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If you think New York is the place to pull down the biggest bucks as an associate, think again.

Every year around this time, I read hundreds of responses to our annual midlevel survey and think about moving out of Manhattan. Look, NewYork is nice, but it’s nothing compared to the paradise that midlevelassociates from Chicago, Atlanta, Seattle, and dozens of other citiesdescribe when they talk about their lives. The partners are good-natured,the clients are sedate, and the senior associates are friendly andsupportive. The work is fun, and there’s always plenty of time for bikingaround the lake at the end of yet another fulfilling workday. Sure, the paymay be a little lower than in New York, these associates say, but there areintangible rewards that money just can’t buy.

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