Law Firms

Orrick's New Talent Model: 3 Stages to Partner; More Contract Lawyers

Effective July 1, international law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe will have a new talent model, including a three-stage partner track for associates and an increased presence of contract attorneys.

The talent model revelation came about today at Hildebrandt’s annual Law Firm Leaders Forum in San Francisco during a discussion about how firms need to rethink the efficient delivery of legal services and re-examine how they do their work.

In describing the new plan, firm Chairman and Chief Executive Ralph Baxter said, “There will come moments where an associate either does or does not get promoted. Compensation and promotion will turn on merit, not just surviving to the next year.”

Orrick associates can expect more concrete feedback on progress and the likelihood of making partner, Baxter added. Lawyers who want to work at an on-track level but not actually become a partner will also have a designated place in the new scheme.

“We will think about what percentage of lawyers at Orrick should be career lawyers,” Baxter said. Those attorneys will be defined by a different pay level, remote office locations and a different set of responsibilities.

“Orrick hasn’t had a lot of contract lawyers in the past—and that is going to change,” he said.

News of the new model comes on the heels of layoff announcements earlier this week. Orrick is cutting 100 attorney and 200 staff positions throughout offices in the United States, Asia and Europe.

Follow Rachel Zahorsky’s Twitter feed and see more notes about the conference @LawScribbler.

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