The associate salary wars continued this week, but with a decidedly new twist. Bell, Boyd & Lloyd announced it, too, was meeting the trend of the biggest law firms in New York and Chicago to pay first-year associates $125,000 or more in annual salary. But, the firm emphasized, similarly fattened pay checks for its more senior associates would be linked to how many billable hours they worked during the year. In other words, no longer would associate pay raises be solely in lock step with their years of service.

“Our new associate salary program has redefined what it means to have a career at a top-tier law firm, stated Bell Boyd chairman Jack McCarthy in a prepared announcement. “It will reward those who consistently provide exceptional value to the firm, but also allow associates to make a choice about their life/work balance.”

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