Legal Law

High Biglaw Agency That Began Particular Bonus Craze Weighs In On New Salaries

With millions of dollars’ worth of salaries soon to be increased across the legal landscape of large law firms, we couldn’t have but wonder: where would Biglaw associates be without Cooley?

If you recall, Cooley was the very first firm to introduce special bonuses in Fall 2020, in appreciation for associates’ grueling work during the pandemic. Without Cooley’s first move, Davis Polk wouldn’t have been able to swoop in and top those payments, forcing other firms to match the new market standard. In a way, Cooley was the firm that finally got law firm leaders thinking about higher compensation for associates, and now here we are, less than one year later, looking at a $205K salary scale. On behalf of all associates, thank you, Cooley!

The firm — which came in at #19 in the most recent Am Law 100 ranking, having brought in $1,552,149,000 gross revenue in 2020 — is of course matching the new Davis Polk salary scale, but it’s also doing something special for its youngest and its most experienced associates. Check out what the scale looks like at Cooley:

  • 2021: $205,000
  • 2020: $205,000
  • 2019: $215,000
  • 2018: $240,000
  • 2017: $275,000
  • 2016: $305,000
  • 2015: $330,000
  • 2014: $350,000
  • 2013: $365,000
  • 2012: $375,000

Cooley is not only offering a $205K salary to the Class of 2020, but the firm has joined in as one of the few that’s offering a salary bump up to $375K for ninth-year associates. This is just great. Congratulations to everyone at the firm!

(Flip to the next page to see the full memo from Cooley.)

We depend on your tips to stay on top of this stuff. So when your firm matches, please text us (646-820-8477) or email us (subject line: “[Firm Name] Matches”). Please include the memo if available. You can take a photo of the memo and send it via text or email if you don’t want to forward the original PDF or Word file.

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Staci ZaretskyStaci Zaretsky is a senior editor at Above the Law, where she’s worked since 2011. She’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to email her with any tips, questions, comments, or critiques. You can follow her on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.

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