Cozen Decides to Increase Starting Salary

While Cozen O’Connor leadership, through Stephen A. Cozen and Patrick J. O’Connor, never said never, they said earlier this year they had no intentions of increasing starting salaries for first-year associates from $125,000 to the $135,000 that several Philadelphia firms went to.

Now, after many other local firms moved to the $145,000 mark, Cozen O’Connor has said that it would raise starting pay for Philadelphia-area offices to $135,000, effective Jan. 1, 2008.
The compensation for other offices, the firm said, will be evaluated and any changes will be made on that same date. The firm is also reviewing compensation levels for all associates as part of the same process.

“I’ve learned since my return to the firm that the pursuit of new talent is more competitive than ever,” new firm president Tad Decker said in a statement.  “Clients care about the total cost they will have to pay at the end of the day and they expect firms to manage that cost.  At the same time, we need to continue to hire and retain exceptional attorneys and pay them fairly in order to deliver the high quality legal services that those clients have come to expect from us.”

Cozen and O’Connor had said previously that they didn’t want to pass the cost of salary increases onto their clients.

“We also think, to a certain extent, [raising salaries] is a disservice to our clients,” Cozen had said in March.

Cozen said then that firms are “kidding themselves” if they think salary increases aren’t having a negative affect on clients. When a base salary changes, he said, all other levels of compensation change and that, in turn, has to cause rates to increase.

Decker said in an interview Tuesday night that the market has changed since earlier in the year, with many firms increasing by $20,000. He said the firm just felt it had to make the change to stay competitive.

Aside from the Philadelphia office, the firm’s salary increase will happen for associates in West Conshohocken, Pa.; Cherry Hill, N.J.; and Wilmington, Del., he said.

The firm is also set to announce, most likely next week, that the Washington, D.C., and New York offices will increase to $135,000 as well, Decker said.

~Gina Passarella, Staff Reporter

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One Comment on “Cozen Decides to Increase Starting Salary”


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