While keeping a steady eye on the changes in the marketplace for top-tier candidates initiated by some larger law firms, managers at small and midsize firms seem unfazed by the recent flurry of salary hikes. Some have taken steps to match increases while others rely on the advantages they perceive their firms offer associates to attract the best talent. The common strategy among them seems to focus on the overall career experience of which salary and bonuses are pieces of a larger prize.

According to partner David Longinotti, chair of both the real estate practice group and recruiting at Hanson, Bridgett, Marcus, Vlahos & Rudy, a San Francisco-based firm with more than 100 attorneys, “Candidates make career decisions based on a number of factors, not just money. Factors like a firm’s commitment to their professional development, entrepreneurship, community involvement, pro bono commitments, diversity and the availability of specific practice opportunities. We focus our recruiting efforts on highly skilled candidates who value these aspects.”

Hanson, Bridgett, Longinotti adds, works at offering young lawyers “meaningful roles on significant matters early on in their careers.”

Firm Response to Pay Hikes

“In a certain sense we have not �responded’ in that we were already in a very competitive marketplace for talent. Our salaries did increase this past year, though not to the level of the largest national firms, and we adjusted our bonus system to allow associates to earn substantial bonuses at attainable levels of productivity.”

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