The pay disparity between boutique and BigLaw starters revealed
A new salary guide has highlighted a considerable difference between the lawyers starting off their careers in a top-tier firm versus those at a boutique.
Gatehouse Legal Recruitment has just released its 2018–2019 Private Practice/Australia Salary Guide, utilising a compilation of salary and market information to determine the pay packets of lawyers at different levels of experience and place of work, including superannuation but not other bonuses or benefits.
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The guide showed that lawyers first starting out with a top-tier in Melbourne earn between $70,000–$85,000. In Sydney top-tiers, those in their first year practising earn between $75,000–$90,000.
By stark comparison, those lawyers first starting out at a boutique law firm in Melbourne earn between $55,000–$75,000, while those in Sydney earn $60,000–$75,000, the report found.
Similarly, the pay disparity between partners at boutiques and those at top-tiers was also evident in the report.
At partner level in a top-tier firm in Melbourne, employees earn above $300,000 while those in Sydney earn above $320,000. In comparison, at a partner level at a boutique in Melbourne, employees earn above $200,000 and in Sydney, above $220,000 – this paints a potential $100,000 difference between partners at boutiques and partners at BigLaw in terms of salary.
The guide also offered an insight into the earnings of those first starting out at a mid-tier. In Melbourne, new starters can expect anywhere between $65,000–$80,000 if employed by a mid-tier, whereas in Sydney they can expect between $70,000–$85,000.
At a mid-tier partner level, Melbourne-based professionals can expect above $275,000 while Sydney-based professionals can expect a salary above $300,000.