Just how much is a good associate worth today? New York City law firm management committees, as well as those in other major legal markets, have proffered answers to that question this summer as they have implemented substantial increases in associate base compensation and bonuses.

To the amazement and disbelief of many, salaries have spiraled to unprecedented heights. In early July, the legal press documented first-year associate “salary-plus-bonus” compensation packages that jumped from the mid-$90s to $108,000. Shortly thereafter, the dominoes began to fall. Firms responded to the new market rate, associate wages climbed to $110,000 and in at least one firm, soared to $120,000.

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