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Following news that O’Melveny & Myers was upping its first-year associate pay to $145,000 earlier today, Hogan & Hartson almost immediately announced it was matching that number. “We’ve continued to study the matter,” says J. Warren Gorrell Jr., chairman of Hogan. He says that $145,000 is the new competitive standard in the region. The move came after O’Melveny & Myers said Thursday it would increase its first-year associate salaries to $145,000 — and in turn threw down a challenge to D.C.-based firms, saying the market for talent had changed. “D.C.-area firms will have a difficult time competing for talent if they don’t move off the $135,000 number,” says Brian Brooks, O’Melveny’s recruiting partner. “National firms have moved. And because we want to attract the best talent to D.C., we now look at the market as being set at $145,000.” The decision came days after Simpson Thacher & Bartlett announced that it was raising first-year associate salaries to $160,000. O’Melveny, a Los Angeles-based firm, has also raised its first-year salary in New York to $160,000 and in California to $145,000. So far, most D.C. based firms are staying quiet about whether they’ll follow. But that may change. Last year, O’Melveny and California-based Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher bumped up associate pay, and D.C. firms soon followed. O’Melveny has more than 110 associates in its D.C. office, according to the 2006 Legal Times 150.
Nathan Carlile can be contacted at [email protected]. Anna Palmer can be contacted at [email protected].

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