FIRM GRIP - Money may ultimately fall short as a retention tool in Big Law. But, for now at least, it seems to be more than sufficient to prevent attorneys from going in-house. As’s Phillip Bantz reports, the ever-widening pay divide between Big Law and corporate legal departments is making it considerably more difficult for in-house departments to lure talent from top law firms. “The reality from where I sit as a recruiter is that when we approach in-house candidates with great opportunities, they often stop listening once they find out it could be a 30-50% pay cut,” said legal search consultant Stacy Humphries of the Pye Legal Group in Houston. But that doesn’t mean talent isn’t out there—it just means legal departments are going to need to work a little harder to find it. “2022 is not the year to be passive or opportunistic. Gone are the days a company can just post an ad and get a flock of qualified candidates submitting,” Mary Rosenfeld D’Eramo, vice president of operations at Boston-based legal recruiting firm Mestel & Co. “This market absolutely requires a little more elbow grease and targeted searches.”

BEHIND-THE-SCENES BILLING - Law firm partners may have been the MVPs of 2020, when staff billing dipped and more work was pushed up the food chain to senior attorneys. But, as’s Andrew Maloney reports, revenue gains among the Am Law 200 in 2021 were made possible in large part by increased billing by paralegals, patent specialists, project managers and other professionals. Analysts and law firm leaders told Maloney that trend will likely continue this year, as associate pay bumps make lawyer work even pricier for clients and law firms continue pushing the envelope to find more efficiencies. “Unless demand falls, the competition for this talent is going to increase this year, and in future years, because associates aren’t going to get cheaper,” said Kristin Stark, a law firm consultant and principal at Fairfax Associates. Mike Hammer, CEO of Dickinson Wright, told Maloney that “incredible” demand in 2021 and so far in 2022 means “no one’s pushing any work to one level or another of timekeepers. There’s enough work for all levels.” “Now if demand starts to subside, you could see that start to reverse back to the way [it was in 2020],” Hammer said. “But when demand is high, you need the timekeepers at all levels, and everyone is going to be busy. And that’s where we were last year and that’s where started the year and continue to be.”

WHO GOT THE WORK?℠ - Dennis L. Wilson of Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton has entered an appearance for Starz Entertainment, G-Unit Brands Inc., Lions Gate Entertainment and other defendants in a pending trademark infringement lawsuit. The case, filed Dec. 10 in California Central District Court by Hall Griffin LLP on behalf of Byron Belin, accuses Starz of using Belin’s ‘BMF’ mark without licensing or consent in connection with the Black Mafia Family docuseries. The case, assigned to U.S. District Judge Fernando L. Aenlle-Rocha, is 2:21-cv-09586, Byron Belin v. Starz Entertainment, LLC et al. Read the complaint on Radar and check out this week’s Who Got the Work?℠ column to find out which law firms and lawyers are being brought in to handle key cases and close major deals for their clients.