Bay Street Law Firm Partner Salary

Median starting salaries in private practice for the class of 2011 fall as jobs in private practice continue to erode (Press Release, July 12, 2012) – The median starting salary of new graduates from the 2011 Law School of 2011 class has fallen by 5% from 2010 and has fallen by nearly 17% since 2009. The average wage has decreased by 6.5% compared to 2010 and, since 2009, the average has decreased by almost 16%. A war for talent amid rising workloads is driving up the salaries of junior staff at Canada`s largest Bay Street companies, some of which choose to take jobs in the U.S. for higher salaries, while others leave the legal field entirely for lucrative careers that take less time. The salaries of employees of law firms have hardly changed compared to the previous year (press release, 8. Recent research by NALP shows that employee salaries remained largely unchanged in 2011 compared to 2010, with the $160,000 salary of first-year employees still prevalent in large companies in a number of markets. Editor`s Note: This story continues to evolve and the article is updated here if and when companies respond to our requests for feedback. An important advantage for Canadian partners: Trips that our partners cancel at the last second are much cheaper than trips that U.S. partners cancel. Employee salaries are rising in some markets, but the national median remains unchanged (news release dated June 1, 2017) – The median total salary for the first year ended January 1, 2017 was $135,000, the same salary as in 2015, the year of the last previous survey. Salaries in the largest companies continue to rise rapidly (press release of September 14, 2007) – According to the 2007 Partner Salary Survey just released by NALP, the median and even predominant salary of employees in the first year in law firms has increased from more than 501 lawyers to $145,000 as of April 1, 2007, an increase of $10,000 in just one year. The median starting salary for firms of all sizes was $113,000, a moderate increase from the median of $105,000 in 2006 and mainly due to growth at the upper end of the scale.

Steve Dykstra is a Canadian-trained lawyer and legal recruiter. He is President of Keybridge Legal Recruiting, a boutique recruitment firm that places lawyers in law firms and in-house roles across North America. You can contact Steve at You can also read his blog on, follow him on Twitter (@IMRecruitR), or connect on LinkedIn ( The youngest graduates continue to advance despite wage increases. Some cite the feeling that they are replaceable and that they are looking for a more rewarding job. Others say the lure of becoming a partner is jaded, especially when some young lawyers feel that leaders don`t often hear their calls for change. But Bay Street partners say they believe their firms have a lot to offer young lawyers and that better compensation is part of improving the workplace experience.

Mr. Masenda agrees. He and Mr. Baer said they had noticed that more and more young employees were leaving law firms in search of deeper fulfillment, better work-life balance and sometimes a higher salary. Whether it`s moving into an in-house role in a technology company or business consulting, both have seen an increase in revenue as lawyers apply their skills to different areas. “I think there`s been a big beginning of awareness by companies that there`s a gap between what their young employees are looking for and what companies are offering,” he said. “Money is not their No. 1 engine. And I think for a lot of boomer partners and maybe for Gen X partners, that was the case. And so their natural response in many cases is to throw money at the problem, and money is also the easiest thing to throw at the problem because these companies are making a lot of money right now.

“This increase reflects our appreciation for the work of our employees and the contribution to the company`s continued success,” said Peter Wismath, Director of Marketing at Cassels. Legalweek New York looks at business and regulatory trends, technology, and talent factors that impact law firms. Aaron Baer, partner and director of training at Renno & Co., a Toronto-based law firm based in Toronto, at his home in February. 22. Christopher Katsarov/The Globe and Mail First Year Employee Salaries Rise in Major Law Firms (Press Release dated May 22, 2019) – The 2019 NALP Associate Salary Survey report shows that the total median salary in the first year ended January 1, 2019 was $155,000, up $20,000 (14.8%) from 2017, the year of the last previous survey. The increase comes at the same time as Big Law announced its most successful earnings cycle ever. Law firms with more than 251 lawyers accounted for about 70% of responses. What do new law graduates gain when they enter private practice? A 25-year retrospective (NALP Bulletin, October 2018) – Just look at the table below to see that starting salaries have increased much more in larger law firms than in small businesses.

The difference is striking: while median salaries in the largest law firms (more than 251 lawyers) increased by 157%, the median of the smallest law firms did not even double. This gap has contributed to the development of the bimodal nature of the wage distribution. Tory`s LLP and Denton`s Canada LLP also adjusted their compensation for associates at all levels, increasing assets to $130,000 in the first year. Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP also confirmed to UV that the company has increased employee salaries “in recognition of the increased demands placed on employees during an ongoing period of business and legal activity.” But don`t worry, Canadians are resilient. Our best partners have learned to compensate for this. They drink double-acting doubles from Tim Horton`s instead of Venti Grande mocha slats from Starbucks. You buy a Porsche, a Ferrari or a Lamborghini, not all three. They live in modest houses of five thousand square meters. Spouses raise children without nannies on weekends. Their children go to public school with other upper-middle-class children. But dollars and cents are not everything.

Aaron Baer, a partner and director of training at Renno & Co., a Toronto-based law firm, spends a lot of time with promising lawyers. In May, he co-founded 4L Academy, a program that teaches new in-house lawyers practical skills they didn`t learn in law school. He says a lack of fulfillment leads to dissatisfaction and attrition in law firms. This shakes the mind of a Canadian lawyer. I guarantee that our best partners will work as hard as the best American partners. They advise the biggest customers on the juiciest files. Many are recognized worldwide for their expertise. They travel around the world to talk. In many cases, however, they receive a fraction of their American counterparts. It almost doesn`t seem fair that our best and brightest have to suffer in life on less than a million dollars a year.

Some employee salaries are pulling out of their peaks, but remain well above the salaries of public sector lawyers (press release of 9. September 2010) – Recent research by NALP shows that salaries for law firm employees remained largely unchanged between 2009 and 2010, although average wages declined in some markets. Over the same period, the salaries of lawyers working in the public interest have also remained virtually unchanged, and the gap between private sector and public interest lawyer salaries remains larger than ever. Results of the 2017 Associate Salary Survey (NNAP Bulletin, June 2017) – The 2017 NNAP Partner Salary Survey report shows that the median total salary for the first year to January 1, 2017 was $135,000, the same as in 2015, the year of the last previous survey. What about all the $180,000 for the first year announced over several months in 2016? Among the more than 500 survey respondents, there were not enough offices reporting a salary of $180,000 to bring the median to this level. How much do law firms pay to new employees? 14-year retrospective as reported by firms (NALP Bulletin, September 2009) – Over the past 14 years, law firms of all sizes have increased their salaries in the first year, with the salaries of the largest companies more than doubling. Downtown Toronto businesses tend to have very high salaries, but Bay Street law firms generally offer the highest levels of compensation. A 1,000-word image (Jobs & JD`s – Class of 2006) – For a different perspective on 2006 class salaries, see A 1,000-word image that includes the bimodal pay table. How much do law firms pay to partners? A Review of 20 Years of NALP Associate Salary Survey Results (NALP Bulletin, October 2014) – Over the past 20 years, law firms of all sizes have increased their salaries in the first year, but the percentage increase for larger companies is twice as high as for smaller companies.

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