It may sound like a tall tale, but not too long ago many Am Law 200 firms were worried about associate attrition. Billables were also a source of anxiety for many associates.

In the war for talent, partners wooed law students, junior associates were paid lavishly and the best and the brightest among the senior associates were shown the bread crumbs to the partnership. Today’s midlevel associates, the third-, fourth- and fifth-years, remember those days all too well. Now, as thousands have been laid off, and the survivors’ bonuses, salaries and basic perks — such as a stipend for their BlackBerrys — have been cut, the associates left behind are anxious and frustrated.

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