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Management headache: Changing compensation policies in Big Law

Big Law leaders are facing a management headache as they consider changing compensation policies in response to partner moves and rival pay packages. Firms like Paul Weiss, Davis Polk, Simpson Thacher, and Weil Gotshal have already made or are considering changes to their compensation policies. These changes represent a shift from an egalitarian approach to one that acknowledges the value of certain partners. However, leaders must carefully balance compensating top performers without alienating other partners. The process for implementing change often involves partnership votes and interviews with partners. While New York law firms are experiencing a resurgence in demand, they risk losing top partners to higher-paying firms if compensation policies are not competitive. The pay gap between highest- and lowest-paid partners is widening, and managing through these changes requires strong leadership. Overall, compensation policy changes are a significant challenge for Big Law firms.

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