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Let’s Talk Numbers

March 12, 2007

We’ve recently been inundated with large firm associate pay raise rumblings in Philadelphia and other cities (congratulations to you if you work at one of these firms!).  This led me to wonder about the rest of the Philadelphia legal scene — mid-size and small firm associates with zero to five years experience.  How much are they making and how long does it take to move up the pay scale at more than the yearly cost of living adjustment?

At lunch with some lawyer friends on Saturday, I brought up the topic of how many Philadelphia firms pay their young associates more than $65,000 and less than $120,000.  We came up with a few firms in the $65,000 to $75,000 range, but when we moved up the scale to the number of small or mid-size firms that pay their young associates $80,000 or more, we could only think of one firm.

Are there firms that pay more and we just don’t know it? Is there a middle of the road at Philadelphia law firms for associates with up to five years of experience?  Or is there a huge disparity with large firms paying six figures to start while the rest pay half…or less?

Also, as an unoffical poll — what year did you start practicing and how much was your annual salary at your first job? 

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