Milbank raises associate salaries by $10000: Bold Move Sparks Industry Discussion

Milbank, a law firm, has recently announced that it will raise the base compensation for all associates by $10,000, effective January 1, 2024. This announcement comes as a surprise to many in the legal industry, as it is a bold move that could potentially impact the salaries of associates across the board. The new associate salary scale ranges from $225,000 to $425,000, with the most junior class making $225,000. The firm is also matching last year’s year-end bonuses.

The announcement has been met with a mix of reactions from the legal industry.

Some experts believe that this move by Milbank could lead to other firms following suit and raising their associate salaries as well. However, others are hesitant to do so, as it could potentially lead to a domino effect that could be difficult to sustain.

The new salary scale is a significant increase from the previous one, which ranged from $190,000 to $340,000. The increase in salary is expected to have a positive impact on the morale of associates at Milbank, as well as attract top talent to the firm.

List of Milbank’s new associate salary scale

  • Class of 2023: $225,000 base pay
  • Class of 2022: $235,000 base pay
  • Class of 2021: $260,000 base pay
  • Class of 2020: $305,000 base pay
  • Class of 2019: $355,000 base pay
  • Class of 2018: $380,000 base pay
  • Class of 2017: $410,000 base pay
  • Class of 2016: $425,000 base pay

Here’s the bonus scale for Milbank for the Class of 2023

  • Class of 2023: $15,000 bonus
  • Class of 2022: $20,000 bonus
  • Class of 2021: $30,000 bonus
  • Class of 2020: $57,500 bonus
  • Class of 2019: $75,000 bonus
  • Class of 2018: $90,000 bonus
  • Class of 2017: $105,000 bonus
  • Class of 2016: $115,000 bonus

Milbank has been increasing its associate salaries over the years. The most recent announcement in 2023 raised the base compensation for all associates by $10,000, effective January 1, 2024. The new base salaries range from $225,000 for Class of 2023 associates to $425,000 for those in the most senior class. The firm is also matching last year’s year-end bonuses, which range from $15,000 to $115,000 based on seniority

Industry response on Milbank raises associate salaries

A. Likelihood of other firms following suit:

  1. Milbank’s announcement to raise associate salaries by $10,000 has created a buzz in the legal industry, and some experts believe other firms may follow suit.
  2. The salary increase is expected to boost morale among associates at Milbank and make the firm more attractive to top talent.
  3. Nevertheless, there is hesitation among some firms to raise salaries, as it might trigger a challenging-to-sustain domino effect. Salary structures are crucial for competitive and equitable compensation.

B. Hesitancy of some firms to raise salaries:

  1. Salary compression is a concern for some companies; they may not raise existing employees’ salaries while offering higher wages to new hires, potentially creating internal pay disparities.
  2. HR departments may lack expertise in mathematical modeling, making it challenging to quantify the impact of reducing the budget allocated for raises.
  3. Retention measures, including pay raises, are often reactive rather than proactive, and some firms may not increase salaries for content employees.
  4. The potential domino effect, as seen with Milbank’s move, has led experts to anticipate other firms might also raise associate salaries.

What is the impact of Milbank’s new salary scale on employee retention?

Milbank raising associate salaries by 10000$
Milbank raising associate salaries by 10000$

Milbank’s new salary scale is expected to have a positive impact on employee retention. Here are some key points to consider:

  1. Anticipated to boost the morale of associates at Milbank and make the firm more attractive to top talent, the increase in salary.
  2. Milbank’s announcement influenced other top law firms, such as New York City-based Davis Polk & Co, to raise salaries for junior associates, indicating a trend in the legal industry.
  3. The salary increase at Milbank may exert pressure on other law firms to follow suit, especially those competing for top talent in the same market.
  4. According to a 2021 survey by the Society for Human Resource Management, salary is the most significant factor in employee retention, underlining the importance of competitive compensation.
  5. The salary increase is expected to contribute positively to the diversity and inclusion efforts of the firm, as it can help attract and retain a more diverse workforce.
  6. Milbank’s decision to match last year’s year-end bonuses is likely to further enhance employee retention by rewarding associates and reinforcing their commitment to the firm.


In conclusion, Milbank raises associate salaries by $10,000, effective January 1, 2024, and it has stirred the legal industry. The new salary scale, spanning $225,000 to $425,000, has triggered speculation of a potential industry-wide trend, though some firms are cautious. This raise aims to boost morale, attract top talent, and improve employee retention while increasing competitive pressures.

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