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Bickel & Brewer of Dallas is looking for a few good men and women — and it’s paying top dollar to lure the best and the brightest into its fold. The litigation boutique has announced that it will pay a base of $175,000 to the approximately dozen new associates it plans to hire from the class of 2002. “We want to get the best,” partner William Brewer says. He says business is booming at Bickel & Brewer, which handles large complex litigation cases all over the country. “In this market, we feel like there’s a need at the firm to begin recruiting efforts early this year,” Brewer says. “We want to begin to reach out to those men and women who might fit into a practice like ours.” There’s no minimum billing requirement, he says, but lawyers are expected to spend a few hundred hours a month working, which includes about 200 hours a year in pro bono efforts at one of the firm’s storefront offices or in some other capacity. New associates starting this fall will be making $145,000. Next year’s beginning salary will push up pay by about $20,000 annually on each step of the scale for the first five years at the firm. At that point, an associate can become a junior partner. Geoff Lee, president of Counsel Source, an attorney recruiting firm in Dallas, says $175,000 could be the high water mark in Texas; he hasn’t heard of anything higher. Firms have started recruiting year round, he adds, and no longer follow a timeline in announcing raises. Lee doesn’t think the announcement will set off a round of raises. “When a specialized firm like Bickel & Brewer makes a move like that, the big firms aren’t necessarily compelled to match it,” he says. Bickel & Brewer, which also has an office in New York, currently has 38 lawyers, seven of whom are equity partners and four who are non-equity partners. It also has 12 consultants on its staff who work with the lawyers.

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