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2015 Summer Associate Salaries of the Top Law Firms

published July 29, 2015

( 1903 votes, average: 4.8 out of 5)
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Summary: Here are the summer associate salaries of the top law firms in the United States.

Interested in the salary information at these firms for other years of experience? Check out the charts below:

2015 1st Year Salaries and Bonuses of the Top Law Firms
2015 2nd Year Salaries and Bonuses of the Top Law Firms
2015 3rd Year Salaries and Bonuses of the Top Law Firms
2015 4th Year Salaries and Bonuses of the Top Law Firms
2015 5th Year Salaries and Bonuses of the Top Law Firms
2015 6th Year Salaries and Bonuses of the Top Law Firms
2015 7th Year Salaries and Bonuses of the Top Law Firms
2015 8th Year Salaries and Bonuses of the Top Law Firms

 
Firm Name Summer Associate Salaries Summer Associate Offers
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP N/A N/A
Allen & Overy LLP $3,076/week N/A
Alston & Bird LLP Atlanta, GA; Charlotte, NC; Research Triangle, NC : $2,600/week
Dallas, TX; Los Angeles, CA; New York, NY; Silicon Valley, CA; Washington, DC: $3,075/week
42 out of 42 (2Ls) (2013)
Arnold & Porter LLP $3080 per week N/A
Baker & McKenzie $ 3,076/week 30 out of 30 (2012)
Baker Botts L.L.P. $3,077/week 81 out of 87 (2013) (includes 1Ls)
Baker Hostetler LLP $2,500/week 30 out of 34 (2013)
Bingham McCutchen LLP $3,100/week 34 out of 39 (2013)
Bryan Cave LLP Atlanta, GA: $2,500/week
Chicago, IL; Dallas, TX; Irvine, CA; Los Angeles, CA New York, NY; San Francisco, CA; Washington, DC: $2,788/week
Denver, CO; Kansas City, MO: $2,212/week
Phoenix, AZ: $2,308/week
St. Louis, MO: $2,404/week
33 out of 38 (2013)
Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP $3,075/week 35 out of 37 (2013)
Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP $3,077/week 50 out of 51 (2013)
Chadbourne & Parke LLP $3,077/week 13 out of 13 (2013)
Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton LLP $3,077/week 98 out of 98 (New York); 23 out
Clifford Chance LLP $3,077/week 20 out of 20 (2013)
Cooley Godward Kronish LLP $3,077/week 42 out of 45 (2013)
Covington & Burling $3,080/week 68 out of 69 (2013)
Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP $3,077/week 93 out of 93 (2013)
Crowell & Moring LLP $3,077/week 11 out of 12 (2013)
Davis Polk & Wardwell $3,077/week 126 out of 126 (2013)
Debevoise & Plimpton LLP $3,077/week 69 out of 69 (2013)
Dechert LLP Austin, TX; Boston, MA; California offices; Charlotte, NC; Chicago, IL; Hartford, CT; New York, NY; Washington, DC: $3,100/week
Philadelphia, PA and Princeton, NJ: $2,800/week
46 out of 46 (2013)
Dickstein Shapiro LLP $3,100/week 12 out of 13 (2012)
DLA Piper Baltimore, MD; Boston, MA; California offices; Chicago, IL; Miami, FL; New York, NY; Philadelphia, PA; Raleigh, NC; Reston, VA Seattle, WA; Texas offices; Washington, DC: $3,076/week
Atlanta, GA; Phoenix, AZ; Tampa, FL: $2,788/week
28 out of 29 (2013)
Dorsey & Whitney LLP $2,100/week 25 out of 26 (2Ls) (2013)
Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP Boston, Chicago and New York: $2,788/week Providence: $2,403/week 11 out of 12 (2013)
Fenwick & West LLP $3,076/week 27 out of 28 (2013)
Fish & Richardson P.C. Detroit, MI: $3,100/week
Milwaukee, WI: $2,500/week
Boston, MA; California offices; Chicago, IL; New York, NY; Washington, DC: $3,100/week
21 out of 22 (2013)
Foley & Lardner LLP Detroit, MI; Milwaukee, WI: $2,500/week
Boston, MA; California offices; Chicago, IL; New York, NY; Washington, DC: $3,100/week
Miami, FL: $2,800/week
Madison, WI; Tampa, FL: $2,400/week
Jacksonville, FL; Orlando, FL; Tallahassee, FL: $2,100/week
53 out of 54 (2013)
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer $3,077/week 19 out of 19 (2013)
Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP $3,100/week 26 out of 26 (2013)
Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P. N/A N/A
Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP $3,080/week 138 out of 141 (2013)
Goodwin Procter LLP $3,077/week 49 out of 50 (2013)
Greenberg Traurig, LLP N/A 26 out of 33 (2013)
Hogan Lovells Compensation is based on 1950 or 2000 billable hour levels (up to 100 hours can be pro bono) 77 out of 78 2Ls; 8 of 8 1Ls invited to return (2013)
Holland & Knight LLP N/A 23 out of 23 (2013)
Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP $3,077/week 19 out of 20 (2013)
Hunton & Williams LLP Atlanta, GA; Charlotte, NC; Miami, FL; Norfolk, VA; Raleigh, NC; Richmond, VA: $2,800/week
Austin, TX; Dallas, TX; Houston, TX; Los Angeles, CA; McLean, VA; New York, NY; San Francisco, CA; Washington, DC: $3,080/week
24 out of 26 (2013)
Irell & Manella LLP $3,080/week 31 out of 31 (2013)
Jackson Lewis LLP N/A N/A
Jenner & Block LLP $3,077/week 42 out of 42 (2013)
Jones Day Miami, FL: $2,569/week
Atlanta, GA: $2,907/week
Cleveland, OH; Columbus, OH; Pittsburgh, PA: $2,810/week
Irvine, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and Silicon Valley, CA; Boston, MA; Chicago, IL; Dallas and Houston, TX; New York, NY; Washington, DC: $3,100/week
178 out of 184 (includes 1Ls) (2013)
K&L Gates N/A 71 out of 76 (permanent offers) (2013)
Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman LLP $3,077/week 22 out of 22 (2013)
Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP Chicago, IL; Los Angeles, CA; New York, NY & Washington, DC: $3,077/week 32 out of 34 (2013)
Kaye Scholer LLP $3,100/week 20 out of 21 (2013)
Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP $2,600/$3,077 (weekly) 17 out of 21 (2013)
King & Spalding LLP Atlanta, GA; Charlotte, NC: $2,600/week
Austin, TX; Houston, TX; New York, NY; San Francisco, CA; Silicon Valley, CA; Washington, DC: $3,100/week
34 out of 39 (2013)
Kirkland & Ellis LLP N/A 128 out of 130 (2013)
Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear LLP $2,750/week 36 out of 40 (2011)
Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP $3,077/week 18 out of 18 (2013)
Latham & Watkins LLP $3,080/week 148 out of 149 (2013)
Linklaters LLP $3,077/week 20 out of 20 (2013)
Manatt Phelps & Phillips N/A 7 out of 7 (2013)
Mayer Brown LLP $3,077/week (Charlotte: $2,750/week) 59 out of 59 (2013)
McDermott, Will & Emery $3,076/week 24 out of 27 (2013)
McGuireWoods LLP The firm does not adhere to a lockstep compensation system, and salaries vary for associates beyond their second years. Salaries also vary by office. 18 out of 20 (2013)
Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP $3,077/week 84 out of 84 (2013)
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP Philadelphia, PA; Pittsburgh, PA: $29,000/summer
Chicago, IL; Dallas, TX; Houston, TX; Irvine, CA; Los Angeles, CA; New York, NY; Palo Alto, CA; San Francisco, CA; and Washington, DC: $30,800/summer
Miami, FL: $29,000/summer
Princeton, NJ: $29,000/summer
50 out of 54 (2013)
Morrison & Foerster LLP N/A 76 out of 80 (2013)
Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP $3,080/week 22 out of 25 (2013)
Nixon Peabody LLP $2,800/week (metro area offices) 16 out of 19 (2Ls) (2013)
O'Melveny & Myers LLP $3,100/week 81 out of 85 (2013)
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP Los Angeles; New York; Orange County; San Francisco; Silicon Valley; Washington, DC: $3,077/week
Portland, Oregon; Sacramento, CA; Seattle, Washington: $2,788/week
30 out of 35
Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP $3,076.92/week 8 out of 8 (2013)
Patton Boggs LLP N/A 14 out of 15 (2013)
Paul Hastings LLP $3,070/week 61 out of 63 (2013)
Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison $3,100/week 116 out of 117 (2012)
Perkins Coie LLP N/A 33 out of 37 (2013)
Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP $3,077/week 27 out of 30 (2013)
Proskauer Rose LLP New York, NY; Boston, MA; Los Angeles, CA; Chicago, IL; Washington, DC: $3,077/week
Boca Raton, FL Summer associate: $2,596/week
Newark, NJ Summer associate: $2,788/week
New Orleans, LA Summer associate: $2,115/week
46 out of 46 (2013)
Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP $3,080/week 68 out of 69 (2013)
Ropes & Gray LLP $3,100/week 119 out of 119 (2012)
Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP $3,077/week 34 out of 34 (2013)
Shearman & Sterling LLP $3,077/week 41 out of 41 (2013)
Sidley Austin LLP $3,100/week 101 out of 105 (2013)
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP $3,080/week 77 out of 77 (2013)
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP $3,100/week 146 out of 148 (2013)
SNR Denton (Now Dentons) N/A N/A
Squire Sanders N/A N/A
Steptoe & Johnson LLP $3,075/week 12 of 12 (2013)
Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP $3076.92/week 27 out of 27 (2013)
Sullivan & Cromwell LLP $3,077/week Paid at the annual rate of $160,000 prorated according to the time spent at the firm and the days worked during the month, on a semi-monthly basis. 122 out of 123 (2013)
Venable LLP $2,900 week 26 out of 28 (2013)
Vinson & Elkins L.L.P. $3,077/week 58 out of 66 (2Ls) (2013)
Wachtell $3,100/week 26 out of 26 (2013)
Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP $3,077/week 92 out of 93 (2013)
White & Case LLP $3,077/week 56 out of 56 (2013)
Williams & Connolly LLP $3,450/week The firm says: “Because nearly all of our summer associates obtain judicial clerkships, formal offers are only extended after the clerks receive permission from judges to request offers. Typically, all summer associates who request offers are welcomed for permanent employment.”
Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP $3,077/week 46 out of 46 (2013)
WilmerHale $3,100/week 119 out of 121 (2013)
Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati $3,077 per week 42 out of 44 (2013)
Winston & Strawn LLP $3,077/week 28 out of 29 (2013)
 
Frequently Asked Questions
 

How Much Do Summer Associates Get Paid?


In the United States, the average summer law associates' salary is $181,270 per year or $87.15 per hour. On the lower end of that spectrum, the bottom 10% to be exact, earn around $114,000 per year, while the top 10% earn $286,000. Location is one of the most important things in life. The highest summer law associate salaries are found in Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Vermont.
 

How Much Do 1st Year Associates Make?


While COVID caused a year of uncertainty for the legal profession, it did not bring first-year associate salaries to a halt. Despite all of the financial turmoil, first-year associate salaries are actually up despite all of the austerity measures instituted by large law firms of all stripes in 2020.

According to NALP's 2021 Associate Salary Survey report, the median base salary for first-year associates was $165,000 as of January 1, 2021, a $10,000 increase from 2019. 78% of the 572 responses came from firms with more than 250 lawyers.

It is true that 190K is now the most common starting salary - after the Great Associate Salary Increase of 2018, when law firms of more than 700 lawyers awarded $10,000 raises from $180,000 - but not all firms were able to bolster their first-year salaries to such levels. As it turned out, the greatest increase in salaries was seen at firms of 101-250 lawyers, where the median first-year salary jumped from $115,000 in 2019 to $130,000 in 2021. Base salaries for first-year lawyers at firms with 251-500 lawyers grew by $10,000, from $160,000 in 2019 to $170,000 in 2021.

The NALP survey did provide this interesting nugget of information on salaries:
 
The geography of a region, city, or state continues to have a significant impact on salary differences. This year's report includes analyses of 23 individual cities, as well as additional states and regions not covered by those 23 cities. Based on these analyses, law firm salaries by city range from $115,000 to $190,000. In some of the largest markets, $190,000 salaries were still unusual. The Northeast was the region with the highest median first-year associate base salary ($175,000), followed by the South and West, both at $170,000. The Midwest had the lowest salaries ($130,000).
 

How Much Does A Summer Associate Make At A Big Law Firm?


Being an attorney is primarily motivated by compensation. The fact that lawyers typically make six-figure salaries, many of them right out of law school, is well known. First-year summer associates at major "Big Law" firms earn well above $100,000. The subject of just how much is a subject of much discussion, as salaries will vary greatly at different sized firms. Geography also plays a big role. Companies in small towns are unlikely to make as much as those in New York, California, or Florida.

It is estimated that first-year law associates earn an average of $151,026 per year, according to the salary and employee review website Glassdoor. Of course, this is the national average, so the numbers will vary wildly depending on where you live and how big your firm is.

New York City's initial rate for attorneys is a bit higher, at $168,632. Surprisingly, the first-year salary is even higher in California. New associates in Los Angeles earn $171,581 on average, which is nearly 14% higher than the national average. In Miami, Florida, lawyers typically make about $130,929, which is actually almost 13% below the national average.

It should be noted that these figures are based on total, overall averages, and do not include anything but attorneys in their first year following law school. In order to obtain more detailed information, one would need to investigate the size of the firms. Obviously, the largest firms sign the biggest checks, with smaller law firms unable to match those numbers due to the sheer volume of cases.

The New York Times reported in 2016 that one of the nation's largest law firms, Cravath, Swaine & Moore, would increase the salary for their first-year associates from $160,000 to $180,000. National Association of Law Placement (NALP) data confirms that associates entering their first year with a firm a full two years earlier, in 2014, averaged $160,000 in their first year.

In addition, NALP reported that going forward, that figure should not be expected by all first-year law associates at every law firm in the country. It is again due to the nature of averages and the inconsistencies of expectations when dealing with statistics that are based on such a diverse and variable employment landscape.

The NALP shows the difference in salaries between firms with just a few lawyers and those with several hundred or more. For first-year law associates in firms with 2-25 attorneys, the average salary is $68,000, while in firms with more than 700 lawyers, the average salary is $125,000. These figures are national averages, but they show the wide range of income for new legal professionals.

These numbers differ significantly from those expected of first-year law firm associates in major cities such as New York City, Los Angeles, and Miami. The summer associate positions vary. People living in high-cost states can expect to make more than their counterparts in cities and states with a lower cost of living. The dreaded "billable hour" has not even been mentioned yet, and that is for good reason.

Salary is not determined by billable hours. The new associate is guaranteed a certain amount of money per year, regardless of the number of hours worked. For seasoned attorneys reading this, this may seem counterintuitive.

The subject of billable hours for first-year attorneys is tricky. The Yale Law School crunches some hypothetical numbers and reports that the average or target or minimum billables for associates vary, but it usually falls between 1700-2300 hours per year. Taking into account a long series of assumptions about the nature and means of an attorney's work, they arrive at the following: while an attorney may spend up to 3,058 hours at work, they will only bill about 2,201 hours.

It just goes to show that first-year law associates can expect to make quite a bit of money in their initial salary, but they will also be expected to make that much and more for their law firm. Before a contract is signed, nothing is guaranteed in terms of salary. Despite this, there is one certainty for all new attorneys: hard work.
 

How Much Do Summer Clerkships Pay?


In the United States, the average summer law clerk salary is $39,000 per year or $20 per hour. The average entry-level position starts at $29,345 per year, while most experienced workers make up to $81,450 per year.
 

What Do Summer Associates Do?


Summer associate positions expose law students to the actual practice of law in the real-world environment of law firms. While law school teaches law students about the intellectual aspects of the law, summer associate positions expose future attorneys to the practical aspects of working in the legal profession.
 

How Do I Get A Summer Associate Job?


Steps to Landing the Best Summer Associate Position.

Thinking of skipping out on applying for summer associate positions this summer and dedicating yourself to the pursuit of fun? Not so fast.
 
  1. Know what you want. In the case of law associateships, the word “best” is relative.
  2. Understand the process.
  3. Bid smart.
  4. Network.
  5. Refine your resume.
  6. Use references strategically.
 
Click here for 2015 law firm salary information for other years of experience and summer associates.

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