The rumors whirling in legal recruiter circles have law firm associates increasingly disgruntled, as their rising salaries intensify the push for more billable hours. Perhaps that is why the head of recruitment and development at Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Preston Gates Ellis says her firm is ramping up efforts to give associates more of a say in firm initiatives.

Kirkpatrick associates from around the world gathered in Washington during the last week of March to participate in what the firm deems an “associates’ symposium.” Susan Fried, chief officer of recruitment and development, says the associates worked in small groups to brainstorm new programs and initiatives. “The associates come up with the things they think can benefit the firm,” she says. So that they could freely discuss their ideas, firm management only participated during the last half-hour of each session.

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