Boutique and Mid-Sized Law Firms Paying Big Law Salary Scale |

Boutique and Mid-Sized Law Firms Paying Big Law Salary Scale


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In 2018, during what turned out to be the strongest year in the legal market since the Great Recession, Milbank LLP announced a new salary scale for their associates. To stay competitive in the hunt for the best young associates, almost 100 of Milbank’s Big Law competitors quickly followed suit.
The current Big Law salary scale is:
Class Year Salary
1st year $190,000
2nd year $200,000
3rd year $220,000
4th year $255,000
5th year $280,000
6th year $305,000
7th year $325,000
8th year $340,000
9th year $350,000
Summer Associates $3700/week

However, it’s not only the biggest firms in the country that are vying for top talent. Dozens of mid-sized firms and sophisticated, specialized boutiques have also jumped on the Big Law salary scale bandwagon—or close to it. Some of these law firms are even paying their associates more than their AmLaw counterparts.
Here’s a list of firms outside the AmLaw 100 where associates are getting paid the big bucks.
Law Firm 1st Year Salary Firm Type Practice Area(s) Location(s)
Ahmad, Zavitsanos, Anaipakos, Alavi & Mensing P.C. $190,000 Boutique Litigation Houston
Axinn, Veltrop & Harkrider LLP $170,000-$180,000* Boutique Antitrust New York; Hartford; Washington D.C.
Banner Witcoff $190,000 Boutique Intellectual Property Chicago
Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg LLP $190,000 Midsize Mixed Practice Chicago (HQ); Minneapolis; Austin
Brewer, Attorneys & Counselors $185,000 Boutique Litigation New York; Dallas
Caplin & Drysdale, Chartered $170,000 Small-Midsize Mixed Practice Washington D.C.; New York
Chapman and Cutler LLP $180,000 (except Salt Lake City - $130,000) Midsize Mixed Practice Chicago (HQ); New York; San Francisco; Washington D.C.; Salt Lake City
Condo Roccia Koptiw LLP $180,000 Boutique Intellectual Property Philadelphia
Desmarais $210,000 Midsize Patent Litigation New York; San Francisco
Dovel and Luner $215,000 Boutique Plaintiff-Side Litigation Los Angeles
Durie Tangri $180,000 Boutique Intellectual Property San Francisco; Los Angeles
Duval & Stachenfeld $190,000 Boutique Real Estate New York
Farella Braun & Martel LLP $180,000 Midsize Mixed Practice San Francisco; St. Helena
Friedman Kaplan Seiler & Adelman LLP $180,000 Boutique Litigation; White Collar New York; New Jersey
Gibbs & Bruns LLP $190,000 Boutique Litigation Houston
Groom Law Group Chartered $190,000 Boutique ERISA/Employee Benefits Washington D.C.
Gunderson Dettmer Stough Villeneuve Franklin & Hachigian, LLP $190,000 Midsize Mixed Practice Multiple Offices in California; Boston; New York; Ann Arbor; Singapore; Beijing
Hickman Palermo Becker Bingham LLP $160,000 Boutique Intellectual Property San Jose
Holwell Shuster & Goldberg $190,000 Boutique Litigation New York
Hueston Hennigan LLP $190,000 Boutique Litigation Los Angeles
Keker & Van Nest LLP $190,000 Boutique Intellectual Property San Francisco
Kellogg, Hansen, Todd, Figel & Frederick P.L.L.C. $225,000 Boutique Litigation Washington D.C.
Klee, Tuchin, Bogdanoff & Stern LLP $190,000 Boutique Corporate Law Los Angeles
Kobre & Kim LLP $190,000 Boutique/Midsize Litigation New York; Miami; San Francisco; Washington D.C.; Multiple International Offices
Marshall, Gerstein & Borun LLP $180,000 Boutique Intellectual Property Chicago
McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff LLP $180,000 Midsize Intellectual Property Chicago
McKool Smith $190,000 Boutique Intellectual Property Multiple offices nationwide
Morvillo, Abramowitz, Grand, Iason & Anello PC $190,000 Boutique Litigation New York
Shartsis Friese LLP $190,000 Small-Midsize Mixed Practice San Francisco
Smyser Kaplan & Veselka, L.L.P. $190,000 Small-Midsize Mixed Practice Houston
Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox, P.L.L.C. $180,000 Midsize Intellectual Property Washington D.C.
Susman Godfrey $195,000 Boutique Litigation Houston; Seattle; Los Angeles; New York
Tenesgrity Law Group $180,000 Boutique Patent Litigation Redwood Shores, CA
Warren Lex $190,000 Boutique Litigation San Francisco
Wolf, Greenfield & Sacks, P.C. $190,000 Boutique Intellectual Property Boston

* Salaries vary by geographic market.
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