Associates and support staff at Addleshaw Goddard have been told that they will be paid a bonus this year after an effective freeze on non-partner bonuses last year.
The bonus has a profit trigger of a 26 per cent margin, but if this is not met then Addleshaws has pledged to still reward “exceptional performance”.
A spokesperson said: “We have explained to staff that we would make discretionary awards in recognition of exceptional performance if we were unable to pay a firmwide bonus.”
He emphasised that the firm wanted to “recognise and reward individual contributions during a difficult time”.
The decision to award discretionary payments is a change from last year when no non-partner bonuses were paid at all because the profit trigger - set at 32 per cent for 2008-09 - was not reached. Addleshaws had a profit margin of 26 per cent last year on a total turnover of £173m, down from 33 per cent the previous year.
Associates and support staff currently receive bonuses on the basis of four criteria - financial targets, individual performance, productivity and “value” measures and inclusivity and the principle of “One Firm”.
The firm also recently announced proposals to restructure its salaried partner bonus scheme, aligning it more closely with equity partner remuneration.
Under the previous arrangement rewards were calculated on the basis of firmwide year-on-year profit increases and individual performance. But a drop in profit meant that nobody received the firmwide profit element (8 February 2010).