The Flattening Of Associate Salaries: Another Firm Matches New York Pay For Outside Market

Back in the day, New York associates made more money than associates around the country because they worked, on balance, more hours and the complexity of the work demanded top talent that firms were willing to pay a premium to secure. Now it seems like everyone’s paying the New York scale in a bid to break up the Big Apple’s monopoly on that key talent. It started with the 2016 nationwide salary bump and has since trickled into more and more smaller markets ever since. Alston & Bird raised salaries in Charlotte last week, and now Lowenstein has bumped salaries to New York levels for its Northern New Jersey associates starting in the new year.

While there are definitely some markets that have absolutely no business matching the New York scale — you all know which markets you are — Lowenstein’s Roseland, New Jersey office fits the mold of a salary bump that makes a lot of sense. It competes in the same geographic market with New York firms and the cost of living is comparable. A firm hoping to bring high-quality legal service to that office has to be prepared to pony up because otherwise the candidates they’re eyeing will just find themselves a New York firm.

But don’t hold your breath for a boom in New Jersey salaries. Lowenstein isn’t just a national firm that happens to have a New Jersey office. With its home office is almost as big as the New York team and supporting a bustling Life Sciences practice in a hotbed of pharmaceutical and other medical tech headquarters, the New Jersey office is every bit a contributor to the firm’s bottom line as the New York or Palo Alto offices and it needs the talent to get that work done.

That’s not something the bulk of New Jersey regional firms can boast and they’re just not going to be able to match what the folks at Lowenstein can do for its associates. So when other Jersey attorneys reach the bottom of their W2s, these words billow up inside them as prayer, as regret, as praise, “Lowenstein, Lowenstein.”[1]

Earlier: Forget Bonuses, These Associates Just Got RAISES!

[1] Did you think I could successfully wedge a Prince of Tides joke into an article about raises? Me neither.

HeadshotJoe Patrice is a senior editor at Above the Law and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. Feel free to email any tips, questions, or comments. Follow him on Twitter if you’re interested in law, politics, and a healthy dose of college sports news. Joe also serves as a Managing Director at RPN Executive Search.

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