Entry-level lawyers are now making $200,000 a year

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Salaries for junior lawyers are rising above $200,000 at many top law firms for the first time, following a year of record-breaking profits in the legal industry and competition to retain a workforce that has billed long hours at home during the pandemic.

Corporate law firms are unique among businesses in that they typically increase pay in tandem, with a few market leaders triggering moves throughout the industry.

New York firm Milbank LLP on Thursday kicked off the latest round of salary wars, announcing pay raises of between 4.4% and 5.9% for lawyers without a partnership stake in the firm. The raises shifted pay for newly graduated lawyers to $200,000, up from a $190,000 benchmark that Milbank set in the last widespread round of raises three years ago.

There were signs Friday the new industry standard is likely to rise even further, with New York-based Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP telling its lawyers…

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