The associate salary war has spread from the coasts to the middle of the United States, with law firms boosting starting pay to stay competitive in a legal market where demand is mounting and the supply of top-notch first-years is waning.

Although law firms in the nation’s middle regions are not matching the $135,000-plus salaries at the big shops on the East and West coasts, many are raising their beginning salaries in an effort not only to contend with other local firms but also to stake their turf where national firms have upped the ante.

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