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Large Texas firms continue to fall in line with the market by raising associate compensation to a level that was laughable at the start of 2000. Bracewell & Patterson and Locke Liddell & Sapp announced higher associate compensation on March 29, while Hughes & Luce did the same the day before. The new compensation plans at all three firms include merit-based ranges of compensation for mid-level and upper-level associates. Lawyers from the class of 1999 who bill at least 2,200 “quality” hours at Hughes & Luce can make a maximum of $120,000. Class of 1999 lawyers at Bracewell in Houston, Austin and Dallas can make up to $115,000. Lawyers at Locke Liddell in Texas will make the BigTex market rate of $115,000 for class of 1999 graduates and $124,000 for the class of 1998, but compensation is merit-based above that, says Bruce La Boon, a co-managing partner of the firm.

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