The leaders of law firms become leaders because they’re great lawyers, gifted salespeople and they don’t lack in ego. It’s not always because they’re great businesspeople, and sometimes this shows.

Middle law—firms ranked about 40 to 120 by profits per equity partner (PPP)—appears intent on a lemming-like leap off a cliff. How else to characterize their compulsion to match the Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy associate salary increase? It may be based on an irrationally exuberant sense of the state of the market. Hence, it’s worth getting some facts straight.