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Instant Insights / Are Big Law Associate Raises a Smart Move or a Shot in the Foot?

We haven’t heard the word “lemmings” used to describe reactions from law firms after Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy announced first-year associate to salary hikes to $190,000. Sure, a handful of firms have matched, but the historical rush by Big Law to keep pace has not played out—at least not yet. In this Instant Insights, we explore why the game of follow-the-leader has fewer participants this time around, and we take the pulse of reactions to the raises from clients, competitors and experts.

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Some law firm graduates will soon earn $190,000 in their first full-time job, thanks to Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy’s decision to raise first-year associate pay this week. Although the salary boost may not sweep the industry, several other firms have said they intend to follow suit.

The last wave of law firm associate salary increases was just a couple of years ago, when Cravath, Swaine & Moore boosted pay to $180,000 and many other firms including Milbank followed suit.

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MP McQueen

MP McQueen is editor-at-large, and can be reached at [email protected]

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