Associate special bonuses and raised salaries this year are expected to have an uneven impact on law firm profitability across the Am Law 200, depending on a firm’s financial structure. And making the right choice on whether to match, or not, could serve to further that profitability divide.

For the elite firms that have leapt into the latest round of associate salary increases, even after issuing special bonuses earlier this year, it’s a no-brainer. Many posted record profits in 2020, and surging deal work this year places them in a position where these added expenses will likely have little to no impact on their profitability in 2021.