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WHAT WE’RE WATCHING
CAN’T LET GO - If you love somebody, set them free—unless, of course, they happen to be a rainmaker. In that case, make them a counteroffer they can’t refuse. In the escalating Big Law talent war, some law firms are refusing to take “I’m leaving” for an answer, offering soon-to-be-poached partners compensation close to (and sometimes even well above) that of the rival firm trying to woo them. On top of that, Law.com’s Dylan Jackson reports, some firms are also throwing in salary guarantees and so-called stay bonuses. But while counteroffers may be an effective way to delay a partner’s departure, they’re no long-term solution. Legal recruiter Joshua Shirley estimated that about 75% of partners who accept counteroffers ultimately leave within a few years. “Once you’ve told your firm that you’ve decide to leave, the relationship seems to be in most cases so damaged that it’s irreparable,” he told Jackson. “You can’t fix it. Money doesn’t seem to fix it.” But Kristen Stark, a San Francisco-based principal at Fairfax Associates, said most Big Law firms are not naïve to that reality. “Firms aren’t doing these counteroffers because they think, ‘Oh this is the partner who we’re going to have for 20 years. It’s about, we can’t afford to lose this person right now,’” Stark said.
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