In 1978, rock star Alice Cooper appeared in a bizarre episode of “The Muppets” in which he plays the role of agent of the devil. He offers Kermit, Miss Piggy and the other Muppets “fabulous riches and worldwide fame” in exchange for signing a contract relinquishing their souls. (Only Gonzo expresses interest, but he can’t find a pen.)
This “deal with the devil” cultural motif is common in books, movies and TV shows in which temptation is dangled before protagonists, and plot lines explore the human capacity to resist the allure of Faustian bargains.
This summer, a blockbuster drama is playing out across websites and around water coolers in the legal industry. Milbank moved first to raise first-year associate salaries. Cravath upped the ante by surpassing Milbank’s bump and sweetening the pot with increases for senior associates. Simpson Thacher threw special summer bonuses into the mix. Milbank then matched Cravath’s pay scale and announced its own bonuses for associates in good standing.