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Way to answer the bell, Vinson & Elkins. The firm is the latest — not to mention the first Texas-based firm — to match New York’s ante, raising starting associate salaries to $160,000 in its Washington, D.C., office and all of its Lone Star State offices. “We wanted to give our associates the opportunity to earn a base salary that was competitive on a broad national level,” says Keith Fullenweider, a partner in the Houston office and chairman of the associate evaluation and compensation committee. V&E took a different approach, however, in compensation for its third-year-and-up associates, basing their raises on the amount of billable hours they rack up. For example, if they bill 2,000 hours per year, then they get the entire pay raise, not just a slice. Also moving up the salary ladder this summer are Crowell & Moring and Wiley Rein. Both firms increased starting associate salaries to the new $160,000 standard.
Attila Berry can be contacted at [email protected].

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