Credit: Rrraum/

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld has become the second large Texas firm to raise associate compensation in the current go-round of Big Law raises, matching Vinson & Elkins at the new pay scale set earlier this month by Cravath, Swaine & Moore.

The move boosts lawyer pay at Akin Gump to a scale that starts with a $190,000 base salary plus $5,000 special bonuses for first-year associates.

David Botter, the firm’s New York-based hiring partner, told associates and counsel on the U.S. scale about the raises in an email on Thursday. Compensation for senior counsel will continue to be determined individually on an annual basis, Botter wrote in the email.

“Thank you for all your hard work and efforts! They are greatly appreciated,” Botter wrote.

With that announcement, Akin Gump, which was founded in Dallas and has 20 offices, joined a parade of major firms raising compensation this month. On June 4, Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy started the salary moves by announcing 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.

In addition to increasing the base salary scale, Akin Gump also notified associates and counsel of a special bonus to be paid this summer, matching bonuses at several other firms.

The new compensation scale is as follows:

Class Year              Former Base Pay        New Base Pay

  • 2017 Associates          $180,000               $190,000
  • 2016 Associates          $190,000               $200,000
  • 2015 Associates          $210,000               $220,000
  • 2014 Associates          $235,000               $255,000
  • 2013 Associates          $260,000               $280,000
  • 2012 Counsel              $280,000               $305,000
  • 2011 Counsel              $300,000               $325,000
  • 2010 Counsel              $315,000               $340,000

The special bonuses will be paid July 31 to associates and counsel on the U.S. salary grid who are in good standing, consistent with the firm’s past year-end bonus practices.

  • Class of 2017              $5,000
  • Class of 2016              $7,500
  • Class of 2015              $10,000
  • Class of 2014              $15,000
  • Class of 2013              $20,000
  • Class of 2012+            $25,000

Akin Gump, like V&E, posted strong financials in 2017, which presumably makes the market pressure to raise associate and counsel compensation an easier hurtle. Profits per partner improved by 13.5 percent at Akin Gump in 2017, and by 16.5 percent at V&E