With the legal market humming and most big firms posting record profits last year, associates have to be wondering when the gusher of fees will trickle down into their bank accounts.

The $125,000 standard base salary for first-years at top firms in the biggest markets hasn’t budged since the peak of the dot-com boom more than five years ago. A report issued this month by the National Association for Law Placement called entry-level salaries “remarkably stable.” But there is at least some evidence that pressure is building in the market for midlevel and senior-level associate pay increases.

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