Anonymous User wrote:As you said, to each their own. I'll let you in on a little secret though. The only thing that matters in terms of compensation, happiness, marriage satisfaction, etc. is your relative position. Any economist will tell you this. How do you learn to increase your value to the firm (and therefore your compensation) if you don't know what the firm compensates for? And why would that create strife? If it's objective and explainable, it shouldn't cause any problem at all.
Usually, blackbox compensation serves a darker purpose: The female partner is paid less than the male partner, even though they brought in the same amount of business, because the male partner plays golf with the Partner in Charge. The female partner can't complain about it if she doesn't know it's happening. So yes, it reduces strife, but in a way that I hope no one would applaud. Or, it's two associates with the same billables, one of whom is paid more because they're very cheerful and always going to happy hours and work parties. The other associate keeps their head down and goes home when they're finished. That second associate has no way to know if they're underpaid because of this, or their work product, or their total billables because they don't even know what the other associate is paid. How can they try to improve their standing in the firm when they don't know what qualities are rewarded?
Please cite to any authority that says "the only thing that matters . . . is relative position." Economists do not hold the key to happiness. And even if that were true, relative to what? The guy in the office next door? Or the guy who sat next to you at your JD graduation who is working contract to contract for $20/hr? Or your kid's school teacher making $30k a year?
And your second paragraph is loaded with logical fallacy. Just because blackbox compensation can enable the "darker purpose," it does not mean that it is happening at Jones Day. Might it be? Sure. But you're painting with an awfully big paintbrush there, implying malfeasance where you have no evidence of it actually happening. We know it fosters a collegial environment because we live it every day.
One thing that people forget when discussing the confidential compensation policy is that although the determination of the number and the number itself are confidential, the process as a whole is not. We understand the value that the Firm puts on its culture and how the confidential compensation helps to that end. We know the partners who are on the committee, know that they are good people and genuinely trust that they have the best interests of the Firm and its people in mind. The system depends on trust and the Firm has earned that trust. (It did not lay off Associates or cancel summer classes due to the recession, for example). If they ever blow that trust, the system will be lost. The committee knows this and thus they do not burn that trust for the sake of sending a few thousand dollars more to the cheerful associate over the gloomy one.
Clearly we are never going to agree. I for one don't understand why anyone who doesn't like the confidential compensation policy and opted to go elsewhere spends their time railing against it on TLS.