Pay is up for summer associates, but the future job outlook is less than rosy

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Average pay for summer associates working at the nation’s top 200 law firms has jumped more than 11 percent to $3,285 a week.

But the news isn’t all good, the Am Law Daily (sub. req.) reports. Summer hires dropped by about 2 percent, according to the 92 law firms responding to the hiring survey by the American Lawyer. And law firms plan to hire fewer first-year associates in the fall.

Firms expected to hire an average of 38.6 first-year associates in the fall, down from 40.4 last year, the survey found.

Altman Weil consultant Eric Seeger told the Am Law Daily that nearly half of the law firms responding to his firm’s own survey expect their associate numbers to stay the same or decrease over the next five years.

“That’s not a rosy outlook for associates,” he said.

Seeger said a majority of law firms are reporting that their partners aren’t busy enough, and that means “they have less work to throw to associates.”

The firms with the highest summer associate pay—$3,750 a week—were Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson; Dechert; Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel; and Cooley.


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