London-based Herbert Smith Freehills on Friday became the latest law firm swept up in the tidal wave of associate raises washing over the industry.
The firm said Friday it would boost its salaries for its New York associates, though the increases will not include the additional bonuses that some others have offered in New York and elsewhere.
“We have created an elite offering in New York, and we portray ourselves to clients and the marketplace as elite,” said Scott Balber, Herbert Smith Freehills New York office managing partner and the U.S. head of investigations and financial services litigation.
“As a result, we should be compensating our elite associates in a market standard way.”
Herbert Smith’s new associate base salaries will be effective as of July 1 and follow the market standard set by Cravath, Swaine & Moore earlier this month.
Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy kicked off the current mania for salary increases on June 4, pushing base salaries for first-year associates to $190,000 along with increases for subsequent classes. Cravath upped the ante soon afterward, increasing the scale for midlevel and senior associates by $5,000 and $10,000, respectively.
The scale looks like this, for anyone who hasn’t kept score:
- Class of 2017 — $190,000
- Class of 2016 — $200,000
- Class of 2015 — $220,000
- Class of 2014 — $255,000
- Class of 2013 — $280,000
- Class of 2012 — $305,000
- Class of 2011 — $325,000
- Class of 2010 — $340,000
Unlike other law firms that also will dole out midyear bonuses akin to those first instituted by Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett, Herbert Smith will not change its existing bonus structure for associates.
Nearly 40 Am Law 100 firms have raised salaries so far this month. Magic Circle firms Clifford Chance and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer also announced that they would be matching the Milbank-Cravath scale for their U.S. associates late last week.
Balber said Herbert Smith wasn’t increasing pay in New York in response to its U.K. rivals, but to keep pace with top firms operating in New York.
“We compete in the New York market with all the best firms, and that’s why we need to be compensating people appropriately,” Balber said.
As for its associates in U.K., Balber said that the firm’s London team re-evaluates associate compensation separately and independently.
“I know they’re having those discussions now and all the time,” he added.
Following announcements that they would increase salaries for their U.S. associates, Kirkland & Ellis and Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan also increased their associate pay for their U.K. associates.