Things are looking brighter for first-year associates at Connecticut’s largest law firms. Their paychecks are up — in some cases, way up — over base salaries for 2005′s incoming class.

But for newly minted lawyers toiling at small to midsized firms across the state, the upward salary pressures running amuck in larger legal markets will likely have little or no effect on their bargaining power there at home. Pay rates for the majority of the state’s new J.D.s are essentially the same as they were a year ago, legal recruiters say.

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