As big firms continue to announce special associate bonuses, including those tied to billing targets, some legal market observers have raised alarms over clashing incentives with corporate counsel who are under pressure to tighten budgets and who have not seen the same pay raises.

In-house counsel at Fortune 500 companies and beyond aren’t necessarily surprised some of the nation’s largest firms have raced to hand out bonuses tied to the billable hour, observers said. After all, year-end bonuses at some firms each year have relied on meeting annual billing targets.

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