Photo: Diego M. Radzinschi/ALM

Vinson & Elkins is the first large Texas firm to raise associate salaries in the current round of Big Law pay hikes, raising first-year compensation to $195,000, which includes a $5,000 summer bonus and meets a scale set earlier this month by Cravath, Swaine & Moore.

V&E, which has based in Houston and has 14 offices, notified associates late Monday afternoon of the new salary scale. Until then, no major Texas firm had announced salary increases in the wake of Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy’s move on June 4 to announce a $190,000 starting salary for first-year associates. A week later, Cravath matched, but agreed to pay more for mid-level and senior associates.

The new salaries are effective July 1, and the summer bonuses will be paid July 13. V&E also announced summer associates would receive commensurate increases in summer associate salaries. The firm said it is evaluating base pay for associates outside the United States and will address that separately.

Here is V&E’s new associate salary scale:

Class Year Annual Base Salary Summer Bonus
2017 $190,000 $5000
2016 $200,000 $7500
2015 $220,000 $10,000
2014 $255,000 $15,000
2013 $280,000 $20,000
2012 $305,000 $25,000
2011 $325,000 $25,000
2010+ $340,000 $25,000


Mark Kelly, V&E’s chair, and Scott Wulfe, the firm’s managing partner, notified associates of the raises in a memo late on Monday afternoon.

In the memo, Kelly and Wulfe wrote that the firm is “committed to recruiting and retaining top legal talent in each of our markets.”

In 2016, when big-firm associate salaries skyrocketed after Cravath raised the starting salary for first-years to $180,000, V&E was also the first big Texas firm to raise associate compensation.