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As Shaw, Pittman, Potts & Trowbridge turn D.C. associates into the latest tribe to achieve the $125,000-a-year salary benchmark, we can’t help but be reminded of a comment posted recently on an associate chat board: “A fact that’s being overlooked here is the money firms save on attrition costs by upping salaries…All we have is a simple transfer from funds allocated for turnover to associates who stay.” A New York recruiter, Jonathan Lindsey, not surprisingly, disputes the notion that turnover will disappear. “There’s usually no free lunch in life,” he says. “As the associates think more about what they really want to do, they’ll realize they won’t want to be at the same firm they joined when they were 24.”

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