As the economy picked up steam this summer, the Big Law associate salary wars predictably flared up again. Firms have been tripping over themselves to match the highest bidder.

Young lawyers can be forgiven if they’ve suffered whiplash. After all, just 17 months ago, as the pandemic spread uncertainty and anxiety throughout the economy, many associates were let go, furloughed, or saw compensation cuts. Now, to meet rapidly increasing workloads, Big Law firms are desperate for talent. So they’re playing their favorite cards: salary hikes and signing bonuses.