The Myth of the Two-Tiered Associate Track

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Late last month, a New York Times article described how two law firms (Orrick and WilmerHale) have created so-called “permanent associate” positions that make much less money (around $60,000 annually) and have no chance at partnership, but that require far fewer hours and come with no billing pressure.

The Times article, and much of the discussion around it, focused on the two-tier associate angle, highlighting the potential morale risks, detailing the benefits to the lawyers who take these jobs, and placing the whole affair in the context of an evolving post-recession workforce. But I think this coverage misses the more important point.

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