It’s starting to feel like crickets out here. When Milbank raised associate salaries last month, we pretty much expected the matches to come fast and furious. Especially since it wasn’t totally shocking that raises were in the offing. But now, weeks later, the bulk of the market has not matched. And it’s not like the lateral market has suddenly slowed down. So. What gives?
A few big firms have told associates to sit tight as they monitor exactly where the market settles. Because that’s the big X factor. How will the other market leaders — namely Cravath and Davis Polk — react to Milbank? Both Cravath and Davis Polk have a history of raining on Milbank’s compensation leadership, coming over the top.
So perhaps there will be another round of re-raising in store for 2022. But maybe it’s more than that.
We’ve talked about the stratification of the industry before. Sure the top of the Am Law 100 can likely afford these raises, but Biglaw is a lot bigger than that. Plus, while these are only rumors… Above the Law hears some firms — big names, too — are gaming the system to avoid paying full classes of associates this new market salary. Not that this is the first time we heard reports of firms docking attorneys back whole class years on pay.
In the meanwhile, we’ll wait and see.
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Kathryn Rubino is a Senior Editor at Above the Law, host of The Jabot podcast, and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. AtL tipsters are the best, so please connect with her. Feel free to email her with any tips, questions, or comments and follow her on Twitter (@Kathryn1).