Big Law Raises and the Impact on Young Lawyers

It is a frenzy, and the lawyer websites are full of it. EVERY SINGLE DAY.

Big Law is going crazy with raising salaries for associates and luring lateral hires with Big Money and flexible terms. That includes unprecedented starting salaries and finder’s fees for additional lawyers lateral hires can help lure over. It also includes terms which allow new hires to work exclusively from home or remotely — even from other geographic locations.

Sounds good, right. All that money. All the flexibility. It is very tempting to young lawyers, especially those with huge student loan debt hanging over their heads, and I totally get it. Take advantage of the moment.

But I hope that the young lawyers who are caught up in this hiring frenzy will be strategic once they become firm members. I hope that they will look at firm policies and programs, billable hour requirements, and cultures to determine whether it is a good place to develop a career and also to have a balanced lifestyle. I hope they will remember that a job is different from a career. Careers includes mentoring, leadership training, exposure to clients, reasonable and equitable opportunities for upward mobility, respect for families … and the list goes on and on.

Time will tell how this hiring frenzy pans out in terms of talent retention. My gut tells me that the firms are seizing the day to be competitive and that maybe they are not as committed to creating opportunities and building careers for all these seats they are filling to continue the record profits they reported in 2020.

That is a lot to think about. Keep up your contacts outside the firm for that rainy day that may be in your future. Some times things are not exactly as they first appear.

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