Addleshaw Goddard" />Addleshaw Goddard has become the latest firm to introduce a new rung to its career ladder, with 134 associates hoisted onto it, effective from 1 September.
The new position of 'managing associate' (www.thelawyer.com, 28 September) caries with it a salary increase of up to £5,000 for the most senior in the pool and an extra two days' holiday a year.
The new managing associate role follows that of the position of legal director, which was introduced by Addleshaws in 2002 as a clear alternative career path to partnership.
However, unlike the legal director role, becoming a managing associate is seen as a signpost on the way to either partnership or legal directorship. Associates tipped for promotion to managing associate will be identified at around four years' PQE, after which they will be provided with further training and a personalised development plan.
Each candidate's progress will also be monitored and assessed by an assigned partner.
Six-and-a-half-year-PQE managing associate Sally Davies, who is based in Addleshaws' Leeds office, was pleasantly surprised by clients' and intermediaries' reaction to her promotion last month. However, she does not think that her client and managerial responsibilities have changed. "For me, it doesn't change the job description," she says.
Davies says she does, however, see the managing associate role as a useful mid-level career test to check whether you are moving towards partnership. "It introduces an extra skill set and will require junior associates to take on a broader remit," she adds.
Addleshaws managing partner Mark Jones agrees, explaining that the new career structure is "a recognition of what was increasingly becoming the status quo."
Addleshaws HR director Judith Hardy admits that the ultimate aim of the new role is to increase staff retention, as associates are able to clearly see that they are one step closer to partnership.