Earlier this month, New York-based Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy announced it will increase its associate salaries across the board by $10,000 to $15,000—a starting salary of $190,000 for those fresh out of law school. What followed was an outcry in the legal media and reports that unhappy clients are saying they won’t pay for it. Other legal markets have reported steep increases in associate salaries by the big international firms. JUVE, the German legal weekly, reported competition for talent with some international firms paying up to 130,000 euros ($153,000) for a first-year associate—a development that has left many German law firms worried. A WAR FOR TALENT With so many emotional reactions, I will try to put things in perspective. As explained on my blog, being an excellent lawyer will revolve less and less around legal knowledge. In the future, clients will not primarily be looking for knowledge of the law, but will increasingly engage lawyers because of their knowledge of “best market practice,” their ability to negotiate a good deal, their ability to come up with innovative solutions, and so on. In other words: human skills. So law firms need to start hiring a different breed of associate to… Read full this story
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