This week, Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy announced good news for its associates: they will be getting $10,000 or $15,000 raises. Starting salaries for first-year associates at the New York-based firm will now reach $190,000, even higher than the $180,000 starting pay announced by Cravath Swaine & Moore in 2016, which set a new high bar for the industry at the time.
But that news isn’t as sweet for lawyers on the other side of the table. In-house leaders have long expressed concerns over firms’ growing legal fees, with many turning to alternative service providers or moving work in-house to cut costs. In the past, firms have met competitors’ associate increases, a cost that, at the end of the day, gets passed on to clients. So far, Winston & Strawn, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and Proskauer Rose have said they will match Milbank’s new pay scale, and more firms may follow.