Law Firm Salaries are on the Rise

Salaries of associates at big law firms are on the rise.

Big West Coast law firms are raising salaries for junior law associates by $10,000. This raises the average salary of new law school graduates in these jobs to $135,000. Law firms that have been among the first to raise their junior associate salaries are Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, Wilson Sonsini, O'Melveny & Myers, and Paul, Hastings, Janofksy & Walker.

So this is great for associates right?

Well, this isn't free monopoly money. For big salary increases, billing rates will increase. And when billing rates increase, clients will expect more bang for the buck. More hours will likely need to be worked.

Law firms have also recently added many part-time partnership tracks. Part-time actually means 40-50 hours a week instead of the typical 60-80 hours per week most associates at big firms work. The part-time lawyers usually take longer to make partner, up to 2 years longer (10 years for a part-time lawyer versus 8 years for a full-time attorney).