Starting salaries at Pittsburgh-based law firms, fairly stable over the past few years, might take a hike in 2006.
A more robust economy, continued expansion by the larger firms and competition for top talent are factors industry observers say point to bigger paychecks for newly minted lawyers.
The last major raise that had a trickle-down effect here occurred in 2003, when Reed Smith LLP increased its starting salary for first-year associates by $10,000, to $110,000. From the mid-1990s until 2000, the salary increase went up $10,000 each year. Then the economic downturn had salaries at a standstill for three years. The 2003 hike, back at the old $10,000 increase level, was the first increase since local firms broke into six figures in 2000.
"Outside the market, they are creeping up, ever so slowly," said Lori Carpenter, president of Downtown-based recruitment firm Carpenter Legal Search. "We tend to be a year or two behind the larger metropolitan areas."
Read More: Starting salaries likely to rise, but local law firms still deliberating - by Patty Tascarella, Pittsburgh Business Times