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Potter Anderson, Young Conaway raise associate salaries

Katie Tabeling
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Potter Anderson, based out of 1313 North Market in Wilmington, is one of two law firms that have announced it will raise its starting salary for associates. | PHOTO COURTESY OF POTTER ANDERSON

Potter Anderson, based out of 1313 North Market in Wilmington, is one of two law firms that have announced it will raise its starting salary for associates. | PHOTO COURTESY OF POTTER ANDERSON

WILMINGTON — Two prestigious law firms in Delaware have raised their starting salaries for associates to $210,000 in hopes of remaining competitive for top talent in the First State.

Both Potter Anderson & Corroon LLP and Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor, LLP announced it would raise starting salaries last week. Potter Anderson is the oldest law firm in Delaware and Young Conaway is the second largest in the state, according to Delaware Business Times records.

“We are committed to offering competitive compensation to our associates and all of our attorneys who are critical assets for maintaining a robust workforce and growing our firm,” Potter Anderson Chair Peter Walsh Jr. said in a prepared statement. “We regularly review our compensation and benefits to ensure we are responsive to factors in the local economy and broader legal industry.”

Potter Anderson was founded in 1826 and has 116 attorneys that work out of its downtown Wilmington office, including 47 associates. In the last four years, the firm has made headlines as the Delaware Court of Chancery handled the case involving billionaire and X owner, formerly Twitter, Elon Musk.

The previous starting salary for Potter Anderson associates was $190,000.

“Potter Anderson is, and wishes to remain, one of Delaware’s ‘go-to’ firms for high-profile and high-stakes transactional and litigation matters. That requires attracting and maintaining top-notch talent by offering a compensation package which meets or exceeds our peer firms. To that end, the firm monitors market changes and adjusts salaries as necessary,” Walsh told the Delaware Business Times.

Meanwhile, Young Conaway leadership framed the salary bump as a representation of the firm’s growth through the years. The firm that focuses on bankruptcy, restructuring, corporate law and labor issues has three offices including New York City and Charlotte, N.C. 

“Young Conaway recognizes our attorneys are our most valuable asset, and we are committed to ensuring that their compensation reflects the sophisticated work they perform and their dedication to our clients,” Young Conaway Chairman Bob Brady said in a statement.

Young Conaway has 122 lawyers in Delaware. The firm did not disclose what the previous starting salary for associates was.

The move from both Potter Anderson and Young Conaway have pushed the law firms ahead of the national average for first-year salaries, according to a 2023 survey by the National Association of Law Placement Inc. 

That report showed that the medium first-year associate salary in 2023 was $200,000 overall. Looking at firms with less than 100 lawyers, that salary benchmark hovers around $155,000. Firms with more than 1,000 lawyers average at a salary of $215,000.

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