Law Firm Partner Pay Transparency

New York Lawyer has a good article on the different ways that law firms handle the transparency of the amount paid to partners. At most firms, partners can learn what their peer partners earn (although, in some cases, this information isn’t easy to get); at other firms, compensation information is not shared publicly. According to the article, partners at the opaque firms are often strong advocates of their model, which may not be surprising given that in most of the business world, compensation is not publicly disclosed. Compensation may be one of those topics where people *think* they want to know more about what their peers make but additional disclosures often lead to more misery than joy. See, e.g., Katherine Strandburg, Privacy, Rationality, and Temptation: A Theory of Willpower Norms, 57 RUTGERS LAW REVIEW 1237 (2005) (discussing situations where people should resist being exposed to information they will later regret); Patrick Schiltz, On Being a Happy, Healthy, and Ethical Member of an Unhappy, Unhealthy, and Unethical Profession (discussing how lawyers use money to keep score in a game that ultimately makes them unhappy).

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