YEAH, PRETTY MUCH: Making Big Law Partner Is Like ‘Winning A Pie-Eating Contest In Which The Prize Is More Pie.’

I noticed that when I was practicing law. I would look at the partners and think wow, the brass ring is I get to be them. Not so appealing.

One partner in my firm, a very nice guy but a total workaholic, was shocked when his five-year-old was asked to draw a picture of his family in kindergarten, and left him (the dad) out of it. He took a year’s leave after that.

But the “star system” pay scheme described here is short-term wise, long-term foolish. As my friend and colleague Ben Barton’s research has shown, long-term the firms with near-lockstep compensation do better. The ones based on free agency are staffed with people who have no loyalty, and foster an atmosphere that repels associates.