New York’s legal marketplace is hitting a new milestone: Paying fresh-faced, 20-something, first year associates more than federal judges.
Rookie lawyers at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett will be paid a base salary of $160,000 before bonus, according to a New York Law Journal article today. Bonuses for first years start at $30,000/year:
The New York firm’s move, announced internally Monday, comes less than a year after an earlier round of salary increases boosted first-year salaries in the city to $145,000 from the $125,000 that had been standard for several years prior.
By contrast, federal judges start at $162,500 (no bonus, sorry), the same as members of Congress.
New York’s Supreme Court justices (our trial courts, not the top court) start at $136,700.
If judges can do so well in the private sector, then we need to increase the incentives to keep good ones from leaving the bench. It is time we brought judicial salaries more into line with the marketplace.