Milbank’s opening salvo on associate pay—raising each salary by $10,000—isn’t just rippling across the pool of Big Law competitors. Some on the client side are voicing concerns, saying law firms would be “digging their own graves” with another war over salaries and bonuses, especially if it results in higher billing rates.

In interviews Thursday, corporate counsel and industry analysts offered a familiar refrain in response to the associate pay raises announced by Milbank this week: that clients, fatigued by billing rate increases, will keep more work in-house, shop more work around between firms, or just have to face the costs.