Biglaw Salary Scale


Below is the current biglaw salary scale, along with historical data on the previous salary scales and calculations with inflation-adjusted dollars.

Biglaw Salary Scale (Interactive) for 2019

ClassYearSearch YearSalaryBonus (Summer)Bonus (Annual)Bonus TotalTotalInflation-Adjusted
1st Year2019Y201919000001500015000205000205000
2nd Year2019Y201920000002500025000225000225000
3rd Year2019Y201922000005000050000270000270000
4th Year2019Y201925500006500065000310000310000
5th Year2019Y201928000008000080000360000360000
6th Year2019Y201930500009000090000395000395000
7th Year2019Y20193250000100000100000425000425000
8th Year2019Y20193450000100000100000445000445000
1st Year2018Y201819000050001500020000210000213593.73973078
2nd Year2018Y201820000075002500032500232500236478.78327336
3rd Year2018Y2018220000100005000060000280000284791.65297437
4th Year2018Y2018255000150006500080000335000340732.87052291
5th Year2018Y20182800002000080000100000380000386502.95760808
6th Year2018Y20183050002500090000115000420000427187.47946156
7th Year2018Y201832500025000100000125000450000457700.87085167
8th Year2018Y201834500025000100000125000470000478043.13177841
1st Year2017Y201718000001500015000195000202853.12342488
2nd Year2017Y201719000002500025000215000223658.57198128
3rd Year2017Y201721000005000050000260000270470.83123318
4th Year2017Y201723500006500065000300000312081.72834597
5th Year2017Y201726000008000080000340000353692.62545877
6th Year2017Y201728000009000090000370000384900.79829337
7th Year2017Y20173000000100000100000400000416108.97112796
8th Year2017Y20173150000100000100000415000431713.05754526
1st Year2016Y201618000001500015000195000207382.75973138
2nd Year2016Y201619000002500025000215000228652.7863705
3rd Year2016Y201621000005000050000260000276510.34630851
4th Year2016Y201623500006500065000300000319050.39958674
5th Year2016Y201626000008000080000340000361590.45286497
6th Year2016Y201628000009000090000370000393495.49282365
7th Year2016Y20163000000100000100000400000425400.53278232
8th Year2016Y20163150000100000100000415000441353.05276166
1st Year2015Y201516000001500015000175000188837.02095904
2nd Year2015Y201517000002500025000195000210418.39478293
3rd Year2015Y201518500005000050000235000253581.14243071
4th Year2015Y201521000006500065000275000296743.89007849
5th Year2015Y201523000008000080000310000334511.2942703
6th Year2015Y201525000009000090000340000366883.35500614
7th Year2015Y20152650000100000100000365000393860.072286
8th Year2015Y20152800000100000100000380000410046.10265392
1st Year2014Y201416000001500015000175000188768.79525412
2nd Year2014Y201417000002500025000195000210342.3718546
3rd Year2014Y201418500004000040000225000242702.7367553
4th Year2014Y201421000005500055000265000285849.88995624
5th Year2014Y201423000007000070000300000323603.64900707
6th Year2014Y201425000008500085000335000361357.40805789
7th Year2014Y20142650000100000100000365000393717.7729586
8th Year2014Y20142800000100000100000380000409897.95540896
1st Year2013Y201316000001000010000170000186415.61541554
2nd Year2013Y201317000001400014000184000201767.48962623
3rd Year2013Y201318500002000020000205000224795.30094227
4th Year2013Y201321000002700027000237000259885.29913814
5th Year2013Y201323000003400034000264000289492.4851159
6th Year2013Y201325000004000040000290000318003.10865004
7th Year2013Y201326500005000050000315000345417.16974056
8th Year2013Y201328000006000060000340000372831.23083108
1st Year2012Y201216000001000010000170000188624.50149706
2nd Year2012Y201217000001400014000184000204158.28397329
3rd Year2012Y201218500002000020000205000227458.95768764
4th Year2012Y201221000002700027000237000262964.74620473
5th Year2012Y201223000003400034000264000292922.75526603
6th Year2012Y201225000004000040000290000321771.20843617
7th Year2012Y201226500005000050000315000349510.10571515
8th Year2012Y201228000006000060000340000377249.00299413
1st Year2011Y2011160000075007500167500189551.42157363
2nd Year2011Y201117000001000010000180000203697.05004928
3rd Year2011Y201118500001500015000200000226330.05561031
4th Year2011Y201121000002000020000230000260279.56395185
5th Year2011Y201123000002500025000255000288570.82090314
6th Year2011Y201125000003000030000280000316862.07785443
7th Year2011Y201126500003750037500302500342324.20911059
8th Year2011Y201128000003750037500317500359298.96328136
1st Year2010Y2010160000075007500167500196883.94690894
2nd Year2010Y201017000001000010000180000211576.77876782
3rd Year2010Y201018500001500015000200000235085.30974202
4th Year2010Y201021000002000020000230000270348.10620332
5th Year2010Y201023000002500025000255000299733.76992108
6th Year2010Y201025000003000030000280000329119.43363883
7th Year2010Y201026500003500035000300000352627.96461303
8th Year2010Y201028000003500035000315000370259.36284368
1st Year2009Y200916000075007500167500199135.67451098
2nd Year2009Y20091700001000010000180000213996.54574314
3rd Year2009Y20091850001500015000200000237773.9397146
4th Year2009Y20092100002000020000230000273440.03067179
5th Year2009Y20092300002500025000255000303161.77313612
6th Year2009Y20092500003000030000280000332883.51560044
7th Year2009Y20092650003000030000295000350716.56107904
8th Year2009Y20092800003000030000310000368549.60655763
1st Year2008Y20081600003500035000195000228847.78518836
2nd Year2008Y20081700004000040000210000246451.46097208
3rd Year2008Y20081850004500045000230000269923.02868371
4th Year2008Y20082100005000050000260000305130.38025115
5th Year2008Y20082300005500055000285000334469.83989068
6th Year2008Y20082500006000060000310000363809.29953022
7th Year2008Y20082650006000060000325000381412.97531394
8th Year2008Y20082800006000060000340000399016.65109766
1st Year2007Y20071600004500045000205000252461.00507043
2nd Year2007Y20071700005500055000225000277091.34702852
3rd Year2007Y20071850006500065000250000307879.27447614
4th Year2007Y20072100008000080000290000357139.95839232
5th Year2007Y20072300009500095000325000400243.05681898
6th Year2007Y2007250000110000110000360000443346.15524564
7th Year2007Y2007265000110000110000375000461818.91171421
8th Year2007Y2007280000110000110000390000480291.66818278
1st Year2006Y20061450003500035000180000227780.28618011
2nd Year2006Y20061550004000040000195000246761.97669512
3rd Year2006Y20061700004500045000215000272070.8973818
4th Year2006Y20061900005000050000240000303707.04824015
5th Year2006Y20062000005500055000255000322688.73875516
6th Year2006Y20062100006000060000270000341670.42927017
7th Year2006Y20062200006000060000280000354324.88961351
8th Year2006Y2006?60000600006000075926.762060038
1st Year2005Y2005125000?125000161443.03351486
2nd Year2005Y2005135000?135000174358.47619605
3rd Year2005Y2005150000?150000193731.64021784
4th Year2005Y2005170000?170000219562.52558022
5th Year2005Y2005190000?190000245393.41094259
6th Year2005Y2005205000?205000264766.57496438
7th Year2005Y2005215000?215000277682.01764557
8th Year2005Y2005225000?225000290597.46032676
1st Year2004Y2004125000?125000169009.34692416
2nd Year2004Y2004135000?135000182530.0946781
3rd Year2004Y2004150000?150000202811.216309
4th Year2004Y2004170000?170000229852.71181686
5th Year2004Y2004190000?190000256894.20732473
6th Year2004Y2004205000?205000277175.32895563
7th Year2004Y2004215000?215000290696.07670956
8th Year2004Y2004225000?225000304216.82446349
1st Year2003Y2003125000?125000173298.46153115
2nd Year2003Y2003135000?135000187162.33845364
3rd Year2003Y2003150000?150000207958.15383738
4th Year2003Y2003170000?170000235685.90768237
5th Year2003Y2003190000?190000263413.66152735
6th Year2003Y2003205000?205000284209.47691109
7th Year2003Y2003215000?215000298073.35383358
8th Year2003Y2003225000?225000311937.23075607
1st Year2002Y2002125000?125000177319.75180761
2nd Year2002Y2002135000?135000191505.33195222
3rd Year2002Y2002150000?150000212783.70216914
4th Year2002Y2002170000?170000241154.86245835
5th Year2002Y2002190000?190000269526.02274757
6th Year2002Y2002205000?205000290804.39296448
7th Year2002Y2002215000?215000304989.97310909
8th Year2002Y2002225000?225000319175.5532537
1st Year2001Y2001125000?125000180004.90729248
2nd Year2001Y2001135000?135000194405.29987588
3rd Year2001Y2001150000?150000216005.88875097
4th Year2001Y2001170000?170000244806.67391777
5th Year2001Y2001190000?190000273607.45908457
6th Year2001Y2001205000?205000295208.04795967
7th Year2001Y2001215000?215000309608.44054306
8th Year2001Y2001225000?225000324008.83312646
1st Year2000Y20001250003500035000160000236508.00296159
2nd Year2000Y2000135000?135000199553.62749884
3rd Year2000Y2000150000?150000221726.25277649
4th Year2000Y2000170000?170000251289.75314669
5th Year2000Y2000190000?190000280853.25351689
6th Year2000Y2000205000?205000303025.87879454
7th Year2000Y2000215000?215000317807.62897964
8th Year2000Y2000225000?225000332589.37916474
1st Year1999Y19991000001500015000115000175862.32869663
2nd Year1999Y1999??00
3rd Year1999Y1999??00
4th Year1999Y1999??00
5th Year1999Y1999??00
6th Year1999Y1999??00
7th Year1999Y1999??00
8th Year1999Y1999??00

Biglaw has no official definition but loosely refers to the nation’s largest law firms, most of which are located in the major U.S. cities. Lawyers working in Biglaw are generally paid on the Cravath scale, which is a system of lockstep associate compensation based on the number of years out of law school. Not only are all lawyers on the Cravath scale paid the same, they can generally expect to receive the same market bonus each year.

It’s called the Cravath scale because it’s an offshoot of the Cravath system and because Cravath, Swaine & Moore is generally considered the trendsetter when it comes to associate salaries. Given the lockstep nature, associates tend to follow any changes to the Biglaw salary scale closely.

The Cravath scale has largely stayed the same across the major law firms because those firms are competing for the best students from the best schools. If one firm offers a higher salary, historically the other firms tend to follow suit. The below tables show the current Biglaw salary scale, as well historical changes in associate compensation and a comparison of the historical Biglaw associate salaries with the current Cravath scale on an inflation-adjusted basis.



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