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Bonus season for New York associates opened Friday night when Milbank,Tweed, Hadley & McCloy announced it would pay bonuses ranging from $30,000for first-years to $65,000 for senior associates. Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft yesterday announced the same range. Meanwhile, Cravath, Swaine & Mooreyesterday announced a bonus ranging from $30,000 for first-years to $60,000for senior associates. The bonuses, the same as the firms paid in 2005, capa year in which almost all major New York firms raised base salaries by$20,000 across the board, with first-years receiving $145,000. New York firms have generally matched each other in total associate compensation, soother firms are likely to announce similar bonuses in the days to come. Ifso, total compensation for a first-year associate at a large New York firmwill stand at $175,000. It will mark the first time firms have paid a higherfirst-year salary than in 2000, when the dot-com boom meant first-yearsreceived a $125,000 salary and a $40,000 bonus. But senior associate pay isstill down from six years ago, when $100,000 bonuses were paid. Milbank,Cravath and Cadwalader generally pay bonuses to all of their associateswithout regard to hours billed, but several firms peg bonuses to billablerequirements, meaning only a handful will actually receive a full bonus. Milbank is unusual this year in being first to pay a bonus, a move usuallymade by Cravath or Sullivan & Cromwell. Milbank chairman Mel Immergut saidthe firm had wanted to time the announcement with its annual holiday party,which was held Friday night and during which administrative staff bonuseswere also announced.

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