When Davis Polk & Wardwell eased its pure lockstep pay system last week, some saw a sign that the already shrinking practice of paying law firm partners based on seniority might soon disappear. A Tuesday report from Major, Lindsey & Africa also highlighted the decline, with just 8% of Big Law partners surveyed saying their firm considers seniority to be “very important” in determining pay.
Yet there are still defenders of pure lockstep among the industry’s most profitable law firms, even as it makes those firms vulnerable to poaching by non-lockstep rivals. And industry experts say the competitive risks are balanced by benefits to firm clients and culture.
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