Salaries for beginning associates at big firms soared by $10,000 this year, marking the first increase in pay for new lawyers since 2000, according to the National Association for Law Placement (NALP).

The most common first-year associate salary at law firms with more than 500 attorneys climbed to $135,000 in 2006, NALP reported. That figure likely was welcome relief for law graduates, whose salaries at those firms were stagnant at $125,000 from 2000 to 2005.