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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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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.

Caroline Spiezio

Caroline covers the intersection of tech and law for Corporate Counsel. She's based in San Francisco. Find her on Twitter @CarolineSpiezio.

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Dan Clark

Dan covers cyber security, legal operations and intellectual property for Corporate Counsel. Follow him on Twitter @Danclarkalm.

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