Managing partners have been complaining for years about increasing associate salaries, though in Philadelphia it ultimately became a good marketing tool to be the first in town to raise them.

The same rules don’t apply now that the pendulum is swinging the other way. The first to take an ax to associate compensation risks falling out of favor with law schools and future recruits. However, many see a compensation cut as an otherwise smart business decision that would serve as a “market correction” rather than an unfortunate result of the bad economy.

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