ADVANCING RETREATS - Law firm leaders are most certainly hoping for full in-person partner retreats in 2022. But they also recognize that not having a virtual backup plan is, as noted Big Law expert Jamiroquai might say, virtual insanity. As’s Patrick Smith reports, the events of last summer have ingrained in firm leaders an important lesson about trying to predict the future: “It is a foolish undertaking,” Akin Gump’s Kim Koopersmith said. Still, optimism over the possibility of bringing everyone together in real life is growing. “We are full speed ahead to do a regular partner retreat in May,” Bob Bodian, managing partner at Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, said. “And we have every expectation that is going to happen.”

GAP INSURANCE - Stoel Rives will raise annual base compensation for all associates by $10,000 or more next year, the firm said in a memo provided to’s Jessie Yount yesterday. The move comes after sources from Armstrong Teasdale confirmed last month that salaries at the firm would increase to start around $145,000 to $190,000 in various markets, while Hanson Bridgett announced a new salary grid starting at $170,000. As Yount notes, the salary bumps bring these firms closer—but not all the way—to the benchmark set by Davis Polk & Wardwell in June. That scale, adopted by many Big Law firms, starts at $202,500. Still, Am Law 200 firms are hoping that a narrowing of that pay gap, coupled with other recruitment and retention tools, will be enough to make them serious competitors for top-tier talent. Stoel Rives, has advanced 13 lawyers working a reduced schedule to income and capital partner in the last five years. And last month, the firm said it would add a 50-hour diversity credit to its minimum billable target of 1,850 hours for full-time associates, on top of an existing 50-hour pro bono credit. Stoel has also adopted a slightly-less-rigid office return policy compared to many of its larger peers, setting a guidance of “more often than not.”

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