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CHICAGO � Chicago firms are boosting pay for first-year associates in the city to $145,000, as of Jan. 1 this year in keeping with trends that have already hit New York and Los Angeles. And at least one Chicago firm, Sidley Austin, said it’s following the recent jump to $160,000 just for its first-year associates in New York. The management committee at Sidley Austin, which has it largest office in Chicago, told associates in a memo this week that it was increasing the salary levels “to remain competitive with market conditions.” The difference between the New York office and all other U.S. offices, including Dallas and Los Angeles, was related to the higher cost of living in New York, the memo said. Chicago-based Schiff Hardin said today that it increased pay for all first-year associates to $145,000 this year also, making that the entry wage for the lawyers in all of its offices, said spokesman David Milberg. The firm also has offices in Washington, New York and Atlanta. The previous starting pay level was $135,000 per year, he said. Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw, which has its biggest office in Chicago, is also paying first-year associates in the city $145,000, said spokeswoman Aimee Jasculca. The firm declined to comment on what associates in other cities are making. At Kirkland & Ellis, first-year associates in Chicago are earning a $135,000 annual salary, said spokesman Brian Pitts. The firm, which was its biggest offices in Chicago, this year raised salaries to $145,000 for those in California, after doing the same for those in New York last year.

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