Woodcock Washburn Kurtz Mackiewicz & Norris yesterday announced it has broken off merger talks with Dechert Price & Rhoads and become the first Philadelphia firm to up the ante in the first-year associate salary wars by raising its numbers from $90,000 to $115,000.

The dissolution of the merger discussions comes only weeks after the two firms confirmed they were hoping to produce the second marriage of a large, full-service firm and a Center City IP boutique in the past seven months. In a joint statement released late yesterday afternoon, the firms said their mutual decision was based on concerns about client conflicts.

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