Compensation is often one of, if not the, determining factor for attorneys in choosing a law firm job. This is not a shock and is understandable. That said, focusing solely on short-term gain can be a detriment to long-term gain and job security.
With rising starting salaries at big law firms, you can also anticipate increased billable hour expectations. There is nothing wrong with working hard and being paid well for such work, but failing to recognize the need to spend time marketing and otherwise cultivating “your practice” can have consequences. Ultimately, law firms either expect their attorneys to generate their own business or, if faced with another recession and potential lay-offs as a consequence, the first people out the door (or to suffer pay-cuts) are those who can’t keep themselves busy. Equally important, is the opportunity at least to switch firms if you are unsatisfied in your position. After a certain number of years practicing, laterals are expected to have portable business and opportunities are limited for those who don’t. Likewise, it is hard to negotiate for more money with your current employer if they know your market value, which is determined in large part by the size of a client base, is not great or not a real threat to you leaving.
Everyone wants (and should) be paid for their hard work, but don’t sacrifice the your long-term prospects by focusing solely on short-term gain.