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Top Salary of Denver-Based Law Firms for 1st Year Associates

Date: 12.16.05

When Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell opened its doors in 1998, we started a buzz on Denver's 17th Street and set a precedent of offering the highest salary to first-year associates of any Denver-based law firm.  We continue that tradition today with the announcement that as of January 1, 2006, we will offer $115,000 as a starting associate's salary.  The reason for the move is not to one-up the Denver firms, but rather to keep pace with the national litigation firms who we meet in the courtroom, and with whom we compete for the top legal talent in the country.

"We attract the best young lawyers in the country," states Hugh Gottschalk, WTO's Managing Partner. "The high caliber of our clients and our great location, matched with a competitive salary, makes Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell an enticing place to be."

While $115,000 may be tops for Denver-based firms and 15% above the national average, it falls below the entry level salaries of $125,000-140,000 at the largest firms in Los Angeles and New York City.  According to an August release of the NALP 2005 Associate Salary Survey of 573 firms (, "The median salary for first-year associates ranged from $67,500 in firms of 2-25 attorneys to $125,000 in firms of more than 500 lawyers, with a first-year median for all participating firms of $100,000."

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