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Ashurst has revamped its associate career path, introducing the position of counsel as an alternative or added step to partnership across its entire international network.
The new role, to be introduced in the new financial year, will be targeted at lawyers working in jurisdictions or practice areas that do not have the business case for partnership or lawyers who are not business generators.
Managing partner Simon Bromwich said: "We want counsel to be a meaningful position to obtain. It will be for strong lawyers with a high level of experience who command respect both internally and with clients."
As part of the shake-up, Ashurst is also introducing formal associate and senior associate titles, replacing its existing broader 'solicitor' title and PQE framework.
Bromwich said: "We're trying to reflect the performance of people at different levels. We've been very precise on the explanations of the performance required as people progress."
These performance guidelines focus on several core areas such as technical ability, business development and client relationship management. It does not include billable hours targets.
A document explaining the new structure was distributed to the firm last month (January). The firm's practice heads are now in the process of identifying candidates for counsel and senior associate posts.
At the same time, Ashurst has hired a director of training, Amber Moore, who joins from DLA Piper in March.