Big Law Salary Scale Update

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Just In: DLA Piper Biggest Firm To Reach Cravath Scale

big law salary scale

 

We update the Big Law salary scale across multiple law firms and over the main jurisdictions.

Update us too with the latest on law firm salary changes – email us at [email protected]

The hike in salary rates for law firm associates in the US and UK have made headlines for what appears to be eye-watering rates for first year associates, a battle in London lead by the US-based law firms but now encompassed by many of the London law firms, while the US law firms saw the salary scale hitting new highs following Millbank’s lifting of the rate to $205,000, since equalled or even exceeded by other firms.

The ongoing salary wars continues to put pressure on some firms’ bottom lines, but also on the associates receiving the good news as they earn higher incomes and face often intense competition and wearying hours at work.

Remember that the rates outlined in this coverage does not include (unless stated) the bonus payments that are made by the firms, both for overall performance and also for pandemic-related and other specific criteria as provided by the law firms.

Latest US Law Firm Salary Scale News

Cravath Swaine & Moore

The New York-based white-show law firm helps set the pay scale for legal pay.  The class of 2020 start at $205,000

The law firm will pay its associates year-end bonuses ranging from $15,000 to $115,000 for the current year.

Cravath Swaine & Moore pay scale according to Glass Door – 

   
Administrative Assistant salaries – 4 salaries reported $72,913/yr
Attorney, 1st-Year salaries – 4 salaries reported $201,670/yr
Associate Secretary salaries – 3 salaries reported $59,061/yr
Attorney, 5th-Year salaries – 3 salaries reported $255,107/yr

Davis Polk – Class of 2021: $202.5,000

Davis Polk pay scale according to Glass Door – 

Associate salaries – 96 salaries reported $225,505/yr
Foreign Legal Associate salaries – 85 salaries reported $190,253/yr
Legal Consultant salaries – 53 salaries reported $203,833/yr
Legal Assistant salaries – 22 salaries reported $51,045/yr

DLA Piper – 3 November 2022 – The first large firm to actually match if not exceed the Cravath scale with its bonus announcement.  The firm has also reduced the threshold for productivity and hours worked so far as the bonus entitlements go.  Check the latest here.

DLA Piper pay according to Glass Door – 

The average salary for an Attorney is $112,602 per year in United States, which is 45% lower than the average DLA Piper salary of $206,966 per year for this job. What is the salary trajectory of an Attorney? The salary trajectory of an Attorney ranges between locations and employers.

Fried Frank Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP, is a global  law firm headquartered in New York City. The firm also has offices in Washington, D.C., London, and Frankfurt and has more than 500 attorneys worldwide.

Bonuses announced for the 2021 year show a pro-rated payment of $15,000 with a premium over and above the bonuses that can amount to $30,000.

Michelman & Robinson, the LA-based law firm is boosting its new associate salary scale to $230,000, which exceeds the Big Law pay rates and takes effect from 2022, awarding salary by ‘level’ rather than class, according to a report at Reuters.  The salary increase will rise to $450,000 for ‘level eight’ associates.

The starting point of the new scale at 70-plus-lawyer Michelman & Robinson sits $25,000 higher than the current prevailing first-year salary at many of the nation’s largest law firms.

Skadden – As one of the largest law firms in the country, Skaddens have also appropriately lifted their pay rates.  According to AbovetheLaw the 2020 intake is showing a pay rate of $205,000.  The figures from ATL are below –

  • 2020: $205,000
  • 2019: $215,000
  • 2018: $240,000
  • 2017: $275,000
  • 2016: $305,000
  • 2015: $330,000
  • 2014: $350,000
  • 2013+: $365,000

Latest UK Law Firm Salary Scale News

For a review of what UK lawyers earn, check the Chambers Student Guide below – 

Law firm

1st year trainee salary

2nd year trainee salary

NQ salary

Addleshaw Goddard

£47,000 (London); £29,500 (North); £25,000 (Scotland)

£50,000 (London); £32,000 (North); £28,000 (Scotland)

£82,000 (London); £50,000 (North); £47,000 (Scotland)

Akin Gump

£50,000

£55,000

$202,500

Allen & Overy

£47,500

£53,000

£95,000

Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer

£50,600

£53,900

£99,000

Ashfords

£29,000 (Bristol) £28,000 (South-West); £43,000 (London)

£30,000 (Bristol) £29,000 (South-West); £48,000 (London)

£43,000 (Bristol) £43,000 (South-West); £58,000 (London)

Ashurst

£47,000

£52,000

£90,000

Baker McKenzie

£48,000 – 2020

£52,000 – 2020

£90,000 – 2020

Bates Wells

£38,000 – 

£40,000

£65,000

BDB Pitmans

£36,500 (London); £30,000 (Reading) – 2020

£40,000 (London); £32,000 (Reading) – 2020

£60,000 (London); £45,000 (Reading) – 2020

Bevan Brittan

Undisclosed

Undisclosed

Undisclosed

Bird & Bird

£40,000 – 2020 

Undisclosed

£71,000 -2020

Birketts

£26,500 (Ipswich, Norwich); £27,500 (Cambridge, Chelmsford); £29,000 (London)

£26,500-£29,000

£40,000-£58,000

Blaser Mills

£27,000

£27,000

£40,000

BLM

£31,000 (London); £22,000 (rest of UK)

£32,000 (London); £23,000 (rest of UK)

£45,000 (London); £32,000 (rest of UK)

Boodle Hatfield

£40,000

£43,000

£68,000

BP Collins

£26,400

£27,400

£40,000

Brabners

£25,000

£26,500

£40,000

Bristows

£42,000

£45,000

£74,000

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner

£44,000 (London); £27,000 (Manchester)

£48,000 (London); £30,000 (Manchester)

£88,000 (London); £50,000 (Manchester)

Burges Salmon

£42,000

£44,000

£60,000

Charles Russell Speechlys

£40,000 (London); £32,000 (Cheltenham); £35,000 (Guilford)

£43,000 (London); £34,000 (Cheltenham); £37,000 (Guilford)

£68,000 (London); £50,000 (Cheltenham); £54,000 (Guilford)

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton

£50,000

£55,000

£140,000

Clifford Chance

£50,000

£55,000

£100,000

Clyde & Co

£40,000 (London) £26,500 (Manchester); £21,400 (Scotland)

£42,000 (London) £28,500 (Manchester); £23,400 (Scotland)

£70,000 (London)

CMS

£44,500 (London); £38,500 (Bristol); £28,500 (Manchester, Sheffield); £25,500 (Scotland)

£49,750(London); £40,000 (Bristol); £31,500 (Manchester, Sheffield); £28,500 (Scotland)

£26,500 (London); £50,500 (Bristol); £42,500 Manchester, Sheffield); £41,500 (Scotland)

Collyer Bristow

£35,000

£37,000

£62,000

Cooley

£50,000

£55,000

£142,000

Covington & Burling

£48,000

£53,000

£128,000

Cripps Pemberton Greenish

 £26,000 (rest of UK)

£28,500 (rest of UK)

£53,000 (London) £42,500 (rest of UK)

Crowell & Moring

£45,000 – 2019

£45,000 – 2019

£84,000 – 2019 

Curtis Mallet-Prevost Colt & Mosle

£45,000

£50,000

£85,000

Davis Polk & Wardwell London

£57,500

£62,500

£147,500

Debevoise & Plimpton

£50,000

£55,000

£143,700

Dechert

£50,000

£55,000

£125,000

Dentons

£45,000 (London); £31,000 (Milton Keynes); £25,000 (Scotland)

£50,000 (London) £34,000 (Milton Keynes); £28,000 (Scotland)

£80,000 (London) £50,000 (Milton Keynes); £45,000 (Scotland)

DLA Piper

£45,000 (London) £30,000 (rest of UK)

£51,000 (London) £33,000 (rest of UK)

£88,000 (London) £48,000 (rest of UK)

Dorsey & Whitney

£43,000

£49,000

£82,000

DWF

£38,000 (London); £24,000 (rest of England); £22,000 (Scotland)

Undisclosed

Undisclosed

Eversheds Sutherland

£42,500 (London); £28,000 (rest of UK)

£46,000 (London); £31,000 (rest of UK)

£82,000 (London); £50,000 (rest of UK)

Farrer & Co

£40,000

£44,000

£72,000

Fladgate

£40,000

£42,000

£68,000

Foot Anstey

£31,500

£32,600

£48,000

Fox Williams

£39,000

£41,000

£66,000

Freeths

£33,000 (London); £25,000 (rest of UK) – 2019 

TBC

£52,000 (London); £40,000 (rest of UK) – 2019

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

£50,000

£55,000

£100,000

Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson

£45,000

£50,000

£145,500

Gateley PLC

£31,000 – 2020

£32,750 – 2020

£51,250 – 2020

Gibson Dunn & Crutcher

£50,000

£55,000

£145,000

Goodwin

£46,000

£50,000

£147,000

Harbottle & Lewis

£42,000

£44,000

£65,000

Herbert Smith Freehills

£47,000

£52,000

£107,000 (with bonus)

Hewitsons

£24,000

£24,500

£40,500

HFW

£41,000

Undisclosed

£66,000

Hill Dickinson

£37,000 (London); £26,000 (rest of UK)

£37,000 (London); £28,000 (rest of UK)

£63,000 (London); £41,000 (rest of UK)

Hodge Jones & Allen

£26,530

£28,611

£36,000

Hogan Lovells

£47,500 (London) £29,500 (Birmingham)

£52,500 (London) £32,500 (Birmingham)

£100,000 (London) £53,000 (Birmingham)

Howes Percival

£27,000

£28,000

undisclosed

Irwin Mitchell

£38,000 (London); £26,500 (rest of UK)

£40,000 (London); £28,500 (rest of UK)

£50,000 – £60,000 (London); £36,500 – £41,500 (rest of UK)

Jones Day

£52,000

£59,000

£110,000

K&L Gates

£45,000

£50,000

£93,000

Kennedys

£38,500 (London); £27,500 (rest of UK)

£41,000 (London); £30,000 (rest of UK)

Undisclosed

Kingsley Napley

£36,000

£38,000

£62,000

Kirkland & Ellis

£50,000

£55,000

£148,920

Latham & Watkins

£50,000

£55,000

$205,000

Leigh Day

 £32,000 (London); £25,600 (Manchester)

 £34,000 (London); £27,600 (Manchester)

 £48,000 (London); £33,600 (Manchester)

Lewis Silkin

£33,250 – 2020

£37,188 – 2020

£54,688 – 2020

Linklaters

£50,000

£55,000

£100,000

Macfarlanes

£50,000

£55,000

£100,000

Maples Teesdale

£36,668

£38,754

£64,445

Marriott Harrison

£36,000

£38,000

Undisclosed

Mayer Brown

£47,500

£52,500

£95,000

Memery Crystal

£38,000

£40,000

£65,000

Michelmores

£30,000 (Exeter)

Undisclosed

£64,000 (London); £48,000 (Bristol); £45,500 (Exeter)

Mills & Reeve

£28,000

£30,000

Undisclosed

Mishcon de Reya

£42,000

£45,000

£75,000

Morgan Lewis & Bockius

£50,000

£55,000

£135,000

Morrison & Foerster (UK)

£50,000

£55,000

$202,500

Muckle

£24,500

£26,500

£37,500

Northridge Law

£38,000 – 2020

£40,000 – 2020

£65,000 – 2020

Norton Rose Fulbright

£48,000

£52,000

£107,500

Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe

£45,000

£49,000

£120,000

Osborne Clarke

£47,500 (London); £37,500 (Reading); £41,500 (Bristol)

£59,500 (London); £49,500 (Reading); £43,000 (Bristol)

£80,000 (London); £65,000 (Reading); £60,000 (Bristol)

Paul Hastings (Europe)

£50,000

£55,000

£141,750

Penningtons Manches Cooper

£40,000 (London); £32,000 (rest of UK)

£42,000 (London); £34,000 (rest of UK)

£64,000 (London); £52,000 (rest of UK)

Peters & Peters

£40,000

Undisclosed

Undisclosed

Pinsent Masons

£42,500 (London); £28,000 (rest of England); £25,000 (Scotland); £19,000 (Belfast)

£46,000 (London); £31,000 (rest of England); £28,000 (Scotland); £20,000 (Belfast)

£72,500 (London); £44,000 (rest of England); £43,500 (Scotland); £30,000 (Belfast)

Reed Smith

£45,000

£49,000

£90,000

Ropes & Gray

£50,000

£55,000

£130,000

RPC

£40,000 (London); £35,000 (Bristol)

£44,000 (London); £36,000 (Bristol)

£70,000 (London); £49,000 (Bristol)

Russell-Cooke

£40,000

£42,500

Undisclosed

Shearman & Sterling

£50,000

£55,000

£145,000

Sidley Austin

£50,000

£55,000

£148,500

Simkins

£34,000

£37,000

Undisclosed

Simmons & Simmons

£46,000 (London); £40,500 (Bristol, Cambridge)

£50,500 (London); £42,500 (Bristol, Cambridge)

£88,000 (London); £56,000 (Bristol, Cambridge)

Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom

£50,000

£55,000

£150,000

Slaughter and May

£50,000

£55,000

£100,000

Squire Patton Boggs

£37,000 (London) £26,000 (rest of UK)

£42,000 (London) £28,000 (rest of UK)

£85,000 (London) £50,000 (rest of UK)

Stephenson Harwood

£43,000

£47,000

£75,000

Stevens & Bolton

£36,000

£37,000

£54,000

Sullivan & Cromwell

£55,000

£60,000

Undisclosed

Taylor Vinters

£31,500 – 2020 

£33,500 – 2020

£55,000 – 2020

Taylor Wessing

£45,000

£49,000

£81,000

TLT

£40,500 (London); £34,000 (Bristol); £29,500 (Manchester); £23,000 (Glasgow); £18,600 (Belfast)

£43,500 (London); £36,000 (Bristol); £31,500 (Manchester); £26,000 (Glasgow); £20,000 (Belfast)

£69,000 (London); £50,000 (Bristol); £44,000 (Manchester); £37,000 (Glasgow); £30,000 (Belfast)

Travers Smith

£47,000

£52,500

£90,000

Trowers & Hamlins

£37,000 (London); £28,000 (elsewhere)

£40,000 (London); £30,000 (elsewhere)

£68,000 (London); £44,000 (elsewhere)

Vinson & Elkins

£50,000

£55,000

£153,300

Ward Hadaway

£26,000

£28,000

£39,000 (Newcastle); £43,500 (Manchester, Leeds)

Watson Farley & Williams

£45,000 

£48,000

£85,000

Wedlake Bell

£37,500

£39,500

£64,000

Weil Gotshal & Manges

£50,000

£55,000

£145,000

White & Case

£50,000

£55,000

£130,000

Wiggin

£39,000

£42,000

£65,000

Willkie Farr & Gallagher

£50,000

£55,000

£120,000

Wilsons

Undisclosed

Undisclosed

Undisclosed

Winckworth Sherwood

£36,000

Undisclosed

Undisclosed

Winston & Strawn

£48,000

£52,000

Undisclosed

Withers

£38,000

£40,000

£68,000

Womble Bond Dickinson

£42,000 (London) £28,000 – £36,000 (elsewhere)

£44,000 (London) £30,000 – £38,000 (elsewhere)

£68,000 (London) £43,000 – £50,000 (elsewhere)

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For more legal industry analysi

Clifford Chance has changed its base salary for NQs to £100,000 a year, according to its graduate recruitment website in June 2021. NQs could earn more depending on discretionary bonus levels.

Previously, the highest compensation an NQ could receive, including bonus, was £100,000.  paid them that amount but it included a bonus.

The Clifford Chance pay scale according to Glass Door – 

Job Title Salary
Attorney salaries – 40 salaries reported $228,611/yr
Associate salaries – 31 salaries reported $236,220/yr
Associate Attorney salaries – 9 salaries reported $243,605/yr
Law Clerk salaries – 8 salaries reported $131,824/yr

The Linklaters Pay Scale – (Glass Door)

Linklaters increased salaries for its newly-qualified associates by 7.5 per cent this year, setting a Magic Circle record in London with the new rates coming into play on 1 November 2021.

The firm is set to pay its NQs £107,500 as well as a discretionary bonus, up from a figure of £100,000 which puts it on the same level as other Magic Circle firms  (Clifford Chance, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Allen & Overy and Slaughter and May.)

Associate salaries – 35 salaries reported $203,838/yr
Law Clerk salaries – 5 salaries reported $148,362/yr
Legal Secretary salaries – 5 salaries reported $81,614/yr
Associate Attorney salaries – 5 salaries reported $237,698/yr

Latest Australian Law Firm Salary Scale News

Thomson Greer is to lift its lawyer salaries by 10 per cent, according to Law.com

 

 

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