In all, the new Davis Polk salary scale results in pay bumps of $12,500-$15,000 more for junior associates, $20,000 more for mid-level associates, and $25,000 more for senior associates, compared with the original market scale, set in 2018.
“We recognize that activity levels across the firm continue to be exceptionally high, and we are grateful for your hard work and steadfast dedication to the Firm, our clients and one another,” said managing partner Neil Barr in the firm memo. “As we have said before, it is our foremost priority that you know that we appreciate you and all of your efforts. You are uniquely talented and dedicated and should be compensated accordingly.”
Barr said summer associate salaries will increase to match the new first-year associate salary. “Salaries for non-U.S. associates and fee earners and other attorneys with special arrangements will be determined and communicated separately,” Barr said, while “counsel compensation will be addressed separately.”
Davis Polk set the scale for associate special bonuses in 2020 and 2021, exceeding others. The cost of the pay raises for Davis Polk could amount to a cost in the eight-figures for the firm, based on the number of associates and counsel at the firm, about 820. However, Davis Polk continues to benefit from a busy SPAC and mergers and acquisitions year, much like last year.
The firm’s revenue in 2020 climbed 22.6% to $1.77 billion, while profits per equity partner spiked about 40% to $6.350 million.
Davis Polk’s move prompted a fresh set of questions of which firms would match the firm, stick to Milbank’s scale or stay put.
Baker McKenzie announced on Friday that it will match Davis Polk’s scale for U.S. associates through the class of 2014. McDermott, Will & Emery, which was the first firm to announce Thursday that it was matching Milbank’s scale, said on Friday that it will now match Davis Polk at $202,500 for first years.