Law Practice Management

Kelley Drye Joins BigLaw Bandwagon Driving Away from Lockstep Pay


Kelley Drye & Warren has joined a growing contingent of BigLaw firms that are abandoning the traditional “lockstep” system of paying associates based on the year in which they graduated from law school.

Managing partner James Kirk says partners of the New York-based firm have agreed to “move away from class year-based compensation over the next year or two, similar to many firms, and will as a first step hold associate compensation at current levels for 2010,” reports the New York Law Journal.

Bonuses for current associates will range from $10,000 to $30,000, he notes.

Although other major law firms also plan to eliminate lockstep, Kelley Drye may be the first well-known New York-based firm to do so, the legal publication reports. Those that have previously announced plans to move to merit-based pay systems include DLA Piper; Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe; Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal; and Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr.

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