Legal Business Blogs

Following suit: Four firms match Cravath associate pay boost

Predictions of a pay war have proved correct after four US firms followed Cravath, Swaine & Moore into bumping up their associate pay.

Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, Weil Gotshal & Manges and Cahill Gordon & Reindel are all boosting their first year associate pay to $180,000, according to internal memos seen by US publication Above the Law.

The firms all rushed on Tuesday (8 June) to match Cravath’s pay increase, which saw Cravath lift associate pay for the first time in almost a decade, with the firm increasing first year pay packets by $20,000.

In an internal memo at Paul Weiss, chair Brad Karp said: ‘In keeping with our commitment that the compensation of our attorneys be at the top of the market, we are pleased to announce that we have increased associate compensation effective July 1, 2016.’

Paul Weiss’s pay scale in the memo goes beyond Cravath’s, setting pay for lawyers in their ninth year at $325,000, compared to an eight year scale to $315,000.

A memo from Weil executive partner Barry Wolf sent to US associates also says the firm will match the $180,000 base salary as of the start of next month.

Milbank chair Scott Edelman also sent out a memo to associates confirming the pay rise, which also applies to London, and Cahill’s executive committee sent an email detailing the new base salaries.

The announcements come after Magic Circle firms finalised their reviews of associate pay for 2016, with increases across Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Clifford Chance, Linklaters and Slaughter and May.