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Starting a war: Cravath lifts associate pay for the first time in almost ten years

In a move likely to trigger similar increases amongst its rivals, Cravath, Swaine & Moore has lifted associate pay for the first time in almost ten years, bumping up base pay to $180,000.

Having last boosted pay in 2007, first year associates at Cravath will see a raise of $20,000 to their pay packets taking home $180,000. Associates in their seventh and eighth year will receive an extra $35,000 moving their salaries up to $300,000 and $315,000 respectively.

According to an internal memorandum sent to Above The Law, the increase will come into effect on July 1 and will be reflected in paychecks commencing on July 8, 2016.

In the City Magic Circle firms have finalised reviews of associate pay with increases across Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Clifford Chance, Linklaters and Slaughter and May.

Both Freshfields and Clifford Chance (CC) have bumped up their NQ salaries to £85,000, a rise of £17,500 for Freshfields, which this year folded discretionary bonuses into salaries and £15,000 for CC which also included bonuses in its figures.

NQs at Linklaters can expect to take home at least £81,000 next year including bonus. High performers will on average earn £91,000 including bonus, up on the basic £68,500 salary NQ lawyers at the firm earned last year. 1PQE associates will on average receive £90,000, with 2PQE and 3PQE associates receiving £100,000 and £111,000. High performing lawyers will receive substantially more, with 1PQEs set to earn £101,000. High performing two year PQEs will earn £119,000 and high performing three year PQEs will earn £130,000. That is up on the £98,500 basic salary 3PQEs would receive last year.

In an underwhelming announcement, Slaughter and May increased its salaries for NQ lawyers by 2.1% from £70,000 to £71,500, while associates with one year’s experience (PQE) will see their salaries go up to £79,000 from £75,500. At the other end of the scale, those with three years’ PQE, will receive an increase of 3.4% on the £96,500 paid out last year.

Cravath associate salaries:

1st year – $180,000 ($160,000 + $20,000)

2nd year – $190,000 ($170,000 + $20,000)

3rd year – $210,000 ($185,000 +$25,000)

4th year – $235,000 ($210,000 +$25,000)

5th year – $260,000 ($230,000 + $30,000)

6th year – $280,000 ($250,000 + $30,000)

7th year – $300,000 ($265,000 + $35,000)

8th year – $315,000 ($280,000 + $35,000)