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After thinking about the firm’s place in the shifting marketplace for nearly six weeks, management at Wolf, Block, Schorr and Solis-Cohen has announced that it will raise starting salaries from $107,000 to $115,000. The move becomes effective at the beginning of the firm’s next fiscal year — Feb. 1. Lawyers in the firm’s Philadelphia and Cherry Hill, N.J., offices will receive the raises, but firm officials said they were still deciding what to do for associates in offices in New York, North Jersey, Wilmington, Del., and Harrisburg, Pa. According to Wolf Block chairman Mark Alderman, second- and third-year associates will receive lockstep raises, while those in their fourth year and above will receive salary and bonus increases on a merit-based system. The increase comes six weeks after four other large firms in Philadelphia — Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll, Duane Morris, Pepper Hamilton and Reed Smith — announced they had increased starting salaries to $115,000. Those firms joined Blank Rome and Drinker Biddle & Reath at that rate. Dechert and Morgan Lewis & Bockius set the citywide standard at $125,000. Cozen O’Connor moved up from $100,000 to $110,000 earlier this year. Several other large firms have yet to make salary adjustments. Management at Fox Rothschild and Saul Ewing said they would most likely announce increases in the near future but have yet to finalize the numbers. A spokesperson at Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis said the firm will meet in the near future to map out a plan for associate compensation. According to Phil Garber, Wolf Block’s human resources partner, the firm did not want to make a knee-jerk reaction to the recent changes from its competition. So after the executive committee debated the subject, the firm announced the changes. “We want to be competitive with all associates, not just entry level,” Garber said. Garber said there is no exact formula for the merit-based raises, but it will include quality of work, the amount of billable hours, pro bono efforts and firm citizenship. Alderman said the firm will pay for the raises through some combination of billing rate adjustments, partner profits or having associates bill more hours. He said that has yet to be determined.

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