Those cashing the biggest paychecks today, the $210,000 eighth-year associates, are veterans of a special sort: the first hires made during the hangover from the last bust.

Back in the recessionary days of 1989 to 1991, managing partners swore they’d never again beef up for relatively brief spikes in demand. Now that vow seems to have been forgotten. So what happens when this bubble bursts?

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