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The prayers of associates across Texas were answered when Vinson & Elkins raised salaries, guaranteeing first-year lawyers in its Texas offices $115,000 in 2000. The new base salary of $110,000 for first-year lawyers is up 28 percent from the $86,000 V&E has been paying. The firm also will pay year-end discretionary bonuses tied to the firm’s performance, but not linked to a minimum hourly requirement. V&E’s raises, retroactive to Jan. 1, come on the heels of raises Andrews & Kurth announced calling for a $104,000 base salary for first-year associates in Texas. Now that V&E, a market leader in recent years, and Andrews & Kurth have moved, the salary watch is on. What will other Texas firms do? Baker Botts, for one, will do something. James Maloney, chairman of the firm’s employment committee, says he expects the firm to soon make an announcement on their salaries. Winstead Sechrest & Minick will also make a salary announcement, says executive committee member Thomas Helfand.

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