[ ] Meanwhile, those at the top of law firm pyramids have worsened the odds. They have pulled up the ladder by lengthening the equity partner track, reducing the rate of new equity partners, increasing leverage, and running their firms to maximize short-term equity partner wealth at the expense of long-run institutional stability and their colleagues’ personal well being.
Rationalizing these actions, many big law leaders have convinced themselves that the current generation of young lawyers is inferior to their own. They complain about those who act as if they’re entitled to everything and unwilling to work hard, as they once did. Three concluding points:
First, many large firm attorneys in the baby boomer generation act entitled, too.
Second, when today’s big law leaders were associates, no one was telling them to get their hours up.
Third, motivation and behavior follow incentive structures. If some of today’s young attorneys sometimes behave as if they don’t have a reasonable shot at winning the equity partner lottery, it’s because they don’t.