Reed Smith has opted not to increase associate pay in any of its global offices, despite a host of U.S. firms confirming salary hikes in response to moves by Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy and Cravath, Swaine & Moore.
Reed Smith partner and global head of legal personnel, Casey Ryan, confirmed in a statement that, while the firm will continue to monitor the market, it “has no current plans to increase associate starting salaries in any location.”
Ryan said in her statement that the decision was based on “the interests of clients.”
Reed Smith’s announcement comes as Kirkland & Ellis confirmed it would match Cravath’s pay scale in the U.K. as well as the United States, while Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan matched the raises in the United States but opted for a smaller rise in the U.K.
Cravath, which normally kickstarts the associate salary race in the United States, last week topped rates set earlier in June by first-mover Milbank by matching its junior associate pay, but bettering Milbank’s rates for mid-level and more senior associates by $5,000-$10,000.
Other firms to have matched Cravath’s pay scale include Clifford Chance, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, Kirkland, Ropes & Gray, Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, Willkie Farr & Gallagher, Davis Polk & Wardwell, Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison and Sullivan & Cromwell.
Meanwhile, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer confirmed on Monday that it would match Milbank’s rates across its U.S. offices.
Reed Smith’s decision to freeze salary rates at last year’s level—but not halt associates’ progression—follows its recent efforts to broaden opportunities for its associates. These include introducing a new app-based feedback process, as well as opportunities to temporarily work in different offices around the globe.