Duane Morris First-Years “Likely” to Be At $145,000

While an official decision hasn’t been made, Duane Morris Chairman Sheldon Bonovitz said an increase in associate salaries in January is “likely.”

The firm bumped up first-year associate pay to $135,000 this year, and Bonovitz said that could go to $145,000 in January when the firm makes its annual salary adjustments.
“We’re going to be competitive in the marketplace,” he said, adding that several firms have already gone to the $145,000 mark in Philadelphia.

“If that is the market, we’ll be at $145,000,” he said.

A going rate of $145,000 is toward the higher-end of the Philadelphia market as of this coming September when several firms will move to that mark.

Drinker Biddle & Reath raised its starting salary to $135,000 earlier this year with plans to go to $145,000 in September. Pepper Hamilton announced that it would move from $125,000 to $145,000 in September as well.

Dechert and Morgan Lewis & Bockius are already paying first-year associates at that rate.
Several other firms have increased this year to $135,000, including; Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis, Saul Ewing, Hangley Aronchick Segal & Pudlin, Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll, Wolf Block Schorr & Solis-Cohen, Duane Morris, Blank Rome and DLA Piper.

Flaster Greenberg moved from $122,000 to $130,000 and Dilworth Paxson moved from $117,000 to $120,000.

Other firms have taken a bit of a stand against rising salaries. Fox Rothschild and Cozen O’Connor have said they will not raise salaries above their current rate of $125,000.

“We said to ourselves that there are financial implications to raising associate salaries and there was no appetite for our partners to absorb it,” Fox Rothschild Administrative Partner Mark Silow said. “No firm is asking their partners to absorb increases in associate salaries; they’re asking their clients.”

— Gina Passarella

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