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Pillsbury Winthrop will give most of its associates a pay raise this year, though not by as much as in the past. In a companywide email sent out Thursday morning, the San Francisco-based firm unveiled a somewhat complex 2002 compensation plan. Under the new plan, first- and second-year associate salaries will be frozen at $125,000 and $135,000, respectively. On the other hand, third-, fourth- and fifth-year associates will all receive a pay raise, albeit at a slightly reduced level than the firm’s existing lock-step structure. Instead of a $10,000 raise, third-years will get an extra $5,000 this year, giving them a $150,000 annual salary. Fourth-year associate salaries will be bumped up by $10,000, rather than $15,000, to $170,000. And fifth-years get an extra $15,000, putting them at $190,000. Senior associates will have the value of their profit-sharing “points” increased in 2002. “We’ve always had a commitment to our top performing associates that we will pay at the top of the market,” said firm Chair Mary Cranston. “As we assessed the market we tried to really maintain that commitment.” In the past few weeks, Palo Alto, Calif.-based Cooley Godward and San Francisco-based Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison both announced lock-step salary freezes. Gray Cary Ware & Freidenrich froze associate salaries until July. Only Palo Alto-based Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati has announced that it will stick to its existing lock-step pay raises. Pillsbury’s new salary structure takes a middle-of-the-road approach, which seemed to be well received among its associate ranks. “It still seems fair given what other firms are doing,” said one associate who wished to remain anonymous. Many of Pillsbury’s junior associates whose salaries will be frozen seemed to take the news in stride. “I’m not overjoyed, but I am somewhat relieved,” said a second-year associate who also asked not to be named. “It’s pretty much in line with the expectation most of us had, which is not to expect a pay cut but not to expect a raise either.” The new salary structure was not a complete surprise. Earlier in January, Pillsbury announced that it was freezing its first-year associate salaries at $125,000. To make up for the salary freeze, the firm announced that it was raising the 2,100-hour bonus for first-years from $5,000 to $10,000. Today’s announcement increased the 2,100-hour bonus by varying amounts for all classes. Pillsbury also mandated that associates must now bill 100 hours a year towards business development. This can include anything from meeting with former law school classmates to preparing pitch material.

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