It’s taken for granted that compensation is the most effective tool available to influence partner behavior — so much so that some law firms spend more time on partner compensation than they do on marketing. They write and rewrite their compensation policies and spend months interviewing partners, developing recommendations and considering partner complaints and appeals. All told, in most firms, no subject gets more attention year in and year out than partner compensation.

And yet, when it comes to determining how much to pay the managing partner, firm leaders often struggle to find the right answer. Because the position is highly visible, how firms compensate the managing partner has far-reaching consequences — not only for the person holding the office but for all other partners as well.

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