Ten US firms up salaries; London will have to wait

A host of US firms, mainly New York-based, rushed to increase their US associate salaries last night.

At least 10 US firms have moved to match a rate set by Simpson Thacher & Bartlett earlier this week for all ranks of associates. The pay hikes are limited to US-based associates for the time being.

Shearman’s co-head of global HR, Marcus Franks told The Lawyer that London-based associates would have their pay reviewed no sooner than May. Last year, the firm moved to increase its London associate salaries by 20 per cent to £72,000.

New York firms Shearman & Sterling, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, Willkie Farr & Gallagher, Weil Gotshal & Manges, Dewey Ballantine, Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson and Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom are the latest of a string of firms to increase their US associate salaries, with their first-year associates all receiving a base salary of $160,000.

Out-of-towners Greenberg Traurig, Morrison & Foerster and O’Melveny & Myers also matched the rate for their New York-based assciates, with O’Melveny promising raises in Los Angeles and Washington, DC, too.

Willkie Farr said its pay hike would apply to its associates in both New York and in DC. Californian firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver & Hedges said in a memo to its associates that it would be matching the recent salary hikes, but gave no more details.

Simpson Thacher’s move earlier this week prompted a run by other New York firms to be just as generous.

As first reported on www.thelawyer.com, (24 January), while Simpson Thacher’s most senior associates are now on $290,000 (£147,000), a rate that Shearman, Dewey, Morrison and Foerster, Fried Frank and Willkie Farr are now matching.

Sullivan & Cromwell dug deeper and is giving its most senior associates $310,000 (£157,000). Cadwalader, Weil Gotshal and Cleary are the least generous at the top end, with maximum associate paying topping out at $280,000 (£142,000).