Tom Alleman, a shareholder in the environmental and litigation practice groups at Dallas’ Winstead Sechrest & Minick, has a career .180 average and couldn’t hit a curve ball if his life depended on it. For this reason, the opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of Winstead or its clients, many of whom have batting averages well into the 200s.

I think I finally have figured out a way to deal with this associate compensation thing. And, no, it doesn’t involve increasing billable hours, merit-based compensation or blended rates. Honest. It has to do with baseball. It never fails. Every year during late February or early March, I go off on some trip. The Fungible Inn and Suites gives me a USA Today (or a Post Dispatch Blade Herald Tribune Daily News and Chronicle in towns that aren’t big enough to afford USA Today) and there’s always a lead story about the start of Spring Training. So I do the depositions or hearings or whatever it is that lets me get a year’s fix of USA Today-quality prose. (That high-pitched whirring sound you hear in the background is Ring Lardner, Red Smith and other great newspaper writers rolling over in their graves, by the way — but don’t get me started.) Then I come back to the office to discover that the law biz is having yet another crisis over associate compensation.