In February, Day Casebeer Madrid & Batchelder partners invited their associates to discuss pay increases over lunch. It was a response to the first announcements rocking Silicon Valley that some big firms would move salaries for first-years to $160,000.

Managing partner Linda Sasaki-Baxley said the firm presented its associates with a choice: Take a pay increase — but potentially give up a portion of the year-end bonus — or take the full bonus and pass on the salary hike. The younger associates went for the up-front money, while the more senior associates opted for fatter bonuses.

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