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Drinker Biddle Lays Off 22 Associates, Plans to Eliminate Lockstep

Posted Oct 30, 2009 11:41 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Drinker Biddle & Reath has reportedly laid off 22 associates and has scheduled a meeting to announce the elimination of lockstep compensation.

Above the Law broke the news, reporting that most of the layoffs are in Chicago, and some are in Philadelphia. A law firm spokesman declined to comment on the report to the ABA Journal.

A memo sent to associates today announced a firmwide associates meeting next Wednesday to discuss a new merit-based compensation system. Associates will be reorganized into four levels and will be promoted based on certain competencies instead of law firm tenure. The program will begin with the firm’s new fiscal year on Feb. 1, the Legal Intelligencer (sub. req.) reports.

Earlier this year, Drinker Biddle cut pay for first-year associates to $105,000 and announced a new in-house training program for them. In the program, associates shadow partners at client meetings and court hearings and will take classes in writing briefs and taking depositions.

There is no plan to do away with the training program, the Intelligencer reports.

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