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Deborah Frank Montero. Deborah Frank Montero.

In the summer of 2016, Cravath, Swaine & Moore rocked the legal world by raising starting salaries for associates from $160,000 to $180,000. Shortly after, 101 additional firms announced they would follow suit, raising the stakes in the war for legal talent. Small and midsize law firms with fewer financial resources, however, have had to get more creative when attracting skilled job seekers.

According to legal blog, Above The Law, Miami firms Weil Gotshal, Locke Lord, Baker & McKenzie, Boies Schiller, Hughes Hubbard, McDermott Will, Jones Day and Holland & Knight followed suit to match the new salary scale. Even smaller firms began to do more with compensation—Washington, D.C.-based boutique firm Wilkinson Walsh + Eskovitz recently beat Cravath’s bonus scale for all associates, providing bonuses at one and a half times the market rate.

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