With the recovery creeping along at a snail’s pace, many law firms are grappling with uneven peformance across practice areas. In general conversations, partners are reporting that much of real estate remains down, while litigation has been flat and M&A activity is modestly reviving. I checked in with Kristin Stark, a San Francisco-based consultant with Hildebrandt Baker Robbins, about what that means in her day-to-day dealings with Am Law 100 and 200 clients. It’s not surprising that Stark says partner pay has been a hot topic of discussion — and a source of tension — in some firms. Here’s a summary of our talk on the topic and what firms should be doing to keep rainmakers from walking out the door.

Q: Are partners throwing staplers at each other over this?

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