As more law firms replace lockstep salaries with merit-based systems, associates worry about both the loss of transparency (the “black box” system reportedly adopted by Winston & Strawn has upset more than a few insiders) and the loss of income (many see the new structures as “one more way for firms to cut associate pay”). Still, some argue that it’s only the “slackers” who will be hurt by a shift to performance-based pay.
But associate pay isn’t the only target of BigLaw restructuring, with large global firms like Linklaters and Reed Smith also “realigning” their partnership tiers. An Altman Weil consultant has predicted that “coasting” won't cut it any more, as more “non-producers” will be shed from the partner ranks in 2010 as firms “make room for young blood.” But those eager aspirants will have a tougher climb than partners of yore. The Fulton County Daily Report article cites the “new mantra” making the rounds among consultants and firm leaders: “the bar for making partner is being raised.”
- posted by vera
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