When Lateral Link launched in the spring of 2006, traditional recruiters criticized the upstart firm for paying $10,000 to each associate it placed in a firm. Rather than disappear, the unconventional business plan has spawned a challenger, with a nearly identical business model, who has raised the stakes. Legal Recruiting Authority is offering a $20,000 sweetener to associates it places.

LRA launched last December. Founded by two Northwestern University law graduates, the company hopes to be part of what its founders see as a much-needed transformation in the legal recruiting sector.

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