Law Firms

Patton Boggs is said to be planning changes in partner compensation

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Patton Boggs is said to be planning changes to its partner compensation formula in a plan revealed to partners last Thursday.

Politico had a story on the proposals, reportedly made by a strategic committee and approved by the executive committee. Partners won’t vote on the proposals until September, the story says.

The move comes as several lawyers exited the firm, including a 12-partner and 10-associate team leaving for Holland & Knight, and a team of four partners and two other lawyers joining Jackson Lewis. The firm laid off 30 lawyers (none were partners) and 35 staffers in February.

Politico based its story on an anonymous source. The publication says that several changes are under consideration. “The most dramatic change is to completely revamp partner compensation, which has been controversial at times,” the story says. “It includes a complex formula that benefits many of the long-time partners for bringing in business long after they have stopped working for the client. Half of partner compensation is expected to be determined by the formula in 2014 with the new compensation system put into place fully by Jan. 1, 2015.”

According to Politico, the firm is also discussing changes that would:

• Facilitate the movement of partners on and off the executive committee.

• Ease the transition for partners nearing retirement age or who are nonproductive.

Patton Boggs managing partner Ed Newberry told the ABA Journal in a statement that the firm is going through a strategic planning process, but it’s too soon to discuss any details. “As the firm has done periodically in the past,” he said, “Patton Boggs is going through a strategic planning process to enhance the firm’s leadership in the fast-changing legal services market, and to enable us to serve our clients in the most efficient and effective manner with the best talent in the business. We may make changes in the interim as part of this process, and we will be happy to discuss them when appropriate.”

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