Lawyer Pay

Howrey's 'Bold Move': Merit Pay

Associates at Howrey will get raises based on performance rather than seniority.

The 630-lawyer firm says it will eliminate its lockstep compensation system beginning next year, the Recorder reports. The result is that some associates will achieve partner more quickly, and others more slowly, according to Henry Bunsow, managing partner in Northern California.

Like other large firms, Howrey is paying new associates $160,000. Bunsow told the legal newspaper that clients are concerned about the costs of legal services. He hopes that ditching an arbitrary system of pay raises will help allay client concerns.

San Diego recruiter William Nason told the legal newspaper that some clients may have difficulty adjusting to a new pay system that is “less quantifiable.”

“To say it’s a bold move would be an understatement,” he says.

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