05 June 2018

Milbank and Hueston Hennigan hike associate starting salaries to $190K

Top US law firms are upping the ante as Milbank and Hueston Hennigan hike associate salaries to $190k.

Within hours of Milbank raising salaries of law form associates by $10k, California litigation boutique firm Hueston Hennigan raised their salaries for the class of 2017 to $190k as well, while the class of 2011 will top $315k.

Two-year stagnation
Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP announced it will increase pay by $10k for lawyers in their first three years, and $15,000 after that, giving a starting salary for associates will be $190,000. The rise follows two years of stagnation. Scott A. Edelman, Milbank’s chair, told Bloomberg Law the increase is due to greater competition for talent, explaining ‘there hasn’t been an increase in a couple of years, and it was about time to visit the associate compensation since the industry is doing well.’

Competitive market
Milbank has approximately 500 associates, and their new pay increase will take effect on July 1, and increase takes associate salaries up to $330,000. Summer associates will also be paid on the basis of the new salary scale. Competition is becoming more fierce among the top 50 law firms while technology is helping to make the increase in salaries more affordable. The competition over associate salaries dates back to 2016 when Cravath, Swaine & Moore added $20,000 to first-year associate pay, raising it to $180,000. Others quickly followed this decision, with Milbank and Hueston Hennigan among the first to act. It is expected that the other firms will follow suit.