Biglaw, Money, Skaddenfreude

Nationwide Pay Raise Watch: NYC to 190 175?

100 dollar bill Above the Law Above the Law law firm salary legal blog legal tabloid Above the Law.JPGThanks to recent instability in the credit, stock, and real estate markets, don’t look for $190,000 associate starting salaries anytime soon. But a raise to a somewhat lower figure — say, $175,000 — may be possible.
In fact, it may be likely. From the ABA Journal:

Average starting pay for lawyers is projected to rise 5.4 percent next year, according to a legal recruiting agency.

First-year associates at large law firms with 75 or more lawyers will see the biggest gain, with base annual starting salaries expected to rise about 9.1 percent and range from about $112,000 to $137,000, according to a press release by Robert Half Legal. The legal placement company says its salary projections are based on thousands of job orders and placements handled by its account executives.

Salaries for more experienced lawyers at large law firms are projected to be between $114,000 and $147,500 per year for those with up to three years of experience, an 8.2 percent increase, and $167,500 to $234,000 for those with more than 10 years of experience, a 7.9 percent increase.

Additional discussion, after the jump.

Since the Robert Half projections apparently consider a “large” law firm to be one with 75 or more attorneys, they’re not aimed squarely at Biglaw. The predicted starting salary range of $112,000 to $137,000 is well below the current Biglaw norm of $160,000.
But let’s say the prediction of a 9.1 percent increase is (1) accurate and (2) applicable all the way up the food chain. A nine percent increase from $160,000 takes you to $174,400. One could just round up to $175K, and call it a day.
ATL readers: Whaddya think? What rumors have you been hearing at your firm?
Is “NYC to 175″ just crazy talk, especially since layoff rumors are swirling at some firms, and other firms — especially those affected by the credit crunch — are very slow? Or could pushing through a pay raise now allow the firms that are relatively unaffected by the credit crisis to go on the offensive in the recruiting wars, striking their rivals in a moment of weakness?
Recruiter Predicts 5.4% Leap in Lawyer Starting Pay [ABA Journal]
Starting Salaries for Attorneys and Other Legal Professionals Projected to Increase [Robert Half Legal]

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