The Big Law Bonus Season for Associates Sees Further Lift In Big Law Salary Scale

The Big Law Bonus Season for Associates Sees Further Lift In Big Law Salary Scale 2

The US Big Law firms breaching the $200,000 salary scale for associates has been the subject of a new Big Law salary scale survey in an AboveTheLaw report that follows the $200k limit breached by Millbank in June 2021.

Millbank fired the first shot in the associate salary scale war as we have reported and with what ATL describe as a ‘white-hot’ lateral scene the new survey is looking to put further heat into the market.

Several dozen law firms have not indicated what they are doing, however the new scale reported shows the firms that have matched, including the top 10 in the class of 2020/21 of –

  • Millbank – $205k
  • McDermott Will & Emery – $205k
  • Cadwalader – $202.5k
  • Mintz – $200k
  • Arent Fox (first year) – $190k
  • Fenwick – $205k
  • Davis Polk – $202.5k
  • Winston & Strawn – $205k
  • Baker McKenzie – $202.5k
  • Dechert – $202.5k

As the Big Law bonus season approaches it is going to be interesting to see how much higher these figures get, despite associates receiving seasonal awards and a large base salary increase earlier in 2021.

The anticipation is for the annual bonuses for Big Law associates to reach those of last year – being between $15,000 to $100,000 but the ‘specials’ will see the largely overworked associates appropriately (or not) rewarded for their efforts during the pandemic.

Special bonuses have also featured in the Big Law payment scale – for instance in 2020, for instance, many large law firms paid associates fall bonuses on top of annual bonuses as an appreciation for their work during the pandemic and the approach is likely to continue in 2021 with the new bonus season.

Let’s see what happens.

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