An article from today's Crain's Cleveland Business indicates that some Cleveland law firms are going to hike 1st year associate pay by 20% next year. Taking the lead from Jones Day, which increased starting salaries 12.5% this year from $120,000 to $135,000, Calfee Halter has already indicated that its new associates will make 20% more next year by earning $120,000 fresh out of law school. Other large Cleveland firms are apparently following suit, with Ulmer & Berne up'ing its starting salary 9.5% to $115,000. The report provides the following 2007 comparisons for 7 of the largest Cleveland law firms:
Jones Day--$135,000; Baker Hostetler--$120,000; Calfee Halter--$120,000; Thompson Hine--$115,000; Squire Sanders--$130,000; Ulmer & Berne--$115,000; and Benesch Friedlander--$120,000.
The article goes on to suggest reasons why starting pay is going up much faster than the 2% CPI, including the high cost of law school, leaving graduates with huge loans to pay off. Finally, the article touches only the 'tip of the iceberg' in suggesting that starting pay may affect the price of the billable hour.