Last October, Blank Rome associates learned that their salaries would be bumped up to new “market rates” — among them, first-year salaries of $160,000 in New York, $150,000 in Washington, D.C., and $145,000 in Philadelphia. It was the second time in 2007 that the firm had increased associate salaries, and the new pay scale put Blank Rome at or near par with big firms across the country.

Associates weren’t impressed. Blank Rome might pay a market salary, but it’s cheap when it comes to bonuses, said several respondents to our midlevel survey. Nine of the midlevels reported receiving no bonus, and of the 18 who did get one, 13 said it was less than $15,000. Just one, a fifth-year, reported receiving a bonus of more than $25,000.

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