Throughout 2020, Big Law firms were said to be “cleaning house”: pushing out unproductive partners so they could pay top earners more and tidy up their expense sheet as the pandemic raged and business development costs promised to return in 2021.
Yet the nonequity tier, long viewed as a common target in these efforts in part because of the fixed costs and salaries of an income partner, grew roughly 6% last year among the Am Law 100. Average nonequity compensation across the Am Law 100—the aggregate salaries of a firm’s income partner tier—jumped 9.2%, from $92.5 million to $101.1 million.
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