Chambers US have released their big law salary rankings for 2023 providing salary information for various law firms in 2023, showcasing first-year and second-year big law salary scale for the country’s biggest law firms.
The average salary across these firms is approximately $213,250 according to the Chambers USA report.
Keep in mind that big law firms pay will remain largely similar as they compete for legal talent from the top law schools and march in a very similar way to the sound of
Big Law firms will generally follow a standardized big law pay scale, where nearly every first-year associate earns the same salary. In 2022, first-year associates received a salary of $215,000. As associates progress to their second year, this salary increases uniformly, irrespective of individual performance for the most part.
Big law salary rates do show that this is the area where most money will be made, with the cautionary word that big law does not suit many and work satisfaction is not simply money-focused.
That said, LSD.law reported the earnings over the first eight years since leaving law school showing the following:
Big Law: $3.1M
Small firms: $1.4M
Average Public Interest: $510k
Note in terms of the Chambers listing that there are regional variations among firms and their different offices, the rankings show the top 20 salaries and the firms that offer them:
- ones Day: $225,000
- Kirkland & Ellis: $225,000
- Latham & Watkins: $225,000
- Linklaters: $225,000
- Munger, Tolles & Olson: $225,000
- Sullivan & Cromwell: $225,000
- Vinson & Elkins: $225,000
- Weil, Gotshal & Manges: $225,000
- White & Case: $225,000
- Akin Gump: $225,000
- Allen & Overy: $225,000
- Arnold & Porter: $225,000
- Baker Botts: $225,000
- Bracewell: $225,000
- Brown Rudnick: $225,000
- Cadwalader: $225,000
- Cahill: $225,000
- Choate: $225,000
- Cleary Gottlieb: $225,000
- Covington & Burling: $225,000
And when it comes to making partner at the Big Law firms, then the money gets even more crazy. The WSJ recently reported how top law partners are now competing with bankers for major money at the office.