Uncommitted associates and quality control

A recent post entertained the idea of a law department that refuses to pay higher rates for associates one or two years out of law school than it pays for the law firm’s paralegals (See my post of April 30, 2006 and citations.). As I wrote that item, I assumed that the department’s refusal was based on the hourly rates of the junior associates not being matched by commensurate legal experience. Never assume!

In the Wall St. J., May 2, 2006 at B6, Ashby Jones writes that “some law-firm executives fear that uncommitted associates are failing to put out the top-quality work that’s expected of them.” Associates who haven’t drunk the Kool-Aid of partnership pursuit “are less focused on crossing T’s and dotting I’s.” Maybe that law department sensed not only inexperience but also lower attention to quality.

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