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MATCH GAME - Just as sure as the sun will rise, so too will Big Law continue throwing money at associates in an ever-escalating battle of one-upmanship. Milbank kicked things off yesterday morning with its announcement that it will raise associate salaries in all of its offices. As Law.com’s Christine Simmons reported, first-year associates will receive $10,000 pay increases, bumping up starting salary to $200,000, while fourth-year associates and above will receive $15,000 pay increases, with senior associates going up to $355,000. By early afternoon, several more firms began falling in line. But for some, trying to keep pace could prove to be dangerous. Still, legal recruiter Sharon Mahn told Law.com’s Dylan Jackson, Patrick Smith and Andrew Maloney, many will likely feel they have no choice. “Money is very important to associates and firms that don’t keep up with [compensation] will have issues of retention,” Mahn said. “Firms, whether it’s true or not, need to show they are in a real position of strength. For a lot of reasons, firms will feel pressure.” Meanwhile, their clients continue to side-eye the whole thing as in-house counsel deal with increasingly tight budgets and economic uncertainty.

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