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THAT’S WHY THEY PAY YOU THE BIG BUCKS? - Plenty of tut-tutting has been directed at law firms recently for using associate salary hikes and bonuses to paper over the fact that their young lawyers are stressed, anxious and on the brink of burnout. Turns out, as Law.com’s Justin Henry reports, the associates themselves are hip to this as well, with a number of respondents to the American Lawyer’s 2021 Midlevel Associates Survey complaining that money is too often serving as a superficial stand-in for measures that would actually improve their well-being. What’s way more surprising than that, however, is the counterargument we’ve seen cropping up here and there from some young attorneys, which basically boils down to: “Hey, we’re lawyers—we don’t get to have lives.” Ru Bhatt, a partner in the associate practice group at Major, Lindsey & Africa, recently noted to Law.com’s Dylan Jackson that “with the deal flow and how busy things are, associates understand the work-life balance isn’t something they may ever achieve in a service industry.”  And, as Law.com’s Henry reports, some of the Midlevel Associate Survey respondents expressed a similar sense of resignation/acceptance. One midlevel associate at Morgan Lewis, for example, said she views her role as one defined by client service at all hours. As long as clients have demanding time requirements, the associate said, “it’s just sort of the nature of the beast.”

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