Davis Polk & Wardwell’s decision to one-up the market for associate salaries has solidified the firm as a market-maker in compensation—at least for now. For firms that follow the lead, it will send a clear message to the talent market in the short term, but the long-term effects may be more disparate.

The associate salary war that kicked off Thursday is yet another indicator of the highly competitive market for young lawyer talent, and another way in which the stratified Big Law landscape will become even more so.

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