Clifford Chance New York puts pro bono on associates' agenda

After being slammed in the infamous New York associates memo for a “deplorable” animosity to pro bono, Clifford Chance has made pro bono work one of seven central criteria for associate promotion in the office

The firm was criticised in the memo for the associates' 2,420 billable hours target being so high that they could be tempted to “pad” clients' bills. The firm has now done away with target hours and instituted what insiders are calling 'The Seven Pillars of Wisdom', to form the basis of associate appraisals.

Pro bono is one of those pillars, meaning that partners in New York must now actively commit to encouraging their associates to do pro bono work.

The memo, written by a group of six New York associates and circulated before Christmas last year, stated: “A large percentage of associates believe the current firm animosity to pro bono is deplorable and violates the ethical principles of our profession.”

The six other 'Pillars of Wisdom' New York associates will now be assessed on are: respect and mentoring; quality of work; excellence in client service; integrity; commitment to diversity; and one's contribution to the firm as an institution.