“This is a perennial problem over the last generation with American law firms: the intensification of competition not only with other firms but also with lawyers within a particular firm,” Gillers said. “And it’s only escalated. No one has been able to say, ‘Wait a minute, let’s get some sense of proportion here and recognize that there are values in life other than money.’”

That’s why Lawrence Fox, a visiting lecturer at Yale Law School and former managing partner at Drinker Biddle & Reath, suspects this happens “a lot more often than we hear,” given how central implicit or explicit quotas are to success in the profession.