Local Impact of Big Law 'salary wars' in question
Managing Partners at small and mid-size firms aren't anticipating a trickle-down effect on attorney compensation in the Boston market from Big law's scramble to offer first-year associates annual salaries of $190,000 or more.
Instead, the consensus is that the smaller firms won't feel the need to respond competitively to the pay bump enjoyed by associates at firms such as Ropes & Gray and WilmerHale, at least in the near term.
"The salary wars might be going on nationwide, but the're going on at a certain altitude," says John T. Morrier, managing partner at the 44-attorney Boston firm Casner & Edwards.
But the professionals who trade in legal talent aren't so sure.
New York City legal recruiter Michelle Foster says the new pay scales at large firms will place pressure on Boston's mid-size firms.
"Although the mid-size firms might not match what the Big Law firm are doing, at least some of them will raise salaries," Foster predicts.
That could trigger an acceleration of the merger activity seen in the last year as increased competitive pressures cut into the profit margins of those mid-size firms, she adds.
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