While Bingham McCutchen is now paying top dollar to hold on to associates at its offices across the country, in San Francisco the firm seems to be paying top dollar so some of them will leave.

Several mid-level and senior litigation associates have taken a buyout deal from the 1,000-lawyer, Boston-based firm, according to multiple sources inside and outside the firm. Four attorneys recently left the firm, and three traded in their full-time associate status for the part-time title of contract attorney, those sources say.