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Several New York law firms moved swiftly yesterday to match the associate salary increase announced Monday by Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, which boosted first-year base pay to $160,000 from $145,000. Sullivan & Cromwell; Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison; Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton; Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft; and Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy all essentially matched the raise yesterday, though with some variations. Cadwalader’s raise was for its New York and Washington, D.C., offices but not its substantial Charlotte, N.C., office. Likewise, Cleary, which has many of its lawyers overseas, limited its salary increase to those lawyers on the firm’s U.S. pay scale. Sullivan & Cromwell raised its senior associate salaries to $310,000, considerably higher than Simpson Thacher’s $290,000, but a source at Sullivan & Cromwell said that firm had traditionally paid higher senior associate compensation than its rivals. Most major New York firms had been expected to match the latest salary increase, as pay is a major factor in the ability to attract and retain talented associates.

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