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The Law Firm of the Future

Adapting to a Changed Legal Marketplace

John M. Westcott

During the “golden age of law firm growth” from the late 1960s until 2007, most large law firms adopted a default growth strategy, increasing practice areas and offices, aided by the momentum of the tail winds of law firm growth. Since the recession of 2008-2009, however, the legal marketplace has drastically changed. In this timely book, Jay Westcott suggests strategic building blocks that firms can adopt in order to adapt themselves to this radical change and prosper as lasting institutions.
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Chapter 8: Fair compensation

John M. Westcott


Both young and developing associates and partners need to be compensated fairly, consistent with the profitability of the firm and their contributions. Partners who feel they have been fairly and consistently treated for compensation purposes over the years generally have the patience not to expect to be rewarded for every success instantaneously, but to rely on the firm’s continuing long-term judgment to treat them justly over a long career. Associates should be compensated fairly for their contributions, consistently with equally profitable firms; but a lot of large firms overcompensate associates because the firm has pretentions to compete with more profitable and superior firms. The annual review of every lawyer, young and old, is an opportunity to give feedback that should not be lost.

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