New York salary war catches Paul Weiss and Cahill

Associate pay war has broken out in New York, with two more Manhattan majors boosting associate salaries.

Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison and Cahill Gordon & Reindel have raised all of their associate salaries by $20,000 (£11,000), matching the emerging benchmark figure of $145,000 (£82,000) for first years.

As reported this week ( 9 February) Davis Polk & Wardwell and Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy have also increased associate pay by $20,000 (£11,000) across the board, with first-years also receiving $145,000 (£82,000).

The firms follow Simpson Thacher & Bartlett in matching raises announced last week by Sullivan & Cromwell.

In addition, Washington’s Covington & Burling and Miami’s Greenberg Traurig have also raised salaries for their New York associates.

Covington raised salaries across the board, while Greenberg introduced raises ranging from $10,000 (£6,000) to $20,000 (£12,000), with first-years receiving $145,000 (£82,000).

Though top New York firms have been expected to match the salary boosts, the moves by the two non-New York firms suggest others may follow suit.

The New York salary war tops the recent skirmish among West Coast-based firms, where first year associates at firms including Morrison Foerster, O’Melveny & Myers and Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, saw salaries boosted to $135,000 (£77,000) from $125,000 (£71,000).

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 bonuses between $35,000 (£20,000) for first years and $65,000 (£40,000) for seniors, with first-years getting $125,000 (£71,000) base salary.