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Lockstep compensation for associates appears to be the latest casualty of the recession. Last July, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe dropped it in favor of a performance-based system, and almost 30 Am Law 200 firms have followed suit. Nearly all have set up three-tier structures, where raises, bonuses, and promotions depend on annual performance assessments. Within each tier, some small variation is possible, but most associates will be compressed in a narrow band. (Howrey made a similar move in 2007, before the recession.)

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