Silicon Valley Partners Earn More Than Partners in Any Other Market

Source: The Recorder

By Rebecca Cohen, The Recorder

Silicon Valley partners are the most highly compensated in the country, according to a recent survey by Major, Lindsey & Africa.

Attorneys in the Valley who participated in MLA's 2016 Partner Compensation survey reported that they make an average of $1,433,000 a year. That's well above partners in Los Angeles, who came in second with an average of $1,136,000. San Francisco was the fifth highest market at $997,000. All three California markets were above the national average of $877,000.

The combination of a competitive legal landscape and a thriving local economy have driven salaries sky-high at the Valley's firms, said Bob Brigham, a partner in MLA's San Francisco and Palo Alto offices and a member of the consulting agency's partner practice group.

"I think most of the Am Law 100 firms would love to have an office here, but it's a very small market," Brigham said. "It's also one of the few growth markets, because it's the technology hub globally."

The same factors are fueling compensation increases in San Francisco, where average partner compensation rose by 51 percent—more than anywhere else in the country—between 2014 and 2016. In fact, San Francisco could be on track to leapfrog past Silicon Valley, where compensation rose by 23 percent in the same period. (Nationwide it rose by 22 percent.)

In recent years, more venture capital dollars have been invested in San Francisco relative to Silicon Valley than at any time in the past, Brigham said.

Not surprisingly, Silicon Valley and San Francisco also topped the list of markets where partners were satisfied with their compensation. In the Valley, 43 percent of partners reported being "very satisfied." In San Francisco it was 40 percent.

Read more of this feature at The Recorder.


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