Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison isn’t the only elite firm that has been altering its system for paying partners lately. In fact, many legal industry observers point to the hiring activity of other Am Law 50 firms as both the cause and the result of the Wall Street firm’s abrupt shift to a productivity-based black-box system with multiple tiers of partners.

When presented with rising profits, law firms take multiple approaches to compensating high-performing partners. Some, like Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, have responded by dividing partner shares into smaller units to create a wider spread between highest- and lowest-paid equity partners. Others, like Latham & Watkins, have increased the percentage of profits that are reserved for bonuses.