Many associates at top firms are ecstatic to see that they will receive thousands of dollars in the form of special fall bonuses. But given the precariousness of the COVID economy, and the damage it has wreaked, are there other ways firms can show appreciation for their associates when bonuses are out of the question?

Big Law has constantly turned to money as the go-to lever for recognizing good performance. This trend is perhaps best evidenced by the annual year-end bonus wars, where Big Law firms attempt to one-up each other in who can dole out bigger bonuses to their associates—even when experts denounce the practice as short-sighted and fiscally irresponsible.

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