And the race to throw vast sums of money at first-year associates continues…
According to Above the Law, Washington’s Williams & Connolly has boosted first-year pay to a staggering $180,000.
Earlier this year, New York-based Simpson Thatcher & Bartlett widened the first-year associate pay gap between Gotham City firms and D.C. shops by $25,000 when it raised first-year pay to $160,000. Just as several Washington firms were bumping up their first-year salaries to $145,000 from $130,000 or $135,000, McKee Nelson turned up the heat and matched New York’s salaries in its Washington office. Other Washington offices have followed suit (including Nixon Peabody in November) and as 2007 has progressed, so has the guessing game about which D.C. firm will be next to make the move to $160,000.
Now it seems Williams & Connolly has far exceeded expectations. The Washington litigation firm has announced that its first-year salaries will increase to $180,000 effective Jan. 1, 2008. The firm had already surpassed New York standards, since it previously paid first-years $165,000, according to Above the Law. There is a rub, however. Williams & Connolly does not offer end-of-the-year bonuses like most firms do, so it typically compensates by paying higher base salaries.