Headquartered in New Jersey, Lowenstein Sandler hosts roughly as many lawyers in its Manhattan office in midtown’s Exxon Building as it does in its home office in Roseland.
Now the two offices have something else in common: the size of their associates’ paychecks.
The firm says many of its 120 New York and New Jersey associates regularly move back and forth between the two offices, often handling matters for the same clients. But until this week the ones formally based in New York boasted salaries starting $20,000 higher.
Lowenstein announced internally on Monday that associates west of the Hudson will now start at $190,000 a year, just like those across the river. That matches the top market rate that Wall Street firms began paying in 2018.
The increase addresses a pay gap that had affected first-, second- and third-year associates in the New York and New Jersey offices.
“We believe compensation should be what you do, not where you work,” said Gary Wingens, chairman and managing partner at Lowenstein Sandler.
Beginning in January, salaries for first-year associates in the firm’s New Jersey office will increase from a $170,000 to $190,000. Second years will go from $180,000 to $200,000 and third-year associates from $195,000 to $220,000, according to Wingens.
The new salary increase also brings New Jersey in line with Lowenstein’s Washington, D.C., and Palo Alto offices. Only the firm’s office in Utah, which is its patent prosecution hub and currently hosts two associates, isn’t covered by the new increase.
Balancing compensation with geographic market differences is an issue for any big law firm, but Wingens said he wasn’t aware of any other peer firms that faced quite the same situation as Lowenstein in the region.
“My sense is that there aren’t any firms that have offices in both places of equal size, where staff is moving back and forth between them all the time,” he said.
Keith DiConsiglio, managing director for the New York and Miami offices of Major, Lindsey & Africa, knows Lowenstein and other New Jersey firms well from years of recruiting in the state.
“Lowenstein is unique,” he said. “They were on a level playing field with the other [New Jersey] firms, but sort of outgrew them recently.”