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WilmerHale, Steptoe & Johnson, and Patton Boggs raised pay for first-year associates in their D.C. offices to $145,000 Wednesday, joining the competition and establishing a new benchmark in the Washington market. “It was clear that’s where the market is,” says William Perlstein, WilmerHale’s co-managing partner. “We’ve adopted the same structure that we’re seeing elsewhere because we’re committed to paying competitive salaries.” Patton Boggs raised first year associate salaries to $145,000 from $130,000. Both WilmerHale and Steptoe raised their first years salaries from $135,000. The three firms have joined an associate-salary war that began Jan. 22 when New York firm Simpson Thacher & Bartlett announced it would increase its first-year associate salaries. WilmerHale also announced it would match the market price of $160,000 for its New York office. Steptoe raised salaries in its New York office to $145,000. Of the top revenue-generating firms in the District according to Legal Times‘ D.C. 20, Arnold & Porter and Dickstein Shapiro are the most profitable D.C. firms that have not raised associate salaries. WilmerHale, which has about 425 lawyers in its D.C. office, joined the new salary target first posted in D.C. last week by Hogan & Hartson and O’Melveny & Myers. WilmerHale’s profits per partner are $915,000, and its revenue per lawyer is $845,000, according to The American Lawyer‘s 2006 AmLaw 200. Steptoe’s profits per partner are $985,000, and its revenue per lawyer is $750,000, according to the AmLaw 200.
Nathan Carlile can be contacted at [email protected].

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