The Wall Street Journal has a post called: Big-Law Associates Facing 2008 Salary Cap by Dan Slater.
Here is a key paragraph from that post from which my title was derived:
"We called around to firms to find out whether associate salaries, called economically-irrational in some quarters, have finally (or, at least, for now) hit a ceiling. The answer seems to be yes."
The comments under the post range from:
"I think associates should just worry about keeping their jobs instead of clamoring for increases in salary"
"I expect salaries in NY will bump up to 190 before the end of the year. That will cause other cities to match. The following year NY will again bump to 230, and other cities will again follow. The pattern has been established, and there is no way to stop it. It’s pure economics. Plain and simple."
PUNCHLINE: I am empathetic with recent grads who must repay large loans and face rampant inflation. However, I believe the only thing that matters is "the client" because collectively the clients will drive demand and the parameters under which legal services are sold. As the world flattens, clients’ choices expend and as Cisco and GE and other powerful clients have clearly demonstrated, if the profession can’t summon the imagination to change the equation clients will change the equation for them. I reference two of my previous posts:
Offshoring in India Changing Legal Services in the West
OUTSOURCING: "Lawyers are service providers. We are not gods"
Image Credit: The image in this post was copied from the original WSJ post
Footnote: At the moment I am on assignment with a prominent South African law firm… you should see how wide their eyes get at the mention of the scale of associate salaries referenced in this article.