Firms in SF/SV, as well as LA and other markets outside NY, decided they needed to increase associate pay. It started incrementally, with regional offices matching NY starting salaries ($90-95K), until the ‘shot heard round the legal world’ was fired in early 2000. The name ‘Bob Gunderson’ became legendary among grateful associates as his Silicon Valley firm, Gunderson Dettmer, pushed through dramatic increases in the entire associate pay scale, beginning with $125K starting salaries (up from $95K the year before), plus bonuses. The herd followed, with all of the major SF/SV/LA firms quickly matching the new pay scale, and of course New York couldn’t allow the West Coast upstarts to pay the highest salaries, so the Gunderson scale became the nationwide pay scale for top-tier law firms. Who do you supposed paid for those huge salary increases?