At a Large Law Firm, Who Takes the Heat When a Big Case is Lost?

When a big case is lost, who takes the heat? That’s a very good question to ask yourself if you want to work in a Biglaw firm. The lead attorney is ultimately accountable, and bears responsibility for the legal outcome. But attorneys are notorious for not taking responsibility for bad outcomes. Some attorneys “win” cases by delaying judgment. The question of “who takes the heat when a big case is lost” is particularly pertinent in the current climate.

In an era when compensation is based on length of employment and the quality of work, tenure-based compensation has shifted away from being a crucial element in the hiring process. While compensation packages and incentives at some firms are based on how long a lawyer has worked for the firm, at Kirkland partners earn much more. That is a significant difference in compensation between two big law firms, and it’s one of the reasons why Kirkland is so successful.

Many big law firms are experiencing a retention crisis. During the last year alone, more than 325 Kirkland associates left the firm. According to data from Leopard Solutions, that number will increase to more than 325 by 2021. The number of associates leaving Kirkland is expected to rise in the years to come, and the firm’s reputation is built on this foundation.

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