The business of hiring, developing and retaining new lawyers is decidedly not what it used to be. In 1907, a prominent Wall Street firm wrote to a young Franklin D. Roosevelt offering him a position as an associate — “the first year without salary” — and the future president accepted the offer. That same firm now pays summer associates more than $10,000 per month.

At the beginning of the 20th century, a firm that made the decision to invest in a new lawyer’s potential could rest assured that, if the associate lived up to his promise (and the new lawyer was almost always a male), he likely would remain with the firm for his entire career.

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