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HOUSTON � Despite a major market move to higher associate salaries in California this month, Texas-based associates with large Texas-based firms are out of the big money, at least for a while. In Texas, the seismic shift in California had just a small impact on the associate salary market. Los Angeles firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, which has an office in Dallas, raised its first-year starting base to $160,000 in the wake of the raises instituted by other major California firms � including for its Dallas associates. Houston-based Susman Godfrey upped starting salaries to $160,000 for associates in offices in New York and Los Angeles in response to the increases at the California firms. But the market isn’t moving in Texas � at least so far � as the state’s firms monitor the market by assessing the competition and looking for any slip in recruiting prowess. “Everybody is watching it,” said Howard Ayers, managing partner of Houston-based Andrews Kurth. The $160,000 base became the New York market rate in January, but it wasn’t until the early days of May that a group of large California-based firms moved to the same rate. That’s what put Susman Godfrey, which traditionally pays huge bonuses to its associates, over the edge. “We’ve got a growing New York office, and, just from a competitive standpoint, we thought it was the right move to make at this point,” Susman Godfrey partner Shawn Raymond said about the timing of the New York and Los Angeles raises.

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