It is a fact that many law firms (as well as many other organizations) hire and compensate people as a reaction to the moment rather than with careful thought. This process has remained essentially unchanged for years. In compensation, it is not uncommon to ask potential employees what their current salary is and to bring them in at that level or with a small increase. It is also common to add inflation and possibly merit increases year after year as long as the person remains with the firm.
A few organizations have forged ahead in a different manner. They now understand the market value of positions and the need to pay for proportionally to the level of performance. Compensation programs fail when an organization cannot attract the right people to the organization and then keep those people.