Are the Good Times Back? Cravath Raises 1st Years’ Salary and the Industry Follows

Source: Thomson Reuters

By Gregg Wirth

The news that Cravath, Swaine & Moore was increasing its annual salary for its first-year associates to $180,000 — the first increase in almost a decade for entry-level lawyer salaries — sent ripples through the legal community, even if many had been somewhat expecting this.

"Given the last few years of increased profits for partners at top-tier firms, the increase was surprising but not shocking," says Courtney Goldstein, a partner at Major, Lindsey & Africa, a legal industry recruiting firm. "This salary increase gives certain firms a competitive edge for attracting top talent in an already competitive pool."

Major Lindsey's Goldstein agrees that while the raise in pay may benefit new and up-coming law school graduates, ultimately, it's the largest law firms that will really see the advantage in this move. "Firms that implemented this salary increase will be in the driver's seat now in hand-selecting the truly top talent and can differentiate themselves from peer firms that haven't followed suit," she says, adding that for law school students and recent graduates, there will be "more pressure on academic performance, class ranking, and experience to date."

Read more of this feature at Thomson Reuters.


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