HOLD THOSE HIKES - So you run a large law firm and your clients are already mad at you for signaling coming rate increases this year. Imagine how cheesed off they’re going to be when you actually go through with that plan. But what if you could tell your clients you were just joshin’ about that whole “astronomical rate hikes” thing—and still make your money? Oh, and what if you could do all that without laying anyone off? Well, at least according to one study, that might actually be possible. The authors of the Leopard State of the Industry Report, published this week, said law firms should “hit pause” on fee increases and hold on to transactional associates despite the current slowdown in demand. Phil Flora, vice president of sales and marketing for Leopard, told Law.com’s Andrew Maloney that the success of midsize firms—which have found “an increase in work and more stickiness” by being flexible with clients—is another reason the Am Law 200 may want to consider the strategy.

GOING NUCLEAR - New York is a leading target for “nuclear” verdicts of $10 million or greater, according to a new report issued Wednesday. And, as Law.com’s Brian Lee reports, the research also suggests that we could soon enter an era of “thermonuclear” verdicts in excess of $100 million. The 83-page report by independent communications and research firm Marathon Strategies found that New York state and federal courts have issued verdicts against corporations that totaled more than $3.9 billion since the Great Recession. So… what to make of all this? “As a litigator who routinely represents both plaintiffs and defendants,” said Jed Bergman, a partner in Glenn, Agre, Bergman & Fuentes in New York City, “Marathon’s report is a valuable contribution to our understanding of developing trends in large verdicts across the country.”