‘Tis the season (one of them anyway) in which law firms are shelling out major money in the hopes of attracting and retaining top associates. This year, an unbelievably hot talent market coming on the heels of unprecedented profit growth for many firms has made competition even fiercer than usual.

But it’s becoming clear that no amount of money or even contractual obligations can guarantee a firm’s ability to lock in sought-after associates for any significant length of time.

The Driver: