack of coins

Beginning BigLaw associates may be happy about recent raises that hiked their pay to $180,000, but some lawyers for the companies that hire their law firms don’t share their enthusiasm.

Now one in-house lawyer is making his misgivings known in an email, the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) reports.

Bank of America’s global general counsel, David Leitch, is informing a group of law firms that he doesn’t intend to help them absorb the cost. The Wall Street Journal obtained a copy of his email.

“While we respect the firms’ judgment about what best serves their long-term competitive interests, we are aware of no market-driven basis for such an increase and do not expect to bear the costs of the firms’ decisions,” Leitch wrote.

The newspaper also spoke with an unnamed chief litigation officer for a Fortune 100 company who also questioned the need for the pay raise. The chief litigation officer said a lawyer in the company’s litigation department with 20 years of experience doesn’t make $180,000. “Why would we ever think a first-year associate is worth that?” the lawyer said.

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