Law Practice Management

Some Law Firms End Lockstep Pay for Associates, as Economy Plummets

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A dismal economy is driving some law firms to take cost-cutting measures that will likely reap big benefits for them in the long run.

And eliminating the “medieval” lockstep associate compensation structure, in which all individuals who graduated from law school in the same year are paid the same salary, year after year, is one of the most rewarding moves they can make, says legal consultant Joel Henning of Hildebrandt International Inc.

Among the law firms that are shifting to merit-based associate pay are Howrey and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, reports Bloomberg.

“One of the best things firms are doing is breaking the ridiculous lockstep structure of associate compensation,” says Henning. “There is no other profession that operates that way.”

Hat tip: Above the Law.

Related coverage: “Hildebrandt: Cut Associate Salaries Now” “How Some Big Law Firms Erred in the Boom Years” “Silver Lining in Law Firm Layoffs News: Many Partnerships are Better-Managed”

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