Clifford Chance Drops Billable-Hours Requirement for Associate Bonuses

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Updated: Clifford Chance in London will no longer condition associate bonuses on a minimum billable-hours threshold.

The law firm’s bonus system is undergoing a “radical overhaul,” the Lawyer reports. Clifford Chance has already announced that is unfreezing associate salaries, and now it is revealing a “balanced and flexible bonus scheme.”

Previously the law firm wouldn’t consider an associate for a bonus unless he or she hit a billable-hours target, Legal Week says. Now the law firm will take billable hours into account, along with other factors that include overall achievement, effort, skills, client satisfaction, teamwork and community work.

The law firm is also restricting its maximum bonus—set at 40 percent of pay—to senior associates. Previously any associates with at least four years’ experience were eligible for the top bonus.

The bonus changes apply only to Clifford Chance’s London office, according to Mike Kachel, a spokesman for the law firm’s U.S. offices. In New York, for example, the compensation structure is competitive with the top end of that city’s market, and the bonus changes don’t apply there, Kachel says.

Updated at 7:25 p.m. to include a comment from spokesman Mike Kachel.

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