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Associates at several big law firms across the country welcomed the new year with hefty bonuses that were moderately higher than the year before, a reflection of the legal industry’s recent prosperity.

Many top firms in New York, historically bestowers of the largest associate bonuses in the nation, doled out $30,000 to $60,000 to their junior attorneys, up from a maximum of $50,000 in associate bonuses in 2004. Some firms on the West Coast and Midwest also boosted their bonuses modestly. And one firm, Susman & Godfrey in Houston, gave some of its associates a walloping $150,000 in year-end perks, an increase from about $110,000 in 2004.

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