A&O fudges lockstep to give banking stars extra points

Allen & Overy

(A&O) has awarded star finance partners Tim Polglase and Robin Harvey extra points on its 15-year lockstep as it closes ranks following the departure of Stephen Gillespie to Kirkland & Ellis.

The move is part of a scheme originally proposed by senior partner Guy Beringer in December, whereby the firm would reassess the lockstep position of prominent laterals in an effort to make sure they are not disadvantaged.

Although senior partners were consulted, there was no partner vote to move the pair up the lockstep.

A&O’s lockstep is the longest in the City, running for 15 years. Partners go up two points a year, starting at 20 points and rising to 50.

It is understood that Polglase was moved up two points, from 30 to 32, while Robin Harvey was moved up four points, from 24 to 28.

One A&O partner said: “We had fitted them in on a level roughly equivalent to their earnings [at Norton Rose], which would bring them in lower than if they’d been A&O partners from the start. Minor adjustments have to be made.

“Some people were concerned about it being the thin end of the wedge, but it was strongly supported.”

Former Norton Rose partners Polglase and Harvey are two of the most prominent lateral hires and are acknowledged internally to be pivotal to the future of the banking group. By contrast, homegrown stars such as Stephen Kensell have not been moved up the equity ladder.

The move is set to renew internal discussions about the structure of the lockstep.