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FIRST CLASS OR COACH? The leaders of big firms across the country, forced by an invisible hand to bump their associates’ salaries by 20% to 50%, have granted raises to all their associates. Crazy socialists. Then there’s Piper Marbury Rudnick & Wolfe L.L.P. Thinking like rational economic actors, partners at the firm offered 31% raises to venture capital and emerging technology associates, and tossed only 7% crumbs to the rest. The firm decided that pay inequity within the junior ranks was preferable to tightening billable-hour requirements, the path other firms have taken. “It’s almost like these firms are recruiting auto mechanics guaranteeing incentives for this many extra tuneups and brake jobs,” Francis Burch Jr., Piper’s Baltimore-based chairman told Legal Times (a National Law Journal sister publication). “You’ve got to be careful not to turn a law firm into a piecework operation.”

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