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Pillsbury Winthrop’s freshmen associates will get less money than their predecessors for doing the same job. The San Francisco-based firm announced Friday that it was rolling back the salaries for first-year associates from $135,000 to $125,000. The move comes a week after Gray Cary Ware & Freidenrich unveiled an identical salary cut, along with staff and associate layoffs. Also that week, San Francisco-based Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison announced it was freezing its lock-step associate salaries across the board in 2002. According to Pillsbury spokeswoman Crystal Rockwood, first-year salaries were reduced because the firm’s management board concluded that $125,000 is now the market compensation for associates at top firms. To make the news easier to take, Pillsbury will raise the 2,100-hour bonus for first-years from $5,000 to $10,000. Salaries and bonuses for the rest of the firm’s attorneys are being reviewed and have not yet been decided, said Rockwood. The merger between San Francisco’s Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro and New York’s Winthrop, Stimson, Putnam & Roberts last January created an international legal entity with $445 million in annual revenues. But costs of the merger, along with the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on New York City, took a toll on net income, which was down roughly 5 percent compared to the combined income of the two firms in 2000. In November Pillsbury laid off 20 associates from its New York and Silicon Valley offices.

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