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Fish & Richardson said Monday that it has raised pay for first-year associates in all of its offices — including its D.C. office — to $160,000. In doing so, the Boston-based intellectual-property powerhouse becomes the first in the District to bump first-years’ pay by $25,000, up from $135,000. Fish & Richardson jumped into an associate-salary war that began Jan. 22 when New York firm Simpson Thacher & Bartlett announced it would increase its first-year associate salaries after a stellar financial year. The news caused several firms in the District to re-evaluate their first-year salaries, and by the end of the week, some had raised salaries by $10,000 or more. But Fish & Richardson’s jump is the biggest yet. “We really consider ourselves competing with firms that went beyond $145,000,” said Peter Devlin, president of Fish & Richardson. “We want to be at the top of the market in terms of the work we do, clients we get, and talent we attract.” Fish & Richardson, which has about 50 lawyers in its D.C. office, joined D.C.-based McKee Nelson in establishing a new salary target for D.C. offices that goes well beyond the $145,000 salary posted last week by Hogan & Hartson and O’Melveny & Myers. Last year, Fish & Richardson’s profits per partner were $905,000, and its revenue per lawyer was $805,000, according to The American Lawyer‘s 2006 AmLaw 200. Washington-based Covington & Burling also announced today it was raising its salary for first-year associates to $145,000 in the District. According to the 2006 AmLaw 200, Covington has about 400 lawyers in its local office. Its profits per partner in 2006 were $975,000, and its revenue per lawyer was $775,000, also according to the survey. “We did this because we’re committed to attracting and retaining the best lawyers,” said Mitchell Dolin, a partner at Covington. “We think lawyers are attracted to our firm for many reasons, but we did conclude we needed to raise to remain competitive.”
Nathan Carlile can be contacted at [email protected].

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