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The homogeneity of associate starting salary across Big Law is an economic nonsense. As I argued yesterday, it’s irrational to compensate all 60,000 associates at the Am Law’s 125 most profitable firms at that same rate as the 3,000 associates at elite New York firms—they’re working different hours, they’ve been through recruiting processes with different levels of selectivity, they’re not all the same quality of lawyer—they’re simply not interchangeable.

I heard from a number of readers who, not disputing the above, look at the situation through a different lens: the ratio of partner compesation to starting associate salary. Figure 1 shows this ratio before the incipient round of increases for the 150 most profitable firms in the Am Law 200.

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