New York associate rates continue to rise

Two more New York firms have raised their associate salaries, suggesting the recent wave of rises among West Coast firms is being mirrored in the East.

Davis Polk & Wardwell and Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy increased associate pay on Wednesday (8 February) by $20,000 (£11,000) across the board, with first-years due to receive $145,000 (£82,000). The firms follow Simpson Thacher & Bartlett in matching raises announced last week by Sullivan & Cromwell.

The raises mean New York firms continue to pay first-year associates more than their West Coast equivalents. The recent round of salary hikes among West Coast-based firms including O’Melveny & Myers, Morrison Foerster, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher and Foley & Lardner boosted first-year salaries to $135,000 (£77,000) from $125,000 (£71,000).

The surge began in September last year, when associate salaries were raised at mid-sized LA firms Irell & Manella, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver & Hedges and Tolles & Olson.

However, associates will have to wait for news of their bonuses to know if total pay has increased. Last year, top New York firms paid first-years $125,000 in base salary with $35,000 (£20,000) bonuses.