We realize our coverage of law firm salary news focuses very heavily on certain major legal markets, primarily on the East and West Coasts: New York, Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco / Silicon Valley.
So we’re going to mix it up a little. Each day, for the next two weeks or so, we will create an open thread devoted to compensation coverage in a legal market outside the “usual suspects.”
Today’s target: Denver, Colorado. Here’s an article from earlier this month, which appeared in the Denver Post:
At least four national law firms with offices in Denver have raised their entry-level attorney pay to $160,000, forcing some local firms to reconsider what they’re offering this year’s new recruits. Pay for first-year associates, fresh out of law school or clerkships, jumped to $160,000 at some New York firms earlier this year and in California over the past few weeks….
Four national firms with Denver offices – Cooley Godward Kronish, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, Morrison & Foer ster and Hogan & Hartson – confirmed they’re raising first-year pay to that level at their U.S. offices.
The largest Denver-based firms are paying $105,000 to $110,000, and some out-of-state firms with offices here pay in the $120,000 range.
Denver lawyers quoted in the Post article talk about the advantages of working for local rather than national firms. The plusses include lower billable hours, more client contact, greater community involvement, and the opportunity to develop their own practices more quickly.
But are these advantages worth a cool $50K a year? The article suggests that local and regional firms in Denver, even if they can’t raise all the way to $160K, will increase associate salaries a little bit, to make the pay gap less enormous.
If you have information or insights about legal salaries in the Mile High City, please discuss away in the comments. Enjoy!
(Non-Denver or national salary discussion should continue in last night’s post about Covington & Burling. Thanks.)
Law firms woo grads with high pay [Denver Post]