Law Firms Move to Merit Based Pay?

The Wall Street Journal Law Blog recently posted on the change to merit pay raises at law firms, a move away from simple billable hours based raises.

“It’s becoming increasingly clear that lockstep pay, in which associate salaries automatically rise each year, is becoming a thing of the past at many firms.

Today there is news out of Beantown that some leading corporate firms are telling their young lawyers that their billable output and overall performance are increasingly relevant come pay time.

Nixon Peabody and WilmerHale have abandoned lockstep pay, and Choate Hall and Edwards Angell are considering similar moves.”

The question has to be asked: what does this mean for law schools as they try to prepare students for a world where skills will be required even for young attorneys? 

If the firms look for skill in order to prove merit then students will increasingly need to stay one step ahead of the competition. The move could place more pressure on law schools to produce students with enough skills to earn these raises, and students may choose law schools that will provide proper training.

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