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Clifford Chance is gearing up to move its Budapest partnership onto the lowest of its three equity ladders, with Prague and Warsaw already operating on the lower level.
Ladder one, which runs from 30 to 70 points as opposed to the normal 40 to 100, was okayed by the firm's global partnership at the end of 2005, but was only introduced in Poland and the Czech Republic earlier this year.
A source at the magic circle firm confirmed that the Hungarian office would move across to the lower lockstep in the near future.
Offices choose to operate on the lower ladder on the basis that they practise in economically weaker jurisdictions.
So far only the three Eastern Europe offices have opted for the shift. Clifford Chance has a fledgling presence in Romania, but the Bucharest office is an association with local firm Badea Asociatii, meaning partners there are not members of the Clifford Chance partnership - with the exception of David Eatough, who transferred from London in July.
Based on last year's financial figures, plateau partners in Eastern Europe would have pocketed an equity share of £805,000, with their global counterparts receiving £1.15m.
Clifford Chance also operates a higher equity ladder, dubbed ladder three, which awards extra profit units to particular offices. To date no office has operated within this higher lockstep.