Just like previous associate salary raises, Big Law saw a domino effect this summer, with dozens of firms matching a new pay scale that was set by a market leader.

But big law firms don’t have to just fall in line forever with associate pay trends, analysts say, adding some sophisticated firms are considering ways to push away from the “burn-and-churn” associate model by using more non-partner-track lawyers and other alternative staffing methods to offset the cost of and disengage from the war for talent. And at some point, analysts have suggested, firms can look for more nuanced pay scales that are based on practice area demand, rather than lockstep methods based purely on years out of law school.

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