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What lawyer wouldn’t appreciate an occasional ice cream party, concert ticket, free leather planner or someone to remember his or her birthday? With the number of expected billable hours – and stress – ever rising, firms are digging deep for unique perks to perk up their associates. Even before the work begins, the gifts start rolling in for summer associates who accept full-time offers. In New York, new hires at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison scored subscriptions to Time Out magazine. At other firms, associates say they got Welcome Wagon-like treats such as cookies, chocolate and clothing inscribed with the firm’s name. Perks such as free meals and car rides home have become so common that many associates view them as mere conveniences. Cocktail parties and luncheons take place monthly or weekly at Weil, Gotshal & Manges and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. Associates at Dewey Ballantine anxiously anticipate their birthdays, since they are given gifts by the firm.

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