N.Y. Attorney Pay Flattens

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New York's attorneys have long commanded the highest salaries in the country for their profession, but a recent survey indicates the rest of the pack may be catching up.

According to the American Lawyer's AM Law 100 survey, salaries for mid-level associates in New York were flat in 2008 compared with 2007, while their colleagues in Boston and Chicago saw pay increases, reaching the national median of $230,000.

Still, none of those locations could match the bonuses doled out to New York attorneys. A typical fifth-year associate in New York could earn a bonus of about $80,000, compared with Boston, where the range is from about $47,000 to $75,000.

Based on the survey, associates appear to have a sense of job security, despite the struggling economy. On a 1-to-5 scale, respondents averaged a 3.79 as to whether they expected to be at their current firm in two years, the highest score in six years.

"It's hard to moan that you want to be paid like an investment banker after Citigroup took a hatchet to its workforce and Bear Stearns stopped hiring, period," notes Editor in Chief Aric Press. "Still, for all the talk of layoffs, only 10.6 percent of our respondents fear getting laid off."

The survey of midlevel attorneys was based on responses from 7,259 third-, fourth-, and fifth-year associates from law firms across the globe.

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