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The magic circle firm is introducing a counsel role for senior associates who want an alternative to partner status. The role will be applied slightly differently between jurisdictions. In the London office the role was already in place but it has now been formalised, while in Germany the role is being introduced for the first time.
Counsel will be paid individual salaries and will be eligible for a bonus. In London associates who opt to become counsel will not be precluded from becoming partners, but it is unlikely that they will be eligible for promotion in the short term.
The first batch of counsel will be appointed at the start of the next financial year.
Last summer Herbert Smith restructured its associate career path in a bid to slash attrition rates. The top 10 City firm introduced an of counsel role for senior associates who do not want to become partners (The Lawyer, 12 June 2006).