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Associates with Dallas-based Gardere Wynne Sewell, like associates at many other large firms in Texas, just received big raises. The raises at Gardere were effective on April 1, which is the first day of the firm’s new fiscal year. Under the new associate salary scale announced on April 5, compensation for a first-year associate at Gardere totals $140,000. Base salary for a second-year associate is $145,000; $150,000 for a third-year associate, $160,000 for a fourth-year associate, $170,000 for a fifth-year associate, $180,000 for a sixth-year associate; and $185,000 for a seventh-year associate. Managing partner Stephen Good says the 278-lawyer firm is working on a new bonus schedule, but he says the bonus amounts will be “in the market ranges” for other large Texas firms. Bonuses will be based on productivity, he says, but the scale will pay bonuses at several levels of hours to help ensure associates don’t simply focus on billable hours. Good says Gardere, which has offices in Houston, Austin and Mexico City, raised associate salaries for competitive reasons. “That’s where the market is and that’s where the competition is,” he says. On April 7, Dallas firm Munsch Hardt Kopf & Harr announced that it raised the base salary for its first-year associates to $135,000. The Munsch Hardt raise is retroactive to March 1 and applies to all class of 2005 associates. Besides its Dallas headquarters, the firm has offices in Houston and Austin. According to a press release, the firm is reviewing other adjustments to its associate salary scale.

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