Lockstep compensation systems may be on the way out, at least at several leading Boston law firms, according to an article in the Boston Globe. "Major law firms have traditionally hired junior lawyers at six-figure salaries and awarded annual increases based on the number of years at the firm, a system known as 'lockstep.'" In the future, however, associates' salaries and bonuses will be based on the partners' assessment of their performance. "Law firms across the country are turning to [performance-based] bonus systems to control spiraling payrolls and satisfy clients who ... have become increasingly unwilling to pay fees of several hundred dollars an hour to cover salaries of inexperienced lawyers." It is hard to speculate about whether a performance-based appraisal system might increase or decrease salaries or whether it would affect the number of associate positions at a firm. Another open question is whether a performance-review process could be administered fairly in the law firm setting. The practice of law is becoming like other fields where steady pay increases are not guaranteed. In addition to the pressure felt to make partner, there will now be additional pressure to earn annual salary increases. Will this be a good thing or a bad thing for the legal profession?