RPC to scrap NQ flat rate salary for performance-based pay

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  • Thanks RQ. Relax, I'd spotted that. I'd just taken it as read that after 2 years of close supervision a firm should be able to tell the difference. Whereas they can't on the basis of an interview/assessment day when recruiting them as trainees, hence fixed salaries for trainees. Oh, but of course that assumes 2 years of 'close supervision' and giving trainees sufficient exposure to clients/the difficult stuff, which in my experience of seeing many NQ CVs most firms do not, and which is why most firms can't tell the difference. Again, harsh but fair ... Sorry!

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  • Have just picked up on this thread from over the pond. Great stuff. Looks like the RPC have wound up the establishment

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  • Admittedly I trained and qualified a lot longer ago than I care to reveal, but I'd obviously been under the mistaken impression that firms these days were much better at giving their trainees proper work, and proper responsibility, throughout their training contracts, and had measures and criteria in place in order to assess their performance. These comments - and the assumptions people make on which to base their opinions - seem to reveal a worrying number of firms are stuck in the dark ages when it comes to talent management.

    You'd have thought if PRC were planning to break from the pack they'd be one of the seemingly few firms that does have proper assessment framework in place (can anyone confirm?). Or maybe they're just winging it like everyone else, and getting a bit of free publcity into the bargain. Who knows?

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  • PRC will be doing a hard sell internally and externally to try an convince everybody that this is about "rewarding talent" etc. but the main motivator will be to give them greater flexibility in the business. They are basically an insurance firm and there is so much pressure on legal fees in that sector that an insurance NQ on 60k wont be offering much profitability. Unfortunately for their NQs, their salary will be less dependent on merit than which department they qualify into. If the department you work in charges lower fees, or they happen to be quiet for whatever reason, then they will earn less than a colleague in another department that charges its clients more (e.g. a corporate or banking department) . Fair enough (because they are making less money for the firm), but neither of these factors has any relation to an NQs "merit" or ability as a lawyer - so its not "merit based" pay. You can guarentee that the overall spend on NQ salaries will be lower than under the current system. Not sure if they are really fooling anybody....

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  • This is turning into a great thread as a 'client' reader. One firm makes what is a relatively small step in line with what client's expect and the traditionalists start sniping. Seems to me that for no real gain or loss RPC will pay their newly qualifieds more fairly and be able to demonstrate /justify that to clients - most of whom want to pay less for legal services. The firm will encourage the best guys to stay and the also rans to leave (presumably to join a traditionalist firm). Reading the original announcement it's obvious they have some sort of structured competence framework in place for all the other lawyer grades already so simply 'tidying up' at the junior end.

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  • Ince by inch or should that be metre by metre, RPC seem to be shaping the sort of firm that sensible buyers of legal services want - me included.I have nothing but priase for this firm.Everything 'new' they come up with is a no-brainer to acknowledge as progress. If only the rest of the law sector were as smart...

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  • At last! From the comments above there seems to be a lot of sour grapes about RPC going first on this. It's long overdue and the talk of some firms offering up to £100k for newly qualifieds is just plain daft. I agree that £50k plus still seems a lot for very junior lawyers but if that's the market price for the right talent then it is despite the overpopulated lawyer market. This will help to sift the best from the rest and probably not change their overall salary bill by much - it could even go up if they get deluged by those qualifying in older style firms. They seem to be the go-to firm at the moment.

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  • What are they going to pay any NQs recruited externally? They won't have had 2 years to judge their ability.

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  • @Severina. They do indeed have measures and criteria in place. We've bought a variant of their own performance measurement system for our internal team as it was better than anything we could come up with ourselves.So not only do they have one but they provide as a service to clients who request help in assessing lawyer performance - which presumably covers their costs of developing it in the first place...almost business like. Joking aside, I haven't come across a firm as commercially smart as RPC in my 10 years in-house - including where I trained - and I still have a soft spot for them too but just not as in the 21st century as RPC.

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  • To anonymous at 11.56. That's one of my points. because they've clearly got a structured system, they will run some sort of assessment centre for NQ joiners from other firms and pay accordingly. But presumably the bar will be set high to only attract the best from MC firms etc who are looking for a different culture.

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  • Ah, I see that RPC's PR cavalry have finally arrived. I was wondering how much more of a bashing this PR stunt could take before they showed up.

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  • Obviously, RPC can't go charging top whack for its duffer trainees.

    So will RPC be transparent with their clients about whether they are supplying a hero swot or a cheapo duffer? Clients might want to economise and hire cheapo duffers for some tasks, but be happy to pay top dollar to have hero swots perform other tasks.

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  • Arn't they all being sent to Bristol anyway?

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  • Probably thankful they haven't got a Manchester office - it's grim up north.

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  • I got passed the link to this for a laugh. The one "In my experience, generally speaking, a trainee is as good and as useful as their supervisor and/or department allows them to be" was a guffaw out loud moment. Perhaps the Dr Who effect is rubbing off and we've all been transported back to the 1930s.

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  • If you dig around you'll see that they're top of the independent employee satisfaction surveys and top of the independent client service surveys. And the two can't be unconnected, surely? As a recruiter in both the partner and associate markets, all I can say is that they are very easy to recruit for and have been picking and choosing for several years. It's funny to watch the banal and naiive sniping comments come from those who wish they could follow suit, but the harsh reality in the business of law is this is a smart move from them as it makes them stand out to recruits and clients for all the right reasons.

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  • To Anonymous at 1.38pm - I don't want to sound critical but can't you see the irony in what you've said? If I was in RPC's PR team I'd be putting in the negative not positive comments because it's that stuff which will play out for them so well amongst GC readers. They have positioned themselves on the side of the clients and the best trainees, and you are just underscoring that for them!

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  • Sadly most of the above comments underscore the old school mentality that the legal sector still clings on to. Surely a trainee is only ever as good as their mentor/supervisor allows them to be. If a trainee is made to photocopy witness statements, then of course they'll be an expert in hitting the big green button on the copier. If all they're doing is fetching coffee for people more senior than them, then it's likely they'll be well versed in working the coffee machine. But if their supervisors are giving them the experience of actually being a lawyer then that's the best way forward. And why not pay them according to the skills they possess rather than some insane and uneconomical figure that merely comes from the pressure of feeling like you always have to outdo your competitors?

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  • Overworked HR?
    Who do these people think they are? I have worked at 4 firms in my career and I have yet to meet an HR department that adds any value at all. Generally staffed by the thickest of the thick they genuinely think they are key to the business.
    The comment above demonstrates this perfectly.

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  • Can't see why this is causing such a debate. Seems clear: if you're very good and providing very good value to clients then surely it makes sense to be rewarded accordingly - if I were still a trainee and being given a chance to bring home top whack at a medium size firm I'd think "bring it on". Not so much a smart move, Norman, as an obvious one.

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