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The national wave of associate pay raises last year has further widened the compensation gap among law firms, leaving boutiques and regional firms struggling to attract and retain lateral associates because they can’t compete on dollars.

But some Am Law 100 and 200 firms that pay somewhat below the top associate pay scale are successfully wooing top midlevel and senior associates by offering higher bonuses and the chance to actually make partner.

“Our platform allows for more flexibility, including bonuses,” said Michael Hollingsworth, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough’s Atlanta managing partner. “We’re an entrepreneurial culture.”

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