Pay hikes at major firms have sparked a great deal of interest among the partners and candidates. In turn, pay hikes at major firms challenge small firms to come up with creative but sound strategy to attract and retain top candidates among experienced associates and law school graduates alike.

While keeping a steady eye on the changes in the marketplace for top-tier candidates initiated by some larger law firms, managers at small and midsize firms seem unfazed by the recent flurry of salary hikes. Some have taken steps to match increases while others rely on the advantages they perceive their firms offer associates to attract the best talent. The common strategy among them seems to focus on the overall career experience of which salary and bonuses are pieces of a larger prize.

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